Facing Mt Kilimambogo
The text pops up while I am having my lunch.
“You have subscribed for May, right?”
And just as I’m about to ask what subscription, the next text message arrives.
“Let’s hike Mt. Kilimambogo on Sunday. If we die, we die.”
I want to type back a thesis on why I cannot hike on a Sunday, but I only manage a sentence; “Cool. If we die, we die.”
Sunday morning found me at the meeting point because drifters never wait for the sleeping dog, and my death mate and I happened to be the early birds.
We were ready to leave after a few minutes of waiting for the rest and mentally preparing for whatever was to come, but a member of another hike nearly sent me home with their cheerful comment: “Mnaenda Kilimambogo? Kuna mahali itabidi muache lungs nyuma ndio muendelee, but endeni tu, sio mbaya.”
My courage almost left me at the mention of my lungs, but I had already made up my mind; if we die, we die, so off we went to face our mountain.
Where is Mt Kilimambogo?
Mt. Kilimambogo which means a mountain of buffaloes or Ol Donyo Sabuk is located within the Ol Donyo Sabuk National Park along the Thika-Garissa highway. The mountain rises to 2,145 m above sea level. The trail is rated to be of moderate difficulty covering a distance of 17 km to the peak and back.
What is Climbing Mt. Kilimambogo like?
You are probably thinking, cut to the chase, what is climbing Kilimambogo like? Yes, let’s get to that. Climbing Kilimambogo is like telling a happy story with a few sad parts sprinkled in there.
Sorry, let me explain that respectfully so that the big boys on the thrones of Mt Everest, Kilimanjaro, Mt Kenya, and Kosokoso do not look at me thinking, “What on earth is she talking about? Boys, get her a mountain, or get her out of there.”
For a beginner who has only walked around Karura forest holding hands in Bata Ngoma, Kilimambogo is the best jolt into your hiking experience. It’s like witnessing the beginning of a wonderful story.
The start is quite gentle, and you will enjoy every minute of it. All the NFT and Crypto talk from the guys behind you will sound like music to your ears. You’ll adore the person beside you narrating the Mesopotamian history, and the environmentalist nerd ahead of you will blow your mind with her knowledge of the benefits of Buffalo poop.
Every step up the mountain will make you laugh. If you’re lucky, you’ll fall in love because someone will offer to help carry your bag to make the hike a little more tough for themselves.
You’ll even offer your bananas to the colobus monkeys jumping from tree to tree laughing at your lame jokes, to show them that we are all descendants of a generous ancestor.
You’ll be singing alongside the birds, whose voices will be the sweetest thing in the quiet forest. Your heart will be dancing to the sound of your feet on the rocky trail, your nose savouring the scents of fresh vegetation and blooming flowers. Your mind will swell and orgasm at the views below you and your eyes will gaze in awe and marvel at the beauty of this world.
Then the person in front of you will start to slow down. You’ll start to hear their breath just above you. They’ll start taking each step more carefully, and before you know it, someone will be on their knees, grabbing anything above them to keep them from crushing back on you.
On a few more steep sections, you’ll curse and hold your breath, wondering why, of all places, you are on all fours in a forest on a Sunday morning.
But before you know it, you’ll be past the steep inclinations, and everyone will be slumped down, trying to catch their breath and reconsider their life choices.
Brian the guide will be there to congratulate you and assure you that the remaining part is simply sipping cold Fanta before Rachael (the other guide) arrives with the final group and confuses you with statements like, “Please guys, hydrate! hydrate! Take as much water as you can. Na msikunywe maji mingi, itajaa kwa tumbo mshindwe kutembea.” She is a gem that one.
Anyway, the remaining trail will be a cakewalk. One that will take you to the summit without even realizing it because you’ll be just recovering from a mini-death scare. Everything about summiting is satisfying. It’s a feeling of accomplishment, relief, and glory. It’s worth the trouble and more.
Coming down is even a more thrilling experience. It’s simple, and the triumphant descent will numb you to feelings of fatigue and ache to form in your thighs, to the point where when Rachel tells you to stretch at the end of the hike, you’ll wonder what for?
Now, for a seasoned hiker, one that has sat on the peaks of bigger Mountains, Kilimambogo is just another jog you do every morning in preparation for the big boys.
That said, Mt Kilimambogo is quite a moderate hike.
It’s a friendly, easy hike for beginners and anyone interested in some outdoor activity.
There were no lungs left on the mountain, only muscles congratulating me on a job well done, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
See you on the next mountain?
Remember, trust the trails, trust the mountains, and then trust @Let’s drift.
~The budding hiker ~