Living in Eldoret, the Rift Valley is constantly present. This valley, which stretches from Mozambique until Lebanon (around 7000 kilometers), offers in Kenya one of its highest escarpments. Some villages like Iten (the world-renowned town of runners) is hanging on top of a pair of giant steps.
This characteristic makes the area of Eldoret a plateau above the 2000 meters above sea level. While neighboring towns barely reach 1000. And, as it is logic, the roads connecting both levels are few and far apart. With no need to mention that those roads will also offer challenges to the engineers that build them. And the users, either going up or down.
One of the objectives of this blog is to describe, slowly by slowly, the roads and paths that plough the Rift Valley. And, more especially, highlight tracks that can be followed by bike or hike.
Today’s route is called “Trail descent from Kapkoi to Chepsigot” but, although I did it on my gravel bike, I would only recommend it as a hike.
Kapkoi is a center situated at the high part of the Rift Valley from where you can see the upper part of the Torok falls. It sits at 2500 meters above sea level and has some bad connection with the bottom of the valley, which can be spot easily. The most comfortable route, albeit long, is the tarmac road until Iten and the descent of the C51 throught Biretwo and beyond. In total, a bit more than 40 kilometers. But the other option is even worse. It requires to travel up to Nyaru, descent until the Flourspar mines, continue through the rough road of the Sego Safari Lodge and finally touch tarmac (the C51) where the Big Five Resort stands. In total, around 90 kilometers.
It was for this reason, and because the satellite image of Google Maps showed a trail, that I decided to go for the adventure. And what an adventure! The first 7 kilometers (with only 400m of descent) until a primary school which I don’t remember the name, were sufficiently good. Some sharp turns even have a bit of very old tarmac in not-so-bad condition. But everything good ends there.
The “road” becomes a trail and the following 7 kilometers count for around 900 meters of descent. Although the trail doesn’t disappear completely, riding a gravel bike on it it’s inadvisable. I didn’t fall but I feared to suffer a lot of pain if I did. And, even worse, get no help for some hours. Houses and farms are common in the first kilometers but disappear when entering the rocky and scarped terrain. Suddenly, I felt very alone.
Luckily, the one consequence of this crazy descent was a rear flat tire. And it happened at the very end of it. And, since in Kenya it’s easy to find garages for puncture repair almost in any small center, I just found one as soon as I reached the C51. I repaired the puncture and started the long climb until Iten. But this is another story.
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