For a while now I haven’t had time to join any group on a hike or any other tourism related activities. I have been on solo travel for a while although I haven’t written about any of them. Two day ago, I had the opportunity of joining one of Abuja most active outdoor adventure group, The Happy Trails Network on their hike to Usuma Dam Abuja also referred to as Usman Dam.
Usuma Dam is located few kilometers from the metropolis of Abuja at Ushafa, a small community in Bwari Area Council of the city. Usuma Dam is a popular tourist destination in Abuja the capital city of Nigeria. The dam plays host to thousands of visitor every year for one tourism related activity or another, ranging from hiking, picnic, hangout, rock climbing, canoeing and others.
For me it was a last minute decision and I wasn’t really sure if was going to go through with it but I eventually did. When I got to usuma dam first gate which is the main entrance to the dam I called Suleiman, one of the team members of Happy Trails to know where thy were and he told me to come down to Lower usuma dam also known as ushafa dam, the lower usuma dam is about 4 to 5 minutes drive from the main entrance.
On getting there I couldn’t trace the Happy Trails Team so I wandered off on my own, although I could hear their voices but I couldn’t decode exactly where it was coming from. There wasn’t really much actives or visitors at the place due to covid-19 and the new policy of the management of the Dam.
While exploring the dam I met this young Fulani boy Ibrahim who told me he is a tour guide and a canoe operator at the dam. We talked and took a walk around together, when he asked if i was alone I told him yes but I was supposed to meet a group at the place, he told me he saw a group of hikers at the other end of the hill, that they were approaching the cave side when he saw them. We both made our way down the hill where we met and joined the Happy Trails Team.
Due to the managements no visitors policy they weren’t able to cover much places so it was more like a short hike and hangout, just being at the waterside and apprenticing nature and getting acquainted with each other. I have met a lot of hiking groups and joined a lot of them but this ones are different, they are more like a family, even as a first timer you have more chance of bonding with the old members than any other group. They care about the health of their members and they take safety very seriously, and for the team leader, everyone knows their duty and respects each other.
One thing i usually tell any group i go on hike or hangout with is to always keep your trails, picnic or hangout spots neat, to always make sure that they pick all the plastic they brought to the place and dispose them properly. I was impressed to see that Happy trailed doesn’t need anyone to tell them the right thing to do before they do it, just as they were rounding up Suleiman was already tidying up the environment, he made sure he picked every single plastic in the place and disposed them properly when we left the site and this one one thing every group all over the country should emulate.
If you are interested in joining this great family, you can follow them across all social media @HappyTrailsNg. They are one of the most consistent, active and organized outdoor adventure group in Abuja.. Am Happy to have known you guys and look forward to joining you guys again.