The Sun on Mt. Kenya

I just got back today from a five-day trek to Mt. Kenya – twelve teens, three teachers and one doctor spent the week hiking to 16,000ft and back.

Wait, this sounds familiar. Didn’t you do this last year?

Yep! But this year was a little different. This was the “Advanced Mt. Kenya trip.” Instead of thirty 9th-graders, we had twelve 10th/11th graders. Instead of having porters carry food and cook for us, we carried and cooked everything ourselves. Instead of a day-time ascent, we did a night ascent to see the sunrise at the top. And we had no major medical issues like appendicitis! It was an excellent trip with perfect weather, great kids and spectacular views. The hikes were hard – in fact, I would say “punishing” for non-mountain types like me – but the views and the quality conversations with kids made it worth every blister, sore muscle, and frosty night.

Instead of giving you a minute-by-minute recap of the adventure like I did last year, I have decided to share a song. Two of the girls and I composed this on the last hike of the week (this morning). We used the tune and idea from the song “Here comes the sun” by the Beatles, and changed the words to reflect various highlights from the week. Maybe once we record it for our slide show, I’ll post a piece of us singing it. For now you’ll just have to have the tune in your head.


** Lenana, aka Point Lenana, is the third highest peak of Mt. Kenya, and the only one of the three which can be reached without technical climbing gear. It stands at 16,350ft.

Here Comes the Sun (on Lenana)

Monday mornin’
we’ve got a long, cold hike ahead.
Grab your backpacks,
twenty kilos of trail mix and cheese.

Tuesday mornin’
the frost is biting at your fingers.
Making oatmeal,
The peaks are still so far away.

Where is the sun on Lenana? **
Where is the sun?

It’s alright

Wednesday mornin’
wake up to frost inside the tent.
Feelin’ drowsy,
three days and two hours of sleep.

it’s 2am, the moon is high.
Single file,
trudging step-by-step into the sky.

Here comes the sun
on Lenana

Here comes the sun

And I say, it’s alright

Thursday mornin’
the long walk home has just begun.
Nine hours later
my lips are burned, my feet are done.

Friday mornin’
the trip is coming to an end.
Toss the trail mix
I’ll never eat a nut again.

We saw the sun
on Lenana

We saw the sun

It’s alright

Lunch at Barney’s
I’ll have five burgers and three milkshakes.
Table and chair,
I almost miss those Soviet cookstoves.

Back on the bus
dreaming of a shower and clean clothes.
Stuck in traffic,
the air is thick on Thika road.

I miss the sun
on Lenana
I miss the sun
and I say, it’s alright


As proof that the sun on Lenana really is amazing …

Here are the views as we approached the mountain on Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday: (Lenana is the peak on the left)

Here is a view from the top of Lenana at sunrise on Thursday:

Here is one of our campsites just so you can get an idea of the landscape:

And the moon really was lovely every night.
Here is a pic of it rising just before sunset on Wednesday.
This is the same moon that lit our path for the 2am ascent on Thursday.

One thought on “The Sun on Mt. Kenya

Add yours

  1. Cool! Great that you got to go to a different and more challenging part of Mt Kenya this year — and that no crazy medical emergencies like last year! love the pics too!


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