For most of my life, nature has been my sanctuary. My job and life keep me hyper-connected to the technological world, just like you are, but it’s only when I get out into the fresh air that I am able to slow down enough to make some sense of the cacophony in my head. For many years, Aviation had no place in that. I just wanted to be in the experience and I found myself wanting to share that with the whole planet!
Adventures start, life begins, things take on new meaning, colour. We drift and find ourselves in places we have never been before. To this, I am most definitely accustomed.
Well, it is Saturday, 15th, June 2019. 0420hours EA time, my alarm goes off and quickly sends me out of sleep. Quick shower, breakfast and boom! I am good to go! Having packed everything I could need, water, coated nuts, coffee, GPS, antishock stick, camera, torch, lighter, etc in my orange coloured backpack, I was craving to face the jungle vibe.
Driving an old rusty SUV with a retractable roof, I own the highway for about four minutes just before a thirty two wheeled Volvo truck overtakes.
Windows down, volume up, Stan Bush’s playlist run my drums in the busy morning taking me through Golden Ice, Burger King, Bellevue, Capital Center and eventually in the Kenyan capital Nairobi, after tailing the damn truck for ten good minutes.
Mr Right the SUV mechanic takes over the wheel and drops me at the preferred location where I and my squad agreed to have the hired tour vans pick us.
Ten minutes later, we are all at the pick up station.
Two white four wheel drive Land Cruisers each designed to accommodate eight humans come to a stop right where we are. We confirm them to be the right cars and hop in to enjoy what seems to be a bumpy ride from both drivers’ looks.
One hour through the narrow street roads, nature hits us right in the face!
Fog! Dense and blinding, both drivers have to punch the B pedal to avoid trouble and finally, we make it to our desired destination, the Abadare Ranges, via the Njambini gate.
“It’s 3°C out here!” One of the Rangemen jokingly shouts heading towards us, his riffle pointing towards the ground.
Heavy jackets, sweaters, gloves, caps, hiking boots all rain from the roof carrier, everyone picking what belongs to them. With everyone ready to tackle the “dinosaur,” the Journey begins!
Planted forest, the vast bamboo forest, extremely steep tarrains, heat, sweat, rain, cold, hunger, mud, dirt, we all go through these for five good hours, climbing to get to the summit.
With everyone pushed to their limits, some tend to give up and get back to the vehicle but the descent journey too isn’t a “chascarrillo!” At this point, we make a group stop at the point of Despair, 3550 feet above sea level, grab some coffee, nuts…and we tune in again.
Armed rangemen, friends, random acts of care, nothing was going in vain here.
At the summit, 12,000 feet above sea level, magic took it’s part! The Universe had been completely transformed! I had never admired these green planet like I did today! The Earth was breathing life into us, Beauty was flowing and everyone was just Happy!
As the fog slowly cleared down the steep valley, I noticed a strange brightly colored object (red & white) that didn’t seem to match the beat of nature up here! What could that be? As usual, we humans have a pretty uncanny ability to notice if something is even a little out of place. Sometimes, all it takes to register is a glance around to notice something strange. When this happens, we won’t rest until we go in to see what is going on. At this moment, I had no idea. Driven by curiosity, I managed to convince a number of friends and we carefully managed to navigate the dangerously steep paths to get to the object.
About four meters to it, grim struck! It was the wreckage of a light single engine airplane that crashed in here the previous year due to miscommunication between the crew and the ATC, bad weather being a factor too. What really happened to the Ten occupants according to the degree of destruction seen on the wreckage was beyond imagination!
At times, we must have the courage to bear pain, learn how to face danger and understand fear, yet, not be afraid. You establish your goal no matter what scares you along the way.
The descent leg took four hours, adding up to nine hours of pushing past our comfortable zones. Everyone was completely exhausted at the end, but we made it to feed our souls and Lived the Dash too.
The goal of life is to make our heartbeat match the beat of the Universe and to match our nature with Nature. Let’s get our lives measured by the moments that take away our breaths!
Live the Dash!