Friday, August 8, 2014

Hiking Slot Canyons at Hell's Gate - Traveling With Kids in Kenya

At the end of Hell's Gate park is a slot canyon that you can hike.  They ask you to hire a guide (they are provided by the park) or to sign a paper saying you realize that the canyon is dangerous and you take the risk on yourself.  We chose to hire the guide for 1500 shillings.  In 2012 a group of kids died in this canyon when a flash flood happened, they say their had been no rain in the area at the time that anyone was aware of.  We wanted to hedge our bets to safety, especially since everyone had already told us we were crazy for taking the kids with us in the first place.  There were so many things we did on this trip where people said we were nuts.  Ok let's be honest just going on this trip lots of people told us we were crazy.  But even once we were there people were always underestimating what they thought the kids would be able to handle.  I hope us proving them wrong encouraged more parents to try and take their kids places.  This particular hike Dr. J carried Cheetah much of the time on his back.  She would have loved to be allowed to run free but there were drops and water and we just wanted to keep her safe.  She loved it.  All the kids loved it.  Throughout the hike there were three hot springs.  This area has a huge inactive volcano.  They've actually built a huge geothermal plant to take advantage of the heat rising out of the ground.  In the slot canyon there are three places where the water comes out of the canyon wall hot.  It was a little shock to put your hand in the cold water of the canyon stream and then into the hot water of the spring coming off the canyon wall.  Our kids thought that was awesome.  We had a great time on the hike and it helped that we had 6 adults to our 4 kids.  Everyone chipped in and they got me through the canyon.  To be honest I'm worse than the kids.  And yeah they got the kids through as well.  At the very end of the canyon their was a huge dirt incline that we had to climb up.  Parts of it had a rope that you could use to help drag yourself up.  Parts of it you just hand to find good footing and slide a little bit.  At parts I had to run.  Dr. J says if you go fast you're less likely to slide.  At parts I actually had to yell at my feet to move, but move they did and in the end we all made it out.  At the top there was a little Masai market and the kids had fun picking out trinkets.  It was a great trip.  If you are ever in Kenya I would highly recommend it.  

Real men are not afraid to carry babies on their backs...they also carry more than their fare share of the load.
Peach loves the water.  Every place we go she is always looking for some and a stick to poke it with.  She's looking for fish.
Our friend Kristin.  She's in the program with Dr. J and she's the one who organized the whole trip.  I loved having her in Kenya with us.  It was great getting to know her.  We dropped her off after this trip and the next day Corrine and Jill left.  It was a rough week for me and I definitely cried.
My girls loved all these ladies as well.  I love having strong friends and surrounding my kids with such great role models.  
You know just a gorgeous slot canyon...sorry about the butt picture Kristin.  

These volcanic rocks are amazing.  These ones are so light that even Cheetah could pick up the big ones.  She also figured out you could throw them into water and they would float.  What kid wouldn't love that.  The walls in the canyon are covered in graffiti which is super sad but the guide we were with told us that every year when the heavy rains come the canyon fills and the walls are completely washed clean again.  

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