Tempis fugit. Time flies.
This trail has been the entrée of many a person into hiking. So it was with Malcolm Royal about 20 years ago and his fellow Outbound Adventure Mate, Peter Glover, five years ago. In the case of the latter, it was contemporaneous with a decline in hiking standards within the Quo Vadis Hiking Club. Whether Peter was instrumental in this decline in refusing to adhere to hiking norms such as carrying a hiking pack or whether he merely epitomised the general lowering of standards as the members of the Club reached old age, I am not sure. Whatever the reason, we have now set the bar so low that hiking is optional. So it was this weekend.
Main picture: One of the numerous bridges on the Magoebaskloof Hike
With Quo Vadis’ resident chef not being in attendance on the Barrett’s Coaches Hike at Kaapsehoop, I expected some twittering in the ranks about the attendees’ inability to prepare food. Little did I expect that a member of long standing, and generally not given to being ill-disciplined, would sink to a new level of incompetence: he forgot his food altogether.
The generous members of Quo Vadis stepped into the breach and offered their own food to a Comrade in order to prevent him from contracting anorexia.
This was but one of the numerous incidents which beset the hike to Barrett’s Coaches on the Kaapschehoop Trail in August 2018.
Main picture: Rob & Dean in front of one of the many huge rocks littering the area
From the swansong of Arnold Paikin to the debut swan dive of Clive Cameron, it was a weekend of high drama as norms, precedents and etiquette were summarily ignored and cast aside. It was an object lesson of how to let one’s hair down and to hell with precedent and regulations. The only redeeming feature was that everybody enjoyed themselves without killing themselves in the process.
Perhaps I can be accused of having a starry-eyed love affair with road running, the mistress in my life. It is not dissimilar from the love of a soul mate, the love of one’s very being, that passion which evolves over the years until one attains that pinnacle of that love. In the case of road running, this peak is the Around the World Challenge [RTW Challenge].
Why is this so?
Main picture: Eleven of the thirteen finishers of the Around the World Challenge as at June 2017. Back row: Des Robbins, Paul Selby, Dean McCleland, Peter Darroll. Middle row: Lesley Vermeulen, Ric Marini, Sue Darroll, Frik di Preez. Front row: Kosie van Vuuren, Neels Vermeulen
This is a cautionary tale on the perils of hiking. Not that it was the fault of the trail or the environment per se, but rather the stupidity and bravado of the hikers themselves. In both incidents it was a dog that saved the day.
Main picture: Lesoba Hiking Trail
In reading Helen Zille’s excellent autobiography, she narrates the incident in which she received a phone call in the middle of the night alleging that her spouse was involved in infidelity. This despicable practice is used as a ploy to intimidate or to extract revenge.
As I have experienced a similar incident some 20 years ago, there were uncomfortable parallels in my mind. Fortunately, in both cases, no lasting recriminations or suspicions were aroused or damage inflicted on the relationship. Yet it did cast some momentary doubts on the affected spouse in both cases.
Main picture: Helen Zille, Premier of the Western Cape
The simple hiking hut eponymously called Oom Japie se Huis was probably originally the living quarters of one of Dr Okie van Niekerk’s ancestors, all of whom have resided on this huge plot since 1911.
It overlooks various streams that ultimately flow into the Komati River. Being on the escarpment, it is more Highveld than Lowveld. At this time of the year, the brown grassland is crying out in its anguished thirst, tortured by the expectation of the imminent summer rains.
Main picture: Huts among the sandstone rocks at Rooikrans Camp
Last night was magical. Many of the residents of Pierre van Ryneveldt Park in Centurion lined the streets, gathered in knots around sizzling braais. Without a whisper of wind, we ran two laps through the streets beneath a star impregnated sky.
What more could one want from life?
Main picture: The road through Death Valley, USA
Finally after 45 years working I retired. A new obstacle was in my path: incompetent government departments. First in the queue was an attempt to claim from UIF. As a verdict, I can claim that the Department has no more than a passing acquaintance with organisation efficiency and customer service. As incompetence triggers my pugilistic instincts, would I be able to restrain myself sufficiently and not be frog-marched off the premises?
This is the chronicle of that frustrating odyssey.
Main picture: A series of photographs on the theme “Now they Tell Us”
I have only caught sight of the bird fleetingly in the garden but evidence that it has set up home in our yard is obvious. It has been creating a hole in the dead limb of a tree. My best guess at the identity of the freeloader is that it is a Cardinal Woodpecker. By rights, I would have preferred if it had obtained the necessary Planned Permits but the deed has clearly already been perpetrated.
Main picture: The Crested Barbet obtaining free board and lodgings in my tree