For my research, I am always purchasing second-hand books on the internet. As reports had indicated that the service at the Post Office had improved, I took a chance. Instead of paying a courier R100 for a delivery within two days, I would save some money and pay R55 for the Post Office. I might have to wait a few extra days but that was not the end of the world.
Or so I incorrectly thought.
Main picture: Post Office International Mail
In 1999, Paul Selby set an audacious goal: Run from
Durban to Pietermaritzburg overnight and finish just before the starting gun
for the Down Comrades was fired outside the Town Hall in Pietermaritzburg. This
would be the first attempt by anybody at this plucky mission.
Main picture: L-R: Tony do Couto, Paul Selby and Guy Drew
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