Singing in the Rain…

Our region is very hard hit by one of the most severe droughts ever.

I am aiming to reach 150 km of hiking in March, and needed my last 8 km to reach my goal. So on this Good Friday my wife, my dog and I went for a walk. It seemed a little bit cloudy, but I could not lay my hands on my daypack with my raingear. So we started walking. Just outside town, before the 1 km mark, the raindrops started falling. But we decided to press on. At the 2 km mark I was already drenched, and then it started pouring down hard. But we pressed on towards our turning point at 4.25 km.

It is uphill all the way out, and downhill back home. I was soaked through, and my dog too, my wife came prepared for rain.

When it is so dry I really like walking in the rain. The raindrops became puddles, and the puddles became a stream flowing down towards the nearly dry river.

It was such fun, walking with my wife and my dog, soaking wet.

And when we came back into town: a glorious rainbow against the setting sun shining through the clouds.

Life is good! And tomorrow is my 28th wedding anniversary. I am blessed!

Finding rest in Nature…

Our region is going through one of the toughest droughts in memory. Our town’s dam, the one we rely on for our drinking water, is at a level of 14%, with water already unreachable for use, and mostly unusable due to silt levels.

So when we heard that a little bit of rain was predicted for Friday night, we decided to go camping in the rain.

Sunset over the water of Donkerpoort Dam was spectacular through the clouds…

DSC_0080.JPG

As the weaterman predicted, the rain started at exactly 20h00, with a majestic show of lightning and thunder included in the deal. The tents kept us dry, and I had a good sleep with the sound of raindrops hitting the canvas.

On Saturday morning it was time for a hike even though it was drizzling softly.  We saw some hikers was on the road before us…

JPEG_20180317_072958_7043019968000487595.jpg

I love the South African Bushveld, even in times of drought there are still beautiful scenery.

JPEG_20180317_072631_5636020974653382894

JPEG_20180317_080600_1692718713180945877.jpg

One of the joys of walking is the unexpected beauty you tend to find when you just open your eyes to it…

JPEG_20180317_080316_6145029928387441145

And so the journey continues… onwards to Santiago,

Ultreia!

The Pain and the Glory of Hiking

The Camino is now big news in South Africa with Erns Grundling’s television series. It sounds like a huge adventure to a lot of folks around here.  In our circles people are also getting excited that my wife and I are going.

Yes, the Camino is one of life’s peak experiences, no doubt about it.

It is always a metaphor for the journey of life for me. My own experience tells me that nothing that is really worth doing well is ever easy.

At the moment the preparation for our Camino is in the stage of providing a lot of pain.

I took a day of leave from my work to test my walking abilities, 3 months prior to the Camino, to see where I am at the moment fitness wise.  I set a new record today- the furthest I have walked since my Camino in 2011. It might not sound that far to more experienced hikers. But I am in my 50’s, and carry quite a few pounds too many body weight around.

This morning:

JPEG_20180308_120318_2239389235732108265.jpg

There is quite an uphill out of our town in my chosen direction.  According to endomondo I have climbed more than 120 meters in 7.34 km. And then it was downhill back home. My old problem with blisters is appearing again, even while wearing comfortable boots and reasonable socks. I am trying the advice of rubbing my feet in methylated spirits after walking, I hope it will toughen my feet’s skin soon. I am good for 12 km at the moment, after that my legs and feet start hurting.

That is the painful part. But every hiker knows there is a reason why we keep on walking.  I live in a beautiful part of South Africa, surrounded by game farms filled with wildlife.

DSC_0064.JPG

6 km from my home there is this wonderful shop alongside the road- we South Africans love our “Padstal” or Farmstall.  This one is the “Wildevy” or Wild Fig Deli, named for the huge type of tree next to it. They sell meat products, as well as baked goods, and cold drinks. The specialty of this store is biltong (much better than jerky…) and ‘droëwors”- a dried sausage, much better than it sounds, try it if you ever visit South Africa.

DSC_0068.JPG

On my way back, at 9 km, it was so good to turn in to this store, and buy some Droëwors and an ice cold coke!

DSC_0067.JPG

This is why hiking is so rewarding- these moments of rest and reflecting while sitting on a tree stump. After this- the downhill back home did not hurt my feet that much…