July 1, 1987

7/1/87 Mt Kenya

campsite near Gathiuru

We had hoped that this morning we would have clear skies but we were wrong. We left about 8am. Dave and Mbugua were at odds over how to go. I must admit I had a blind faith in Mbugua because he had been on the Burguret Track (our trail) about a year ago. I knew we were close so I didn’t want to side with either of them. About an hour later we found a trail marker but lost the trail almost immediately. We found a second marker an hour later. Soon after that, we found the track and never lost it again.

No one uses the trail anymore except elephants and buffalo. There was elephant sign everywhere. Some of the trail was completely blocked by bamboo destroyed by the elephants. We moved as fast as we could. We had little trail food left and very little water. No matter how tired we felt, how hungry we were or how bad the blisters were on our feet, we were bound and determined to get out of the bamboo forest before the afternoon rains would come for sure.

Our starting point this morning near Highland Castle was at the beginning of a giant heath zone. A stark contrast later when we tried to hike through the very dense bamboo forest. The day was hot and always threatening rain. In the late afternoon I could see the bamboo start to thin out and give way to large wood trees. The bamboo grew in clumps here and was shorter. The track got more and more like a dirt road. Finally, we were in planted forest. We got off the road and headed southwest. It had been a tough day of hiking and our patience was at a breaking point.

Finally our path opens into a small clearing.
The bamboo seemed to take every opportunity
to catch on our packs and trip our feet.

Our speed and spirits soared after finding the dirt logging road
that would lead us out of the park and onto Naro Moru.

We had been moving fast. We were tired, hungry, sore and to top it off, we kept hiking through stinging nettles. It was a god send when we hit the road. But we couldn’t stop because we still badly needed water. The Burguret River was only a couple of kilometers ahead. As the forest thinned out, we began to see some small farm plots with people working the fields. We made camp about 4pm, eight hours and sixteen kilometers later. In celebration, we decided to have a feast of deep dish pizza and strawberry cake. It rained during dinner but we were content because we had made it to the road and dry under our rain fly.