Hiking Wanale Ridge

Weekeneds are for exploring! And this weekend was no different.

They said hiking Wanale Ridge would be easy. Clearly they didn’t know that it would be in pure mud in the dark! This last weekend we had the opportunity to have a little girls trip because the boys were both sick. We went with a small tour group up to Sipi Falls and some other waterfalls up on the mountain right behind Mbale town. The views were absolutely stunning and made us fall in love with this country even more, which I did not think was even possible. We got to go to three different waterfalls and even though there were not really any hikes to them is was still an adventure because of the mud that was on the paths up to them. At one point, about 4 village boys came and helped pull us up the path because we were just sliding back down it. We got to walk behind some of the waterfalls and Becca, our coordinator, even got a lizard put on her head. After we were done seeing all the waterfalls, they took us back to Mbale where we grabbed food and then left (late because Ugandans are never on time for anything), to head up to Wanale Ridge. If you ever look at a picture of Mbale you will most likely see the giant plateaued mountain in the background. And we got to climb to the top of it. Let me just say that doing this hike in the day would have made it significantly less terrifying, but as it was, there were several moments that I actually thought I might slide right off the mountain to my death. The entire hike was uphill on slippery mud, over waterfalls, up branch ladders with a cell phone light in hand because I didn’t think to bring a real flashlight. Thankfully we all made it safely to the top, completely covered in mud. And of course all of the Africans with us just had a little bit of mud on their shoes because I think that they actually might be able to defy gravity.

Once we got to the top we found that they people who were setting up our camp had backslid in their truck on the way up and so they were not going to be there for a while. We ended up setting up camp around 10 pm and eating dinner at 3 in the morning. Even though it sounds like everything went wrong, it was one of the most fun weekends I have ever had. We became such good friends and really experienced parts of how beautiful Uganda really is. The “typicalness” of the whole weekend with everything going wrong but also being so fun is a perfect example of almost every day in Africa. It is frustrating and emotional and hard but also happy and fulfilling.