Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Following Footprints Part Two

The first night's sleep in the Putte Shelter was an intimate experience. Sharing close quarters (while hiking) with 9 strangers, introduces you to more about their personal habits than some couples share in 10 years of marriage. You very soon learn who snores (and how), who has "night winds" (not pretty) and then other personal habits (careful), which remain certain hiker's secrets ("what happens in Naukluft, stays in Naukluft). 

Keith left the shelter some time during the night to sleep outside, he found his snoring was no match for the  log sawing done by the more experienced.

Day two, we packed up camp, filled our water bottles, ate breakfast, said goodbye to Raymond and Werner (Verry) and headed out for our 2nd day of hiking. It started off "relatively" easy compared to the first day, with a few undulating hills, but nothing too strenuous.The views and scenery were again breath taking, and I am already starting to wonderful what other adjectives I am going to use later in this diary, as everyday brought us new wonders beyond my imagination.

It was during this time that Jenny hurt her knee, and realised she was unable to continue further down the kloof (ravine). Norm, Jenny and Lucy (Jenny's sister) turned back and headed for the day 3 shelter - rather than risk the chains and the harsh walking required in the kloof (ravine).

After lunch we where in the Ubusis Kloof (ravine) headed down a river bed to the first set of 3 chains. I am not a novice to chains - I have climbed Lion's Head many times, so I was prepared, until I got to the edge of a cliff with a foot print facing directly down!
Keith said he was willing to make camp right there, as the thought of climbing back up those chains (with a full 8 day backpack) the next morning had us all a little worried (there were other "words" used, but I think I'll keep this polite). I had to remind him that we can't stop - we had to get to the next shelter otherwise where could we get water.

Thank goodness Werner was there and gratuitously took Lori's and my bag down the first set of chains, as well as coached us where to put our feet as we descended. After this first set of chains, I regained my confidence and managed to do the rest carrying my own bag -  I will admit that I certainly could not have managed this without Werner or the 7 months of Boot-camp training I had done.
Lori was a real trooper, she is terrified of heights, and she surely conquered that fear.

After 15 km of walking, 7 of us survived and arrived at the Ubusis shelter, which had once been a holiday home. We were greeted by a sign that said " Please leave the shelter in the condition you would like to find it". Well, that was a little rich, since none of us had thought to bring a plumber, a roofer or an electrician on the hike, not to mention an exterminator.

We did all manage to have a cold shower and thanks to Lori's, Dr Bronner's Magic Soap, we left smelling of peppermint and feeling completely refreshed. Thanks Lori!

Then, the biggest surprise of all, Werner took 2kgs of wors (sausage) out of his bag and 4 briquettes! I had to photograph it as proof that you can never underestimate the lengths South African men will go to, to have fresh meat! My contribution was a rice dish with lentils and beans, cooked on a working gas stove we found  in the shelter.

After a supper, we had a huge bonfire and thanks to Aldred (Boomslang), we were kept in fire wood late into the night.

 I had a good night's sleep, on a bed with a mattress, I did however cover my mattress with my ground sheet, as I certainly didn't trust what could crawl out of it during the night.


Kit said...

Those chain descents look terrifying! Stunning landscapes though! Can't wait to see if the men managed to provide meat thoroughout the hike!

Cookie baker Lynn said...

What a wonderful trip. Thanks for sharing the photos and thoughts about it.

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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