Saturday, August 18, 2007

Trip overview

Phew... This was possibly the hardest multi-day trek that I have so far done. Didn't feel like posting anything along the way. The first part, until Elena Hut, I was too tired because of carrying my rucksack instead of having a porter and the latter part, back from Elena Hut, I was too sick. All in all I am sure the experience would have been much better if I hadn't turned this into yet another test of stamina instead of just enjoying the walk and the scenery.

Bog, mist, mud, clouds, swamps, glaciers, marsh and everything pretty much five times bigger than elsewhere. What wasn't there was wind and sunshine. Early morning and sometimes in the evening you get clear skies but in this place it's needless to carry more than half a litre of water with you at one time.

My initial plan was to carry the rucksack the whole circuit and summit at least the three highest peaks. I failed to do that carrying the rucksack only to Elena Hut (4505m) and then handing it over to the guide. While Mt. Speke and Mt. Stanley went pretty much as planned, I chose not to attempt the technically most demanding of the three, Mt. Baker, to make sure I don't get seriously ill. I doubt I will go back for that one as I now have had my share of bog for this lifetime.

Rwenzori Central Circuit Trail is not something that should be attempted on a whim. While pretty much anybody can do the circuit without the peaks given the time anything beyond that requires experience, fitness and good gear. With many possible side trips along the way there is enormous potential in the park to challenge and even surpass Kilimanjaro as a hiking destination. At the moment, however, the casual hikers will and probably should go for the better established areas like Mt. Kilimanjaro, Mt. Kenya and Mt. Elgon.

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