March 24, 2013

Can't judge a day

It was 6am, on a Saturday, and it was raining in Nairobi.  In my world, those three strikes equal a half day in bed and another half day baking and eating warm banana bread.  But I had already paid my dues to Sports 4 Change to go on their Crater Lake hike, and as my dad says, I'm nothing if not thrifty.  So I reluctantly rolled myself out of bed and smeared on some ironic SPF 70 sunscreen.  

Then I dozed on the bus for a few hours, waking now and then to snap some Rift Valley pictures.  Because, really, you can never have enough to truly represent the magnificent expanse.  

Storm clouds and drizzle en route

And so I napped.  And snoozed.  And slumbered just a bit, until we turned off the main highway from Waiyaki Way and started to loop around Lake Naivasha.  And I woke up where it became another world.  The rainy season from Nairobi had stayed behind, and we were in a land of perpetual Kenyan summer, blue skies, and warm sun, with a hint of breeze to ensure our pleasant stay.  

Crater Lake is, well, a small lake in a crater, around the west side of Lake Naivasha.  Sitting within the remnants of an extinct volcano, it's jade-green in color and the Maasai reputedly believe it's waters have healing powers.  

Note the cabins nested around the right side, complete with a floating restaurant jutting into the lake.  

It's not a particularly difficult place to reach- 3 hours door to door from Nairobi to reception for the tented camps.  But convenience isn't the end-game when you're in high-gear fitness training.  So we started at the edge of the game-park and hiked about 3 more hours from the start point, through the Savannah, over the crater, and around the lake.   

It was something like this:

I love old maps like this, despite their complete lack of telling you where you are or where you should be going. 

Like Crescent Island, the game park surrounding Crater Lake provides something of a walking safari.  We started with a casual stroll across relatively flat terrain, only to come suddenly upon a zebra watering hole.  

Only in Kenya

Giraffes (baby on the left) and zebra butts

From the crater summit, you get your first view of the lake, to be followed by a series of completely unnecessary glamour shots.  

Oh, who, me?

Rounding the lake, we also encountered a nearly-complete giraffe skeleton.  Apparenlty one who died of natural causes but was subsequently stripped clean by hyenas.  If you look closely at this the skull, you can see that it only has 2 remaining teeth (on the upper right side of the pic).  Such is one of the natural ways in which giraffes die- they lose their teeth and starve to death.  

Two teeth

But on a brighter note.  We picnic lunched on soft grass at the far side of the lake, where flamingos frolicked, and I took a second nap in filtered sun beneath a grand tree.


Flamingo x2

The view from my nap

Which I suppose all goes to say that you can't judge a day by it's 6am.  Really, you can't judge a day until you can look back on it's entirety.  All you can do is enjoy the passing of its hours, and then enjoy the memory of its feeling.  

Crater Lake

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