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Rafting Archives - Bucketlist Adventures

Tag: Rafting

munyaka 13th March 2019 27

An Adventure to the unusual Mt Kinangop trail in the Aberdares!

In January 2019, I started my 6th year as an expedition leader. My priority for 2019 was to tick off trails that have remained elusive for a long time. One of these notorious peaks is Mt. Kinangop standing tall at 3,906m. Mount Kinangop is the toughest peak on the range despite being the second highest. Hikers refer to it as “Mother Kinangop” and with good reason. There were several routes on my mind as I put up this expedition. The popular plan is camping at Njabini Forest station and doing a day trip which I find reckless. Any expedition company offering you a one day tour is lying to you as you wont get to the real peak. The other plan is to hike up Elephant hill and camp in the valley between Elephant hill and Kinangop. This means you need to hike up Elephant Hill again when coming down. Think of it like running a half marathon after a full marathon. The best is to hike up Mutarakwa route and camp at the edge of the Moorland and summit on day two. This is the plan we took. We weren’t going to blow our first experience of Kinangop by bringing a sad story home.
 
We left Nairobi early on Saturday morning and drove to Ndunyu Njeru for park clearance. Unfortunately we found that the entire team of rangers had left for the Northern moorlands where they were fighting a fire. We settled for tea at a local restaurant as we deliberated our next move. Teaming with buffaloes and Elephants, it is suicidal to hike Kinangop without armed escort. Well unless if we found someone who milks an Elephant while sitting on a porcupine. Turning back to Nairobi was not even an option. The team was 70% ladies and I knew they weren’t going to reverse their hard earned visas and turn back. We called the Njabini Forest station and the warden sent us an armed ranger to escort us. We liked the guy at first sight, tall, strong, armed with a AK101 riffle and a Garmin GPS device.
With our small army of porters on site at Engineer center, we set out packing our food, tents and essentials. To our surprise, we managed to squeeze all our personal items in two bags only. A few snacks our sleeping bags and a few extra tshirts. By the way if you need light packers on a mountain, its ladies not men. Men tend to have their gear packed by their better halves with bags looking like the first day in boarding school.
I digress. We drove to Mutarakwa forest station where our two guides Njeru and Kinuthia joined us. We set off at 1100hrs with 7 hikers, 7 porters, 2 guides and one ranger. The first section of the hike takes you through a planted forest of pine and cypress that whistle as you pass. A little further was a section of farms with happy farmers throwing curious glances as we hiked.
 
The trail crossed the fence built by Rhino ark into the tropical rain forest. This section is steep with the tall trees providing the much needed shade. After a one hour walk we crossed into the Bamboo section where the guide announced that we had to walk together. Clear evidence of animal footprints made sure nobody decided to walk ahead or behind the pack. The bamboo is so thick in some places the porters had a challenge maneuvering with the wide bags.
We hit the Moorland late in the afternoon and stopped to take in the views and rest. One of the porters had had it with the steep hills and I had to take over the rucksack. As we set off, a huge Elephant bull came into full sight up ahead. Everybody flew behind the ranger. The ranger herded us to one side away from the wind direction and asked us to be still. It was another five minutes before the gentle giant with one tusk walked off to the next ridge.
We set up camp at a nice forest glade with a flowing stream. The chef and team got down and made us some lovely tea and dinner. The food was prepared in record time by our experienced bush chef complete with a desert. When we expressed our gratitude he said ” I wonder who will marry me now that I cook so well ” to great laughter. The Fearing the cold, we bundled up in threes per tents. My chaps call it kulala kama Pk.
A nearby trumpet of an Elephant was good to wake us up early. We had breakfast and started our ascent to the summit at 0700hrs. The sun was out and clear sky with sweeping views of the mountain to Nyeri, Kiambu, Muranga and Nyandarua. Mt Kenya came out of the Horizon in all her glory, Mt Longonot to the west with Lake Naivasha also Chrystal clear.
Mt Kenya rising above the skies as seen from Kinangop Peak

Mt Kenya rising above the skies as seen from Kinangop Peak

The most pleasant surprise was sighting Mt Kilimanjaro rising to the South but with no zoom lens it remained only for my eyes to feast on. From 3,900m, the famous Rurimueria and Mt. Kipipiri look like small bumps.

The Northern moorlands, Rurimueria and Mt. Kipipiri as seen from Kinangop.

Peering out over this vast moorland my mind drifts to the 2016 incident where we lost 4 hikers and a guide for 48hours. Aberdares is one of the remaining jungles of East Africa. One wrong turn by the guide and it took a concerted effort of over two hundred ground crew and three helicopters to trace and evacuate them from the moorland. An incident we were very lucky ended well. In the night or fog everything looks the same and even guides get lost.

Mt. Longonot and Kinangop Plateau as seen from the Kinangop Peak

The summit of Mount Kinangop is a rocky outcrop only accessible via a rocky scramble. With no basic rock climbing skills and fear of height then you would have to settle for the base of the rock. As I pushed out to the summit a 360 degree view opens up. The twelve apostles massif to the east is the most outstanding of these. Elephant hill to the South looks like an alien creature waiting to arise. The landscape is a scene from the movies. We spent some time on the summit despite the high wind before starting our descent.

The rocky scramble to the summit of Kinangop. If you have an experienced guide, then ropes recommended.

The rocky outcrop to the South is the famous false summit attempted by hikers from the Elephant Hill(the black massif to the south).

The mystical “twelve Apostles” overlooking Mt. kenya and Muranga County

On the way down we found the wreckage of a light aircraft that crashed into the Aberdares in 2013, a constant reminder that mountains are sometimes dangerous places. The descent was uneventful apart from the duck walking hikers. Two of the porters also had that look of a scene from walking dead, a reminder that Aberdares is not so kind to anyone. We got down to base at 1500hrs after an uneventful quick descent. My view would be that the climb was pleasant especially because of the weather. This story would a have been very different in the rain season.

A tricky section with bog indicates how tough the going gets in the rain season.

This is the wreckage of a light aircraft that crashed into the Moorland in 2013 due to bad weather.

We found this Jaw and Possible Femur of a dead Elephant on the way Down and propped it as a future direction marker.

Ranger Raphael leading the Team Down the range after a successful summit

Our next project is a fortnight away to the Northern moorlands . We intend to explore the Dragons teeth, Ol Donyo Le Satima and Table Mountains on a long weekend.
 
A great thank you to the Kinangop Six Angela, Sheshy,Veronica, Grace, Nath and James. Our GuidesNjeru and Kinuthia, Ranger Raphael, Chef Charles and the 7 gallant porters.
 
My Advice anyone seeking to do Kinangop is to not accept an attempt to do this in a day. You would also want to avoid the rain season if you want a pleasant experience. Small groups are also encouraged. The Mutarakwa trail is teaming with wildlife unlike the Elephant hill trail. The camping place also cannot fit more than 5/6 small tents. The Bog is from another world when it rains. Think of it like walking with glue on your shoes for a whole day. If you would like to join us for the next expedition or organise a private group to Kinangop talk to us via [email protected].

The Kinangop Six from left Angela, Guide Njeru, Veronica, Grace, Sheshy, Nath and Jessee James

munyaka 18th December 2018 0

Tigoni Trail Photo Links

Thank you for gracing our inaugural trail run event. Please find below the links for photos.

Mo Photography Photos Click Here

Wanjiku Gacheru Photography Click Here

Ian Kinuthia Photography Click Here

Dedan Mirichio Photos Click Here

Herbert Migiro Click Here

Looking forward to seeing you all again for the next Tigoni event on 15th December 2019.

munyaka 6th December 2018 0

TIGONI TRAIL RUN AND MTB PARTICIPANTS INFORMATION

TIGONI TEA TRAIL PARTICIPANTS INFORMATION
The information listed on this page is the official participant guide for the Tigoni Trail Run. Participants at a minimum should familiarize themselves with all of this information prior to the event. Participants should share this information with any friends / family / spectators that they plan on having join them at the race.

DATE, TIME AND LOCATION
Brackenhurst Conference Centre
Boma Road (Limuru to Banana Hill Road near Limuru Country Club)
Google Maps Directions HERE
Start Time: 7:00 AM for 33KM MTB, 7.10am for 25Km Ninja Run, 7.20am for 15Km Wababe Run, 7.30am for 6km Family Run.

PARTICIPANT’S BIB NUMBERS
Your race number must be worn on the front of your body and be clearly visible at all times. Those who register within 2 weeks of the race will have their names custom printed on their race numbers. The Race Bib’s will be issued on Friday 7th , Monday 10th and Tuesday 11th of December at the following location.
Bib Centre: 1st Floor, The Foundry, Viking House Westlands Bus Stage next to Fogo Gaucho/Park inn by Radisson Blue Westlands
Timings: 0900hrs to 1700hrs
You may also organize for a pickup via courier or Taxify Boda to the above address and contact our team on 0777 118 114.
Google Maps Directions HERE

TRANSPORT
There is a shuttle available from Nairobi CBD to the venue and back via Limuru Road. The shuttle charges is KES 800 above your regular ticket fees for the event. The deadline for booking the shuttle is Thursday the 13th of December at noon.
Pickup Point for Shuttle: City Hall Way, Opposite International life house after Kencom Bus Stop.
Google Maps Directions HERE
Bus arrives: 0530hrs
Bus Leaves: 0545hrs
Late participants will be left with no refunds processed.

PRE-RACE BRIEFING
There will be a short pre-race briefing about 15 minutes prior to the start of the race.

WHAT YOU GET FROM ORGANIZERS
A participant race bib will be issued to all registered participants. Well-marked course with plenty of aid and marshals. Photos and videos will be taken during the run. All participants will receive a finisher’s medal and refreshments at the finish line.

PARKING
There is plenty of parking at the Venue. Self-drives and carpools are encouraged and will have safe and secure parking.

DRIVERS INFORMATION
You have multiple ways to access the venue from Nairobi and its environs. The following are some of the possibilities.
From Nairobi CBD you can use Limuru Road all the way to Rwaka then continue on Boma road to a Gulf Petrol station after which is the Brackenhurst gate. Alternatively after Rwaka drive up to Ndenderu and onwards to St Paul’s University and take a right to Tigoni Police station after Limuru Country Club before taking a right and finding the Brackenhurst gate after 100m just before Gulf Petrol station. This second route option has potholes between Ndenderu and St. Paul’s University.
From Nairobi CBD take Waiyaki way all the way to Kamandura/MaiMahiu Junction and take a right on the roundabout to head towards St. Paul’s University where you take a left and follow to Tigoni Police station after Limuru Country club. Take a right here and find the Brackenhurst gate 100m down just before the Gulf Petro station. There are ongoing road works and diversions on Waiyaki way and you should plan longer driving times than indicated on maps.

PERSONAL EFFECTS STORAGE
The start line is next to the parking. You may leave all your personal effects in your car and or the shuttle bus for safe keeping. Please pass any valuable to the shuttle driver for safe keeping.

REFUNDS – TRANSFERS – SWITCHES
Entry fees are not refundable under any circumstance, race registrations are not transferable to other participants.

ACCOMMODATION AT THE VENUE
Brackenhurst is an established conference center with available accommodation for those considering to spend the night before the run. Please contact our team before 12th December for bookings on this. The rooms are subject to availability at the time of booking.

VENUE INFORMATION: MEALS AND GENERAL
The Venue is offering Breakfast (Tea and Coffee, Toast, Omelette, Waffles) which can be booked in advance for KES 950 per person. There will also be a Buffet Lunch on offer at KES 1,400 per person. There is also a café where you can order meals on ala carte after the run. Brackenhurst do not serve alcohol, neither do they allow alcohol or smoking within the premises.

WEATHER AND CLOTHING
Tigoni is usually cold and misty in the morning letting off to sunshine by 0800hrs.The Course is also not off the beaten path in some places and proper shoes with good grip and cushioning are encouraged. Be prepared, watch the forecast and plan accordingly.

AID STATIONS.
Our aid stations are manned by marshals where you get access to water and or fruits on the trail. The marshals can also be alerted in case of any medical support or if you Do Not Finish.

NEXT YEAR’S EVENT DATE
PENDING APPROVAL Sunday 8th December 2019.

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