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Elephant Hill Hike #MtKenyaChallenge2017

The #MtKenyaChallenge2017 started to take shape after Nathan and Kenton Hills, people start evaluating whether climbing Mt Kenya is something they want to pursue or let go, Elephant hill was what was going to tell you if your body was ready for a thrashing. I confirm the second time, after all I promised myself to take up on all challenges and take up all opportunities that pass my way this year. It is better to look back and say you tried something and it didn’t work out than think how you were too scared to even try, comfort zone is an ass…

#KenyaChallenge2017

Elephant Hill
Photo credits: @mackel9

The Mountain Gear Checklist is provided to all of us who were interested, and boy oh boy when I went to Nairobi Sportshouse it was costing a small fortune, my friend and colleague, Chris would joke I did not need to break a bank, I needed two banks to get all the gear! I created wishlists which I would cross out whenever I got cash. The beauty of Xtrym is they informed us where to get gear at affordable rates. For the frugal like me we were given Gikomba and Toi market options. We had a Gikomba date and I hopped in on the first call, last minute purchases have left me high and dry before and I would rather have enough time to weigh my options, I know you are seeing the planner in me STOP. In Gikomba we spent half day there and got much of our gear at 1/8 of the price, it was unbelievable. I got most of my gear and whatever remained was a few items that I could get from Chris of Tembo wear or Toi. Before I forget, if you do not know what to look for, Chris is your guy, he has everything you need under one roof.

Elephant hill stands at 3600m above sea level and this was what would tell you if you were ready or not for the #MtKenyaChallenge2017. Here is where you would get to dance with altitude sickness, the stories we were told were just scary. So we needed to have atleast our shoes and rainproof gear ready for this one.

The meeting time was 5.30am so I assumed we would leave at 6.00am in the morning as always, as my boss always says assumption makes an ass of you and me haha. I assumed bad. I had stayed up until 2 am which was not an excuse so when I leave the house at that 5.30 I get a call 15 minutes later from Duncan asking me where I am, I tell him Muthaiga he says I should have been there at 5.30am, utawachwa Kel tu. I laugh a nervous laugh because I have been stranded several times but on different and unrelated occasions. Anyway I make it 5 minutes to six on the nick of time just as the bus was about to leave. I board and find my seat next to Brian the Magician (I will explain this on a later post). As we talk he realizes I got late because I cannot leave the house without breakfast, he remembers he had packed his and shares his juice, free food fam fee food we don’t say no to free food, the coffee in my stomach has not settled and I add on that juice on top…

I fall asleep on our way to elephant hill, so to this day I cannot for the life of me tell you what direction it was. We arrive at the foot of the hill at around 8am, we had been given a target to make sure we summit the hill by 2pm. I have been praying hard for no rain for inasmuch I have the gear I do not find the idea of walking around drenched in mud very enticing.

The hill looks like an elephant and we are told that it is located on the migratory path for elephants and other wild animals and they had passed through about a week before we got there. We start at the rainforest which is pretty easy to walk through, next we go to bamboo where the steep climb begins. Geography classes come alive as we go alive as we cover more distance going up. We had been told that if we could not be able to make it to the point of despair by noon we would have to come back. The thought alone of not being able to finish was painful so I huffed and puffed panting like an overloaded donkey on that hill. The Flora changes beautifully the higher you go, I am in total awe and every so often I would stop look around and take it all in. It felt like therapy.

#MtKenyaChallenge2017

At approx 3300m asl at Elephant Hill. Beautiful panorama ey?
Photo credits: mackel9

Altitude sickness starts to hit at around 3300m asl Ivy gets affected and Dedan help out with her bags, we struggle slowly and finally we make to the summit of elephant hill, 3600m asl. It is 1.30pm and we take many pictures smiling which make Duncan mad, he feels we have cheated, the gods of favorable weather seem to be on our side and he wonders how, he wants a repeat, repeat HA! Never ever! Ask Floyd Mayweather if he would accept a repeat with Manny Pacquiao after he beat him… Not going to happen.

We have our lunch snacks and begin our descend, the toes bear the brunt of steep hill, they keep bumping the front of the shoe you just want to sit remove the shoes and throw them  away. I mean there were high school girls who we meet going up barefoot!!! Others were wearing bata ngomas. How do they manage that with those?!!! I have nothing but much respect for them.

When we get to the edge of the bamboo Ivy realizes she has dropped her phone. We stop and James our guide asks if we can go and start looking for it. I am beat but if she says yes we are going. She thinks for a moment and thinks through the hustle and decides it is too much work it can stay. Miriam offers her a phone until she gets hers as long as we don’t have to go back up. That is how gruesome the climb was. Luckily we meet Tsuma who works at KWS and he assures us that we would get it, since the hill is well secured.  With that assurance we continue our way down. Many a times Olive and I would wonder if we were on the right path because we never seemed to be getting back to the bus. After many many minutes maybe hours we got to the bus. Someone called Tsuma and told us that the schoolgirls we had met going up barefoot had found Ivy’s phone, what better news than that?

Elephant hill was real. Tick tock :-))))

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We begin our journey back to Nairobi, I sleep most of the way, I hope I was not farting in my sleep, we had been told burping and farting help you alleviate altitude sickness, so you should not hold it in. We get to Nairobi some minutes to Seven, it was a good day. Third preparatory hike, check, the #MtKenyaChallenge2017 continued…

 

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Nathan and Kenton Hills Hike #MtKenyaChallenge2017

After Kiima Kiu I realized my fitness levels were pathetic and Karura forest became my friend every Saturday and Sunday, this was not going to be an option if I was to complete the #mtkenyachallenge2017. I would try to hit a minimum of 8km either cycling or running. Let me tell you every week I would shed a kilo or more, I was dropping weight like it was hot… haha.

The second preparatory hike would be the Kenton and Nathan hills, these are named after the early settlers in the Kijabe area. We are picked up early in the morning, Duncan the CEO of Xtrym has become synonymous with “The bus leaves with or without you” so I do not try my owlish habits the night before hikes…

#mtkenyachallenge2017

Nathan Hills Photo credits: Ruskin Onyambu

We pick up other hikers along the way and head on our way to Kenton. We get a small break at the escarpments and get to take pictures with all smiley faces ‘the calm before the storm moments’. Our trip starts just before you get to Maai mahiu and boy oh boy is that hill steep.

I am wearing leather boots because in my head I am thinking they should be able to do the job, that’s what boots are for right? Wrong! Anyway I will tell you about them later. Our initial climb is gradual, since I know how crappy my fitness level is I am at peace sweeping guys from the back. The hill after the SGR gets very steep and thorny and just as you think you are about to get to the top you encounter another steep climb! The #MtKenyaChallenge2017 is not for the faint hearted, clearly!

SGR Railwayline, Kijabe. Photo credits: Ruskin Onyambu

This time I am already well acquainted with how Xtrym hikes go, and they do call for grit and resilience and in my head I have decided before I give up I would need to have fainted and totally immobile. I have fainted once when I skipped breakfast and lunch a long time ago and since that day I hardly play around with food, especially breakfast, let me get there late but I am not missing that, do not dare judge me!

We finally manage to get to the top of Nathan hill and we start to descend to start our ascend on Kenton hill, we meet a couple who have come to paraglide. The Wind seems strong enough to sustain a flight, we joke with them how they are crazy jumping off a cliff with that contraption, they retort how we are the crazy ones walking the whole day when you can fly and have all the view in 15 minutes *laughter*. We wish each other well and head on our way.

Going down the hill that is when I start bearing the brunt of my misplaced shoes. I curse myself for being so silly but then again, since choices have consequences I decide to carry my cross without bitching and whining about it. I don’t take “I told you so” very well…

We pass by Kijabe Mission Hospital and boy wouldn’t I love to work in such a serene environment, if I could make peace with needles I would become a doctor and find how I could get posted here. There are huge quarters with big windows on the balcony and living room which I presume must belong to guys working in the hospital.

Right after Kijabe town we begin a climb that takes us to our lunch point. When I have finished gobbling my snacks I pull my socks and fold them under my soles to get more padding. I can feel blisters forming and I don’t want them to start forming because at the end of the day I know I will get them.

The view is very scenic as we proceed the hike, we meet this old guy:

Him: Habari yenu?

Us: Mzuri sana!

Him: Mnaenda wapi?

Us: Tuko hike tunatembea

Him: Kutoka wapi?

Us: Kutoka huko Nathan hio barabara ya Narok sasa tunaenda huko ile pande ingine ya highway

Him: Na si mmechoka sana, mmekula? Kujeni mpewe ngwaci mpate nguvu kidogo.

Us: Asante sana, labda ile wakati ingine kama hatuna haraka. Bakia salama

Him: Pia nyinyi muende salama na muje kutusalimia tena.

Further up we meet a group of five to eight year olds, who look excited to see us and greet every single one of us. People out of Nairobi are really friendly, you need to reset your Nairobiness when you go out there, people are more trusting and friendly, which I find very refreshing every single time I go on a hike. The last climb must have been on a 700 incline. I would take five steps then rest up, the residents would pass us and tell us how they are used to the hill by now, I think to myself how fit they must be. If I lived here and forgot something say like my wallet in the house which was down that hill, there would be no way I would go back for it, I would have to pass by Njoro’s shop and ask for a soft loan till I retrieve my wallet.

When we finish the climb my legs are screaming but then again the ego tells my mouth to shut up! The remaining part before we get to the bus is fairly level ground and I am thankful for that. We finish earlier than usual and I get home when there is still light. When I remove my shoes I swear never to wear the wrong shoe for a hike, I was a fool so that you can learn. Wear the appropriate shoes for the appropriate occasion… The #MountKenyaChallenge2017 continued…

 

 

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If I ever fall in love

Today I am going to tell you a random story, a story that I have never told anyone until now. Once upon a time there was this girl that I really liked, she was the ying to my yang we just fit like a ring to a ring finger. But then I was a wuss. I never really displayed my intentions I was scared.
I pretended I wanted just to be friends. That friendship, was the biggest thing that I valued in this world. Yup you guessed right. After a long period of battling with feelings for the potential future mother of my unborn children I grew a pair and asked her if she would be mine.
Well I never used those exact words I asked her if she had a boyfriend. To which she replied yes. She asked, “why?” to which I replied “nothing”. Thing is, I felt like I would be snatching away someones joy so me and my good self decided I wouldn’t, I felt like if I made a move I’d be a relationship breaker of some sorts.
We were still good friends and I repressed all these feelings until one day I decided you know what? What is the worst that could ever happen? What did I stand to lose? I told her I needed her to be my girlfriend, she told me she was still with him. But then she asked if she left him I’d love her forever? My heart was screaming yes, but my head was screaming “I’m not sure Kel, you know you have no experience in this shit whatsoever?”. So I told her I wouldn’t give promises. And she told me if she was to leave where she is, no matter how unrewarding it was there had to be some guarantees…
Just like that I lost her the second time. I don’t know if Prince Charles and Camilla can identify, can you? For about a week I was distraught, I didn’t know how to deal, cope with all this emotional ups and downs. My mom always makes fun of me during that period. Apparently she noticed and knew all that was going on haha.
Now that I am way older I usually look back and laugh. Like the alchemist told the boy, one is loved because one is loved, there is no reason needed for loving. But don’t go loving people’s spouses you will get shot my friend. Follow your heart to where it leads you.

 
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Posted by on February 8, 2017 in Just Random, Relationships, Stories

 

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When to realise that sports betting is not for you

It was a good evening when I was catching up with my boy Tony, everyone in the local was glued to the tv screens and kept on watching their phone screens. Tony tells me that everyone there had placed a bet that why they were all glued, he even tells me that he also at times places bets when he is confident about the matches that are going to take place.

I get recruited

I download the local bookmaker apps and get my first lesson on what odds are and what they mean. I place my first bet with 1000 bob 90 minutes later I have 2000 bob. How excited was I? Is this beginner’s luck or what? I am sold to this thing now. So like everyone the second time I stake more and guess what happened? Arsenal lost to Everton. I tell Kev about what happened and he tells me first rule of betting is to avoid betting with emotions, you guessed right I support Arsenal. So that got me my first loss.

Change of strategy

I decide after taking to few friends to now stop staking high amounts but put multibets. The multibets would come through at other times they would lose me money. The losses were more trust me. By the end of that month, I knew all the major leagues and teams, especially those ones that lost me money. This from someone who never used to like football was something.

Fixed matches

A long the way I came across the urban legend called fixed matches. Boy wasn’t I excited, so I find some guy who swears by his games and capitalised on my greed.
With the “sure odds” I put an even bolder stake. Since the games were late at night I go to sleep thinking how I would wake a rich man. When the alarm goes off at five the first  thing I do is check my bet slip. Lo and behold there was a red mark on my betslip. I just started laughing.

The turning point

I then realised that I had been gambling all through and not betting and that I had been blinded by the allure of quick gains. I then stopped and now when I see someone talking about betting, I want to tell them go slow, I have been there. It doesn’t matter if someone has been doing it for years, my one month experience supercedes most because it was intense. Look at it like a crash course in sports betting.
I should become a betting consultant, what do you think?
 
 

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Kiima Kiu Hike #MtKenyaChallenge2017

The seed is planted

We were coming from the short Christmas break (do you wonder how before you go for a break, time appears to be a lot and you plan to move mountains during that period only for the reality to show you how it is never enough?). So where was I? Yes, we were coming back to the big bad city when my cousin, Cece told me of this group of people who organise regular hikes and that they had planned to climb Mt. Kenya in April. That piqued my interest and I wanted to know more about them. After two days of letting it percolate in my brain, I go to their Facebook page and there they had several preparatory hikes lined up for the #MtKenyaChallenge2017 in Easter of 2017. They however had a disclaimer this is not for first time hikers, you should have seen the sneer on my face, “my forefathers went to South Africa and back to trade and you are telling me I can’t climb a small hill? I’m going to to show you what I am made of”.
#MtKenyaChallenge2017

No First timers ey?

Quit playing let’s do this!

The D-day came and we had to meet at 5.30, if you got late you would be left behind I’m thinking, who are these guys, if only they knew I am an owl rather than an early bird. True to their words we were on the road and by 8 we had started our 9 hour hike. I would look at the hills we were set to conquer and think, “this will be a breeze in the pack”. The first two hours are fun and games, we are making new friends, chatting animatedly, taking selfies and all that, it is fun…

#MtKenyaChallenge2017

This mole hill looks easy to climb or is it?

Oh boy, what did you get yourself into?

The second part of the bike was now the real shit, doing down depressions and climbing steep slopes. A pattern starting coming out, people would talk during the descend but during the ascend, everyone was mum and everyone for themselves, probably wondering “what did you get yourself into?”. At some point during the climb I just stopped midway arms akimbo and wondered how I’m heaven I would finish the remaining 4 hours. My fellow first timers were the people I would fall back on, they had the grit, the most amazing people I got to interact with, P was on a goal to lose weight and Y had decided to stop procrastinating on her plans this year and climbing Mt Kenya was a good way to start. There were other amazing people who I also got chat with, one gent had done Mt. Kenya and Kilimanjaro and he felt that he had “over-prepared”, well let me over-prepare so that I can tell first timers that as well haha.

I got out alive!

We had been asked to carry three litres of water which I had carried two and was given o one extra litre. By midway I had finished all my allocation, thirst is real my friends in the scorching sun and you need to obey yours…
#MtKenyaChallenge2017

Too much heat can I swim here?

Well long story short, I finished, we all finished the hike. When I saw a cold Fanta I threw caution to the wind, I mean the calories wouldn’t cut all my gain that day would they? And I tell you as it went down my parched throat it felt like heaven, I will remember that soda that day, it quenched a thirsty man.
#MtKenyaChallenge2017

I didn’t die! Woohoo!

We made a resolve to start working out every week and right now we are on track. The next hike by xtrym adventures and safaris will find us prepared. Mt. Kenya; I am ready for you.
P.S. It’s my birthday today and I don’t know how I should be feeling… All gifts to my M-Pesa are welcome 😉
 
 

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My Codeine Moment

For quite some time I have been having these crazy headaches for a while now. There are moments I would be walking and I get a feeling of sudden dizziness. I usually have to stop when that happens before I fall and the good Samaritans who might decide to loosen me up for fresh air get shocked at faded or lack of undergarments like momma always warned…

I made an appointment with the doctor and told him what was eating me up. He took blood samples against my protests, aren’t there non intrusive ways to get blood without needles, urine and so forth. He suspected it could be low blood sugar, but it seems everything was okay. He then asks me how was work and life in general; he thought I was having stress. I told him everything was okay just a bit of pressure but manageable, he then writes a two day sick off for me to rest and gave me some drugs, codeine was among them. He reminded to take care of myself as there are no spare parts.

When I get home and I begin my two day sick off. I popped the pills and I admit my headache fizzled and I would be feeling kind of like I was floating in the house. I would find my comedy collection insanely hilarious. In the middle of the night when I was asleep I started laughing out loudly! So loudly I was startled and had to sit up for ten minutes. I couldn’t remember why I was laughing so hard that my ribs hurt but it was the weirdest moment I ever had. I went and took out the instructions sheet, I find that it had opiate in the ingredients and could cause hallucinations, no wonder I was so jolly for those couple of days….

What has been your weirdest drug interaction moment?

 
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Posted by on November 19, 2016 in Bachelorhood, Just Random

 

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Grim reaper still has a noose!

It has been several years now, still more questions than answers when you think about grim reaper and his noose.
He was a good guy. The last person you’d think could ever be stressed. He also knew how to turn everything into something to smile and laugh about. Then one day, something snapped. He climbed to the top floor of a eight story building and jump he did.
When we all met, no one seemed to understand how such a jovial soul would do such a deed. The people who were always pessimistic with a dim view of the future, the ones we were always worried about never hurt themselves not even a little prick. Maybe they all needed our equal love and concern. But how could you tell under the mask of happiness on his face?
Grim reaper still has a noose 😔
****
He was 11 years old. His parents were having issues. He would wonder why this was happening to him. Why was his family the one to break? His father and mother never openly disagreed infront of him. They would attend family functions together and the outside world saw them as a happy family. But in the confines of the four walls of their house, they were all lonely inside. They felt like they were in small jail cells. These cells would be broken when they had guests and other family members visit, you could see the teary eyes when those visits came to an end. They would wish the stay could have been extend even for a day, because the house seemed to large empty and haunting. Everyone would be doing their own thing. Was he the cause of all this trouble? Once in a while he would catch his mother crying, when she thought he had gone out to play. He would go and lock himself in his bedroom and ask God why this was happening and if he would ever see a semblance of happiness in his family. One day she quarelled him and he felt this overwhelming feeling that he couldn’t take it anymore. He went and mixed a concotion of pestiscide and fruit juice and drank it all up. He then went to his bedroom and lied down to wait for his death to come. He reckoned death would bring eternal peace as they wrote in that obituary section of the papers. After thirty minutes he started feeling dizzy and a sharp pain coming from his stomach. He felt a huge need to vomit and quickly rushed to the toilet. He vomited a dark concotion with a mixture of blood. He felt all weak and wondered whether this was death coming. He started feeling regret and made a quick prayer to God, to save him this one time. His mother found him with vomit in his mouth and unflushed toilet full of a mixture of pestiscide and blood with a putrid smell. She quickly carried him to the car and called his father as she drove crazily to the hospital.
He had attained gastrointestinal burns due to the corrosive nature of the pesticide and had to be put on drip for quite a while. When his father came he went over to his mother and as they watched over him. They wondered silently, if they had caused all this? Where had they gone wrong as parents. Some questions had no answers really…
As they all thanked the Lord for his mercies, they well understood that the Grim reaper almost had a noose…
****
I couldn’t bring myself to narrate the third and fourth occasions Grim Reaper had a noose, as they are still fresh and baffling.  What makes people take their own lives. What are the signs and symptoms? Are there remedies?

 
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Posted by on October 14, 2016 in Grim reaper, Stories

 

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