24 April 2013

Mount Kenya: The Descent

The Mt. Kenya Crew
Front row, left to right:  Harrison (porter), Peter (our guide), Steven (porter).
Middle row, left to right:  Charles (porter), David (porter), Craig.
Back row, left to right:  Me, George (assistant guide), David (cook), Dave, Samuel (porter)

After successfully reaching the summit of Lenana Peak this morning, we enjoy a celebratory cup of hot coffee and some breakfast while taking in the beautiful views from Shipton's Camp.  Yesterday when we arrived at camp we couldn't see much due to the clouds, and then this morning we couldn't see much because it was still dark.

We lounge around camp, taking naps, resting our feet, and repack our gear before leaving camp again at 12:30pm for what we think will be a slow, easy hike.
As we leave camp, it starts as a slow, gentle walk over a nice path through the valley.  The views are relatively unexceptional, but after reaching the summit early this morning, I'm just happy that the path is easy on my knees.

Around 2pm, we stop to eat our typical sack lunch on the side of the river.  The bread that was used to make our sandwiches on Day 1 of the trek was already dry, and by this point in the trek, it's barely edible.  We end up feeding most of our bread to the birds.  However, the grilled chicken in our lunches still tastes great, even though we're not quite sure how the chicken managed to make it this far on our trek without spoiling.

Once lunch is finished, we continue walking down the valley.

Back Down Via The Sirimon Route
Nice, but forgettable scenery
... And we continue walking some more....

... and more.

Camp seems to be much further away than we were led to believe.

We end up crossing over into another valley.

The trail goes through it and then to yet another valley.

I have very little in my notes about this part of the trail and very few photographs.  The landscapes are full of grasses and shrubs, and are relatively forgettable.

My quad muscles are sore and my feet hurt.  It's been a long, tiring day.

Old Moses Camp
Old Moses Camp
It's 5:30pm by the time Dave and I arrive at Old Moses Camp.  Craig arrives about 30 minutes later.

Once again, we are given the option of sleeping in the shelter or in our tents.  Craig and I opt for tents, but Dave goes for the shelter since he'll have the room for himself.  After the cold, miserable night in the last shelter, I just want to enjoy the relative comfort, privacy, and warmth of my tent.

At dinner, Dave and I each have a Tusker beer, and Craig has a Coke.  We made it!

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The following morning we gather up our gear for one final time.  After breakfast, I ask Peter to gather up the whole crew so we can say thanks to them.  Once everyone is there, I give a short "thank you" speech.  Dave and Craig each throw is a few additional words.  Then, I call out each crew member by name and hand them an envelope with a tip inside that the three of us had pooled together the previous evening.  Each guy shakes each of our hands while sporting huge smiles.  Peter thanks us for being a good group of hikers, and mentions that he is very impressed and thankful that we got to know each porter by name.
Crossing the Equator
Crossing the equator.

The walk to the park headquarters at the Sirimon Gate is an easy two-hour downhill stroll, primarily over a dusty road.  The only semi-"highlight" of the walk is a sign telling us that we are crossing the equator into the Northern Hemisphere.

At the park headquarters, the porters pile into one minibus and wave enthusiastically to us as they pull away.

As with most treks, I'm experiencing mixed emotions.  On one hand, I'm feeling celebratory after having successfully finished such an undertaking.  On the other hand, there's a feeling of sadness knowing that I'll (probably) never see the amazing scenery of this mountain again, nor will I see the awesome guys that made up our crew on the trek.

But for now, I don't have too much time to soak in the Mount Kenya experience.  From the park headquarters, we head back to Nairobi, and then early the next morning to Arusha to begin our Mount Kilimanjaro trek.

[Thanks to Canadian Himalayan Expeditions for organizing this Mount Kenya trek for us.]

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You can view all my photos from Mount Kenya by clicking here.

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If you liked this entry, you may also be interested in:
   Global Goebel Travels: Mount Kenya - Day 4: Lenana Peak, Reaching The Summit
   Global Goebel Travels: Mount Kenya - Day 3, Burguret Route
   Global Goebel Travels: Mount Kenya - Day 2, Burguret Route
   Global Goebel Travels: Mount Kenya - Day 1, Burguret Route
   Global Goebel Travels: Conquering Kilimanjaro

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Have you ever been to Mount Kenya?  How did your experience compare to mine?

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