About three months ago, i was introduced to local Guide community, at first i didn’t want to be a part of it but after much consideration i decided to join the community..
For those that don’t know who a local guide or what local guide is all about: Local Guides is a global community of explorers who write reviews, share photos, answer questions, add or edit places, and check facts on Google Maps. Millions of people rely on the contributions of local guides to decide where to go and what to do.
Upon my visit to Mmaku two weeks ago, i got a call from Austin, one of the top local guides in Enugu who happens to be the person that introduced me to the community, inquiring if i have gone back to cross river, because according to him my number hasn’t been going through and i haven’t responded to the messages he sent me, he told me he was calling to inform me that he applied for a meetup and it was approved. I asked for date and he said 17th, the same date with Enugu Social Media Hangout. I have looked forward to that Enugu Social Media Hangout ever since i was informed of it but i couldn’t disappoint Austin, His meetup was the first in Enugu and if we didn’t make it memorable the Enugu Local Guide community might be discouraged from applying for a meet up again and i might one day apply for a meetup and i wouldn’t want to be disappointed. I have seen picture and recap of lots of meetup across the world and they were all great and i want the same for ours so i had to cancel my already made plans.
On the day of our Geo Walk, we were supposed to meet at Amokwe bus stop from where we will take off to Akwuke, While I, Chiazodo and Austin were waiting for others, to satisfy my curiosity i asked Austin why he chose Geo walk among all categories of Meetup he could have chosen from, He said he liked Hiking, i found that funny because he doesn’t seem much like an outdoor person and for him to choose mountain climbing under Geo walk seem funny to me but he seemed excited and i don’t want to be the one to ruin that.. Few minutes later, Ella came and i was like really, does she even know where we are going and what lies ahead?.. They said don’t judge a book by its cover but i did judge Ella, just a little though, to me she looked so fragile and i wasn’t the only one that think so. After some minutes Vadoo and Jennifer joined us and we headed off, when we got to gariki, we had to wait for Austin and Chiaz who went to get some fruits and snacks, while waiting for them Michael came but Nkenna couldn’t meetup with us there. When Austin and Chiaz came back they were packed, surprisingly Austin went all out, He bought a lot even though he wasn’t supposed to get anything for us. After arranging the thing he bought we took off to Akwuke but had a little hiccup on the way but Austin took care of it even though it wasn’t how i would have wanted it to be but his method saved us a lot of time. After the little setback caused by some jobless youth of Akwuke town we headed down the water side were our Adventure officially started.
Aside from me, none of the Local Guides participating in the Geo walk have been to that part of Enugu, They loved the Environment and seemed excited to have been a part of the activity, since i was the only one with camera they request i start taking picture as the Real Geo Walk has started. After taking a shot of them at the water side, i have to hand the camera over to Chiaz as he is the only one that knows how to handle a camera very well to take a shot of me with the group because i didn’t just want to be the guy with camera, i want to be a Local Guide on a Geo Walk.
Since i was their guide to the hilltop i decided we go through the fulani camp, let them see another side of the Fulanis that are part of a community, while on our way we met one of my little fullani friend muhammed taking his cows out for food, after our little chat we took some picture together and we continued our journey, on getting to their settlement one of the little ones reached out to us and while chiaz, Micheal, Vadoo and Jenny stopped to take some picture with them i went in pursuit of a Heron that has always eluded me while Ella followed me.
Also Read: A Hike Through Idaw River To Ikirike Hilltop
After leaving the fulani camp, we headed into the forest from where we will make our way to the hilltop, the journey through the forest was smooth but i know it might have seemed long for others, the complain wasn’t too much, the ladies were great, for people who haven’t gone on hiking before, they are the kind of people i love hiking with because i hardly look back and i love it when i look back and see you you keeping up the pace, half way into the forest i started getting a little complain from Austin which at first got me angry but i kept calm when i looked at the faces of others and noticed they are all calm and i sensed they might be getting tired but they signed up for it, it’s an adventure and they shouldn’t expect it to be easy. While Austin kept complaining on their behalf asking when we will get to the hilltop when we haven’t even left the forest area.
Also Read: My Visit To The Beautiful Town of Mmaku
Even though it seemed as if they are getting tired but we kept going until they started seeing the green area which gave them a little hope. sincerely it wasn’t easy but i didn’t want to treat them as though they were fragile after seeing Ella walk through the forest as if she had know the forest in and out.
After making it to the first base on the hill, They all were so happy, it seemed as if they have won a trophy, the excitement was infectious, even though i pretended as if getting there was nothing but it wasn’t easy, the kind of feeling i had the first time i made my way to the hilltop was what i saw in them, but we haven’t gotten to the top so they should bring it down a little. When they looked towards the top they said we should just stay there but i knew they were bluffing.
I allowed them to to take some pictures and i also took a shot of them, we rested and took some snacks before i told them we are on our final destination, remembering the movie final destination jenny said she wasn’t going again if we are on our final destination, well, we had to laugh it off while we headed to the peak..
Few minutes later, wow! we made it.. The journey that seemed unending finally came to an end and everyone was so existed but jenney was little worried about how we are going to get down, seeing how tough it was coming up she said it was going to be tougher going down. Insead of being bothered about how we are going to get down we decided to make the most of our stay there by walking around the hill, enjoying the cool breeze, the view, chatting, taking some shot, enjoying the fruits, drinks and snacks that was presented to us by Austin and also learning some new things about the Local Guide Community from Austin.
Just as we were getting ready to head down, we noticed a presence, four people had just joined us and it was Nkenna, the topmost local guide in Enugu, he came alongside another local Guide Obi and Two Natives of Atakwu Emeka and his brother who guided them to the hilltop. Looking at them, they were very exhausted, it seemed as if they have climbed Mount Everest so we handed them the remaining water we had with us to quench their thirst, sincerely we didn’t know they will still make it because the last time we called them it seemed as if they have turned back because we told them we were already at the peak of the hill. After hydrating they told us how they made there way halfway to the hill but had to go back when they didn’t see us, well, it’s not always about the journey but the destination and i was glad they made it while we were still there.
While everyone was catching up i kept imaging how people who are just meeting each other for the first time could bond as if they have known one another for years, from the point we all met each other at gariki we chatted as if we have know for ages. Aside from Vadoo, jenny, Austin and Chiaz who are all doing their Msc program at UNEC, most of us are seeing each other for the first time, Although i have been friend with Chiaz since 2017 during our NYSC days, I just met Austin about two months ago through Chaiz but the rest are all strangers to each other but it never seemed so. I imagined if it would have been so if Austin had chosen any other category of meetup, am sure after introductions everybody will be on their phones and the meetup wouldn’t even last upto an hour but this one was 7 hours.
While i was lost in my thought, imagining the different way the meetup could have turned out if it wasn’t a Geo Walk, i was alerted that its time for a group picture, after our picture, we debated on which way to go down from and at the end we took the way that Nkenna and Obi came up through which i think was more difficult to go down from but anything other than were we came up through is better for Jenny.
Well, going down wasn’t easy but i think obi’s comment is going to summarize our experience going down and their experience coming up.
Today was epic.. legs were broken, flesh was torn, tears were shed. But the joy and happiness at the end was 125%. I wasn’t prepared cos I came from work, I wasnt with the right shoe and turns out we were climbing a hill of 75degrees gradient. It wasn’t funny.. we crawled through thick forest and got lost at some point but luckily we made to the top.
This experience today is one I will never forget. And you all that made it to the top of that mountain made today memorable and I am grateful. (Obi)
But the truth was that at the end, we all had fun. For those who are going to visit the hill next time they shouldn’t worry about a path to follow as jenny has created one for them.
When it finally came to an End.