Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Following Footprints Part Three

After an adrenaline pumping day 2 followed by a cold shower, a great meal and a good night's sleep we were all ready to head off on day 3 with bang!

We passed the Quiver Tree forest. The tree gets it's name from the fact that the Bushmen used this tree to make their quivers with the bark.

The first part of day 3 was back-tracking up the Ubusis Kloof we had descended the day before.The chains were less daunting going upthan down and it was wasn't long before we had reached "Bergbos" the half way mark for the day.

I need to show you the unfriendly side of hiking in Naukluft - the trees. Everyday you walk through and past thorn trees, firstly the Camel Thorn Tree - which has huge thorns, but are "relatively" harmless if you notice them in time and turn your backpack to them to catch their wrath.

And then the Hak 'n Steek (Hook and Stab Tree), where the thorns are shaped like fish hooks, and if they grab you, you have to stop - or else they will grab a piece of skin right or whatever else they grab right off.

We had only 12kms to cover today. After climbing the chains, we only had to cover a "fairly" flat plateau to the shelter at Alderhorst.

The amazing (I'm running out of adjectives already) trees which are found in the river beds really caught my attention. In the rainy season, the river flows with so much force that huge tress are pulled right out and sent tumbling down the river. Some survive and grow enormous, winding their roots into every possible safe hold they can manage - but in the end the river will always win, even if it takes many many years.

Another phenomena are the sociable weavers, who build enormous nests in the Camel Thorn tress, this is an example of a relatively small nest. The communal nests can measure up to 6 meters long and 2 meters high, and can weigh as much as 1,000 kg while housing up to 300 birds. The nests are built with insulated walls to maintain a stable temperature inside the nest to keep the weavers warm at night and cool during the day.

We stopped for lunch at about 12.30pm, and spent an hour talking about how far we still had to go until the day's end.  After packing up and heading back to the path, we were in for a huge surprise - we had had lunch less than 5 minutes walk from the shelter!

Getting to the shelter so early, gave Aldred "Boomslang", together with his wood collecting assistants, enough time to find enough fire wood to launch a satellite!

Because we had so much time that evening, I decided it was a good night to serve dessert - stewed fruit and custard.

Here is Lori and I enjoying some rest time outside the shelter before facing the long day 4, where we would face some tough climbing and descending before reaching the half way mark tomorrow. There was a further worry that night, Lori had now developed some very bad blisters that weren't healing and causing considerable pain - a hikers nightmare.. 


lavender & lime said...

I have had some close encounters with those thorns - not fun!

Anonymous said...

Wonderful!!! I am glad that you are back! PPD

Kit said...

Those weaver nests are incredible! Amazing that the tree can support the weight.

Jeremiah 17: 7-8

"Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him. He will be like a tree planted by the water."

It is not your business to succeed, but to do what is right : when you have done so, the rest lies with God.
C.S. Lewis

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