I recently got an opportunity to trek Mpanga Forest with the Mountain Slayers and it was everything the doctor recommended. The forest is home to 300 bird species and it’s located in Mpigi district, one hour out of Kampala.
In the morning of the trek, we got a rundown of what we should expect and honestly, my body wasn’t ready for what the ears heard. “We have about 26 kilometers to cover, a few hills so it shouldn’t be hard.” I looked around and all I could see was a bunch of fit people or at least they looked it. At this point, the only thing that ran through my mind was my last work out session, “what happened to the new year’s resolution?” I pondered.
As we began the trek, I noticed a Rottweiler which looked rather beastly. He was a true embodiment of “beware of dogs” or the dog you put in your house to chase visitors. To my surprise, he was the friendliest dog I had ever met and as much as I tried not to get so close, he kept finding me.
Named Troy after the famous movie or his mother Helene who was the most beautiful Rottweiler (I think), he was rather too energetic! he kept pacing up and down the hill and if he only knew the journey ahead he would have stayed calm.
It’s amazing to know the things you accomplish with insane amounts of confidence. Troy knew his strength and he wasn’t the least intimidated by the neighborhood dogs which kept barking every time we passed them. He was a lot bigger than them and more disciplined even though his size was quite intimidating for the locals as well. Several people kept giving him way at the mere sight.
After several hours of trekking, I noticed he had stopped running aimlessly and I couldn’t help myself but laugh. He reminded me of those guys who start marathons on a high pace and burn out midway. Luckily for him, all he needed was some water and shade and he was good to go for the rest of the journey.
Setting off from our campsite in Lungala, the trek was supposed to take us through the village, to Mpanga forest and back to the camp. Everything was okay except my body wasn’t fully prepared for it.
As I climbed up one of the gazillion hills, I could feel my legs attempt to give way. My thighs were on fire and I remember letting out a silent prayer, “God if you get me through this, I promise to work out more.” A few minutes later, I had a sigh of relief as we reached our first rest spot. I was all smiles until I looked at the time and saw it had only been 2 hours of trekking (Insert frowning face).
The locals were friendly people and every time we met them, we exchanged pleasantries. When we met children we asked them how they are and they would adorably reply “I am fine”, as usual. But one beautiful girl surprised us. She took it an extra mile and said, “I am smart, fine and happy.” Our hearts melted and one of the guys ran over to tip her.
The trek through Mpanga Forest was like detox juice which helped eliminate toxins from my body. The sound of birds chirping, the fresh cool air and the gigantic trees, it was so easy to get lost in its beauty.
There was this branch which stretched out from the treetop to the bottom and it made some people feel like re-enacting Tarzan. The brave ones decided to swing on it, while others said they would only attempt if they had gloves on.
As I jumped over water puddles and tiptoed around fire ants, I often wondered what it could be like if trees would talk and walk, would it protect them from being cut down? Or would they be like Groot (a Marvels Character) and help their friends in time of need? Would they migrate if they are angry? Or would it be the silent treatment? The questions were quite many.
By the time we made it back to the camp, I was completely worn out from the seven-hour trek and my body was in all sorts of pain. What’s funny – the only thing I craved was tea.
Still to Come: Camp Fire