The price of everything has been hiking lately. So have I. Lame pun to start a blog with, I know. Would you blame me though? I haven’t been writing for eternity. Fighting creative block is not as easy as the Spanish Conquest of the Aztecs. It’s more like trying to prove the world is flat. So forgive yourself if, in cold blood, you judge the scribbles of a war victim.
Scaling Mt. Kenya, I was told, is not a product of a morning impulse but rather a whole romantic experience. You have to kiss a few frogs and endure whole foreplay before you get laid in the clouds.
I’m as smart as they come and a warrior of some renown. Tell me about the mountains and I’ll beat them every damn day and twice on Saturday. So bring me the cocky mountains and I will own every last trail that comes from their heart. I am a warrior. I am the weapon. I am the army of one that will slay any hill in my path- arrogance, smug…my mood and resolve before the hikes was nothing short of ecstatic.
Inviting hiking into your life is a choice even I interrogate. Several hypotheses have been thrown around on the thought process behind this self-inflicted torment. The most common and consistent theory has been that of wannabe lovers. Apparently these cupid hunters in their spiritual journey to find love meet the sons of our fathers instead, who without hesitation proceed to test their heart’s threshold to pain.
Many of these casualties, just like the Israelites, would scatter on the mountains like sheep with no shepherd to find healing. It is this group of people specifically that I want to distance myself from.
My quest up the mountains was born out of a big joke and the unfortunate right person, at the right place saying the wrong things. Apocalypse is preceded by the fall of the honorable. And it is the pretty ones who swing the sword. She cut my throat with her wrong words. Yes, this same person who throughout the 3-month expedition never figured out how to pack her day pack and turned all afrobeats songs into choirs songs. Let’s call her the choir lady.
Kilimambogo was my first frog. Unrewarding and embarrassing really. All I remember is that flash of anger when I summited. Biting ants chose to set camp in the soft tissues of my jingle bells just next to the great tower, my toes hurt all the way down and the shirtless old men trying to remedy their old age by running through the trail ruined the whole thing. It was bland.
A camaraderie was however ignited on this trail, later famously (sometimes infamously), known as ‘The Snackers’
There was Sakaja, bearer of dimples and sandwiches, who left her ass print in every trail. It’s too late now, but someone should have told her the difference between hiking and swimming in mud.
Then there was this guy whose first thought when he saw me was to throw shade. It was 5 am and according to physics, that’s not how shades work. Dude turned up to the mountains with a sleeping bag that was way cooler inside than outside. He carried a sleeping fridge to the mountains. Let’s call him sleeping bag.
And finally, there was the Uji guy, who after fearing no evil and walking through the valleys of Elephant hill, guzzled a few liters of porridge and lay down in green pastures as he awaited his enemies.
Together, alongside the choir lady who by now had butchered tonnes of afrobeats, we clicked.
Kijabe should definitely be renamed The Status hills just for the views it offered. The mood in this trail was so sweet, sweet that the sugar rush that followed almost ended a marriage. Partly my fault, wholly Sakajas’s fault. It’s amazing how hiking runs back time; old to young, men to boys, wives to girls. Careful new hiker, the illusions in the mountains make wedding rings invisible. Kijabe was a fantasy. In the greenery of the trees, my brain found salvation, a place to rest old thoughts and gain new perspectives.
Longonot was my bragging experience. The impossible mission sponsored by my failed alarm put me 2 hours behind schedule, missing the bus and expectedly the hike. Normal humans would give up and forget about the hike, but not I, the grandson and the last standing king of the great Ababito Kingdom. Shocked and confused, giving up was not an option. Teleporting, my grandma, Harry potter’s broom…everything was on the table. And guess what, not only did I make it there just 2-3 hours late, I completed the trail in record time. Choir lady, Sleeping bag, Sakaja, Uji guy, all behind me.
Elephant hill, wow. That was a challenge. By now, I was in the awkward phase and a great sexual tension had developed between hiking and me. The mountains were starting to show me some leg. I had not caught any hint all this time, but at Elephant hill the hips don’t lie. The infinite muddy bamboo stretch, the rocky inclines, the plane crash residue, the daunting signs… it was all Versace on the floor at Elephant hill. At high altitudes love songs reigned high, the “No Air”s and “Breathless” and if you finish the trail early enough, you might be lucky to join the Uji guy for porridge.
Mackinders was nature’s mirror that reflected deep within my soul. I saw what generations have long forgotten, and felt like I had just been elevated to a protector’s role. The steep terrain, the valleys, the rays, and showers – I opened my eyes to the beauty of nature and when Lenana Peak briefly smiled at me, I knew she was thrilled at the prospect of meeting me in a few weeks.
Ole Satima, love at first sight. Among the others, I was told she is the perfect of all. Her beauty was of course exaggerated but not her splendor. Just a few days away from Mt. Kenya, Ole Satima was a perfect date for my bachelorette party. The dragon teeth, the misty air, the freezing ending…without any filter, with the naked eye and the brain open to the beauty of this reality, I was amazed.
The more you hike, the sights become a sense of wakeful dreaming and footsteps become your heartbeat. And when you awaken to those simple things, everything gets so much better. The larger things become almost overwhelming, the sense of love so much stronger. It is then you realize that before you lived a half-life
Next, we climb Mt. Kenya.