Most of my days do not start at 3 a.m. Any such day then has to be worth it. Let’s face it: life is constantly a fingers-crossed situation. We don’t know what will happen the next minute – we can only hope. Hope is the fuel that drives us humans, and the quality of our lives is (mainly) determined by the extent and quality of our optimism.
Well, it was worth it!
Hiked one of the most unexplored treks in Kenya, setting records left, right, and center.
Background: The Aberdare Range
Kenya is generally mountainous if the numerous high peaks are anything to go by. As is the case with anything else, the statement is very relative. That said, we boast of many mentionable and hikeable trails.
The Aberdares was previously known as the Sattima Range. The range of upland extends over 160 km, averaging an elevation of 3,500 meters. A number of counties share this beauty, given it is located in west Central Kenya, Nyandarua County, northeast of Gilgil and Naivasha, and the southern part of the Equator.
The highest point is Mount Sattima, located at 0◦37I40IIS 36042I30IIE. The elevation stands at 3,999 m (13,120 ft).
The tangled forests and bamboo thickets made the Aberdares stretch an ideal hiding and strategizing haven for the MauMau in Pre-independence Kenya. The moorland and the high forest was declared the Aberdare National Park in 1950. Since then, a lot of efforts have been made by the government, through KWS, to maintain the park.
They have an interesting collaboration with the local community where in return for not cutting down trees, they can leave their bulls in the forest for as long as they like. Win-win.
Hiking Rurimueria – Aberdares
Rurimueria, part of the Aberdares National Park, is accessed through the Ndunyu Njeru gate in Kinangop. It is a hard hike and is certain to take a considerably long time. Leaving the city, or anywhere for that matter, early will help you make it to the summit on time and make it back on time.
Normally, there are heavy afternoon rains and it is normally advised to be back down before it starts hitting the ground. I hear the lightning up there is enough to spark electricity off rocks. The thunder is deafening.
We were at Ndunyu Njeru by around 6:30 a.m., in time for the sunrise and fresh ndubia in that extremely cold town. The air there is different. Everyone has some milk to sell. It is around this time that everyone, young and old alike, are headed to the dairy factory. They will later gather in their local bars to discuss their day, politics, sports, and all that. All this time, being kept warm by jikos strategically placed across the rooms. It is different, and it is beautiful.
Rurimueria is under the Kenya Wildlife Service. Besides the entrance fee, one is required to pay for a guide. Given its beaten nature, a local guide is also provided. You will need someone who’s been brought up there, believe me. The mountain knows her children.
We had to drive for about 45 minutes from the KWS station at Ndunyu Njeru to where the hike officially starts. There are KWS camps just at the foot of the ranges. Convenient since they also help preserve the forest by preventing unnecessary entrance and subsequent harm to the park.
Altitude and Attitude
By 9 a.m. we were on the trek. There is a huge stream just at the beginning. To avoid altitude sickness, it’s recommended to drink some water off there. I hear this is true for any mountain. None of us got sick.
It helps to have the right team. They say you cannot choose your family but you can choose those you hike with 😛 (Hope by now you know I make up stuff, a lot 😀 ) Having guys who know what they want and are ready to make the day count will determine whether or not you make it to the summit… and back.
No kidding, some people get lost there and have to be rescued. It all depends on the team and execution.
Despite it being a hard one, it is important to have fun while at it. What then would the point be? We hike for so many reasons, and one of them is fun. Points back to the guys you choose to do it with.
No Pain, No Gain?
Anyways, there is too much on Rurimueria, and the Aberdare Ranges in general. The views get better as you go higher. We would get to a point and be like, “No friggin’ way! These have to be best views we’ve seen ever…” The guide would smile and dismiss us by saying we hadn’t seen anything yet. He was right. Make it all the way up, the views will last you a lifetime.
Somehow, the universe connects me with the best guys. We made it to the very top on record time. This was after a lot of fatigue, and encouragement.
I was sincerely very tired that at some point I could not feel my legs. The freezing water under the vegetation over some stretch did not make it any easier.
That was definitely the hardest hike I have ever done. It was also the one I enjoyed the most. It’s that constant reminder of just how strong I am, and the need to push hard till summiting whatever it is I am onto.
Go dare the Rurimueria trek in the Aberdares. It will prove to you that you are stronger than you think.
PS: Did the hike with Relcie Adventures (0725-587-965). Highly recommended for that and more trips!
Cheers to the summits!
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