Happy New month! How are you?
Mt. Kenya has been on my mind for a while now. No, I’m not talking about hiking it to the peak but I got close at least and for a moment seeing Batian and Lenana peak peek on the horizon made me so happy.
Weeks ago before lockdown, we hiked part of Mt. Kenya forest with Let’s Drift. Check them out they do have amazing trails that you can visit on a budget. We were using the Chogoria route and I was so excited that I brushed off my previous hiking fatigue after descending Mt. Ololokwe. I guess there is something about hiking pain that always makes us go back.
On this day, we departed from Nairobi just before 5 AM, picked some of us along the way and we started the journey. With nothing much to see, I slept all through and just woke up in time to capture one beautiful sunrise shot.
I haven’t used this route to Chogoria before so this was huge to me and I marveled at how the landscapes kept on changing. Also, getting to finally see that winding Meru road was a dream come true. From a distance, we could see the mountain peeping and it was too beautiful.
Hours later we get to the park gate and before you get excited it is about an hour’s drive on a murram road to the starting point. It hadn’t rained but I guess you won’t need a 4*4.
At about 9 AM we got to the starting point, briefs were done, few stretches and we were good to go. The goal was to get to L. Ellis, hike down Nithi falls, and back.
The starting point is easy and you could hear people chatting and waves of laughter to tell the mountain that we were there and ready for whatever it threw at us. I remember one of our guides pointing where we were going and I almost told him never mind because all I could see are so many hills with a tiny path in between.
About a KM or less in we get to a small stream and while we stood there, someone said that water tastes like Keringet, and I laughed though, I ended up trying it because that is how my curiosity operates.
We walk on and on our way we see signages indicating how many more KMs we had to cover to finally get to see L. Ellis. See, I wish I knew because the last 2 kilometers to the lake are the devil. It is one tough climb that no one speaks to the other and all you can hear is people breathing. It was bad and for a moment I re-evaluated my decisions but that is part of a hiking cycle, regret but still, go back. After what seemed like forever we finally saw the lake and I am not sure how I felt. One thing that stood out for me was how calm the lake was wheew! That is the calmness I pray we all unlock as we do this life thing.
We had a snack break with Lenana and Batian peak backdrop and that there was what I signed up for. The next stop was Nithi falls and for a moment I could feel my knees bailing out on me but all I knew is we did not come all this way to give up so I walked on. The stretch to Nithi from the lake is doable plus the views make everything beautiful and all you need to do is keep walking and the view somehow dilutes the fatigue.
The sound of the waterfall can be heard from a distance and I stood there wondering how the man above did all these but then I guess that is why he remains to be a supreme being right? The landscapes around here are to die for despite it being too cold. Going down the waterfall was an extreme sport and as I stood there contemplating someone shouted from behind me that they didn’t come all this way to give up and I knew that was it.
This is probably the highest waterfall I have seen and I stood there in awe to live in the moment and take in the view before descent.
My worst part of any hike is always descending. I mean you have no option unless you plan on forever living on the mountains. I wish there was this option though.
Hours later we were at the starting point exhausted but then that was another trail conquered, friendships ignited, and most important lessons learned.
I hope I gain the courage to finally summit Kenya but till then we work on the courage.
Try this trail you will love it. Shout out to everyone we hiked with on this day, you guys are amazing.
Photo credits; TJ and Steve. Thank you for the amazing photos.
Till next time; Stay safe.