START OF THE DAY
Saturday morning came quick and my cold nose probably sent low key signals I should stay in bed; avoid the hike and the cold atmosphere of the Aberdares. There was no backing out. I had invited friends to hike Elephant hill and knowing their punctual nature, they would probably already be at our meet point well before 7. Sure enough while I was taking a shower I got a call that they were at our pick up point 15 minutes earlier. Crapp!
Someone needed to introduce them to the concept of slow living.
I threw on a bunch of work out clothes and headed to meet the girls. The last time I did this hike was in August of last year and the weather was a lot brighter and warmer. The drive from NAirobi to Njambini gate, Elephant Hill, took an hour and a half. The trip sucked since a lot of the way was densely foggy.
The views were beautiful but very different. The contrasts this time were very far from sunny blue skies and views of the mountains. It was more fog everywhere and green land disappearing into the clouds. This made the drive there particularly risky as there are a couple bends in the hills that one may drive off if not keen or familiar with the roads. Its highly recommended to drive slow and arrive safely or hire a driver familiar with the area.
NJAMBINI GATE ENTRANCE TO HIKE
While I appreciated how insta-worthy the surroundings were, I could not enjoy it as I was so cold and wet from the consistent rains. (‘African winter is June July;also rainy season in sub-sahara). The 1st hour into the hike I got really warm and started appreciating my surrounding. This was a beautiful bamboo heaven. The green trees were enveloped in a blanket of white swallowing every distant object. As my view moved from edge to edge of the bamboo trees, I realized I could barely see what was 15 metres away. This meant there was no possible way of spotting wild animals if they were close. I wondered if they would equally be unable to see us. then realise their superior senses of smell and sound would probably point to our location.
We spotted a couple of huge elephant droppings on the way up. Our guide assured us it was safe. I didn’t think about it much as we struggled up through the mud and bamboo trees. My anxiety got the best of me as we were just at the Point of despair. I started giving up and wanting to return to the base. Every moment we had spent wrapped in the fog made me uneasy. I was cold, wet and muddy so I decided to turn back down. I’d have to complete the hike another time, preferably in dry weather. The descent was equally difficult and a lot more slippery thanks to the ‘path’ which had literally been a muddy wet river. There was a couple falls on the way down but we were all glad to get off safe and warm. All I looked forward to was a nice warm meal and a hot shower.
Take a Guide
carry rain gear
bring warm clothes
bring extra shoes or sandals to change into post hike so your feet are warm
Bring enough water, snacks/food