Mulala

I think the part of this weekend that I most thoroughly enjoyed was the day hike through the hills near Mulala. We proceeded to walk out off of the road. I was told that this hike was going to be the “steeper, shorter path,” which meant that it would take about four hours round-trip. At first, I thought this would be very daunting. We walked out onto a plain for something like ten minutes before we reached a clearing filled with water buffalo. That was pretty awesome, except that I stepped in poop once and got lanced by an acacia bush. Beyond that, though, it was the closest any of us had ever been to a water buffalo, nonetheless an entire herd of them. Our ranger waited for most of them to cross a stream before we walked across, and she told us to walk quickly so as to not spook any of the buffalo into charging; that would force her to use her rifle. No, she didn’t shoot the buffalo if they charged; she would fire it into the air in that case, and the buffalo would scare and run. That was what she told me, anyway.

            Beyond this plain was the beginning of the actual hiking part of the hike. By this I mean that it went uphill and fast. I should mention before I start this bit that I began this part of the hike in about the middle of the crowd. By the end of our first leg, however, I had distanced myself from the majority of the group and was being told to pole pole by the ranger. It is not that I think that hiking is a race or anything. I just have a certain pace when uphill climbing, and it seemed to be faster than everyone else’s pace, with the exception of Amanda. She was the only person who kept pace with me. And we both had to sit and wait for the rest of the group to catch up for a short break. After the short break, the ranger told her and me to hold up the rear of the group, so we waited for everyone else to pick up and go again before walking ourselves, and even then, we gave the rest of the group about a minute or two head start on us. We caught up in maybe forty-five seconds, and found the same troubles with the pacing – people just didn’t move fast enough, and it seemed energy-inefficient. Nonetheless, we held up the rear of the group for some time until I couldn’t help passing people again.

            So most of the hike, I was somewhere close to the front of the pack, and the times when I wasn’t, it was again because the ranger told me to hold up the rear. About halfway through the hike, it got insanely hot out. This was probably due to the fact that halfway through the hike was high noon, and also that we were hiking up a hill. Anyway, it was at this point that I decided to use one of my shirts as a makeshift turban for the sake of cooling my head – great call. I was set for the entirety of the hike. A little while later, we reached a small creek across the path, which was surrounded by a small swampy area and which had small rocks that functioned like stepping-stones. I hope I explained that in enough detail. When I reached it, some of the girls in the group told me that I “had better be helping girls across.” The first girl to ask my help was Abbi. I extended a hand and she took it. The hope was that she would stride past me, onto the next rock, and back onto the path. What happened was that she grabbed my hand, stepped onto the rock, leaned forward, and knocked me backward. One of my feet stayed on my rock, and my other sank ankle-deep into the swamp. Awesome. I had ‘soggy foot’ for probably two or three (or five) hours after that, but I did stay to help the rest of the girls cross. It was a small price to pay for helping.

            After some more walking, we arrived back at the car park and took lunch. There were two options for lunch: outside (in the sun) and inside (under a covered pavilion). We chose the “inside” option and ate there. There was a pop cooler and a freezer with ice cream! We ate lunch and had some middle-school-esque tradesies of food, and enjoyed lunch. We packed up all of our things and then drove out. It was a hike that might have made my week.

            I fell asleep again for most of this drive as well, so I have no idea how long of a drive it was. My best indicator was that I fell asleep midway through the “Cell Block Tango” from Chicago’s soundtrack and woke up somewhere near the end of “Come What May” from Moulin Rouge. So it could have been as little as ten minutes, or days. I honestly have no idea.

We arrived, and I still had soggy foot. We walked into the homestead and saw two rows of tents; we would be two to a tent. Naturally, Jeremy and I were in a tent, and we went about the business of bunking up – we set down two bedrolls, put down sheets over them, and put down our sleeping bags. Once we accomplished that, we went to dinner, which was lovely.  We even got black tea with dinner! Then we had a campfire, where one of the Safari Makers drivers told us a very funny story about his first trip to the Serengeti (which he did not know very well, but had apparently lied and said he did to get the job). It was a ridiculously far-fetched story, and it was long, but it was pretty funny.

            The next day, we went on a hike through the hills, but not before Mama Anna did some awesome dances, dressed us all in Maasai fashion (kangas and Maasai robes), and sang many songs with us. Then, of course, we had to sing an American song with them. So, after much deliberation, we decided on the song “Shout” by the Temptations. I had to lead this song. I say “had to,” but I loved it. So we sang it, and they loved it. And we ate honey from stingless bees. I had no idea there were stingless bees. And then we went on our hike through the hills of Mulala, and we saw many viewpoints, of Mulala, of the neighboring village, and of lakes and mountains. We could even see Meru in the distance.

            After that, we came back and we had lunch, over the course of which we held kittens and fed them, and they loved us. One almost fell asleep in my arms – adorable. Anyway, a little after that, we packed up and went home and had dinner. It was a good weekend full of adventures.

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