Sunday, June 26, 2011

Forest Fun

Just got back from yet another great weekend getaway!  We departed early Saturday morning for Kakamega, home to Kenya's Rainforest region.  Arriving at our destination early afternoon we dropped our gear off at our lodge and headed out for a few hour hike.  We hired a guide ... which wasn't necessary ... but nice, given that there were various trails to choose from and he was able to point out the various birds, monkeys and plants that inhabit the area. 

 While our trail was cleared quite well and make-shift bridges allowed us to traverse the streams and hills with ease, it was quite apparent that it would be near impossible to trek through the forest given the density of the ground cover, plants and trees.  While we only saw a few species of monkeys and birds along the way, the scenery and experience of hiking under the canopy of the rainforest was cool enough to make the jaunt worthwhile.  Thankfully, we arrived back at our cabin just in time to avoid the daily downpour.  For a solid few hours we sipped tea (which eventually turned to Tuskers) under our overhang as we watched sheets of rain and hail fall.  Once the rain cleared we had a great dinner and came back to the cabin for a few drinks and a couple of games of euchre (card game).  Having decided that we would be getting up at 5:30am for a sunrise hike, we called it an early night.

As always the morning arrived earlier than desired, but we laced up our shoes and headed out to meet a local guide for our sunrise hike.  Fitted with our headlamps and hiking gear we set off into the darkness with our guide.  We had witnessed how dark the rainforest can be during the day ... but let me tell you ... you do not know darkness until you trek through the rainforest during the night.  On top of it all, the rainforest was just beginning to wake up at 5:30am and we were surrounded by sounds of insects, frogs, birds and monkeys.  As we made our way up hill, we passed through the canopy before reaching a cave.  The cave was only about 50 meters deep but we had the chance to see a good number of bats, which after a few camera flashes were more than happy to go kamikaze on us. 

Finally, we reached our final destination ... a hilltop above the trees that provided a beautiful view of the entire Kakamega forest that played host to a magnificent sunrise.  After the sun came up and the fog began to lift off the forest canopy we began our hike back through the rainforest to the lodge for breakfast before heading home.

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