(…buzz….buzz…buzz.. buzzz….)*Running and breathing frantically*
Only God knows where my bag is. Shit! My sneakers! Where did I put them..(buzzzzzz…buzzzz…buzzzz) My thoughts gets interrupted by the buzzing sound. Ouch! What’s that needle-like pain on my neck, Ouch!!! my face! my back!! Ouch!!
Hello there, it’s your boy Obizzle and I know you must be wondering how I got myself in this situation and why this story starts like this…Stay with me, I’ll tell you.
12:36pm — Almost everyone was seated on the bus now, only few were left to be screened. The bus would contain about a hundred of us, some would seat and others stand. People I’ll refer to as youths, young, good looking and agile youths -definitely not lazy ones. Lazy people don’t hike. Dressed in casual wears more sporty than the usual casual, off to go hike. This was my first time going on a hike or being among a “tribe” as the group was formally called. “Being among a “tribe” sounds badass” I thought to myself. The weeks prior, I had procrastinated on going on a hike and it all came down to this day. I wished for nothing less of an adventure today. Something I could reminisce later on or probably write about.
12:53pm- We set out on our quest. “Wanderlust”, the theme of today’s hike didn’t bring so much meaning when I first saw the poster on IG and decided to register until I got talking with a guy I met on the bus about it. Only then did i realize how much wanderlust (a strong desire to travel or wander) I had in me. About an hour later of bludgeoning through the bumpy roads (the dire state of roads in this country*sigh*) we arrived at a destination that would lead us to the part where we would hike. Location was Okwojo Ngwo, Enugu state, Nigeria. We marched through a clear path past rural settlements, tall mountains lay ahead. Houses made from palm fronds were existent in this part. Looking at them brought a certain feeling of nostalgia, remembering my visits to my village back in the late 199os- early 2000s, that is before civilization found it’s way to my village. We walked in a straight file down the path led by the hike coordinators. I had always thought this was how a hike would be like. People walking on a single line heading to the mountains to disturb nature.
It’s April so I didn’t expect the sun to be out that day, we had clear skies and the ground was almost moist like it had rained not so long ago in Ngwo. We paired ourselves as we marched on, having conversations each other, probably someone they had just met or an acquaintance. I paired with the guy who sat next to me on the bus and we discussed about topic ranging from business to life and everything. Some hikers played music while some preferred to walk silently. Not so much had happened at this juncture as we were just getting into the hike. We had walked for about 20 minutes and this was a good ole cardio session for me. Then we came to a stop for a bit of briefing from the hike coordinators because we were about to go to the parts were there was a waterfall so the briefing was quite important. For first timers like myself, we were advised to pair up and not to be the last person to avoid being left behind. We took numbers for the sake of accounting just so that. Imagine getting left behind in here. You’ll be sorry.
BUZZ! buzz!! BUZZ!!! At this point all over my scalp hurt like hell. I had taken 6 or 7 stings to my scalp yet this little monsters were relentless. My shoes and bag were some where I don’t know but they were the least of my concern at that moment. I picked a few stingers off, about 6 of them and I was wondering why these little terrorists chose me!
As an adult I’ve not been attacked by a bee, except as a child and it’s hard to remember how it felt. I know it was painful though. And here I was, being clawed with needle-like proboscis from bees. If only everyone had heeded to the plan and followed the designated path. If only those guys that followed a different path and went to the bees hive to disturb them had not done that.…(sigh) too late.
I wasn’t the only one getting stung, and I was somewhat grateful for that, alongside there was someone else also getting the heat I was getting although a little less than mine. The bees had attacked him also and we both ran uphill hoping that the bees will lose interest and go back to their hive. Apparently, he was one of the hike coordinators so he knew the terrain very well and kind of had some knowledge about bees. From him I learned that they (the bees) die after stinging and that bee venom has health benefits that can make humans live longer, sort of like an anti-ageing product, provided that you’re not allergic to it. Also, why they singled both of us out was because we killed some of their comrades so these little (or not so little) vindictive bees were out on a chivalrous revenge mission.
After the bee lecture, we followed a different path because the bees showed no signs of forgiveness, this time we were accompanied my two security personnel. It felt good to be with strong men wearing body armor, it’s not like the armors could protect from a swarm of spiteful bees but the assurance was needed. We flanked the other hikers en route the water fall and happened to get there before them, much to their amazement.
Sadly I couldn’t join in the fun at the waterfall because my sneakers and bag were no where to be found. When you’re being chased by bees, your bags and shoes fall down your list of priority at that moment. I swear. Others had dipped into the pond swimming and taking pictures at the waterfall.
After asking my co-hikers if anyone had seen my belongings and getting no positive response I resorted to going back to where I had last seen it to get it back. This meant tracing back the path that we came through, back to where the bees were, barefoot, alone without proper knowledge of the region, with no network signal around….Wahala.
This is a bad idea. I thought to myself. Well, I asked for an adventure before setting out today and here I was, faced with the best adventure I could have dreamed of. The walk back was longer than it normally should have and I had to come to a startling realization that I was lost. Thank goodness I marked my route with sticks so I was able, with lots of difficulty, to trace my steps back, head out again and get lost again. I missed my way three times. The easier route was to follow the shallow water and it would lead me. As proverbial as this sounds it was my best option. But I was unsure of what lurked underneath those waters. I’ve heard of poisonous reptiles. Whether this was their habitat, I wasn’t sure about. All I could think of that could go wrong in those waters came flooding my thoughts. Worst, what if, a lost tribe of ancient men captured me for trespassing and took me to their secret village to cook and eat me.
“nah I shall get my stuff” I assured myself. Maybe not by passing through the shallow water parts but I shall.
Luckily I met a hiker on my forlorn journey, much to my amazement. I first had to be sure from a distance that he wasn’t an indigene of a lost tribe who lived in the jungle and would capture….”OH SNAP OUT OF IT!” I mustered.
Apparently, had dropped one of his camera equipment and had gone back alone to go get it. I humbly asked him to escort me back to go get my stuff and without a single doubt he obliged. Great guy. His name, Daniel and he’s a photographer like myself (@OLSANTANDANIEL on instagram).
He advised we follow the shallow water because it was easier. Given that I had company, I didn’t dread the water so much again. as we marched we talked about photography while climbing rocks, holding branches for support as we passed this beautiful place. I felt like George of the jungle the way I made my way through, showboating along the way. haha
When we got to the bee place (I call it bee place because they showed me who’s boss) they were quite a few bees there. To our luck they were uninterested in us and I just took my stuff and we hurried away. Before the bees will change their minds and descend us. We got back to the waterfall and linked up with the other hikers then we all set out to a settlement of Fulani nomads.
At the nomad’s settlement I met with the Fulani women and kids, the men were MIA as they had gone out to their respective places of work. The huts where the Fulanis lived were made from various materials that looked like scrap yet the architectural aesthetic it gave was so beautiful. The colors of the materials complimented each other and one could see that a lot of thought had gone into the creation of these huts. We were instructed not to take pictures here to respect the privacy of the nomads. However, I couldn’t help it and because I get coconut head. here you go.
At this point we had done most of the scheduled activities of the hike and many of us were out of breath and some just fatigued, notably my humble self. I had energy only for my trip back home. Other activities we had not done had to be exempted because of time and everyone subconsciously agreed we call it a day.
I still had the energy to converse with some of my co-hikers. I was glad I met everyone I had close contacts with. The point of hiking exceeds the physical training innuendo that comes with it, networking, having fun and adventure are all a major part of it.
Thanks to @thehikerstrail for this opportunity, thanks to @bokehub for the amazing pictures also to my co-hikers, thanks for without you all there wouldn’t be a hike and lastly thanks to everyone who kept reading and has reached this point of this story. I hope you enjoyed it.
I write stories about my life’s experience, some you might find relatable. Kindly follow me if you have a medium account and you enjoyed this content.
As of now, I’m doing very fine (for those who are worried about me). The stings left a swelling and tiny abrasions on my skin but it doesn’t hurt anymore. I experienced symptoms like itching all over my face and scalp and I had a boil on the lower lid of my right eye- my friend who is in the medical field told me I’m reacting to the venom. I have been taking meds and I’ve recovered fully.
Okwojo-Ngwo was a memorable place for me. To experience nature in all its glory was something I’ll forever remember and would want to do again. I’ll definitely hike again, go back to disturb nature so she will give me the adventure my spirit yearns for.
Someone said after the attack of the bees I should change my name from Obizzle to Obeezle. Still under consideration.