Rain Forest International School (the middle and high school here in Yaoundé ) has a running club that does an annual hike up Mount Cameroon each year. This year I was able to join them on their trip up the mountain.
Mount Cameroon is a dormant volcano, also known by its native name Mongo ma Ndemi (“Mountain of Greatness”). It is the fourth most prominent peak in Africa and the 31st most prominent in the world. It last erupted in 2012.
Our verse for the hike is Philippians 2:3-4: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”
Thursday, January 28th we arrived in Buea, at the base of Mount Cameroon, after a long day of travel. We unpacked the vans, enjoyed dinner, and then went to bed because 4:30 the next morning was going to come early.
Friday morning we woke early, ate a breakfast of an omelet and bread, loaded our big packs back on top of the vans and our daypacks inside and headed to the starting point for the hike. Once there, we unloaded and met our guides and porters (the Cameroonians who would be carrying our big packs up the mountains!). We prayed and then around 6:30am we started on a long and upward journey to the summit.
The students and leaders kept an awesome pace and we all made it to Huts 1, 1.5 and 2 before our target arrival times. Once at Hut 2 we stopped to rest, enjoy our lunch, refill our water bottles and snacks, set up our tents, and gather warmer clothing because it was getting chillier the higher we went.
After being delayed a little bit, we started out once again towards the summit. During the next few hours of walking up, up, up there was singing of praise songs, tears of pain and defeat, encouragement from peers, helping hands, and laughter. Once at Hut 3, we stopped for a brief break, to put on warmer clothes, drink water, and enjoy a snack, before dropping off our daypacks and hiking the next 30+ minutes to the summit.
For me the next 30 minutes were both tough and rewarding. I was tired (more like exhausted) but I was determined to make it to the top. The ground was getting ashier and with each step I took it felt like I was sliding one step back. I just kept looking around at all the awesome views and thanking God for His creation.
I, as well as all the students and leaders, made it to the top. We took a few moments to enjoy the views, celebrate the accomplishment of making it to the summit, and of course take pictures! We could not hang out at the top too long because it was windy and chilly and it was going to be getting dark soon. We had to make it back down to Hut 2 to spend the night.
We started back down at a brisk walk/jog back down to Hut 3 to get our daypacks before starting back down on a slower, longer and steeper descent down the mountain.
Just as the dusk had faded and it was dark enough to need a flashlight, I arrived back at Hut 2. Some of the boys who had arrived before me had already started a fire. So I grabbed my stuff, enjoyed a quick dinner, and then went to sleep.
After a good night of sleep snuggled in my sleeping bag, I woke up ready to finish the hike back down the mountain. Everybody ate breakfast and got repacked and at about 8am we were ready to start our final descent down the mountain.
For me, going downhill was much more difficult than going up. I had to take my time so that I would not start sliding on all the loose rocks or do any more damage to my already sore knees and legs. We made great time, taking many short little breaks to eat a snack or drink water, and arrived back down at the bottom by noon.
We praise God that everybody was able to make it to the summit and back down again with no injuries.
We praise God that the weather was good and we were able to stay warm and enjoy the beauty that God created.
We praise God that the students were encouraging and helpful to one another. They looked towards the interests of others and not to their own interests.
We praise God for the love and support of everybody that helped make this Mount Cameroon trip possible.