Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Making My Way Home - Part 2 of Canyon Diary

Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man wealthy and healthy and wise" - These are not words penned in the Fish River Canyon. Early to bed, that's easy - you're exhausted, you lie in your sleeping bag looking at the stars and before long you are sucked through a wormhole into a sound sleep.

The problem is, as most adults under the age of 80 don't go to sleep between 7 & 8pm, once you've done your 7 or 8 hours of restless sleep - it's then only 4am. Now at home, if you were really keen you could jump out of bed, put the kettle on, bake a few loaves of bread, plait your hair or even darn your socks. Dawn in the canyon is at 7am - not before! Doing anything before it's light is impossible. So for 3 hours you just lie/toss in your sleeping bag, feeling your hip bone engraving the Ten Commandments into your liver.

Never the less, it's still wonderful to wakeup to the fresh cleanness of a beautiful morning.

We try to get going early, but it's really not a family thing. Somehow our clothes, food, sleeping bags, pots pans - actually everything grows a little more each night while be sleep (similar to how jeans shrink in winter). So getting everything to fit back is like those size 30" jeans which only close lying down with a coat hanger. We were further ruffled when another group passed us, all 21 of them - I must say it can be quite intimidating have 21 people stroll through your bedroom and toilet first thing in the morning!

We decided to turn on the throttle and pass them. Which wasn't that hard, as it would seem they left early only to stop 30 minutes later for breakfast and toileting (which be kindly interrupted too), it sure gives a new meaning to public toilets.
We passed the Vespa by lunch time, so we knew we were making good time. Pity the price of fuel is so high, a ride would have made a welcome break from the walking.
  We managed to stay on mostly on the same side of the river all day long, crossing only twice. It was at the first crossing that it became very evident that this year there would be no boulder hopping this year - it was going to be shoes off, wade across, shoes on. An extremely slow and uncomfortable experience. It wasn't just crossing the water, but the depth and the force of the current. "Wet became the new black"!

Keith lost his river crossing shoes at one of the falls and subsequently had to duct tape my size 4 Havaianas to  his size 10 skis.

But it certainly was better than the poor person whose shoes completely died on them during the hike!

The first day of hiking is slow going. Climbing over boulders or dragging your feet through sand as fine as talcum powder and as thick as melted marshmallows. The days were comfortably warm, unlike the freezing cold nights.
  We reached camp at about 3pm, which meant we had 3 hours of sun light to relax and enjoy and find some decent firewood.
The big group which had passed early that morning, walked past us and crossed over to the other side of the river to set up camp. We stayed on the south side, which turned out to be a good decision as it saved us one river crossing early in the morning.
Ain't nothing gonna break my stride
Nobody's gonna slow me down
Oh no, I've got to keep on moving
Ain't nothing gonna break my stride
I'm running and I won't touch ground
Oh no, I've got to keep on moving


Nina said...

So incredibly proud of you Rose!!!

pinkpolkadot said...

It sounds like a wonderful journey - I soooo enjoy reading this!

Anonymous said...

lovely journey so far my friend xxx

Nicola said...

I just love your hiking diaries and now I know that duct tape is one of the handiest things you can have in your backpack.

So good to see you blogging again. :)

Thuli said...

Looks like you guys are having so much fun! I love the pictures....they make me feel I'm also there....

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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