kylie's mom has arrived safely in kapsowar and spent her first day here enjoying our backyard and meeting people in the hospital. on her second day here we decided it would be nice to do a little hike. ?(un)fortunately the stars aligned for us to climb kip kener, the highest mountain peak in our immediate vicinity.
our friends abraham and timothy agreed to guide us and assured me that we could get up in 2 hours and back in 4. a nice climb like this should challenge cherri and kylie but not exhaust them eh? after all cherri is a fast walker and keeps pretty fit. (reenforced lesson: don't believe kenyans when they talk about time)
we started our day early with front door matatu service. the matatu drove us to a nearby town on the other side of the mountain. abraham and i had made the arrangements and we had a nice multiethnic climbing group comprised of kenyans, sudanese, ethnic chinese (hong kong and singapore) and a sprinkling of canadians. the plan was to ascend the peak, eat lunch and then complete a nice 4 hour jaunt through the jungle back to kapsowar.
the first part of the hike was gorgeous... we climbed through tropical rainforest, complete with vines and monkeys. spirits were high and the pace was quick (except when cherri stopped to take her pictures - which apparently require a good 2 minutes to frame correctly). we took one wrong turn that resulted in a half hour detour but we remained resolute.
as the elevation grew (kip kener is well over 10,000 feet) the landscape changed dramatically. we entered a large section of bamboo forest, and then a grove of old thick gnarled trees that looked like they came right out of grimm's fairy tales.
at this point kylie and cherri were getting a bit grumpy and cherri tried to give up but i wouldnt let her... the group needed to stay together and they needed to do this at the top of kip kener.
finally, after much mud slogging and slipping we reached the peak and a beautiful rocky outcropping where we ate our lunch. the view was incredible, with a 400m drop literally at our feet.
rested and refueled we began our return journey, however it was soon apparent that the hike out would take much longer than the predicted 4 hours. energy levels were waning and we had to push through brush on overgrown and extremely muddy trails. half way home we enjoyed a brief respite in a beautiful communal pasture, but this was followed by over an hour of steady uphill on the way back to kapsowar.
just after the peak of our hikeout, when we were getting close to home and tempers (ie. kylie and cherri's) were reaching the breaking point it began to rain... and not just sprinkle either. it was the hardest afternoon rain we have witnessed in our time here. the path we were following quickly morphed into a rushing creek and kylie's mood progressed still further in a negative direction.
after walking in the pelting rain and mud for about 20 minutes we reached the sanctuary of a local church. here we waited out the worst of the rain, rested and put on the driest clothes we had left. once the rain had slowed we made a break for it and finished our hike in the dark. our 6 hour jaunt had turned into a 10 and a half hour slog and we were SOAKED! i quite enjoyed the whole thing (except for the evil eyes boring into my back) and kylie and cherri at least enjoyed the first half.
as the planner and ultimate executor of this excursion i take full responsibility for all the misery and dampness and any clothing that was ruined. sorry cherri. however, neil and dawn, i want you to let me know as soon as cherri starts bragging about this experience.