mountains

MUHABURA

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Last weekend, I finally hiked another one of the five volcanoes surrounding Musanze. The night before my hike, I woke up multiple times to pouring rain. It was the, “Noah and Ark, the flood is coming,” type of rain. Thankfully the rain calmed and in the early foggy, cloudy morning, a friend took me and my guide to a tiny little town at the base of Mt. Muhabura, where we waited for the guards that would accompany us. As I stood against a building trying to find shelter from the wind, a crowd of boys and men gathered around me-the muzungu (naturally). When an old man asked me where I was going, I pointed to the top of the mountain ahead. They all roared with laughter as they dispersed.

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After an hour or so of waiting, a large truck filled with armed guards finally pulled up. I joined them in the bed of the truck and we made our way up to the rocky road to the trailhead. The truck drove back to town as my guide, his porter, six armed guards and myself made our way towards the mountain.

I’m not going to bore you with the whole story. That would be a waste of space when there are so many wonderful photos for you to enjoy. However, you won’t appreciate these photos as much as I do. You can’t. You may admire them, and I hope you do, but these scenes can never be accurately depicted in photos, not without seeing them in person and experiencing the struggle that made them that much more incredible to see.

Now, I enjoy a good physical challenge, but this, well…this was a bit much. I should of known better than to try to climb an almost 14er when I was so out of shape. It didn’t take long for me to realize I was in over my head with this one. I said I wouldn’t bore you and I’ve already written more than I intended. Just know, the hike included this: Some laughing at myself, lots of talking to myself (only one of my eight hiking companions spoke any English), coming up with all sorts of mountain climbing-life analogies, a good amount of prayer and some singing. Oh, and lots of water and photo breaks. This hike also required me recognizing and admitting my own weakness (something I hate to do), and to be humbled in a lot of ways that I won’t try to explain here. Ultimately, I was reminded once again of God’s provision and presence in my life. And I got to conquer a mountain in the process.

Enough blabbing. Check out these photos.

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Fun fact:  Yesterday was the first (and only) day I have seen Muhabura since I hiked it a week ago.

BISOKE

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On the ride up to Bisoke. Before we hit the unpaved road.

Due to a lack of both internet and motivation this past week, I am behind on this blog whole blog thing. So…I’ll back track a little.  A couple weekends ago I hiked a volcano. Yeah.  I did.

IMG_9105Mount Bisoke, is one of the five volcanoes here in Rwanda. It’s not an active volcano, at least I don’t think it is, however it does have a crater lake at the top, which is pretty neat.  It was a beautiful hike through thick lush terrain.  Sadly, I did not see any exciting wildlife on this hike, but I wouldn’t of been surprised if at any moment I had seen a gorilla, an elephant, or even Tarzan and Jane.  Speaking of gorillas…though it’s not common to see these scarce creatures unless on a, “gorilla tracking tour/hike,” it is possible to see them while on other hikes (like the one I went on).  Non gorilla hikes are much cheaper than gorilla specific hikes, however if you are not on a gorilla hike, you’re not allowed to photograph any gorillas that you may be lucky enough to see. So apparently you don’t actually pay a high price to see the gorillas…you pay to take their photo.  Anyways…

We kept a pretty quick pace the whole way up the mountain…well, as quick a pace as you can keep when taking a sandbag staircase meant for someone with really long IMG_9103legs.  Regardless, we started at the bottom of the volcano and made it to the top in a decent amount of time.  By the time we reached the top, it was already surrounded by clouds which continued to close in on us, so after catching our breath, taking a few obligatory “we just hike a volcano” photos, we made our way back down the mountain just as it started to rain. After slipping and sliding down a few hundred yards, we made it back out of the clouds and enjoyed the rest of the hike with clear sunny skies up until the very last stretch, when it decided to pour. This hike provided some much needed outdoor adventure, physical activity, and time with friends. Hopefully I’ll have the chance to conquer more volcanoes in the near future.

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The crew, plus a few fellow hikers at the top of Bisoke

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IMG_9098Jesse and Roger thought they saw some gorillas…..must of been the elevation