Lost Ring and Lessons learned
So I went back to Rurimeria hill, which is about two and a half hours from Nairobi with a good car. We were a group of 12, the smallest I’ve hiked with so far. We left Nairobi at 5 am which was pretty warm. Upon reaching Ndunyu Njeru at around 7:30 am, the temperature was around 10 C and I couldn’t help but reminisce on how hot the weather was in the city just the day before.
Rurimeria hill is 3,860m asl with an altitude of 12,670ft. It’s the third-highest Hill of the Aberdares.
After picking our guide, we proceeded to the starting point, a place called Geta Bush where one goes over the fence and into the hill.
The sun was out by now at 8 am and I had to put my jacket away when I felt my ring slip off. I tried looking for it with the help of my group members but we couldn’t find it. I didn’t want to be a mood killer so I just told everyone I’ll look for it later. And off we went.
The first 3km up is pretty steep and altitude effects do start to kick in. And if your body just won’t acclimatize quicker like mine, you might start to regret every decision you made. And if someone didn’t tell you, Rurimeria isn’t for beginners, it’s tough but rewarding with the view.
Over time I’ve learned to not only prepare physically but psychologically too. This was a lesson learned from hiking the elephant hill
After reaching the first peak, the weather does change drastically and it gets cold even with the beautiful sun.
Another lesson learned is to eat at this point since the altitude change does affect my appetite.
We proceeded on to the rocky terrain leading up to the second point. The hill though does have a way of playing with your mind and I could hear several “how far?” questions from some team members as we reached what seems like the second summit only for the hill to open up to another steep ascend ahead.
The altitude did hit me hard too and as I’ve learned, adopting a slower pace and drinking water regularly does help. We took frequent breaks which helped too.
The vegetation changes at the second point and from here we proceeded to the moorlands which is more flat with fewer ascents. If you manage to get this far, it feels more like a relief.
Our guide had made the slowest person in our group the lead on this last section and this helped us stay together.
We walked through bogs, swampy black soil and thick grass which made walking a bit challenging. This is my favorite section as the scenery is breathtaking. This time I had a scarf to cover my neck and ears as it was very cold.
Several hours later since the beginning, we were at the foot of the summit. It’s a very steep hill that will get you crawling up to the top and will award you with a beautiful view. Mt. Kenya, Satima and Kinangop hills can be seen well too.
My group members had their lunch here but all I could do is take more water and photos as I had no appetite.
The descent from the summit was no easier than the ascend. We waited for each and proceeded to head back.
The moorland is one of the easiest places to get lost, everything looks the same. Even with ribbons put on grass and trees to mark the way, at some point, there aren’t any. Always make sure not to be left behind.
I was still anxious to get back so I could search for my ring, but I had to stick with the group until we cleared the second point.
From here I had to get my pace up and descended quickly with another group member so I could buy some time. The sky was also threatening to open up and that wasn’t going to help my situation either.
There’s nothing worse than being in a hurry to descend. The trail never ends.
The sound of civilization was a welcome relief. We got back safely and I wasted no time in trying to find my ring. It didn’t take long before I found it on the other side of the fence.
It was around 4 pm when the rest of the group arrived and we proceeded to head back to the city, tired and happy that we conquered Rurimeria hill.
Difficulty: Moderate to high
Hours to summit: 5hrs
Descend time: 3hrs