By Rose Odengo
10th March 2017 was a phenomenal day! For years I have rambled on about how, “I need to find some excitement in my life,” “I need to stop being boring,” “I need to try new things!” you get the picture, but I always had an excuse.
That Friday, things changed. I took the day off work and went hiking with my best friend, Mwikali, her mother and another close friend, Oscar. We drove out of town in the morning and headed straight to Mt. Longonot.
I was excited. We started our hike around 9.30 am, the sun was out, and just a few metres to the bottom of the mountain, I was feeling tired. I know, I know! In my defense maybe I was nervous and unaware of it, we started to joke that maybe we should just Photoshop an image of ourselves at the summit. A few metres up from the base of the mountain, the Photoshop idea looked like an option.
I became Darth Vader. I could barely catch my breath, every few steps, I would stop, hunch over my hiking stick and fight to catch my breath, my heart was racing and I kept asking myself, “why am I doing this?”
Meanwhile, the 64 year old birthday girl, my best friend’s mum, steadily hiked to the top. She was fitter than we all were. When I grow up, I want to be as full of energy and as fit as she is. Mwikali was so gracious; she helped me and Oscar out. Oscar’s body failed him, he just froze, Kali was by our side feeding us apples, and chocolate and compelling us to hydrate. We would inch a few steps and struggle and her words, “There is no pressure, don’t rush, just take it one step at a time.” Hearing those words gave me hope. Oscar soon was back on his feet, I was trailing, but he would stop and check on me and ask if I needed a break. All the while in my mind I kept humming a Boyz II Men song, “I will get there. I will get there somehow.”
We finally got to the mid mountain rest point, where we stuffed our faces with more apples and drank some more water. Mwikali headed off to the top, to take some apples to her mum and make sure she was also well hydrated. Oscar and I took our time before we got back at it. The second half of the hike up was much easier; I guess it’s because we hiked slower than before. The terrain was super slippery, the soil was really loose. During this stretch the song changed from “I will get there” to the Rocky Theme song! Hahahaha!
We finally made it!
Wait for it! Ta-da-daaaaa! Ta-da-daaaa! Sing it with me now!
About 3 hours from the time we began, Oscar and I summit about an hour or an hour and half after Mwikali and her mum had summit. It felt great. I felt so accomplished. We all did.
I realise now why so many people say it’s not just about fitness, it’s about mental strength that gets you to summits of mountains. I also realise, you really can’t do this on your own, well some people can, but I honestly wouldn’t have gone far if it wasn’t for my friends.
We stayed on the mountain top for a few more hours. Mwikali and her mum wanted to hike round the crater, which they did partially. They did begin but the route was treacherous, it was one kind and sweet young teen, Benson, who rescued them from the horrible path.
The way down the mountain was worse than the hike up. The loose soil just made it difficult at some point we just sat down and slid on our butts to get down; I named the gesture, the matako slide (you can guess why!). It was easier, less nerve raking and it helped our legs relax for a slight second. Our legs were like jelly heading down, I am not sure whether it was exhaustion, fear, adrenalin or all of them. But once we finally got to the base, I was ecstatic.
Would I hike Mt. Longonot again, (insert cheeky grin) time will tell.
But let’s enjoy that Victory!
Sing it with me!
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