15 January 2015

Christmas road-trip: Hiking at Mount Elgon

Endebess Bluff (8,400 feet in elevation)

“We are now in the mountains and they are in us, kindling enthusiasm, 
making every nerve quiver, filling every pore and cell of us.”
~ John Muir

“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. 
Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. 
The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, 
while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn.”
~ John Muir

We had a lovely lunch break on Elephant Platform, with such a stunning view. Uncle John was our guide for the day.

“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people 
are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; 
that wildness is a necessity”
~ John Muir

Out in the distance is Uganda

Mount Elgon is an extinct volcano, west of Kitale and straddling the border of Uganda and Kenya, with a high point of 14,000 feet. It's the oldest and largest solitary volcano in East Africa, covering an area of 1,350 square miles. We spent most of a day hiking around certain areas. Getting up to Endebess Bluff was quite steep, but a good challenge.

Photographing a waterfall as I stand inside Kitum Cave

We saw a LOT of recent elephant footprints in both dust and mud (photo on left) and MANY piles of dung... but we didn't see elephants. I read that they mostly come at night. The skull is from a young elephant that apparently fell and didn't make it out.

Kitum Cave is 200 feet wide and 650 feet deep. It contains salt deposits and it is frequented by elephants, buffalo, bushbuck, and hyena. The elephants gouge the walls with their tusks, which exposes the salt. The smaller animals eat the pieces the elephants leave behind.

Colorful pond inside the cave

Beautiful flower, maybe a thistle?

Large troop of baboons

Waterbuck, a beautiful large antelope

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