There is something magical about being 9,000ft high. The breeze at the top and the scenery from the peak is such an overwhelming experience. This was my first attempt at hiking a mountain. Delighted and determined, I embarked on a journey to climbing Mt. Longonot with my friends.
I did not quite understand the guide’s instructions that we needed not to burden ourselves with any luggage. So, I sheepishly took the one thing that I deemed indispensable for the climb, my water bottle. The mountain was steep and dusty, but I was resolute on making this a memorable experience.
As we trekked to higher altitudes, the heat of the scorching sun tested our determination to greater heights and rendered us lethargic. I couldn’t help but unburden myself of the 500ml water bottle because it was too heavy for the climb. Still, I clambered through the gullies and occasionally stopped to catch a breath as I panted with exhaustion.
Finally, we got to the peak of Mt. Longonot; a magnificent caldera crowned the volcanic giant. Thousands of trees graced the caldera, and the canopies made a vast green bed of a dense forest. I was feeling audacious, yet exhilarated at the same time.
After 5hrs of climbing, there just wasn’t enough room to take a transitory rest. The guide warned that should you happen to trip and fall, there would be no attempt at your rescue. Gawking in awe, I could understand why he made such a claim, albeit it was petrifying. The destination was, nonetheless, sheer splendor. The force of gravity made climbing down faster and easier, and I collected my previously abandoned water bottle that now came in quite handy.
But this day was not yet over. With the tropical sun still radiating over our heads, our next stop was the Hell’s Gate. Ever wondered why one would dare to go past the gates of hell, well, I was eager to find out. We explored a rare spectacle, Hell’s Gate gorge, and the looming cliffs and boulders that are home to exotic bird species, hyenas, leopards, and other predators who have found a home in hell.
The most adventurous and epic part of the journey was the meandering path to the Devil’s Bedroom. The trail leads to springs south of the park where we went through some narrow obsidian caves and slimy fountain walls with sparkling earth tone hues of bronze, copper, and algae green. The fissures and cracks in the canyon were so narrow that they almost blocked out the sky.
At some point, I had to walk barefooted in possibly reptile infested hot springs and geysers. You can feel the adrenaline oozing as you helplessly clutch for dear life, hoping against hope that this is not your last. This adrenaline rush is undoubtedly the reason why they call it Hell’s Gate.
Still, the adventure is not for the faint at heart. There is literally no chance of giving up, no matter how horrendous the experience is. This is because the springs flow to the Devil’s Bedroom with some slippery obsidian stones that are dramatically high, and once you jump, you can never go up the walls again.
The only way out is to finish the excursion. I had to clutch and dangle at a stranger’s shoulder just to make my way through the abyss of hell. Nonetheless, this marked my moment of glory, and I made sure that I inscribed my name on the walls, just to indicate that “Charity was here,” saw and conquered.
From the bedroom, we made a detour to the Hell’s Kitchen, where steam jets were gushing out owing to the belching plumes of geothermal energy. I was sure to boil an egg in this nature-bestowed kitchen. I then dared to bask in the spa at the Devil’s Shower, and this was as reinvigorating as I have ever felt in a long while.
Finally, we exited at the Devil’s mouth. The exit of the springs led to Fischer’s tower, which is naturally made of brilliant red rocks. Once again, I tested the brevity of my nerves by rock climbing the marvelously crafted volcanic rocks that stood stoically.
Triumphant was my experience at the mountain peak and in hell as I dared court controversy. Climbing the cliffs and the mountain was absolutely breathtaking. The enthralling beauty of the Hell’s Gate Park is undoubtedly my best place on earth.
- Charity Migwi
- : Rumblings on my wanderlust and my passion for conservation and environmental protection.
- : https://medium.com/@migwicharity
- : I write for the people and the planet | The Revolution | To be Worthy of your Precious Time
- : adult_(19_and_over_as_of_31st_december_2019)
- : This is the first time this story has been published.