I thought about “Flat terrain, my ass” as a title for this blog, 3 minutes into the Karinde trek. Actually, Someone said it but I didn’t look back or else I would have had more safari ants on me than the 3 that haunted me. Two not so far from the Safari ants/ dorylus palace . Last one in my thigh heading for my…
By the end of this, Apart from my honest feelings and conclusions about the previous trek, you know why I don’t publish everything I write. If you see a mistake, deal with it! Confused? Sikukutuma. You just fumbled into my spot, Not the other way round.
That’s the thing about blog feedback. An online and personal response from the last blog gave me a look forward to the Tigoni Trek, however, on the previous night of that trek, I decided to back out because I didn’t have the right reason to go for it – I am selfish enough to only do things for me. Hoping that everyone had forgotten about it and hopefully meet new people who knew nothing about it, I hopped into the Karinde one.
I was wrong. Before we were done with the first Km, people who had read it talked about it. One even said (I first wrote dais, Should I be concerned?) that someone came after she had read my blog. What stuck with me more is some people mentioning that they could relate to it. It reaffirmed why I decide to publish instead of letting my personal thoughts remain a draft as the other 10,013. The pressure made me think about a title for about 1/4 of the 20Km (Felt like 30) trek. The last titles were ” Why you should own your personality”, ” ” Being in your own element”, “Vulnerable” and ” The little Things they don’t tell you about treks” – Was about to add Hikes but I haven’t been to one, so the Upcoming Ngong one would be a good start. Just to be clear my title is empty, at the moment.
Writing this is difficult. This might end in a draft.
I am listening to The Vulnerable City Podcast. Let me assume someone asked me ” How are you, for real?”, and genuinely mean that and mentally ready to listen to what I have to say.
Just two nights ago, I was telling my friend that, ” I have a huge 1.5 years crash that I have never told anyone about. You know the way I have been saying that I don’t want to be married. I have always left the part of ‘unless it is *****’ “. It’s slowly killing me. I hate how it feels. I want it to go away. I want to be myself again. To me, myself meant running away from emotions and feelings. I mean who has a crush on someone they know they can’t have?
For the past nearly two weeks since I received my offer letter for my fellowship, I had this thing going on in the pit of my stomach. Fear. Butterflies. Do I have what it takes? Will I be able to do my best? Will my supervisor be as nice as she seems? Will I get a PhD position after this? Questions of Self-doubt were running through my mind. They are the worst.
I have been thinking of starting a podcast. I have actually started one and I just didn’t like the first two episodes which are now on Spotify: One a solo and another an interview where the net really fucked with me but managed to edit into something audible. The title? Niche? Content-Type? Blank! You know with nearly 10 years of a recording artist (singer), I still fear listening to my voice. Have you ever recorded yourself and then intentionally sat down to scrutinize it? Scary.
Well, those are the main things I would have talked about before the trek. Now? I feel fresh. My mind is clear. I met someone whom we related in so many ways that makes my eyes moisten. I mean, sometimes we feel so alone in our personalities that are deemed unacceptable in the society and try to be what we are not.
Anyway, back to the trek.
It all started with Paybill 897775, Account name Karinde Trek (insert whatever the trek will be) and then going to back to search of HikersAfrique in my contacts.
Hey, I just paid (“Me time, not We time”sounds like a good title) for the Next two treks. Do you think am ready for a hike? How crazy is the Kijabe Hike?
Well. Let me take you to Ngong first then progress from there.
I paid for the Ngong one. Do you have extra room in your We car-pool?
How many? 2?
No. Just me this time.
( Hikers Afrique just added you to Karinde Trek 10th April Whatsapp group) – Thank God its a temporal group.
(Karinde Thogoto Forest Trek 20Km Challenge
Trip Summary ……..
Terrain: Relatively flat surface thro’ forests, village trails, bushes, farms
Difficulty, Charges, Meeting Point, Meeting time, Departure time,
Trek Description…source of the river Kitwe that joins Mbagathi and eventually becomes nairobi river…too long
What to expect, Cost caters for, exclusive,
What to carry: fare, Comfortable walking shoes, drinking water, trail bites, Rain jacket, Spirit of adventure…) Let’s stop there.
This is where they lie: Putting spirit of adventure in the middle. Out of sight. That spirit of adventure should be in capital letters or be the first to be written before anything. I mean we are in Kenya. Who reads all that. Not even a Kenyan thing, Who reads Terms and Conditions? You should read it btw.
I looked for that Brief to complain about how he didn’t mention the longer upward climbing trails than the Nachu Caves one. Forget about me who was screaming inside of how unending that steep safari ants infested place though cautioned with the front guide. Forget about people who semi-loudly cursed at mud but silently thankful for the stones and roots that helped remove it without even stopping. You should pity one of us who came late (not a thing but things happen) and had to be waited by one of the guides. They had to run up that crazy place. Those voices of, “I should go back were just too loud” inside. Listening to that made me forget of the coals of heat placed on my calves (mazgwembe).
Yeah, flat terrain covered most of it but here are the other mentionables
- Short Hills and Valleys. Especially that valley where if you didn’t have the magic hiking boots which sole hooks. I just found out the cheapest goes for Ksh. 2000. Investment! Now I see why my first trek, I had to send a photo of the shoes I had. These guys just don’t take risks of having people without the minimal hiking equipment. Who wants Blisters? I had to sit on my ass at some point but some guy I don’t even know his name was like Bring your hand. If it wasn’t for that guy, I would have been looking worse than that photo. The climbing process was better this time and If It wasn’t for Nachu experience, I was would have been traumatized… Like, I would do those climbs again which was just after the cold water massage I had on my feet before the climb.
- The reward. After that crazy drop, you are met with water. clear water. Awesome. Passing across wasn’t as scary. I mean the worst that could happen is falling inside it which was pretty shallow – I think I need spare shoes just in case this happens.
- Bendover. There were bush/forest moments where to pass through it, You had to literally be squatting to move across. That’s where the cap is not only for the sun but the thorny roof. You know those thorns where if they caught your cloth, the best thing to do is to move back? And better still to have someone behind you untangle you?
- My favourite was the river source. It was cold on the surface but warmish inside. At least that’s what a white person said. Do you realise the Temperature feel of our native places is totally different or rather too relative? Half of the Fully clothed me was inside. That was the best feeling. I wished that stream was sitting near my fantasy house in the woods. People refilled, I drank straight outta the source. Lots of minerals going on there, I thought. In short, I added a lot of different microbiome (bacteria etc.) to my gut just to compete with future food poisoning. I wasn’t in fear of diarrhoea or worse because it was free from human habitation so low possibility of human infecting bacteria. I also had my activating charcoal in the bag – was having a rough morning
- Fresh air and the Wind that passed my ears. Fucking amazing wind. I love the wind. I am one of those guys who open mat windows which can be annoying. I also love the bike because of…You knew it. Passing through bushes, there is that smell of plants that is amazing. The smell of the wild. I noted something weird about the cow dung. All of them were dotted and learnt how insects play part in a natural clearing. I haven’t done so many deep breaths like yesterday. Am I alone or there is a group of humans who hate deep breaths in civilized places away from the green? Btw deep breaths work well when you are mad or feel frustrated.
I have done this (trekking) twice. I am no expert. I am not yet thoroughly exposed, However, I will tell about things people who do that often don’t talk about.
There was time I saw hiking tips of change of clothes and wearing two pairs of socks at a go and was like huh? I had cotton socks my first time. One pair. No blisters and all. This time around, I couldn’t find the other pair. I substituted with another and did the two socks experiment. That foot that didn’t have a cotton sock was not happy with me after 10km. As much as I ignored my slight discomfort by walking fast and putting my mind to wander in nature and in thoughts, It came back when someone struck a conversation or when I slowed down.
Shoes above your ankle. I am very particular about shoes. I do not wear shoes that make me feel uncomfortable in any possible way. I want to comfortably kick someone in my shoes. I want to run my shoes. I want to walk for long distances in days I lose my phone, fare and my smile to ask for help. I want to be always on my A-game. This is why I don’t own high heels and never will. Trekking is not about matching and looking good. This is a matter of Monday and Tuesday. Will you be able to operate fully without cursing your over the weekend Trek?
As much as Backpacks are important to carry what you don’t currently but will or might need, They can be a pain in the ass. If you are not wearing good long-sleeved or perfectly fitting bag handles or have a too-rough bag, this can make you have a blister in your inner arm. Do you feel me? You also need your long-sleeves to avoid scratches and stinging nettle (thafai: Good in food, Crying-level of on skin).
Resting and Your position in the Trek
In between the long treks, just to make sure no one is left behind, there are usually breaks in open spaces – the front guide will ask the one who loves the front position to chilax and not tell them which route we are taking next. I am been in all positions. Front, middle and last.
Last is quiet. Their voices go to the front. There isn’t so much hurry after all the last ones often take their time and actually enjoy nature by taking it all in. You feel more in your own world but feel the risk of being left behind esp if alone. There is less resting which can be a good and bad thing. Good because breaks can be tiring too and make the journey look longer and less enjoyable.
The middle is so far my best apart from the moments where you have to hurry because if you don’t know where the front guys went, you will get lost together with the guys behind you – before the mid or last guide catches up your confused state. It’s teamwork. You just hope the guys directly in front of you are talking loudly and the ones at the back are quiet with loud steps. You have to constantly look behind if you feel they can’t see you. However, I the flat open terrains when that position because you don’t have to fast or slow. You are at your pace. No one cares if you are fast or too slow to babysit you. You can choose to listen to conversations and laugh or just run away from them. I liked the whistling and animal sounds making part of people in front telling people behind them about the paths they took and their response.
First positions are good because you are not checking out anyone’s ass (No one checks out clothes or the back). I do check out natural hair. As women, we check out both and appreciate. I look at men’s once in a while, especially the interesting ones. It can be distracting and monotonous. At the front, there is so much to recognise and appreciate. When fast and at the front, there isn’t so much to look at on the sides which are done when at the middle apart from the ass. You can also choose to be more away from people and listen more to birds, water and smell more of nature. In difficult places though, you have to lead by example which I am not a fan of. I hate being noticed and sort for. I love being invisible. You also rest more which I already talked about its silent good and loud bad side.
That felt like a personality overview. Introverts like it quiet. Introverts can talk. A lot. Introverts are not necessarily shy. Introverts listen to loud music but not all the time and not your kind of music. Introverts are not snobs. Only my kind of introvert can understand this: I type very long replies and never send. I trash talk people in my drafts and then trash them.
I intimately talk about someone I like in my Keep notes and trash it. If you call and don’t seem to have anything to say like there is no agenda for that call, why did you call me…I cut it off. If they do that again, I cut the call and block then forget that you exist. I delete all my social media apps when I am not in a good space. I rarely use the home tab on any social media site.
In short, I scroll down once in a while but hardly/ or /scroll 3-5 posts down and stop. I delete everyone’s number once in a while to stop the many status updates even if I end up not viewing. If I view it, it’s either I have a crush on you or the last post seemed interesting or just downloaded my WhatsApp so less statuses or I have less than 60 contacts.
I want to live on an island inside a cave or roofs satellites can translate as ‘Animal-kind of a person living here) but with a modern inside. I want to be away but able to have access to the modern world when I need it. I don’t want to know that you have a woofer… A lot that I would want to talk about and be vulnerable about myself in a podcast to make it normal to be like me. I don’t want people to feel alone in their downs. I am tired of motivational speakers with their ” I was there”. I want ” I am there” and this is what I am doing so far to handle this challenge like giving every single coin to a hiking company so as to book your trips and because every weekend needs an experience into the wild. That’s where your mental health appreciates you the most. tackling surprising terrains makes you know that you can do it and gives you the reason to embrace challenges more.
Honestly, I would love to do the treks alone but honey, I am a woman. I am alone. Those wild places are not as safe. There are just crazy people inside there whom you might meet. This is why I stopped doing lone adventures. Apart from listening to accents, different languages, some jokes, Seeing people releasing their inner-child that they can’t in the civilized world, Getting ideas of places you didn’t know about, Seeing people in their element and appreciating that, being in a team and feeling cared for by people who don’t care to remember your name, I still fancy being alone in the wild. I guess, we don’t get everything in life but learn to appreciate what we have at hand and use it to our best.
A scientist who writes about her daily experiences. Most are drafts but some are publicly shared, like this one you just read.