Today was an incredible day. We set out with our new friend Ivan on what he likes to call a “walk.” You see, Ivan has a program that “walks” the Rim of Africa for sometimes 2 months at a time through the mountains and wilderness of South Africa. He invited us out with him and we jumped at the opportunity.
Our group, ever since taking the wrong way down the mountain at Cape of Good Hope, has had a taste for adventure, but today was unlike anything I could have ever pictured. Our bus driver drove us to a parking lot in Kalk Bay where we met Ivan, his 3 year old daughter Eva, his dog Discuit, and some of his other friends. Believe it or not but Ivan actually carried his daughter through the whole 5 hour “walk” on his back the whole time! It’s like he’s invincible!
The beginning of our “walk” started with what seemed like a million stairs followed by a trail that led us to a cave and a short encounter with a king cobra snake! Our original plan to enter the cave was now made difficult by the snake, yet marked the beginning of our adventure. We switched from “walking” to now trailblazing and mountain climbing. We tried entering the cave from the other side but reached a dead end. From there, we decided to forget the cave and climb to the top of the mountain.
At this point many in our group were tired, scared, and completely out of their element but we continued. It was the best decision we could have ever made. Some cleared the path and found a way up while others literally fought through tears and had to be pushed to the top. It was a journey that we all began and were determined to finish.
When we made it to the top the view was incredible but the feeling of gratitude was even more greater. We did it, but now we had to find a way down. Surprisingly, although slippery because of the now rain, it was a lot easier than going up. We made it down in about an hour and the sense of relief and achievement was welcomed with clapping and the cheering was indescribable. We did it. We made it up the mountain and back! I thought South Africa would be an adventure but I had no idea that it would mean so much to me as well. This place and experience is incredible and I feel so honored to be a part of it.
Our adventure didn’t end there though. Upon returning to the bottom of the mountain we realized Ivan’s dog was missing. A small group stayed back and formed a search party for the 14 year old dog. We made it up about 1/4 of the mountain and finally found her soaking wet and extremely tired.
South Africa is our adventure and journey, most importantly the 26 of us are all in this together. Tomorrow, we visit the townships and spend the night in a compound; again some are scared while others are excited. In the end, it’s an adventure for us all and it will only help in making us stronger individuals This is a once in a lifetime experience and I don’t think any of us are willing to take it for granted.