If I could sum up these series of posts in one word it would be Foreshadowing. From the initial tumultuous emotions I had, the safari ants crawling up my pants and ultimately to the overcast weather. Probably if I were more superstitious then I would have had an idea of what fate had planned for us.
At about 2.00 pm we set out for Kinangop. The trek down elephant hill towards Kinangop was a treacherous one. The incline was rather sharp, the ground quite muddy and slippery holding on to the tussock grass and gigantic heather plants was the only support from falling.
After what seemed like hours prodding through the unforgiving terrain and fighting the urge to just throw in the towel and head back we finally emerged through more level ground. The walk from this point was much easier. The trail was endowed by mountain vegetation with small rivers forming beneath the tussock grass.
Whilst Elephant hill is characterized by bamboo forest and a rather rocky steep ascent, this trail’s challenge was the small rivers that form beneath the grass. Each step had to be carefully calculated so as not to plunge into the developing rivers.
The views at this point were rather disheartening given that the thick fog and rain could not allow us to fully appreciate the beauty of this part of the trail.The only visible features were the mountain vegetation and some flowers that were slightly pleasing to the eye.
The further up the trail we went we would occasionally come across droppings and tracks of forest goats and elephants, a clear indication of wildlife activity in the region. The thought of being in a real forest inhabited by all manner of wild animals with only one armed escort sort of made the moment very surreal.
The Kinangop hill is described as rather elusive, it’s famously quoted as “the hill that happens to you” due to the dense fog visibility is greatly affected making the peak difficult to sight. Once in a while though the fog clears and the peak peeps through the hills.
After about another hour of walking, I suddenly realized that the group ahead had stopped and were facing out towards the hills. Eager to discover what they had seen and thirsting for breath, I trudged to the view point. What I discovered could best be described as a real life painting.
The fog had given way to the most outstanding view of the Aberdare ranges. The earth ahead of us had opened up to reveal striking rolling hills adorned with green beauty and feathery clouds that winged over them, a true masterpiece… it was perfect!
The remarkable sight felt like the hills were rewarding us for the effort we had put to come so far.
We finally made it to the base of the Kinangop hill. Julius our armed escort advised that it would be too risky to attempt the summit in addition to that it would be dark soon and would be best to start heading out of the forest.We therefore agreed to wait for the group behind and start the descent together.
In the next post I will talk about what we encountered on our way out of the forest, that was probably the longest and worst night I have ever had.