STORY OF MOUNT LONGONOT
story of two characters
who ventured into the crater of Mount Longonot
[ AND, without the aid of Coors, Tusker, or Bud-dumber ]
story takes place in about 1960 when I was a student at Rift Valley Academy in
Kenya. The school was a boarding school for missionaries' kids. Someone in the
RVA staff organized a hike up Mount Longonot. Bob Capen and I decided it would
make a better Saturday than sitting in our dorm rooms all day, so we joined the
excursion. We all climbed a well worn trail to the top from the north side, which
is the direction from which you are viewing the picture (north being to your back,
and looking south).
Capen and I would have come up to the crater at the lower center of the photo.
We then followed the very top of the rim on a well worn path moving to the right.
At about the center of the right curve in the photo, we climbed down into the
crater where there is a steam jet. If you take along your potatoes and a lump
of meat in a mess bag, you can cook your lunch by hanging it down the steam jet,
or so I am told. Bob Capen and I then crossed the bottom of the crater from right
to left right across the center of the photo. The plants in the bottom of the
crater were a pale dull green, and every plant, though technically alive, broke
as if it had died. This must have been due to the mineral content from the lava
dissolved into the ground water.
ground was nothing but boulders all the way across, and it was porous. We did
not bother to stop and feel the boulders as we jumped from boulder to boulder
all the way across. We discovered, only after reaching the far side of the crater,
that the boulders we had been hopping over were not ordinary pumice. The holes
in the rock were about one sixteenth to one eighth inch, and the edges of the
holes were very sharp. I had on a new pair of tennis shoes, and by the time I
reached the far left of the crater, the soles of the tennis shoes were paper thin.
It was a very close thing that we were not hurt by falling or our shoes wearing
had the notion that we could beat the rest of the hiking party as they walked
around the rim on the path on the top edge. Were we ever wrong. We were exhausted
as we tried to climb the far left of the crater. The bushes in the bottom of the
crater you see in the photo were actually trees about 8 feet high. As we climed
the rim on the left, we slid back two steps for every three we took forward, and
the brushes broke as we tried to hold onto them. By the time we made it to the
bottom of the mountain, the group we were with was very disgusted with us, for
they had waited for some time for us heroes to come gasping down the mountain.
out a better picture of the whole peak area.
Second good view.
to Yarns Menu Page
TO ENTRY PAGE OF THE JOURNAL