After two weeks of teaching, being a part of a community in rural Kenya, exploring Naro Moru town and many other new experiences, the SLIK students turn their attention to the second highest mountain in Africa at 17,055’, Mt. Kenya.
The SLIK group follows the Naro Moru track, which is only five miles up the road from Batian’s View. After driving to the Naro Moru Gate of Mt. Kenya National Park, the students begin their hike in the mountain’s dense forest ecosystem. No one needs to worry about losing the trail as the group hikes on a road to their first camp site. To keep pack weight to a minimum, the group sleeps in huts and porters help carry the group gear and food. The pace of the hike is slow so each hiker may become accustomed to the physical work at a higher elevation.
On the morning of the second day the group leaves the dense forest and ascends through several distinct ecological zones before reaching the upper region of rock and ice. The students’ effort of covering 6 miles and a 4,000’ elevation gain is rewarded upon arrival at Mackinder’s Camp and a large hut at the base of the mountain’s higher peaks. Looming another 3,000’ above is Batian, the highest peak on the mountain, and stunning views of glaciers, snowfields and other summits.
The goal of the mountain hike is for students to experience the amazing geography of Mt. Kenya, which lies directly on the equator. It is also an opportunity to challenge themselves, support each other, and collect life-long memories. The icing on the cake is reaching the summit of Pt. Lenana at 16,355’, the highest point one can reach without technical climbing gear. No previous hiking experience is necessary but participants must be ready for long days on the trail and the possibility of rain and cold weather. No special gear is needed and Batian’s View provides the necessary clothing and camping gear for a safe and comfortable time on the mountain. It is highly recommended, however, that students bring their own boots that have already been broken in and are comfortable for long hikes.