With the onset of a new month, I can’t help but recognize how critical April was for me. The government had just imposed cessation, which stuck my daughter and me in different zones. This was hard for me in the first weeks, but it got easier and well-needed later.
I thought… “hmm, I have enough time to do part-time jobs…you know, make a little money?” But the force had a whole different plan for me. I ended up doing 15 days of KCSE invigilation.
Don’t get me wrong, these were 15 days a girl never thought she needed. They were 15 days of silence and meditation, and a whole month of walking, running, soaking in my environment, thinking about life, and understanding how this wholesome dynamic plays out for me.
As the exams came to an end…I had taken a lot of lessons home with me. I, too, was in an exam room …only no one would be grading me for it. And I learned the most important thing of all: I KNOW NOTHING!
And no…..not the Jon Snow kind of knowing nothing – truly the real sense of knowing nothing.
When you take a peek into your life from when you had any recollection of it, what do you see? Do you see that little you know, or are you a totally different person? Do we really know?
Just stop and take a look at how your life has eclipsed since you were young? How much have you gone through motions of different personalities and identities? How much have you settled for a lot less than your big dreams and anticipations? And how as you grow older, certain things that made sense to you don’t seem to hold any water? Well, I do that a lot.
For the last two years, I feel like life has been more of a geography lesson. I’m learning from that which surrounds me and what resides in it. And when I try to apply what I was taught in school into nature… None of it makes sense. All I can do is learn with my eyes and try to enjoy what’s in front of me at that moment.
Even now… I don’t quite feel like I fully comprehend what I’m trying to relay here. But I know that a hiking and camping trip could be what two friends need before the onset of a new busy month. A little nature. A little peace. A little serenity.
1st of May, 0851hrs: time to conquer a new mountain.
There is something about scoring a summit or a hike, whether easy or difficult, that reminds us that mountains are not only meant to be conquered but admired as well.
A life without challenges – who doesn’t want that? But what’s a life without challenges? Even nature itself is a combination of beauty and chaos. The two go hand in hand like the sun and the moon. A life of challenges is unavoidable, but adaptation is what keeps you going.
You see, the thing about being in this state of not knowing is that I don’t even know how to keep up conversations anymore. Even when I feel like my input could make someone understand me a little better, I am at the same time very aware that it won’t make a difference.
This was an easy hike. Actually very enjoyable! The downside of longonot is how crowded it gets but, this time I took time to pay attention to the Caldera itself.
People hike as though the only significant feat at that moment is to get to the summit and back down. They forget to look at what they’re dealing with, what’s surrounding them. You find that you always learn something new things in the process no matter how many times you’ve been to the mountain. For instance, I noticed that this stratovolcano was also a combination of small ridges beautifully and systematically falling off the Caldera.
While erosion is taking a toll on this mountain, it’s also what gives it it’s character. KWS has put in grave efforts in setting up gabions, stone stairs, and sacks filled with soil to make the climb safe. But erosion off the human track gives this mountain it’s beauty. How the trees marry into those soil depressions makes the ridges seem meticulous.
By 1441 hours, the mountain had been conquered. Felt like the best way to start off a new month, onto the next plan – Jungle Camping.
Jungle Camping at Hell’s Gate National Park
Luxury camping has its extensive benefits, but a girl loves camping in the jungle every once in a while.
We left Olongonot and headed straight to the park; time wasn’t on our side. We needed to be there before 17 hours, and we got there just a few minutes before closing time. Being the extraordinary team that we are, we got there just on time and with everything we needed. Time to set camp!
I find joy in a few things in this life of sin, and setting up camp will always be one of them. I enjoy setting up the tent, setting out a chill area, and setting up a fire. Quite frankly, this is why I want jungle Camping because I get to do all that myself.
Of course, I don’t mind walking into a camp with all that set out for me – but camping feels like camping when you do EVERYTHING for yourself. We were done before it was dark in time to clean up and eat.
Fish and Ugali just before darkness sets in fully, Yum! After dinner, I lit the fire. This time, I didn’t forget to carry a matchbox and lighter fluid. The last time I camped at Hell’s Gate, I really struggled to set fire and didn’t want to have the same fate again.
Jungle camps don’t have security lights or any kind of lighting, which really brings out the starry sky. The sky was so so beautiful. The stars were so many it actually felt like I was staring at the galaxy itself. It was such a beautiful night.
Considering we had spent the day hiking, fatigue was kicking in. Sleep time!
To be honest with you – sleeping on the ground ain’t no fun. Turning on the ground ain’t the same as turning on your comfortable bed. The sleeping mats we had literally felt like we were sleeping on the ground itself.
There were more rowdy groups at camp, and the loud music and chatters didn’t make sleep time any easier. Which brings me to this question – why do people get rowdy at camp? With so many alternative camps availed to man…why walk into the jungle and make noise for the buffaloes, giraffes, monkeys, and all the other animals living there. It’s pretty much like walking into someone’s house and being ratchet. It’s a thin line, isn’t it?
Morning Walk and Departure
The plan was to wake up, catch the moon and the sunrise. The moon was out, but we missed the sunrise. I really needed a recovery walk; I always do after a hike.
The walk was quiet and beautiful until we came across a lone buffalo. While in the jungle, solitary animals are not your friends. They’re alone for a reason, and lone buffaloes are mainly not to be provoked. Running will provoke their environment so you have to act calm and keep walking.
I was calm but Hella scared, but we needed to keep walking. My friend was quite scared, she barely enjoyed the rest of the walk. We walked to the next camp then walked back.
Luckily on our way back, the buffalo wasn’t there anymore. She went back to the camp, and I needed to check out the bird hide, so I did. The sound of birds soothes me and at that moment I needed soothing.
I watched and listened to birds a lot in April, and I’ve become more interested in learning about birds. Walking here was very calming. Nothing else mattered in this moment other than the beautiful melodies of different birds.
It’s definitely called a bird hide for a reason because even though you can hear them, you can’t quite see them. The road is surrounded by trees that are perfect for nesting. Off the trees, colonies of birds serenade everything around them. What better than bird rhythm in a jungle morning?
After the walk, I was feeling confident that I would do well this new month. I was also optimistic that I was beginning to understand a few things about life, love, and work, but still very confident that I KNOW NOTHING, and my only duty is to watch and learn.
We took a jay drive to see the rest of the park. Hell’s Gate is so beautiful. The stones are chiseled on each other like art. They sit on those grounds like nature art. All you can and daze at them and soak it all in. We passed the geothermal power stations at Olkaria and got off the main road. A quick stop for brunch at Fisherman’s camp and we are ready to hit the road.
Do I feel lighter after this trip? Yes. Do I feel ready? Yes. Do I feel confident about what’s next? NO. I just know it could still be a long road ahead, and none of us is ready. But I surely feel like if I do my best; nature will take care of the rest!
Anyway, now I’m back, and the weather is excellent for a warm snuggle with a blanket, a movie, and chill sunday vibes as we all prep for a new grinding week. So lemme wish you a beautiful week ahead 😊😊.
Keep your light shining.