At this point, I was just happy to have made it thus far.
We began the adventure with an unpleasant encounter with the ticket seller at the park entrance that consisted of her not giving us a student rate so, in my opinion, she and her superiors could pocket the additional $10 per person. Living in Kenya has opened my eyes to a the world of corruption and how far it reaches. After listening to many excuses, changes in argument, and newly made up rules, we unhappily conceded to further corruption and pay the full fee.
The merry band
Despite the unfortunate beginning to our day our merry band of five proceeded up the mountain. She doesn't look like much but she packs a punch in the first leg of the journey. It's less tiring than difficult as the initial ascent is quite steep and slippery with loose ash. I also underestimated the effects of altitude on my hiking ability. The base of the volcano is 2150 meters above sea level with the peak reaching 2780 meters asl. All of my daily walks around Nairobi were no preparation for my lungs.
Once we finally made it to the rim I hung out with my ipod while the rest of the group hiked around the ledge. My unfortunate fear of heights and tendency to be clumsy and fall made me think twice about walking around a narrow and, in some parts, steep ledge that might lead to my untimely demise in a volcanic crater. I almost forgot to tell you all about the birds and how they too were trying to kill me! It could have been a Hitchcock film. These two birds the size of penguins with HUGE beaks started dive bombing me for my leftover lunch goodies. Just sitting on the trail with nothing to keep me from falling down the side of the mountain was freaking me out enough as it was, so when the birds started coming for me I was afraid I might be tempted to get up and run which would inevitably lead to the discovery of my crumpled remains in the crater below. Thinking only of my friends and how traumatized they would be by this scenario, I slowly scooched away from the baggie the killer birds desired and made my way a safe distance away. It was a narrow escape; just moments passed before the birds attacked the defenseless baggie and devoured the crumbs inside.
View from the top of Mt. Longonot of Rift Valley and the crater.
Stay tuned for tales and travails of my previous trip to Lake Magadi....