Written by Ess Opiyo.

Are we ready? Camera, Lights, A….

Oh! Wait, wait….. Are my legs okay?

Sighs.

Camera, Lights… 5, 4, 3, 2,1…. ACTION!

Good Evening World!

I love evening interviews. I have a feeling that more people get to catch up with evening updates as opposed to early morning. You do not want to deliver a powerful presentation or story when humans are battling traffic or dealing with grumpy babies, husbands included or listening to podcasts. Who wants to turn on their television and get their day ruined with updates on say, police brutality or protests when they can listen to “10 effective ways to have a productive day,’’ affirmations or do Yoga! Morning interviews? No. I am not a morning person, to say the least. When I picture telling the story of my life; its always going to be evening. Just keep reading and you’ll see where I’m going with this.

Today we are joined by a trailblazer from Kenya. Miss Ess Opiyo!! At the age of 40 [Damn, I am 40 and still a Miss] , she is the first Kenyan and the youngest African to hike 1,000,808 Mountains out of the 1,000,809 Mountains in the world! She has one more to go! The world is cheering her on. She is an inspiration to many! She is phenomenal and nothing is stopping her. She is changing the world…

Gasps. Applauds. Lights flashing towards my direction. Almost blinding. Smiling, nervously.

Guys, these are the dreams or fantasies that accompany me in between my sheets. I love chasing hills and mountains. More than any travel experiences, I devour these with passion. If you have never hiked before, think of it as ascending and descending flights of grassy staircases,  with astounding views. Admittedly, you will get to battle and overcome the change in altitude, bruises and some bug bites among the challenges associated with hiking, for a fulfilling experience. However, along the thickets and hard rocks comes an abundance of physical and mental benefits. Perhaps you are reading this, sneering and laughing at the fact you cannot lift a leg to hike. Here’s a powerful phrase I stumbled upon:

When you hear a voice in your head telling you cannot do it, then do it and watch that voice being silenced.”

Hiking is addictive as is every other moment spent in nature. I have a personal attachment to the mountains; many are the times I have been rescued from darkness and demons that I fight while chasing the highs and lows in the hills. There is always a reward at the destination. Endless majestic views, waterfalls and the personal reward of having overcome a challenge.

My greatest achievement this far has been hiking the Elephant Hill and Kinangop peak. One day , 5 hours,2 peaks. Was it difficult? It was damn challenging! An endless climb! The hike was tagged “An endurance test“. True to it, my body and mind were in a constant warfare. I was ready to give up severally. The guide did  not make it any better for me. He fueled my negativity, but my buddy, Ephraim, kept shutting down the negativity.

Let us leave you here and come back for you. The group is fast we will find you here.”

Ess, keep going. It is just a few turns left.”

Having hiked the terrain before, he reckoned how rewarding the experience would be. At some point, I stood for five minutes, took a picture pointing at the peak  patted myself on the back for having come that far, but Ephraim was adamant in his encouragement. That is how I made to the top and crowned it with my best smile. I have never smiled that broadly in my life. A tired smile!

My takeaway is that life can take the same model. An endless climb and negative voices in the head or even around you. You get so near to your goal and you heave a sigh of “at least I tried.” It is important to surround yourself with people who help you shut down all those voices. Walk with people who are positively willing to transfer their experience or knowledge to you, and these people will always be those who have accomplished what you want to accomplish in life. Most importantly, trust your pace. It took me a damn 5-hour hike for this to sink in, and I cannot thank the mountains enough.

I understand that the importance of baby steps and everyone’s cup of tea being significantly different. Kenya is blessed with amazing and diverse landscape. Honestly, our landscape fits everyone’s hiking needs.

Here are some places you may consider chasing this joy, for starters. The list is endless, but I believe these could be great to propel anyone towards a hiking lifestyle. I am convicted that it is about time to reclaim our wellness by spending quality time in nature, step out of comfort zones and experience the powerful elixir of vitality. Then maybe, you may experience what this is I describe as Joy in the Mountains. Happy New Month.

1. 7 The Hills of Ngong.

CC: NJIRI GITAGIA

Scope: Easy to Moderate to Difficult.

Location: Kajiado, Nairobi.

Average time taken: 3- 4 hours

Status: Accomplished

2. Oloolua Nature Trail

CC:PETER NDUNG’U.

Scope: Easy

Location: Karen, Nairobi.

Average Time Taken: 3- 4 hours

Status: Accomplished

3. Shimba Hills

CC:KATIE KLAUM

Scope: Easy

Location: South Coast, Mombasa

Average Time Taken: 1-2 hours

Status: Accomplished

4. Castle Forest Hike

CC: TRISTAN

Scope: Easy

Location: Mt. Kenya Region.

Average Time taken: 3-4 hours

Status: Accomplished

5. Elephant Hill

CC: KEITAN SAFARIS

Scope: Moderate to difficult

Location: Aberdare Ranges

Average Time Taken: 4-5 hours

Status: Accomplished

6. Mt. Kinangop

CC: KEITAN SAFARIS

Scope: Difficult

Location: Aberdare Ranges

Average Time Taken: 4-5 hours

Status: Accomplished

7. Mt. Longonot

Scope: Difficult

Location: Naivasha

Average Time Taken: 4-6 hours

Status: Bucket list ( It will be one of my preps for Mt. Kenya/ Mt. Kilimanjaro)

8. Sleeping Warrior and Ugali Hills

Scope: Moderate to difficult

Location: Elementaita, along the Great Rift Valley.

Average Time Taken: 5-6 hours

Status: Pending

9. Dragon’s Teeth

CC:KEITAN SAFARIS

Scope: Moderate

Location: Aberdare Ranges

Average Time Taken: 3-4 hours

Status: Pending

10. Satima

CC: IRENE CHELSEA

This is the highest peak in the Aberdares ranges and the third highest peak in Kenya!

Scope: Difficult

Location: Aberdares Ranges

Average Time Taken: 4-6 hours

Status: Pending


10 Comments

OTGE · June 8, 2020 at 9:24 am

Disclaimer: The average time taken and scope of the hike are solely the writer’s views, as these are directly proportional to factors like fitness level and health. The writer has experienced Ngong Hills, Shimba Hills, Castle Forest, Oloolua trail, Elephant Hill and Mt. Kinangop. We look forward to experiencing more. Do leave a comment on where else we could hike and share your hiking experiences. Bless!

Vik · June 8, 2020 at 6:47 pm

The top part really took me on a journey. Pun intended.

CATE KAHIU · June 8, 2020 at 9:22 pm

Informative… Inspiring… Encouraging.. Love it ♥

    OTGE · June 14, 2020 at 9:26 am

    Thank you Caaaattteee! Always a pleasure!

Tabby Kimani · June 9, 2020 at 9:14 am

Wow exquisite !!

    OTGE · June 14, 2020 at 9:26 am

    Thank you Tabby for reading. Subscribe so that you get all posts into your inbox!

Moh · June 10, 2020 at 2:33 pm

I love mountains and hills too. My body’s fitness has refused to cooperate. My only accomplishment longonot and ngong hills 10+yrs ago and table mountains a year ago. Am now encouraged to try ngong hills again

    OTGE · June 14, 2020 at 9:25 am

    Yes Moh! Reawaken that spirit by starting small again. We will be keeping tabs hehehe… and thank you for dropping by

Mbeks · July 3, 2020 at 12:56 pm

So far I have accomplished 4/10 hills and mountains listed, more to go

    OTGE · July 7, 2020 at 6:28 pm

    Way to go!!! Please tag us or share with us your experiences when you do experience them

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