“Hold on to what is good, Even if it is a handful of Earth. Hold on to what you believe, even if it a tree that stands by itself. Hold on to what you must do, even if it is a long way from here. Hold on to your life, even if it is easier to let go.” Pueblo Prayer. Engraved on an incinerator on the shores of Lake Elementaita.
Activity: Climbing Sleeping Warrior, Ugali and Saucer hills
When: 11th January 2020
Service: The Alpine Troupe
Charges: Ksh 1,100 for transport. Extra Ksh 250
Time taken: 6hrs 15minutes
Distance: Approximately 20km
Altitude: 2,300m ASL
Even in this decade, Nairobians don’t want to keep time. The departure time was scheduled for 6:00am but 45minutes later we were still at the parking lot waiting. Two 22 seater travel buses had enthusiast hikers’ transverse Nakuru County on their way to kick off their mountaineering resolutions.
The crystal blue skies, the deforested forests on the highway, zebras, gazelles, monkeys and the majestic Mount Longonot that showed off its crater so magnificently made us forget our woes. A brief stop was made at the famous Delamere Center where we pleased our hungry stomachs.
At 9:40am we were at Lake Elementaita’s view point where we parted ways with Ksh 250 as entrance fee. 2 guides as well as 2 armed rangers familiarized themselves. 10am the hike began to conquer Sleeping Warrior, Ugali and Saucer hills. Sirville Lodge made a thirsty wander luster muse of camping. It is heavenly.
The trail runs along the shores of Lake Elementaita to the hot springs believed to have a healing effect on one’s skin. Flamingos were spotted from a distance while the warrior made some chicken out on his demeanor.
There are many myths to this hill and its shape but one that excites me most is that it mimics sleeping Delamere with his nose as the peak or summit. The sink or curve is his neck. However, locals associate the hill with a Masai Oloibon who died long time ago.
The journey here was welcomed with young Masai herders with their cattle, cactus and shrubs indicating the hot-dry climate, straight easy paths, small streams and scorchy sun to his base. Ooh I unearthed a warthog tooth. Don’t ask me where I took it. Topography dislodged on his ascend to a sharp spiral full of rocks that made one get balance from a trekking pole or bare hands.
At 12:40pm I had made it to the first summit where the views were breathtaking. The caldera had buffalos grazing from afar with another curve. Snack, selfies, water break.
Around 1pm, we descended off towards the Eastern side where the mound was. Ugali alias White Cake is a common staple food in Kenya; one that I loathe then in reality it hated me back.
This was tougher than I had anticipated. The descend from Warrior had steep rocks which made my bum do the talking.It then budged to rocky volcanic rocks inside the bush that hit our toes hard while they tore off shoes especially those who had rubber shoes.
The short walk welcomed us to the hot meal ready for devour. The long walk to calories freedom was steep, tiresome and some gave up here. No way were they getting to the Saucer alias Stew. They were ready to chock. I was chocking but I had to eat that stew. 2:20pm I made it to the second summit where Saucer mocked me.
Hydrated for five minutes contemplating. Go. I went. 2:25pm the Stew looked like it had to be taken in small bits. The cattle roaming here would have served a juicy stew. The path was refreshing, the wind reassured my hot body while catching up with the fastest team was a WIN. The landscape here resembled Warrior only that it seemed we were going round its depression. The grass slaps differently as it holds onto your clothes like sharp thorns that go about pricking you. This is the easier of the two with just a simple hill in it.Behold the beautiful Rift Valley landscapes that blurred my eyes as Manyatta houses welcomed us to the Maasai community. The good thing with hiking these hills is that your vehicles drive to the base of Ugali hill in the evening where it is the finishing point. I was glad. I had many calculations in mind walking back all the way to the view point entry gate. At 4:15pm girl had conquered her first major challenge of the year. 3 hills, 6hrs 15minutes, I felt like Kipchoge!Kikopey was our next stop for that heavy lunch.