On Journeys. . .
A few weeks ago, I took a road trip with Ken Muma. When you are CEO of a hospital, rest is impossible in Kijabe, and you want to travel with a person who will have fun but not ask too many questions about what is coming next! A common phrase on the journey, was “it’s situational.” Where to eat, where to sleep, how far the car could drive, these were not set in stone. We had some idea of what was ahead, but there was no hard and fast agenda other than to climb Mt. Kenya and see some of the northern country.
Our previous journey up Mt. Kenya was amazing, but the last day was one of the worst of my life, slogging down through the vertical bog during the 14-hour day. This time I was mentally prepared for the long journey, and I had put in a lot of training miles during the summer. We did a two day trip, 7000ft to 14,000 feet the first day. Then up to the summit at 16,500, and back down to 7,000 feet on the other side of the park. I had prepared myself for a 16 mile hike, so when we actually ended at 15, it seemed like a bonus.
Our guide said he took Eliud Kipchoge up the mountain three times before reaching the summit. The first two times he developed altitude sickness and abandoned. It’s strange to think that I could do something that would cause the greatest athlete on the planet would struggle. Ken says an athlete like that is like a fine-tuned sports car, built for speed on a track, not for off-road in the mountains. Could be the case. I also wonder how well someone like that knows their own body, when to push and when to rest.
Next we went north through Samaburu to Ololokwe, a beautiful, arid region, for a bit more climbing and camping.
Next toward Marsabit, where we got some practice fixing flat tires. Rubber sealant a bicycle pump worked pretty well.
Reteti elephant sanctuary, where elephants are brought when they are orphaned or injured. The guide told a fascinating story, that a group of wild elephants passed through, and three little ones decided to join them. The herd decided they weren’t ready for life in the wild, so after a week in the bush, they dropped them back off at the center! They’ll try to integrate again when they are a bit older.
As Reteti is a pretty remote place, we were able to be a bit closer to the elephants, but they are big, unwieldy three-four year olds, so I tried to keep a bit of distance!
Marsabit, northern end of our journey. We had planned to go a bit further, but the power steering went out on the car, so we abandoned the desert crossing to lak lake Turkana and headed for home.