How I almost died at Iyake lake
I headed up to Ado-Awaye in Nov 11, 2016 with the single purpose of hiking the Ado Awaye mountains and visiting the popular suspended lake – IYAKE LAKE. I did some jogging and long walks just to ensure I was fit enough for the climb. After paying the mandatory fees at the foot of the mountain, as there were no official tour guides around at the I time arrived that morning, I was given a volunteer tour guide who turned out to be a Pastor who has a Prayer ministry on top of the mountains.
As we started climbing, he told me to walk in front while he will be at the back. This was strange to me but I agreed and off we went. He would show me the pathway to walk through, then he would go on to climb the rock directly. By the time I finished walking the pathway, I would find him waiting at the end of the trail. He explained to me that he prefers to climb the rocks because it’s faster that way because following the trail was making the hiking too slow for his liking. I mentioned the danger of climbing directly without having a safety harness on etc, but he assured me that he climbs the mountain about 3 or four times a day so he knew where to step on.
As we proceeded, (remember I was in the front and he was behind me on the trail till he gets to some spots where he leaves me and goes on to climb the rock directly on (“all fours”) he suddenly brought out a machete from his trousers. I was surprised and afraid at the same time. Here I was, climbing a rock with a total stranger who is walking behind me with a machete in his hand. From that moment, I wished I had a third eye at the back of my head so that I will at least know when he will attempt to strike me. If he had shown me that machete at the beginning, I would have declined his offer to be my guide and would have preferred to wait for any of the official guides to show up.
The death Monologue
To further complicate matters, he started talking about how he died in the hospital and later woke up in the mortuary. The more he spoke, the more I got scared. So I started weighing my chances of outwitting him in case he attempts to attack me. I calculated that since the machete appeared not to be razor sharp, he would need more than one strike to finish me. My plan was after the first strike, I would use everything I knew in hand to hand combat to finish him off. I did martial arts (Taekwondo) in my school days.
After awhile, probably sensing my apprehension, he explained to me that the purpose of the machete was just in case we met snakes or anything dangerous on the way. I was consoled but I had new fears. Snakes, dangerous animals I asked. He said yes. I must confess that though I was a bit relaxed about the presence of the machete, my eyes were still focused on it. Without him knowing my new fears, he continued the monologue on death. You may wonder why I didn’t ask him to stop. I was too tired to be impolite and I felt I shouldn’t offend him since he was still holding the machete.
Sudden turn of events
As we proceeded, I started getting dehydrated and dizzy. I complained to him that we were going too fast and I would prefer we slowed down so that I could catch my breath. He told me we should continue at the same pace since we were almost there which turned out to be about 2 hours or so more . The intense bombardment of the unforgiving sun and the heat emitting from the granite rocks plus our hiking speed had started taking its toll on me. I couldn’t feel my legs anymore so I insisted we had to stop. But the monologue on how he died continued. Seconds after I sat down, everything began to spin and go dark and I passed out. After a little while, I felt hands on my body and could hear him screaming my name as though from a distance. I opened my eyes slowly, and recalled seeing him helping to remove my backpack, Photographers’ jacket etc . He spent time fanning me till I regained full consciousness. He now suggested we should go back. I said no. I didn’t want to come that far and not finish what I had started. So we resumed. This time slowly with him I believe now more cautious of me than I was of him. I was now more relaxed with him because at the time I blacked out, he could have either killed me or stolen my gear and all the money and stuff I had on me if he was a thief or murderer.
So what happened.
He told me that as he was talking to me I suddenly fell off the rock I was sitting on and could have smashed my head on some of the rocks around or rolled down the mountain to sure death had he not reached out to grab me. Anyway I completed the hike, enjoyed the view and even returned leading a photo group to the mountain the next year (2017).
If you are not fit, don’t attempt mountaineering or hiking. If you must, do it at your own pace.
It’s always better to go with known guides especially when you are on a solo journey.
Never judge by what you see. I am referring to the machete .
All the fearful imaginations I had were wrong.
I gained a very good friend that day.
Never succumb to fear or accept defeat.
I urge you to visit Ado-awaye mountains/Iyake lake in Oyo State, Nigeria. The view up there is great and the people are very hospitable.
My volunteer guide remains my friend till today and I have not included his picture in this post because I have not been able to reach him to get his permission. The death experience he shared with me was just to let me know that God saved him from the hands of death and that was part of why he was a Preacher. He told me so many things about the suspended lake some of them mysterious which I hope to write about on another day.
( Pic of IYAKE LAKE Africa’s only suspended lake below. This is one of the two known in the world .)
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