Posted in travel

And the Hills echoed

In a world that’s cushioned and protective, this is the way to experience something raw and unfiltered. In a society that pressures you into external busyness, this is the way to disconnect and hear your inner voice. In a life that tends to make you comfortably numb, this is the way to feel alive- Eva Zu Beck.

Activity: Hiking Kijabe+William hills

When: 13th March 2021

Service: Let’s Drift

Charges: Ksh 1,000

Duration: 30km

Distance: 5 hours, 30 minutes.

Challenge: Moderate- Difficulty

I’ve been thinking, I’ve been thinking. Why can’t I write this post after 18 days? How I wish to be drunk in love for the perfect excuse as blindness blurs everything. My creativity literary dwindled. It feels like the wind blew it across the Suez Canal and stuck there blocking a thousand ideas.

The hills echoed this time. Double double portion was my forte as Kimende near Bathi River Lodge began the trail after hot steaming tea at Riziki hotel gave us an ‘Aaah’ effect.

The chilling wind that slapped our faces at an elevation of 2,396m immediately vanished as cactus, acacia vegetation, Leleshwa leaves, gum trees, shrubs took a toil on the leeward side of Kijabe hill, commonly referred to as the Gold Mountain derived from the Maasai name, Donyo Kejabe. Kijabe hill lying adjacent to the Kikuyu escarpment has two sides:

  • Eastern which is the windward side famous for the dark tunnel that hikers regularly pay homage to and offers fertile land for agriculture.
  • Leeward is characterized by grassland suitable for grazing area for the community.

We used the later where descending was the norm to connect us to William Hill which could be spotted from a far together with Maggie. After 90 minutes we found ourselves behind the smallest church, Italian Catholic Church along Mai-Mahiu highway. This was the starting point to William Hill.

The route from here was familiar having done Mt. Margaret and many will agree with me, we should explore for an alternative. I loathe it. The lorries that compete for sand frequent the road leaving clouds of dust while the ground is a ‘quagmire’ of eroded soil. Free make up is offered as the pathway leaves you looking like one who partook a failed tutorial.

William Hill standing at an elevation of 2,300m ASL lies South West of the Kikuyu escarpment along the Kijabe Upland Forest. The long walk along the floor of the Rift Valley welcomes one to the only ‘kibandaski’ (small hotel) cum shop where lunch while sitting on a stream gives a vibrant aura before embarking on the most treacherous hike that made me question why William isn’t a mountain?

The heavy ascend gives a bird’s eye view of Mt. Longonot, Mt. Suswa, Mt. Margaret and the Kikuyu escarpment. The vegetation doesn’t change much from the leeward side of Kijabe but scattered Maasai homesteads give birth to life. At the foot of the hill is Osotua camp and cottages hidden by the bushes while rocks resume the terrain to an all fours affair.

Pricking is common calling for long sleeved attire whereas a hiking pole demands for balance. Thirst quickly deduces water as the scorchy sun audaciously invites sunburns. The Hill is one of the toughest climbs in the Great Rift Valley but the top offers a victorious achievement. One where wind blows across all horizons cooling sweaty, panting bodies.

Our descend followed another trail to Limuru via Ndeiya- Ndiuini-Kwa Mbira where fertile land, densely populated homesteads were the norm. My 3L of water was finished by then so was everyone’s else water bladders, a first. How much would a hill need? The hike came to a fin with a cup of sour porridge at a famous joint in Limuru town.

What did I bring from the hills you ask? Two porcupine quills. I should probably be starting my writing with DJ Khaled famous quote “another one.”