Monday, December 16, 2013

Hiking Day Trip

This past weekend we had something we haven't had in quite a while: a weekend with no plans. It felt great, and we were ready to get out and do something fun as a family. Chad had heard about these great hiking trails in Mount Elgon National Park. This is a huge park, more than 1200 square km. I actually hiked and camped there when I did my internship in 2004, but on the Kenyan side. Kenya and Uganda share this park.

So we got directions, packed lunches, and headed out around 9:00. Hiking in this park was different than any other hiking we've done here because no one lives there (obviously). So you aren't followed by a herd of Ugandan children and you aren't passing dozens of huts and cows and goats and staring faces. The only person we ever saw was our hiking guide. 

We chose the shortest hike, which was 3 km. I strapped Molly on my back and Chad carried our bag and we started off. The trail wound steeply uphill and was very overgrown. I started to get really tired right away, and I thought I was in pretty good shape! Chad had to start carrying Graham on his shoulders. Some sections were so steep that they had added little handmade ladders to the trail. And some parts were very wet and boggy from water that trickled down the mountain. 

We stopped in front of a cave for lunch. Chad and Graham went in and were greeted by some pretty large bats. As we continued on we heard, but never saw, blue monkeys. Our guide told us that the monkeys have been poached so heavily in this part of the forest that now you rarely see them. We also heard and saw many different kinds of birds. I cannot even describe to you the various plants and flowers we saw. So unusual! I think Dr. Seuss must have gotten some of his ideas in Uganda.

We reached the rocky summit, where we stopped for about 20 minutes. We were all quite tired. Going downhill on the last half of the hike we were better able to look around and enjoy the things we were seeing. Molly slept in her carrier. By the time we made it back to the car, we were all 4 happy but exhausted. We love hiking together as a family and Mt. Elgon Park did not disappoint. We will definitely be coming back!

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