“It’s not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.” Sir Edmund Hillary.
Nothing builds resilience like the outdoors. When times are hard and the desire to
quit begins to weigh you down, a battle between mind and body ensues. You stop
moving and plant your feet firmly on the ground, your forehead glistening with sweat.
You glance over your shoulder and realise that there is no turning back, you have is
to push through. You feel the pressure but keep going. As the end seems closer, the
adrenaline begins to rush through your veins, you take a deep breath, lift your head
and take just one more step forward.
On Saturday, 19 th September 2020, the RCL walkers met as early as 6:30am around
Mountain View Estate a foreboding of the ensuing hike to Mount Longonot. To beat
the dreaded Maai Mahiu traffic and avoid the punishing afternoon sun, a total of 32
Rotarians with family and friends dared to climb the mountain towering 2,776m at its
highest peak, Kilele Ngamia. It was a moderately difficult hike with a 3km steep climb
up its wrinkly slopes, then a 7.2km trail around the crater of the stratovolcano.
The hike started at the entry gates with a customary group selfie and a quick
celebration of past president Nash’s birthday. We set off in small groups at different
paces and before long, the Rotary spirit was evident. A helping hand was offered to
those who found it challenging to get through some steep sections with words of
encouragement and support echoed all through the pack. In a great show of
leadership our President Sarah Migwi could be heard calling out from further ahead,
“avoid the left track, stay to the right, it’s much better!”
At the top, we took a short break, regrouped taking a moment to savor the view from
the top. Some people opted to end the hike with this achievement, others decided to
test their willpower by circling the crater. The trail which had steep, dusty and
slippery sections proved quite challenging for some, going by their reactions at the
end of it.
Different Rotarians had different experiences. Captain Alex Esikhaty found himself in
the company of Ty, Maya and Jaden, our youngest hikers. As the adult, he assumed
that he would be the one to help them get through the hike. How wrong he was.
Much to his surprise, they quickly took off, sprinting and weaving through the track at
a pace which I struggled to keep up with. The kids showed us dust, as we consoled
ourselves. We slowly crawled through scree, a section of broken rock fragments that
lead to Kilele Peak. When we finally got there, we enjoyed a celebratory drink
together (water of course), soaking in the magnificent view and the sweet taste of
Rtn. Jannet Gachoya had never hiked before, but thanks to the regular RCL walks
and bike rides, her body managed the hike. She reckoned that the trek up was much
harder than the one down. She advised having shoes with good grip as a must-have
on a hike.
After about 4 hours, RCL walkers had conquered the mountain. Rtn Joshua Muthii
appeared to be the saving grace by offering befitting stretch exercises to the teams.
Are you curious as to the genesis of the RCL Walkers? Here is where it all began.
Look out for the next adventure, but carry plenty of water, good hiking shoes, and
don’t forget your Rotary spirit!