No Plan B: Scariest Moment in My life

One of the main reasons I would turn down a date is I did not have a plan B. I don’t think I have ever eaten in a restaurant expecting someone else to pay without a plan B in my socks. I have never left the house to a meeting with no plan B in incase it backfires. During my undergrad, I never came to class without thoughts that it might not work and have a… I have never been in a relationship without a plan B. I have never eaten out without a food poisoning after-plan. I have never made a decision without a plan B. If this doesn’t work, I will go with the other – Plan B definition.

Then Saturday happened. I wanted to pee in my pants. I wanted to cry. Letting go was not an option. I was devastated. It wasn’t a dilemma. I had only one choice which was fucking scary. I held on to the rocks with my feet pressing to the ground. Let me explain.

From the photo, you can already tell that I am not a fitness fanatic. Having walked a couple of times for over 3km coming from the lab and back home, I was already getting used to walking for long distances so I had secured a pair of comfortable shoes to make my days bearable. The corona weight was slowly fading away and I was feeling more energetic.

Hike and Treks Must haves | Sarah Nyanchera Nyakeri

My birthdays usually pass without notice except for two. When I was turning 23, I was disappointed that I wasn’t a mum yet as I had planned my life. I was not even dating at the time. Transitioning to not even wanting kids three years later would tell you that experiences build people’s attitudes. The other day I was scared to turn 26 and not make a change or difference in my life.

The friend

That pressure of, “what can you say you have achieved so far” was building inside me. I was getting anxious making me want to list the wins that I have done so far. In one of those blogs, I made a conscious decision to try something new: Hiking. Hikers Afrique had some trek coming but I was broke, Still broke. I also wanted to go with my best friend too but things were not going as planned. My plan B was… I don’t know what but trust me I had a plan B.

The first few steps were kinda sloppy and I was like, they said it’s a trek so we are going to do this. I was mentally ready to beat 17km. He said it’s easy to moderate? And not a hike, a trek/ and even reminded us that most of it will be on a flat area, right? We are going to do this. Shoka! He fucking lied.

The dust! Wueeh That guy was not nice 😂 Good thing it was a very tiny stretch.

Few meters in, we were walking up a steep place and I couldn’t see the end with my cap on but I didn’t stop. Few steps in, I couldn’t breathe so I removed my mask. My heart was racing. I was breathing out like a dog in a desert. I cursed the days I overworked and sat in one place for 36 hours straight, no sleep. I used to be very flexible and fit. What happened to me? Then the road was flat through the greeny bushes. We stood somewhere and the guide told us to stop and take a photo while talking about how we were between counties and all that – I noted that Kiambu County had a lot of planted trees and vegetation while the Kajiado side had nothing manmade or greeny. Sad.

I am not a photo person so it wasn’t as fun or whatever but I stood there to have a photo behind the beautiful landscape. I wanted to be the photographer. I miss having a camera. All this time, we hadn’t noticed a small tiny path we were supposed to use to go down with. Someone had even joked that we would some hilly place that seemed to so far and come back and some laughed. I realized hours later that it wasn’t a joke.

That drop, walking on slippery pebbles, loose soil and holding onto dear plantation to catch the slippery moments. At the time, I wasn’t as scared though every turn seemed as if we were never going to be done with the drop. I just didn’t want to slide down and hurt my ass. Naah, it wasn’t embarrassing. I am not scared of shame. I had just bought that pair of trouser the previous day – not a pants girl. It was light and bright. Who is going to wash all that? Those hard stems and sliding down to avoid a hard fall was my plan B.

Shallow valleys, lots of rocks, lots of flat terrains ahead, I was up for it. As much as some were having chats and all, I loved not having one. The few conversations that made me LOL were good but I loved walking alone or in silence. It’s the most refreshing thing I have done apart from long warm showers. It’s like doing a repetitive thing and letting yourself not think so much of what you doing. It’s like knitting or crocheting. Repetitive. This is why I don’t gym, The repetition doesn’t last as long, You don’t easily get lost in it, there is always something else you have to do that needs your brain.

My friend took her breakfast and I was close for the ‘finish up’. It wasn’t the guides warning of not littering that made me hold that used yoghurt container for a long time but my values. I was the carefree person who didn’t care where I litter as long as someone else had littered before me. The same friend was always on my neck to wait until we got to a bin to throw it away. Later on, she had the thought of decorating the numerous trees that had thorns only to see it behind us. I thought to myself, the kids of the families that live around will pick and use it to play Kalongo.

We get to this really nice flat area and I missed football. Some part of it looked like a swamp due to the difference in vegetation. It was beautiful. At the end were walls of rocks. I wondered to myself where our way out was but let my mind wander for a while. The guide would leave us in suspense. While taking our lunch, I kept checking around for walked paths and none were around to give me clues. He kept saying there were caves but where was the way? We were co close and yet we couldn’t quite figure. My plan B was, if I was not able to climb whatever was there, I would use an alternative route or go back until I asked “How long we had gone for and how much more Km to cover”. It would be easy for me to get lost but I would have done it. No way to trace my way back too.

Then came the moment. It was steep. You needed to stretch your legs so far to get the next stair or rather rock space that you could place your foot. The path was wide so no plan B. It was rockyyyyyy. My friend was in front of me and I was like, If the sceptical human can do it, I can. I even said it out loud. I got to a place where the step I needed to put my foot was at my chest-level. It was that far. I was to hold on rocks – which were further away- to pull my 78kgs up. That’s the point where I was like, I am going back only to realize how far I had gone. Looking back, there was no way any human would climb down safely. Everybody was looking at me waiting for a chance to climb too.

If I missed a step, I was not only going to probably die, I would also hurt the rest of the guys who were behind me. Everybody was loosely held somewhere. There was no amount of strength that would stop the stumble. I would kill them. They could see my worry and were like, no pressure. Do it at your pace. You can do it. Take a breather. Butterflies. My hands were shaking. Instead of praying, I cursed. I cursed several times. I closed my eyes and wanted to disappear. Above me, you could see two people talking about how I can do it. One tried to hold my hand up, and I thought…dude I am heavy. You are not holding onto anything good. If I pull you down, you will be the most hurt.

If I was alone, I could have not been as worried. For the first time in a long time, I wanted to live. There was that slight thing going on. Truth is, if I was alone, that could be a good excuse to let go. I didn’t know these people and I never wanted to hurt them. There was no plan B. I stopped for a while. No one was shouting to my ears except my friend’s voice instructing me on which hand to go where and what part of my body to go where. At that moment I knew, all my life, I have never done something without a plan B. That fear I just recognized when in the middle of it, I had no time to counsel myself and decide to face it. I feared disappointments in my life such that I always had a Plan B and even C sometimes. I didn’t know until that time. That’s the time I whispered a prayer. Its cliché. Very cliché but that’s what I did and was like, I am going to do what I can and let rest for Him to handle.

I can’t remember breathing in and out so loudly. I want to remember but… That’s how intense the moment was. When I was finally in the first cave, I sat on an uncomfortable rock for about 30 minutes and not engaging in conversations. I was scared even though I had made it. I watched people do scary stands to take a photo. I saw a pregnant Russian lady going far and beyond to enjoy herself. You wouldn’t for a moment think that she was… did I just stereotype her? Did I just assume she was pregnant? – I just assumed like everyone else who sees my front.

I did something that I slightly regret. I didn’t go to the next cave because guys who didn’t seem scared from the climbing saw the drop and weren’t boarding. I didn’t even see how the drop looked like. I just sat there and listened to chats as that scary moment replayed. The carefree Sarah was dead. By the end of the long walk, which I really loved, except that one scary moment, I wanted to walk more. That thing where guys say they miss gyming and some addicted to it, finally made sense. I was like, when is the next one? 3rd and 10th April will definitely be another adventure I am looking forward to.

Now that I think of the whole experience, I feel that that was the best terrain since there were a lot more flat terrain and short valleys that really helped avoid fatigue in one end of the leg ligaments and muscles. 3 days later, the little numbness due to lack of inactivity is gone. There is a kapain in my upper left hip that I feel sometimes but it will be gone too. I want more no plan B. This other side of life is what I have been missing for the past 26 years. Today, that attitude made me script four and a half seasons of my upcoming podcast. It made my mood waaaaaaay better and I feel happy. I had the best conversation today about sexual harassment with a matatu driver and he took it too positively to even believe.

Photo Credit: Hikers Afrique

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