Activity: Conquering Table Mountain, Aberdare Ranges
When: 10th July 2021
Service: Alpine Troupe
Charges: Ksh 2,322
Total Distance: 10km
Duration: 6 hours
Altitude: 3,820m ASL
Ps: Before you ask why you see my usual hiking boots after a tear just know I took my shoes to a cobbler who understood the assignment.
The last time I made contact with the Aberdares was in March 2020 and it felt so good to be back to pick up from where I left in ticking off mountains.
The long anticipated journey was worth every fog, cold and showers of blessings. The cold at Nairobi got nothing on us. Ka Metha as named by locals, is accessible from Kwa Matu, Wanjohi in Nyandarua County. 4 hours journey from Nairobi via Ndunyu Njeru.
The starting point was not everyone’s cup of tea as a steep muddy path took over before crossing a river that welcomed us to the forest reserve via a fence. Here the path narrowed down to stinging nettles, beautiful flowers, old trees that had algae and mushrooms holding onto for dear life. July been July, the heavens opened and we grew an inch taller.
A flowing stream calmed the jungle as its waters provided a peaceful ambience. Crossing its slippery rocks opened up to another beautiful world. Dense forest covered in fog outdid itself as Hagenia abbyssinica trees did the talking. Their leaves decorated the ground in a brown and yellow ensemble you must have thought red riding hood was in the vicinity dropping leaves in her tiny basket to usher us in. Different array of giant heather trees, Lobelia telekii to Lobelia giberroa mused wannabe environmentalists like me.
Topography shifted to rocks that took me back to Mt. Satima and Mt.Kenya Narumoru route. The jagged cliffs gave a resting base as we wowed at their sculptures that for some reason did not tell a story. Life boomed in this terrain as Gladiolus watsonioides flowers blossomed out of the boulders.
Then came the furor. Bog. My most hated part of the Aberdares. The swampy wetlands welcomed us to the badlands where even altitude started playing hide and seek. Moorland. This is where hiking poles, gloves and balaclava came in handy. In a blink of an eye, a running nose started doing the honors. The tussock grass held our balance as we tried to avoid sinking in bog. That didn’t help either as flowing black bog water crossed our lanes. The memo wasn’t received. This stretch felt like a kilometer long. Our shoes were literally given the black polish of a lifetime. Although Lobelia deckenii proved to be seen whether they decknii or kithny it was the summit at a distance that revived my moods. Girl, I saw a protea flower.
Little sunshine shimmered the tussock grass en route the summit that lit our route for the next 30 minutes. There’s this evil spell at the Aberdares that makes one’s body feel heavy when you almost to the finish point. You feel worn out and some give up some few meters away. Acclimatization is important but as you start your journey if not used to, taking deep breathes, hydrating and eating citrus fruits helps. That’s my hack.
Summits make you feel like a super hero and I felt like one 3 hours later; only that superpowers were not granted. As usual at exactly 2:00pm while at the summit, the downpour revived itself. It’s a habit of the Aberdares. Descending was a walk in the park.