The die has been cast. Age and lack of ability cannot be reversed. We will have to accept that Quo Vadis is an ex-hiking club; it is no more. This does not imply that the Club is extinct like the Dodo but rather that its modus operandi will have to accord with the new realities.
Thinking back on the days when Mike Brown, Kurt Radzom, Mick Crabtree and I were hiking together 25 years ago, it is unbelievable that the Quo Vadis Hiking Club would ultimately be transmogrified into the genteel Quo Vadis Slack Packing Club.
But the inevitable has occurred.
We have got older and wiser but also less capable or even willing to participate in strenuous hikes.
My original reason for organising this hike was to ascertain whether we were capable of attempting the Fish River Canyon hike one last time.
To this end, I wanted a solid three day hike with full hiking kit to prove our ability. Firstly Arnie bailed due to wife problems, and then somebody complained that 4 days – 3 days hiking and one day travelling – was too long. Finally another nameless person whined that packs were deterrent to enjoying the hike.
So the hike was scaled back to a two day slack packing jaunt. After discovering no mattresses at the Mzimkhulwana Hut, the hike was shortened to one day with the following day being spent in a chalet watching the RWC final and eating a hearty meal of eisbein and soup starters – not in this order of course.
The Sunday morning hike was further downgraded from a vigorous 10km march to an 8km stroll along a flat cycle path beside the Umzimkhulu River
The die has been well and truly cast.
Welcome to the reconstituted Quo Vadis Hiking Slack Packing Ambling and Beer Swilling Club. I displayed my commitment by having my fair share of draught beers.
The hike did have its highlights of which some rate a mention:
- A huge herd of 50+ eland was seen in the vicinity of the Mzimkulwana Hut
- The first night was spent at Pholela Hut, an old farmhouse converted into a hiking hut
- The trail from Pholela to Mzimkhulwana Hut is stunning. It is more akin to a walk in the Rocky Mountains. Due to the altitude, most of the hike is above the tree-line.
- Hence apart from the occasional protea bush, there are no trees or even bushes to be seen.
- Whilst this area still has huge swathes of green grass, the rest of KwaZulu Natal between Howick and Underberg is parched which barely a blade of greenery to be seen.
- Clive won the raffle for most closely predicting the score of the All Black’s win whereas Laurie’s emotional ties to his homeland overcame common sense as he predicted an Australian win. Gunther marked South African for a win until he gently corrected that South Africa had already been eliminated from the competition. So he scratched it out and substituted it with Austria.
We will have a Clos Malverne on that
Explanation: The die is cast = an event has happened or a decision has been taken that cannot be changed