Every travel enthusiast has a travel bucket list, and I’ve got over 100 things on my list…best believe! One of them is hiking across the Grand Canyon in Arizona or on extreme levels, climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro in my hometown, Moshi. But before I get all excited, I needed to try out on a smaller level.
Hikers battle bug bites, blisters, and bruises for the sake of overcoming a challenge and enjoying some quality time with nature… And I was all in for it.
When the gym I work for, WeightWatchers Kenya posted that they would be hosting a day hike, I was super excited been that would be my very first time. So I routed up the ladies I train and we started working out a week before to prepare us for the hike. Apart from preparing yourself physically by doing strength exercises, leg workouts just to name a few; you should prepare for the worst. With this, I mean, carry snacks, water for hydrating, sunscreen, an aid kit and most importantly bug spray because safari ants are real and not fun!
For a first time hiker, Oldonyo Sabuk-Buffalo Hills in Thika is a good 18km trail for beginners. Dabbed Mt. Kilimambogo “The ultimate Panoramic Experience” it is dominated by a small mountain covered in Montane forest. It is home to over 45 species of birds though one may not get to easily spot them but you will surely hear them as you truck on by.
Starting slow is the way to go, to maintain your energy level as the trail gets stripe. At the start of the hike I saw my fellow hikers trying to get long branches and it didn’t hit me that those are good for support especially through difficult terrain on the trail and the last few kilometres to the top of the summit #death.
Next… Use the buddy system. I cannot emphasise on this point any further. Walk in groups of threes minimum, just in case one of you gets hurt or faints. Don’t try to be the hero and hurry all the way up by yourself. You have no idea what’s lurking in the bushes even if you’ve gone through the trail severally.
Buffaloes are the dominant animals in this ecosystem and you will definitely get to spot a few herds. Other wildlife may include olive baboons in plenty, mongoose, pythons and monitor lizards.
Make sure you have sight of people in front of you and behind you.
Dress appropriately. Keep warm if the weather is chilly, carry a raincoat instead of an umbrella…. I mean! The most important attire would be your shoes. Invest in hiking shoes. I wore running shoes and that wasn’t the best choice. I can’t count the number of times I slide coming down the trail. You need shoes that would give you a good grip; buy hiking shoes before a hike # invest
Another, please! And I say please again… Do not blend in with nature. Stay away from anything that would camouflage. Any khaki or neutral is a no, no. Colour block if you have to, neon colours are best. You would want your party to spot you if you get lost… Am just saying!
Hiking is a powerful cardiovascular activity and provides plenty of benefits to the body, including the ability to strengthen and tone muscle as well as improve endurance and stamina. Muscles worked during a hike include quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, glutes, abs and hip muscles. So if you’re like me and always looking for new ways to stay fit, hiking should be top on your list. Or if you aren’t a gym person, all those machines just make you want to run away, hiking works. It is a good way to get away from the crowded gyms and still keep fit.
Hiking is a great way to get a serious workout without putting too much pressure on your joints. The weight of your pack and the incline of the trail work together to get your body right. You find yourself feeling less stiff and creaky after a hike than a jog down a sidewalk. Hiking downhill is two times more effective at removing blood sugars and improving glucose tolerance.
As a writer, hiking is best. It increases attention span. Walking gets the creative juices flowing far more than sitting.
When you get to the summit, all that pain will be worthwhile. This hike offers visitors scenic views of pineapple plantations… And yes! Views of Mount Kenya.
With that… Book your next hiking trip and get ready to hear the crunch of leaves under your feet and see the world from above.
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