Saturday, June 18, 2016

Hiking Mulanje

I’ve lived in the Mulanje District of southern Malawi for almost two years. The mountain range here provides a stunning backdrop for my life in the village. Whether I am drinking tea and watching the sunrise, teaching a class, taking a trip to the Boma, or even just bathing, the mountains are always there. Still, living near them and hiking them are really different, and I have been wanting to go up there since I moved here. This past weekend I finally made the trek up there with my PCV friends Sheila and Talya.

Me, Sheila and Talya on the trail

We did the hike over three days with our guide, Steve. Steve is a local that knows these trails well, and has guided lots of PCVs on this hike.

The first day we hiked from Likhubula on the Skyline Path, a shorter but steeper route. Emphasis on the steep. It felt like uphill for hours. This was the most difficult part of the hike. Lots of stops to catch our breath. I felt like I didn't get to enjoy the scenery as much because I was so tired from the hike.

We stopped at a creek for lunch around 12:30pm, where there were linthumbu (army ants) all about. I guess they like this more forested area. Then we continued on to the Chisepo Hut. Luckily the latter half of the hike was not as steep. Around 5:00 we finally reached the hut where we would spend the night.

This is the view from the Chisepo Hut:

There are several huts located at different places throughout the mountains. Each hut has a caretaker that brings water and firewood to the hut. Inside there are tables, chairs, a fireplace and mattresses. So all you need to bring in your pack is food and clothes and sleeping gear.

It was really beautiful up there. You could see for miles (or kilometres for those on the metric system). Sheila took this photo at one of the many scenic overlooks.

The second morning Sheila and Talya hiked up to the summit, Sapitwa, which is 3002 km high. I hung out at the hut and recovered from the first day. Then we hiked back to Chambe Hut by a slightly different path then what we took the day before. It wasn't as difficult, but I was still pretty beat up from the previous day's hike, so I was really glad when we spotted our hut as we rounded the last hill.

The Chambe Hut seemed really new and well-insulated. It even had these cool triple bunkbeds to sleep on. I got the middle spot.

The last day we hiked from Chambe Hut back to Likhubula on a longer, but less steep trail. It was still plenty steep though it was downhill, and I my feet were pretty sore by the end of it. We stopped for a break at this gorgeous waterfall.

And then we were finished.

To celebrate the completion of our hike we stopped for pizza and Cokes at Mulanje Pepper in Chitakale.

It's been two days since the hike, and I'm still really sore. Plus I have these monster blisters on my feet, like this one

All in all, I would say it was a very challenging hike. Sometimes miserable, sometimes beautiful, sometimes wonderful, but at least I always had good company. I'm glad I did it, and I'm also glad it's over. Now if only those blisters would heal!

No comments:

Post a Comment