communing with nature
With a long day behind us and another ahead of us, our third day on the mountain was designated for rest, recuperation, and acclimatization. We slept in and were greeted by a gorgeous blue sky and a blinding sun, whose dazzling rays gamboled among the crags of Batian, reflecting off the patches of ice and snow that had nestled in its crevices. The porters had set a breakfast table outdoors and we lingered after finishing our meal, staring in awe at the mountain we had come to climb.
The plan was to hike up several hundred meters to a ridge for acclimatization purposes, so at last we tore ourselves away from the arresting view and lazily put on our hiking gear. S’s dad did not join us; the long hike up to Shipton’s Camp had aggravated his hamstring and he opted to forgo the summit of Lenana.
It took us a little over an hour to hike up to the ridge, which was at the base of Point Peter, one of the more distinctive peaks that comprise the Mt. Kenya massif. We lingered at the ridge for a while, but clouds started rolling in so we hurried back downhill, arriving at base camp shortly before the sky opened up. It rained hard for some time, the rain giving way to a fierce hailstorm – the only inclement weather we had during our five days on the mountain.
Once the hail subsided, D headed back outdoors to break in the new hiking boots he planned on using for our summit bid. The storm seemed to have refreshed the mountain. The air had a crisp, clean feel to it. Birds flitted around, perching on the giant groundsels to chirp their carefree songs. Unlike our ascent of Kilimanjaro, which we spent either hiking in the rain or snuggling in our sleeping bags while rain or hail pounded our tent, our Mt. Kenya trek afforded a remarkable opportunity to commune with nature.