Monday morning arrived, and with it a day of adventure. The team woke for breakfast at 7am, filling up to energize for the day ahead. After packing our necessities and ensuring we each had plenty of water and snacks, we boarded the vehicles and headed to the base of Kasigau, a 1600 meter mountain.
We drove a short ways up a sunken dirt road before parking in an alley and meeting our three guides – Emmanuel, Nicholas, and Victor. After a bush break and a quick introduction, we began the ascent. The highest peak was our goal, though we weren’t sure if we would make it.
The terrain started out as a steady uphill dirt and gravel path, which carried on for about an hour. We stopped briefly for water and a look at the view, which was already impressive.
Soon we carried on, aware of how far we had yet to go. After an hour or so in the sun, we were relieved when the path became forested and shaded from the sun. The incline grew steeper and steeper as we grew more tired, but we were rewarded with bouts of flatland.
After several more steep sections, we paused for lunch – cheese sandwiches, hardboiled eggs, oranges, chips, and juice. We took in our now jungle-like surroundings while considering if anyone was too tired to carry on. Fortunately, the whole team was prepared to go further, so we packed up lunch and carried on up the mountain.
After an hour of more steep uphill hiking, we came to the final lookout point before the peak. The guides informed us that it would be another forty minutes to the peak, and it would include the most difficult hiking. Some of the team decided to pursue the peak, while others were curious to view the lookout point. As such, we parted ways, with my group headed for the peak and the other headed to the viewpoint.
The first part of the final stretch was fairly flat, though the terrain grew more wet, and we were informed that we were now in a cloudforest.
We were met with a breathtaking view of the surrounding area. We mused at the fact that we could see the ranch from there, as Amakobe pointed out some of our transect roads. After pictures, a snack, and a drink of water, we began the two hour trek back down the mountain.
We met the other team near the base and were happy to hear that their view had been equally amazing – they could even see our camp from where they stood!
By the end of the hike, we were all substantially exhausted from our seven hour journey. While our bodies ached, our hearts soared knowing that we achieved what we set out to do, and we got to do it in good company.