** Transcribed from the original manuscript **
In 1986, I think, my class from Nairobi Academy went to Mt. Longonot for a field trip. No zoo or chocolate factory for us, no sir. We climbed a mountain. And not just a mountain – a volcano!
A few thousand years ago, Longonot blew its top. Literally. Its top – Mount Suswa – is several miles away, where it has no business, geologically speaking, being. The crater that remains is Longonot.
We left the bus at the bottom and climbed up to the crater rim, where we could look down into where Suswa once was. Then we set out to circumnavigate.
Jens and I, of course, had to be first. We had to run. Remember when you could run forever?
The highest peak lay directly opposite from where we had climbed, and we ran along the narrow path around the gaping crater, with certain death on both sides. What is certain death in comparison to the need to get there first?
Just for the record, I got there first.
From the peak of Longonot, you can see the whole world. At least, the important bits. Naturally, we had to get back first, too, but I wished we could have stayed a little longer. So many wonderful moments rushed past on the way to the next one.
We three – who was with us? Modupe? I can’t remember for sure. – slid down the scree in the best roller coaster in the world. An avalanche of boys. Jens. Me. Modupe – yes, surely it was Modupe. Jerome missing. Forever missing. So recently missing. Always with us.
We return to the starting place, and wait for the return of our friends. Isn’t that the way it always is?
Then, back home, knowing that we had conquered the ancient giant, and could conquor any other. Knowing that we would some day, very soon, climb Kenya, Kilimanjaro, Everest! (One of out three’s not bad!)
And so, forever after, in every hike, climb, camp, I’m trying to return to Longonot.