I recently had the opportunity to lead and execute two prep hikes at Karura Forest, and I have to say, I SUCKED.
Reasons and to how I became the team leader are still unbeknownst, but there I was, just a day before the first prep hike, thrown, totally unaware into the role.
I have been to Karura Forest several times. But I always had the fortune of being led through the many trails, not having to worry about which trail would lead to death (long and never ending).
Well, on my maiden prep hike, on the 10th of July, I was saved the embarrassment by having to lead only one other person on the prep. The hike lasted 1 hour and 20 minutes and was just short of 5kms. We never found the waterfalls or the caves and did end up lost, and surprisingly got out (I nearly kissed the ground in gratitude) close to where we started. I honestly don’t know who was more shocked. The other member at finally being relieved of the fact that we were lost, or me, that we made it out. So soon.
The second Prep hike was a disaster. If this was Europe, I would have probably been sued for causing unnecessary duress to team members.
SEVEN loyal patrons showed up for the hike. Three of them were pretty fit and chose to jog the trail. I led the other four through the forest determined, this time, to find the coveted Waterfalls and Caves.
We got lost. Again.
The first group of people were over and done with the prep two hours before we survived the ordeal. I chose the word “Survived” with utmost consideration for the situation I found ourselves in. Imagine the embarrassment, when I called the first group to ask them if they were OK and how they were doing, and they were like, “..ummm…we finished….TWO HOURS AGO!?!”
I had no Ideal which route I had taken. Or for that matter, where we were heading. I only had the pedometer and once that crossed the 5km mark, I went into a panic.
Anyway, we did finally get to the Waterfalls and Caves, the sight of which helped subdue the team members who were agitated, tired and irate.
Finding our way back to the gate was where the challenge arose. Aching feet and muscles hindered the progress for the team members who were not accustomed to walking such long distances. We had already been in the forest for 4 hours and had scaled a distance of over 8 kms. The final 1km to the gate took almost 1 hour.
We had to eventually call in the Forest Rangers to come and rescue one of the members who could no longer walk, while the rest of us followed suit towards the exit.
I did my best, at least I prevented one person from committing suicide on the trail as that seemed the only way out of her misery of a never ending hike. But it was not the best of experiences the first-time hikers got. But then again, that is exactly what we will be doing on the mountains, walking continuously for long distances.
My next challenge is to take 5 people to the Olesekut Summit on the 24th of July. But good thing we have KWS guards who will guide us along.
God be with me.