Updated: Jun 18, 2021
"No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle." - winston churchill
Horses and more horses. We moved from Borana to a little hotel in Nanyuki, where I met up with one of my closest friends and colleagues who decided to join us on our quest of becoming the voice of the "boots on the ground". It was pool time! Sunburn time! And simply "chill" time! No noses in the computer, typing away or working on footage. The noses were sniffing cocktails or beers. Some noses were sniffling due to a cold. And the ears were hearing horrible screams at night (nope, not beer and cocktail induced). Kim and I would run outside in our pajamas, trying to figure out what in the world was going on- nothing. A picture for the gods above- hair wild, eyes wild, everything wild really. Until someone finally told us about a little animal called tree hyrax- jeez these things were epically loud. A few days later we were picked up by the Mount Kenya Trust's executive director Suzie (and her little shepard) who swiftly brought us to their HQ to meet the team and make plans for our time spent with their horse backed anti poaching unit. And we tasted the best fries in all of Laikipia- the sauces were melting in ones mouth- from spicy to sweet and everything in-between. The little shopping center became a regular stop on our way to the stables. Horses are such a great tool - they move quietly, cover a lot of ground, and animals accept them (and their riders) amidst their herds. The rangers were gentle and patient with us while we were sending them from Pontius to Pilatus, through forests and savanna's, with cold winds blowing and clouds moving around above us, giving us dramatic light, fitting for this little adventure high up on the slopes of Mount Kenya.
We were riding through a world heritage site. The diversity of the area includes an ancient forest, endless bushland and the mountain itself. Herds of zebras and antelope would roam the endless green pastures and elephants would safely follow their migration route between the mountains and the Samburu lowlands which in return reduces the human- wildlife conflict. The Horseback patrol team we were spending time with, covers vast distances on hardy Ethiopian ponies to monitor the forests and moorlands, with high altitude satellite camps extending their reach.
I finally got to get on a horse again- a sturdy, litte brownish red guy with half an ear missing and a friendly face. It was a very special moment for me to get to ride through ancient forests, with birds of prey watching us and the wind blowing through evergreen leaves, singing its own song. A litte peace in a world full of danger and hurt- the illegal wildlife trade does not stop but I realized that by taking these moments and making then into memories, I would never forget why I am here.
(photos: bog photography, kimberly wood, andreas maxones photography)