The story of two characters
who ventured into the crater of Mount Longonot
[ AND, without the aid of Coors, Tusker, or Bud-dumber ]

This 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).

Bob 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.

The 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 through.

We 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. We slid back two steps for every three we took, and the brush broke as we tried to hold onto it. 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.

Check out a better picture of the whole peak area.
Second good view.

Good photo from RVA framed in eucalyptus trees.

The hike described and a distant photo of the mountain.


 Back to Yarns