Women Who Hike’s December adventure brought in the Kamweti Route on the southern slopes of Mount Kenya.
December 17th 2017 – This was the last hike of 2017. The trip started early morning that Sunday, and the drive to Nanyuki was at best about 2.5 hours. Many enthusiasts chit chatted through the journey, others slumbered across it. When we got our first glimpse of the majestic Mount Kenya, everyone was finally awake. The excitement grew as we approached Castle Forest Lodge – our starting point at 2,081m above sea level.
There were 38 of us. Some first time hikers who wanted to discover all the fuss about hiking, many seasoned hikers – some of whom have peaked Mount Kenya and Mount Kilimanjaro, some of whom have also reached base camp of Mount Everest, both groups who just wanted to be outdoors, and others who wanted to have fun and meet new people. We also had a group of hikers who joined us from Mombasa all in the name of hiking! Our youngest hiker that day was 12 year old Sahib Chana.
A good stretch before we started out on the old elephant pathways was necessary to loosen up those muscles that were cramped up o the bus for the journey here. Brief introductions were exchanged and Mother Nature loving tips were offered (Don’t miss out on the hiking excitement by constantly taking selfies!)
The group set off with a guide and a WWH representative leading the way. Other guides and Women Who Hike leaders were spread through the middle and the back of the group, to ensure that everyone was together. The surroundings were breathtaking. The muddy path (probably a nightmare if it rained) created an alley within thick and bushy forests. All around were tall trees and beautiful flora. The Kamweti Route was the most scenic route up Mount Kenya.
The path inclined steadily. We walked across a small bridge – a good spot for some fun photographs as this group discovered.
Our first destination was the Kamweti Waterfalls. A gem placed in the valleys of Mount Kenya. The Kamweti Route eventually reaches McKinders camp where it meets all the other routes for the final climb to summit Point Lenana. This would be a 4 to 7 days hike depending on the trek – lucky for some of us today, we were just doing a day trip and still taking in the amazing sights of this Mountain!
The Waterfalls made the climb down into the valley completely worth all the slipping and sliding that some of us went through. The path was steep, the grips were not easy to find, but helping hands were everywhere. Nobody was left behind. The encouragement offered was, as one hiker later said, “amazing and it felt so good to be part of such a team!” At the Waterfalls, the ones who dared to embrace the cold, allowed their feet to amalgamate with the extremely cool water at the bottom of the falls. Some preferred to view the falls from the top of the slope, but most enjoyed the spray that cooled them down. The Kamweti Waterfalls spelt out peace, abundance and the need to return the human mind to awaken to nature. A place like this, nestled in the depth of Mount Kenya, is a reminder of the beauty that still exists on the planet, and is a call to those who have forgotten the true nature of living.
What goes down in this case must go back up! The journey back up was quicker than going down. Some of us even found time to hug a tree on the way up! This route was a definite journey into Shinrin-Yoku – a Japanese term that means forest bathing or taking in the forest atmosphere – a place of internal healing. We reconnected to the Kamweti path and trudged along to the old forest station that is the first campsite for mountaineers attempting to summit Mount Kenya. The group relaxed and re-hydrated. Packets of crisps were opened, fruits were being bitten into and sandwiches were getting unwrapped. All 38 had made it! We were at 2,650m above sea level.
The journey was incredible; and this is what it’s all about. Taking in the flora and the fauna of your surroundings, breathing in fresh mountain air, admiring the scenery and unplugging from the matrix. As Women Who Hike, we are proud to offer opportunities to awaken your senses and feel the mountain move within yourselves.