When the chaps up the mountain finally returned to base camp in Kasese I was anxious to hear their stories. They started off with the not so good parts of the hike. The hard and challenging parts. The initial pictures posted on the WhatsApp group sowed seeds of doubt in my mind. I didn’t like what I saw.
The hikers looked tired. They were sort of unhappy oba?. Fatigue was written all over their faces, and some looked like they regretted their decision to go to Rwenzori. It was more of a sad beginning to a great story.
I started having second thought waves upon seeing these very first pictures. I wasn’t planning on doing what those guys did to themselves if the sad pictures were anything to go by. I said to myself “I am remaining here, comfortable, on lower ground, on solid ground and not self inflicting any amount of pain upon myself by going up some strange mountain”
Dull pictures aren’t magical. They kill ambitions. They kill desire. They kill mood. They kill whatever it is they can kill. They’re a total downer. Total discouragement pill. Why I am even talking about them I don’t know. And imagine they were going to be my excuse of a reason to not want the hike.
But, all that changed. A great picture is worth more than a thousand words. Good pictures speak. They have this magical thing they do to people. They charm you into wanting to experience the place from which they were taken. Like when you finally meet your blind date in person and you are surprisingly blown away, even when you fought cupid and all the gods of love to not meet them.
Soon a link to a vlog and blog were shared about this particular hike, everything looked so cool. So beautiful. So serene. The view was amazing and it slowly began to speak to my heart. I started to feel the urge to actually go up the mountain. How, I do not know.
When the great stories started streaming in, I knew I was sold! People were dancing in a small cabin to Kachumbali, a song by Quex with emphasis on the part of the song that has Rwenzori in it being sang at an exciting pitch. I saw happy people! Finally some happiness was flowing through!
The final bait was a Google link to photos taken by a professional person. You know, those guys who take pictures for a living? The ones who angle themselves in ridiculous positions to get a great shot? Those ones. And the pictures were amazingly gorgeous things! That’s when I saw the alluring beauty of the mountains. I heard it calling my name ojone. I started imagining myself up there. These final pictures, made me want to experience Rwenzori. I went through them over, and over, and over again for them to sink in bulunji, maber.
I saw myself in the near future at Rwenzori sweating it out, hiking, breathing hard, panting, taking in deep breaths of super fresh air, drinking from the perfectly clear ice cold streams flowing wildly down the mountains, just standing there on some ka bolder, tripping over and falling, viewing the green expanse of moss covered ranges before me, and walking in the rain. I would now have a good reason to walk in the rain without being judged!
The stories, the experience, the jokes and joys from the team that had just returned to Kampala was a feeling I wanted to, no, needed to experience. I needed that. Badly. Never mind that I didn’t trust my energy level. I didn’t trust my lungs. Heck, I didn’t even trust my entire body. I had not worked out in ages!
Still, I saw myself touching some wild berries, sitting on the boardwalks and having a complete organic mountain experience. I needed time away from the city, the noise, social media and all. I needed a detox. I saw the hike giving me a much needed time away from the chaos that comes with the sickness I had undergone in the recent past. Rwenzori was going to give me a complete natural healing.
I said kama mbaya, mbaya. Wang ma aceto i wi got ni kwak. I am going to Rwenzori! And with that I added my name to the list of those who were going in February 2021. Never mind that I had not even gotten cleared by the doctor to engage in something like hiking a mountain!
I immediately told my niece I was going to hike Rwenzori. I had this amazing grin on my face. She did not say it but her eyes told me she thought it was a bluff. I think she thought I had finally lost it.
And so with that, I started to psyche myself up for the trip. There was no turning back. I was going hiking to one of the most beautiful places in Uganda. I was going to Rwenzori. Apart from my niece, I only told a close friend about this. He didn’t think I was ready. I didn’t care.
By Laker Winfred L