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Kenya Day 6- Hiking Mount Kenya

June 29, 2012

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Our activities are largely school-based, or rely on the assistance of local community members to serve as translators for surveys who are available on weekdays.  Why do I mention this?  Because this means that Saturdays and Sundays have inherent down time, and leaves us looking for other things to do.  In the adventurous spirit, we decided to spend Saturday hiking Mount Kenya.

Saturday morning we woke up early, packed our lunches, and most of the group jumped into a Land Rover, and the remaining few squished themselves in the back row of a pickup truck.   The morning was colder than usual, and wrapped in a thick fog.  We passed through various small towns speckled with little shops, salons, butcheries, and schools, and came to a stop at one of them.  A couple of local guys, one wearing a sports blazer with sweatpants and the other in a winter coat and slacks, hopped into the back of the truck and with that we were directed off the main road and onto a small dirt road.  Our two guests were our mountain guides, and would take us through bamboo forests populated by elephants, and up mud-slicked roads that would turn rocky and steep.  To increase the excitement level, the trucks got stuck more than once and required everyone (faculty included!) to get out and push. It is expected by convention that the men in our group would be the first to get out and push, but would like to give praise to Preeti Iyer and Laura Lungu for joining the guys.  If they weren’t tough already, they are now.  Dirt was flying everywhere – onto clothes, hands, and faces. Nothing like getting a truck out of ditch to bring your group closer together and have that memorable bonding experience that holds more value than any souvenir found in a curio shop.

We never saw the peak of Mount Kenya.  In fact, I don’t think we saw even the base of Mount Kenya, and the sun never broke through the fog.  But that didn’t matter.  We had a great time walking along a relatively flat dirt road taking pictures of mountain flowers along the way.  After a couple of hours it began to lightly rain on us, and our guides led us to a small cave where we had a picnic lunch of sandwiches, trail mix, and chocolate bars.  The temperature had fallen at that point, and we decided to turn back to the vehicles and warm lodging.  We concluded the day by watching Toy Story 3 supplemented with snacks and candy and all agreed that this was a day well spent after a very long week.

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