Our first big weekend outing was an adventure to say the least. We woke up early that morning and drove just under five hours, mostly on bumpy Kenyan countryside roads, marveling at the lush green scenery all the while complaining about the length of the trip, which was more than twice of our expected traveling time. Once we got to our destination, the base of Mt. Longonot, we were all slightly hungry and tired but I was excited to hike and experience the beautiful scenery from a higher perspective. So the journey began, the path inclining almost instantly, and the dust immediately acquainting itself with our faces, lungs, pants, shirts, hands, fingernails…you get the picture. About ten minutes in, I realized I left my bottle of water by the van but my friends let me share some of theirs so all was well. We continued on with hope, mostly supplied by passersby who encouragingly would say, “You’re almost there!” or “Ten more minutes” which we later discovered were both lies.
Reaching the top was one of the most satisfying feelings I have ever known. My calves burnt, my stomach grumbled and my head hurt probably from a combination of dehydration and being at 9,107 feet elevation, but I was so overcome with bliss that I didn’t care. The feeling of satisfaction and relief from making it to the top made the view even more overwhelmingly beautiful. On one side you could see stretching plateaus and houses scattered about the greenery, and on the other was a deep crater covered in a sea of vibrant green trees. The other girls and I wrapped our arms around each other and shouted out into the distance laughing from exhaustion and at ourselves.
In our last minutes before descending back down, I looked out into the distance; feeling extremely small, but at the same time so big, and so grateful to exist in the same time, in the same place as something so giant and so breathtaking.