I have been thinking of the best words to form a perfect opening sentence for this article but I still haven’t gotten one that best suit my experience during the hiking at the hill eastward of Akwuke Sand Beach in Enugu South, Enugu State in Nigeria. It is a perfect antithesis of what I had expected but you what, it was exhilarating!
When I said it was antithetical to the earlier proposition I had, I mean it. A visit to the Sand Beach and observing the mystery behind with my hike partner, Chinedu Chime was all I had planned for at the early hours of the day. However, things played out in different way, he caught a gaze at the hill we thought was just a hairsbreadth from the Sand Beach with no route leading to the hilltop. My partner had been on solo hike in the last few days so he wanted us to try something new.
Apparently, the hill was standing aloof, with bush and trees surrounding it. It was a horse of a different colour. Who would want to explore such in this dispensation, I quipped. Maybe I shouldn’t have doubt him at the first instance but the truth is, I did. Nonetheless, we set out for this beautiful adventure; it was nerve-racking, invigorating and exhilarating. It was just two of us, clearing the path and walking the bush all the way the hilltop.
If you plan on visiting the Coal City in the near future, hiking the hills around the city would add spice to such trip. Let me say, it will turn out to be a miniature of the experience you will get while hiking the mountains of east Africa – from Zanzibar in Tanzania to the Kilimanjaro is Kenya. If as a low budget hiker you need fun and mind-blowing experience while hiking, Enugu has a perfect treat for you. From the Milliken Hill that has one of the major road that leads to the hilly Ngwo settlement and the hills of Idaw River which provides a clear view of Enugu’s evanescent landscape architecture and the natural plain that surrounds the city, the city though not set on the hills as the name literally means has several hills within her.
By the way, the last paragraph was just a drift and an expose on what I have been enjoying since I moved to Enugu State. The mandatory one year service in Nigeria brought me to the city, it is 520km away from where I was born and bred – Ibadan, Oyo State. I am one of the few, who are Pan-Nigerian in nature, the north, particularly Kaduna was where I wanted to be while serving my fatherland but, as fate would have it, I found myself here in Enugu and it’s been fun although. You see, after that hiking experience, if I could get myself somewhere else now, it would be the mountains of Plateau.
Enough said about myself, back to the matter. After an enduring journey to through the bush, we got to the hilltop, you heard me right. It took more than two hours from the nearest road path to the hill top, you heard me right but the amazing scenery from the top and the cool breeze that blowing was enough to convince us to stay long on the hilltop.
In that instant, I thought, what else could be mind-boggling than getting to a location where no one has stepped before while hiking. We had to leave mark, we named it Edu-Abiola Hill and it was approved by Google maps immediately. Edu being the short moniker from my hike partners’ first name Chinedu was combined with my first name Abiola as the name for our new discovery – not just a Mungo Park sort of discovery.
After a long time of playing and reminiscing on the hilltop we were set to leave as it was getting late. We didn’t want to leave, but we were left with no choice. No camp tent, no torch light, no mat and also enough food that will last us till the next day.
Our journey down the hill became chilly halfway down the steep slope. Yes! We had lost track of our way out of the bush. It was dusk and we still couldn’t fashion out how we are going to the egress from the bush. We turned to our Google Maps for direction in the middle of the bus while my partner – Chinedu- continued with his lost in jungle video recording.
I’m sure the end of the trip is what everyone look forward to, this is it. The adventurous story ended in praise. After that fun hike experience we had, I have had new group of hikers embark on a solo and group hike to the hill. We have made a mark; I and Chinedu can now rest and prepare ahead for the new adventure.