It’s early. It’s cold. The sun is trying hard to come out from behind the clouds, but the misty weather is winning this round. I’m nervous but excited. I’ve never done anything like this but I know that I’ll love it.
Early on Saturday morning, the 20th of August, I joined a group of hikers and we started to hike the Greyton – McGregor trail in Boesmanskloof. Most of us didn’t know each other so Saturday morning started out with awkward conversations and trying to remember names (however, the name thing remained a problem throughout the weekend). During every conversation you heard someone ask “what’s your name again” but luckily we were all guilty of this so no one felt bad.
Carrying almost everything that we’ll need for the next two days on our backs, we started the hike. At first I thought it was fine and that I definitely overestimated this hike. I was doing well. It was easy or at least easy enough. That changed soon. I envied the people who were far ahead, wishing that I’d stayed with the faster group because they obviously had more time to rest (and they didn’t even need it). The Boesmanskloof trail leads you through the absolutely beautiful Riviersonderend Mountains and takes you from zero to up in the heavens real quick. This trail wasn’t too difficult but it is important to know that it gets quite steep at times.
On Saturday we weren’t in a rush and we were able to really appreciate our surroundings. The lush valleys took my breath away. It was nature so beautiful that words can’t describe and that photos don’t do justice. A photo was almost an insult to the reality of what we saw. And this never ended. For 14km, we were in the valley, in nature, alone.
We decided to have lunch at a beautiful waterfall and even though it was quite cold, a few of us were brave enough to enter the water. Embla, who is an exchange student from Norway, put all of us to shame when she swam in the icy water like it was a heated swimming pool. The rest of us were in and out but not Embla. No, she got in and stayed there, responding to our shock by pointing out that she’s from Norway and that the water wasn’t really that cold. I guess some of us really don’t know what cold is.
After a much needed lunch break we continued the hike. Up and down and up and down. Every time I got excited that we are higher than before (please keep in mind that the huts we stayed in were on top of mountain) the trail just took us back down. The end of the trail was a long uphill but excitement drove us to walk faster. Then just as we reached, what I thought was our accommodation for the night, there was a little sign that read something in the line of “if you want to reach paradise, you have to go over the mountain.” So the first thought that came to mind was that we’ve been going over mountains all day, so how is it possible that there is another one? Needless to say, over the last mountain we really did find paradise!
The huts were luxurious. Hot showers and beds. Actual beds. Guess who was in their happy place? ME! Sitting with some new friends and admiring our paradise for the night, I felt grateful that nature can bring me so much joy and positivity. There is nothing that makes me happier than being in the mountains and to top a wonderful day off, the sky rewarded us with shooting stars and a milky way that you read about in books.
Sunday morning we watched the sun rise. It was freezing but worth it. Quickly we were packed and on our way back. This time we were walking fast and pushing ourselves a little harder because rain was expected and we weren’t too keen on walking in the rain. We literally made it just in time. As we reached the cars it started raining. Our timing was impeccable.
Over the course of this weekend, I met some truly amazing adventurers. The nicest people from literally all over the world (Norway, Italy, Netherlands, Germany and South Africa) who will encourage you when you need it. Or like Florian, who is an exchange student from Germany, just use food to motivate us to keep going (thanks Florian, you obviously knew how much I love food). This was a weekend I wish I could relive, a weekend I wish I could make time go by slower because so far this was one of the best weekends of the year!
P.S. If you want to, you can check out the short video of our weekend on my Instagram page (my Instagram name is adventure_annene).
Stay wild, stay free.