Me I love Kenya. That’s a popular quote among Kenyans. We have our version of english referred to as kenyanese. Even our president has a word that’s in the grey area between good and corrupted english. Irregardless was the word he used once that elicited debate among Kenyans trying to ascertain if that’s a proper english word or not. Grammarly calls it a non-standard word so I will let you folks decide who’s correct, Grammarly or our dear President.
My me I love Kenya passion was aroused last weekend again. I joined a group of lively folks with itchy feet for a hike in Kijabe. The area is a hiker’s paradise. One is spoilt for choice on where to start climbing. Mt Longonot, Suswa, and kijabe hills including Kenton hills. We even saw one named Kijabe reloaded. The sight of it confirmed you need to have reloaded stamina to climb that one. It looked like a cross between hiking and rock climbing.
We set off early Saturday morning from Nairobi and drove onto the Naivasha Nakuru highway turning off onto the Mai Mahiu road. I can’t overstate the importance of good infrastructure in opening up a country. The road was smooth and the ride pleasurable. We picked our guide, Peter, along the way, and proceeded to the location where the bus was to drop us. It was just a random stop by the roadside.
It was a bright and sunny morning. We got off the bus, fastened our bag packs, camera in hand for me, and started the trek. The first hill stared down at us intimidatingly. It appeared steep and we somehow knew we have to reach deep within for the energy to conquer it.
I learned a couple of lessons from that hike (we climbed two hills just so you all know he he). About an hour into the hike, I still had not broken a sweat. I was concentrating on just putting one foot ahead of the other. That means for most of the time I was looking down as we were climbing up. The last thing you want to do is trip and get an injury. I’d pose to look up and get a feeling of self-doubt. Will I make it up there? I wondered. The hill appeared to grow in size as I ascended. Many times, in life we just need to focus on the next immediate step ahead of us and we will find ourselves at the top of our hill almost by surprise. What next step should you focus on in your life’s climb?
After a few hours of hiking, it was evident that the climb was getting the better of us. The bag packs got heavier. It felt like we were picking stones along the way. We would all go at our own pace but we tried to remain together. Peter our guide would stop frequently and wait for all of us to catch up before proceeding. We made friends easily as we had a common goal that brought us here, to summit these hills. I ran out of water and my fellow hiker; Sally was gracious enough to give me some of hers. I in turn helped carry her bag for some distance to enable her to keep climbing.
The – sharing is caring – vibe was evident in the group and I believe that motivated us to keep going. We would cheer each other on, lend a hand up a rock and share some peanuts along the way courtesy of Sarah, our homemade peanut supplier he he. So just like in this hike may we do the hike of life with positive people who are eager to lend a hand. And remember it takes a friend to make a friend.
Many times, in life we are so fixated on tackling what’s on our plate. We often forget to stop, take stock and celebrate the ground we’ve covered so far. I’m a strong believer in celebrating small wins. We stopped a couple of times to look back and the view was breathtaking. The higher we ascended the more spectacular the view was. It was a proper birds-eye view. At 2600 meters above sea level when we reached the top of Kenton hill. I felt like I could peep into the crater of Mt Longonot. That view had a Red bull effect on me. I got energized to climb the next hill, kijabe kinare. We descended Kenton quietly as we recharged for the next one.
We began climbing our next hill and it immediately felt steeper and harder. The undergrowth was thicker and full of thorny bushes. That reduced our pace significantly. Despite the hurdles, I had a quiet confidence that we’d conquer this one too. After an hour or two, Peter pointed to a lone tree on top of a hill ahead of us. He said that’s where our hike will end. The tree seemed so far maybe because of our aching muscles but we had a finish line in sight. The closer the tree got the more energetic I became.
In golf, we say it’s not how you start that’s important but how you finish. And that’s how life is. We all start from different places (that we often do not choose) but we are remembered for what we did and how we finished. When we keep our eye on the finish line then chances of success increase significantly. That tree was like our pin location on google maps and we all did arrive at our destination. It was an ecstatic feeling.