June 16, 1987

6/16/87 Mt Kenya

campsite in Gorges Valley

Sunrise in a sea of white clouds

I was the first one up this morning at the crack of dawn. It was light but the sun hadn’t yet come over the ridge. But what I saw was so magnificent. The whole valley, as far as the eye could see, was a blanket of clouds. It felt as if I was at the edge of the world.

Yesterday we celebrated Marshal’s 22nd birthday. After dinner, we gathered around the campfire and read the poems each group had been working on as a gift to Marshal. We played charades till 9pm and then Lisa brought out the birthday cake she had been working on all day. It was great. We ended the evening doing some singing. Last night has probably been the best nights sleep I’ve had since I arrived in Kenya.

Gorges Valley looks easy but bogs where everywhere

Mbugua cooked uji, a corn meal porridge this morning for breakfast. It was so good, so I had two big bowls full. Maria, Mbugua and I have made a pretty good team. We were the first ones ready to break camp, even before our instructors.

One of the things we are learning on this course is minimum impact camping and that includes latrines. Out here in this fragile environment, that means "no toilet paper." I have to admit when Dave told me "no toilet paper" back in Naro Moru, I was very skeptical. I’d never heard of such a thing. But everyday it seems more normal just to grab some grass or a few leaves and head out to find a good spot with a view.

We left camp about 9am, following the ridge north of Gorges Valley. At about 11,700 feet, we started to traverse the mountainside. During the traverse, the shrubs were about five feet high amongst plenty of rocks and tusic grass. But once deep onto the valley floor, a smaller shrub was our key to a good trail because the tusic grass was almost impossible to hike through. We dropped our packs at a good campsite and scouted out ahead. We got our first glimpse of Vivienne Falls, over 1500 feet high.

Bo and I went climbing up the valley walls where we found a good size waterfall just opposite our camp. I loved it, just enough rock climbing to make it challenging. I could look over the entire valley. While we sat looking down on the campsite far below, we couldn’t help but notice the wind was very strong through the valley. Below we could see Angus was setting up his tent. All of a sudden the wind took it up the valley with Angus in close pursuit. I don’t think it would have stopped except it finally fell into the Nithie River. I haven’t laughed that hard in awhile.

It wasn't hard to find a waterfall.

The weather has been great, even a little hot. I think a lot of people will be sunburnt today. Two groups got to the campsite early in the afternoon. The last group that has the two sick girls, Liz and Amy, took their a little more time getting here.

It sure surprised Angus when his tent started to roll