Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Cederberg Weekend

I'll tell you about the camping and hiking, but first I want to tell you what Brenda said to me the first evening, after our walk, strenuous hike. She said, "This is the best thing we've done since our wedding." I thought, despite the moans and groans all the way up the slopes, despite the anticipation of sleeping in a little tent on hard ground, she likes hiking and camping. But that's not what she meant. Her next sentence made it clear; "We did it just for us, without involving others or trying to please others."

It’s important to do things “just for us.”

Brenda works Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. So we have many long weekends. We booked at the Algeria Forest Station camp site for Sunday night, when weekenders would have left and we'd have the camp to oursleves, just about.
When we arrived there were many people still doing camping things. One of the things I wanted Brenda to experience was the waterfall, which is quite a hike away, about half way up the mountain. I thought, let's do it now.

Mistake. Big mistake. It's not an easy walk. It's hard. There is a trail, but the incline is very steep. It was in the worst heat of the day. And we are not used to this kind of thing. It was not long before we were both panting and having a really bad time. I wanted to say to her, stop talking so much, you’re making it worse by all the talking. I didn’t say it. We took a rest. Another mistake. After a rest it takes a while to get going again.

When we were about two thirds of the way I was worried. What happens if she really wanted to stop now? I knew the waterfall provides a cool resting place. Taking a rest in the open sun would not be the thing to do. Turning back at that point would probably be worse than going on, we’d be exposed to heat and further exhaustion for close to an hour more. But Brenda does not give up easily. We pushed on. She was talking non-stop now--to keep her mind off how her "head is ready to explode" and her feet were hurting. I was worried. I wanted to say to her, talking exhausts you further, don't talk so much, but it was not the thing to say at this stage. I just tried to encourage her and promise that it would be worth the slog.

There’s a spot where visitors to the falls add a pebble to a stack of pebbles on top of big rock—Just to say, I’ve been here. We added ours.

There was worse to come. The last stretch involved some really tricky climbing over rocks and some very steep drops. It's hard for someone afraid of height to negotiate these places. Brenda did well and showed much courage. I'm proud of her. Getting to the waterfall was not easy. I'm not afraid to say I underestimated the task horribly.

I need not have worried. It took only minutes for the smiles to return. How can one be in such a wonderful spot in nature and not feel lifted. Plus there is the sense of achievement. Check out the smiles and views. We stayed for about an hour and then took the trail back down to the camp site.

Here are some camp site photos. The stream runs through the camp site. It is lovely and cool under the trees and near the water. We had the place to ourselves on Monday. We'll be going back--probably for longer next time. But no grade two rock climbs!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Paul - it was good to see you again after all this time. I have had a look at your blog - some very nice photos. Your wedding was quite a surprise - Congratulations!

I meant to ask you whether the aloes I gave you have grown?

If you would like to get hold of me, my e-mail address is

Regards, Duke.