We started out at 9 am and hit the fairly level dirt road through the local farms before giving way into the bamboo forest. The entry into the bamboo forest is characterized by a sign written “Starting Point” alerting us that we were officially entering the Arberdare forest and the ascent up the hill.
The bamboo forest is quite extensive and is often described as treacherous during the rainy season. Luckily for us we attempted the hike during relatively warm weather. Nonetheless, it is always advisable to be prepared as the weather changes drastically in higher altitude.The bamboo forest trail is characterized by Elephant droppings and their large footprints, serving a good reminder that we are in the wilderness. The rangers and guides assure us the animals prefer staying deep in the forest and away from the marked trails during the day. After what seems like an eternity of towering bamboo, the trail gives way to more level land characterized by a stunning array of flora. At 3255M ASL we approach the Elephant’s trump commonly referred to as the Point of Despair at 12 pm.
The Point of Despair offers a very technical climb knocking the difficulty level a notch higher; most people tend to throw in the towel here. Even though we started out as a group the gap between those more fit and the rest of us started becoming bigger at this point. As we soldiered on the temperature dropped significantly with occasional showers becoming a constant companion; we now required to have our rain gear on from this point to the summit.
For those who make it past the Point of Despair end up at the Elephant’s tail at 3513M ASL. This point offers quite the view of the adjacent hills as well as a glimpse of the summit. We traverse the Elephant’s back and go through the rocky terrain to finally get to the highest point of the hill to the left. We finally making it to the summit M ASL at 4pm.
The descent is just as hard as the summit with the knees getting the biggest hit. Emphasis is given on proper hiking shoes as the descent can get quite slippery. We ploughed through the fatigue and muscle soreness to make it back to Njabini gate by 8pm.I was immensely proud that I made it to the summit even though there were times I was ready to throw in the towel. This would mark my 4th Elephant Hill summit, I am glad I conquered it but I think it’s time to see other hills.