The Ascent

Lying 0 54’55’’S and 36 27’25’’ E is a stratovolcano in the great rift valley of Kenya. It’s thought to have erupted last in the 1860s or there around and it derives its name from the Maasai word Oloonong’ot which means mountain of many spurs or steep ridges. It sure is steep just like its name but all the same awaiting your discovery. Its home to various animals such as zebras, gazelles and buffaloes.
Hiking is not for the fainthearted. Sorry, I take that back. Hiking is not for the faint legged. You’d think that growing up on the slopes of the highest mountain in Kenya would adequately prepare me for such. Growing up on the slopes of the mountainous region during the era when piped water was no longer sustainable meant that one had to go down to the only source of fresh water i.e river Thagana. Since we were also school, it meant that the water fetching chores would be done in the evening. On arrival from school the routine was always the same; change clothes, look for the remnants of lunch and have your fill, then take a jerry can and ‘step in the name of life.’ I mean they say water is life or don’t they? These tasks didn’t seem that tedious since our muscles were well acquainted with the terrain. Right now ask me to carry a 20 litres Jerry can and… Don’t even go there.Further to toned muscles ‘duff mpararo’ (swimming) was so rejuvenating. no matter the time or weather we’d always spare a few minutes for swimming and by few minutes I mean swimming until darkness came calling. Never mind the punishment waiting for us back at home. Those were the good ol’ days. Some of the well-muscled girls could even carry two twenty liters jerry cans on their backs.
You’d have thought that after going through all that that a hike up the mountain would be smooth sailing. Far be it, even with the help of a walking stick which proved quite beneficial especially during the descent, my muscles were not prepared for this. I almost did give up in the middle. At the beginning I was all ‘roho juu.’ You should have seen me and felt the rhythm of my heart. I thought I was gonna break the record of dear Jones who set a record of 1 hour, twenty minutes. The only reason I kept going was the hope of seeing the peak. Sorry, it’s not a peak,they call it a rim. I was not alone though; there was this lady whose boyfriend lied to her that there were ziplines up there and that ziplining would be our jet down.
Despite all the challenges I made it to the rim and felt like humming Robert Kelly’s ‘I’m the world’s greatest.’ My face was glowing like I had been smeared with , ‘maguta ma mbariki’ aka castor oil.
The days that followed were however worse than the hike. My muscles were sore which reminded me of a certain teacher who joined our high school when I was in form two. Her subject of specialty was double PE. My oh my did we suffer in her hands before our muscles finally became acquainted. She used to tell us, ‘your muscles are rotten.’ So yes I think my muscles have totally become rotten. They won’t hold me though. I plan on more hikes and more chronicles.
Since I didn’t manage to go round the rim I’m planning on a redo. This time though I’ll be more than prepared. I’m praying that Wang’uru stadium is completed soon enough so that I can subject my muscles to thorough workout before the redo.
Here are a few things you need in order to hike Mt Longonot.
Crew/ Mbogi : energetic and jovial.
Facilitator:@AuthenticFitnessAndAdventures can take you there in an overland truck.
Water- they don’t allow plastic bottles due to littering, so carry enough in a recyclable bottle.
Walking stick- you can hire one at the gate at KES 50 only.
Don’t do it like you are competing- stick to your own pace.


Published by Nyar Kaheti

Born and raised on the picturesque slopes of Mt Kenya, Nyar Kaheti is your girl next door vibe kind of girl. She enjoys reading, writing, hiking, and listening to country music among other things.

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