I was privileged to be invited, with five others, by Santie to share her birthday hike in the Groot Winterhoek Wilderness Area – one day for each decade. Although we had wonderful weather – windless and sunny – and simply being out there with like-minded people was uplifting, it was bittersweet for me. My 90-year-old dad was lying in hospital struggling to survive pneumonia and although it seemed that he was about to be discharged shortly before we departed, he could not survive a secondary infection. So my thoughts were often elsewhere. And when I returned and visited him, it was clear that he was not going to make it. Should I have been there for him over that long weekend? He passed, mercifully, two days after I returned from the hike.
So it is difficult to write an engaging post about what was a great hike. But briefly:
Day 4: we continued down the beautiful valley, over a neck to De Tronk where Cape Nature has rehabilitated the farm buildings into well-appointed hiking cottages. I recognised the place from a previous hike twenty-one years ago. We were there by lunch time and then scrambled down to Die Hel, a deep pool in the gorge. Die Hel has the atmosphere of a religious site. Some, at the birthday girl’s insistence, took a skinny dip. We were back at the De Tronk shortly before sunset, where Santie was surprised by a cake with candles.
A revelation of the trip was the excellent dehydrated hiking food from the Dri Food Co. My personal favourite was red lentil dahl, precooked. Back in the day we sometimes took overpriced, awful tasting dehydrated meals that came from New Zealand, I think. But Dri Food’s meals are extremely tasty and nourishing, all plant based. And the owners, Lizelle and Julian, were also on the hike to “field test” their products. It is not often that you meet the people behind the product.
Visit the shared photo album