June 14, 1987

6/14/87 Mt Kenya

near "The Gates"

We broke camp about 9am and again we split up into three groups for the hike. Our packs were a little heavier because we were carrying Liz’s gear after she got sick. Today, our group hit the trial first. But after a while, another one of the girls were getting sick. Amy felt dizzy and needed to go head off into the bushes a lot . Then she began to throw up the water she was drinking. Soon we were overtaken by the other two groups. We decided to split up some of Amy’s gear too.

The mist made it difficult to get our bearings.

During one of our many rest breaks, Mike gave us our beginning map reading lesson. As Lisa later told me, you can only train for altitude at altitude. So that even if you’re in great physical shape down below, it has little bearing on how well you will do on the mountain. I was very impressed by the girls though. They also carried some of Liz and Amy’s gear and hiked as good as any of the big guys in the group. We hiked about four or five kilometers, but just before reaching our campsite, Amy fainted.

One of the guys that had already arrived at camp came out to meet us and carried Amy’s pack. She made it to camp being helped. Our campsite was at 10,800 feet. We had woke up this morning to our first day of clear skies and it continued throughout the day. A fog moved towards us from below but receded just as fast as it came. I think some of us were even sunburned.

The view was incredible. We thought we could even see one of the peaks in the distance. After making camp, we explored. We are camped right along side a good sized stream with a lot of boulders. A little farther downstream was a magnificent waterfall, about a forty foot drop. Everything was so beautiful.

We followed streams up the mountain to their source.

We were given a talk on the dangers on the trail due to elephants and water buffalo. Kugambi told us to make lots of noise while we hiked to tell the animals we were coming. The dangerous animal is a surprised one. Next Kugambi gave us another kiswahili lesson on greetings. But my favorite class came next, baking class. Lisa showed us how to make a pizza and Mike showed us how to make cinnamon rolls. Our cooking group was inspired so we attempted a pizza with a whole wheat crust, cheese, tomato sauce, onions and mushrooms. Mmmmm, heavenly! I could have eaten a lot more.

After dinner, we sat around the campfire talking about why we came to Kenya and what kind of goals we had. I’m not sure exactly why I came but reading my journal and looking at my pictures will give you an idea why I’m glad I did, whatever the reason.

Camp had been covered by mist and fog since sunset. But before going to bed, clear skies above showed me more stars than I had ever seen before. The sight was awe inspiring. Later in our tent, Maria, Mbugua and I were asked to make a poem for Marshal for his birthday tomorrow. Lisa is planning to make a birthday cake and each group will give presents.