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Mia's Springbok Hike at Vogelgat Nature Reserve

Oh hello there my dear readers, it has been a while. For those who don’t remember me, or had no idea I existed, I am your guide, your writer and a Scout that is trying really hard to resist watching more YouTube videos.

So, down to business - a few days ago I was requested upon to write a blog once again. Now, this blog will be a little different from the last one, as this time I will not be covering a competition we attended. Oh, no, no, no, we are with the big leagues now. Today, my dear readers, we will be covering one of the most interesting adventures I have ever experienced - my Springbok Hike. So, as per usual, strap on your hiking kit and grab your water bottles (you will probably need about ten litres for what you are about to experience), this is a very steep mountain.

Day 1

Let’s set the scene, shall we? The sky was dark, the wind whistled past the car and

Ariana Grande’s Seven Ring played softly in the background. All this, while four Scouts sat in the car chomping on some Oreo ice-creams. Yes I know, it isn’t the best idea to have ice-cream before a hike but I was desperate! Besides it calms my nerve.

ANYWAY, we finally reached our destination just outside Hermanus. As we clambered out the car (believe me Kyle must have found it hard having his kneecaps rubbing his earlobes the entire journey) Saskia, being the prepared Scout she is, already had her bag on, and Connor was desperately trying to salvage a few drops of Coke before heading out for our three day journey. Meanwhile Kyle already had his earphones plugged in and claimed to have at least ten hours on there, we never found out if this was true.

Before we started our great adventure, we met with Giorgio Lombardi, the Warden of the Vogelgat Nature Reserve (which is where this perilous journey was to take place). He came up to us with a big smile and wished us luck on our journey to destroy the one ring in th- Oh wrong story, my bad! Uuummmm where were we… Right! Yes! We were talking to our Quest Master, Giorgio, who informed us worriedly that if we did not start hiking now we would be hiking in the pitch black of Hermanus’ night sky. After assuring him that, "hey, we know what we were doing, we are Scouts and pretty much professionals at hiking", we set off with the sound of a Fish Eagle in the nippy air.

He was right.

It got dark!

There we were scrambling up the mountain in pitch black with only three torches to guide us. We would have had four, if someone remembered to bring theirs *cough* Kyle *cough*. We carried on through the night with Connor in the lead counting our steps and the distance we travelled, Saskia behind him hauling her overly large bag behind her and Kyle and I at the back making sure that everyone was safe and that no Ninja Clan was going to attack us, (hey man you never know).

It was 19h30 when we finally started to lose hope. The thought that maybe we would never reach the camping spot for the night loomed upon us, until a miracle happened. Kyle spotted it! Moon Refuge or otherwise known as the hut we would be sleeping near that night. We hurriedly set up tents in the howling wind and cooked some delicious bangers and mash for supper before retiring for a much needed sleep.

It rained!

No, scratch that.

It poured!

I was jolted awake at around 2 in the morning by Saskia who had wide eyes and a terrified aura around her. It was then that I realised that it had happened; my worst fear had finally come true. My life time supply of Kinder Joys had run out! Oh, and the tent was leaking…rather badly, I guess. In a hurry, Saskia and I gathered our things and ran into the hobbit hole we called a hut where we took refuge. Strangely the boy’s tent was absolutely leak proof and they seemed to be rather well rested the next morning!

Day 2

We awoke bright and early on the second day (well some of us awoke and others just remained awake since the night before) and started pulling out our packets of condensed milk for our oats. This day was to be the longest one. We packed quickly and got ready to hike up the highest peak of the reserve being Maanschynsskop which is 963m above sea level. It was so misty. Connor almost sprinted up this one and when we got to the top we were greeted with the beautiful sight of the Hermanus Lagoon.

Throughout the rest of the day it remained fairly "calm" with Connor dropping his bag down the side of a cliff, Kyle constantly tripping down the steeper rocky slopes of the mountain and Saskia being mostly nauseous through the day so, yeah calm.

We arrived at Guy’s Pool for lunch and as soon as we sat down, Connor immediately

went to change to go swim, totally ignoring the freezing temperature. Meanwhile Saskia, Kyle and I compared our boiled eggs whose shells where disintegrating as we held them. All of our boiled eggs had cracked along the way of our journey (probably from us collapsing onto our bags in exhaustion) all except Connors', which seemed to have even survived the tumble, off the cliff. Speaking of Connor, he had finally come to his senses and decided to not jump into the freezing cold pool of water after informing us that yes, it was a tad chilly.

Before packing up we met another group of travellers/Scouts who were going the opposite way. We informed them, with big grins on our faces, that they had a very long way to go and that the trail ahead was mostly uphill from here. Those grins quickly vanished when they informed us that our trail ahead was very much the same. So we quickly packed up and headed to our next camp stop in case we arrived after dark. We only had a few difficulties for the rest of the day and reached the campsite, had dinner and drifted soundly off to sleep that night.

Day 3

Yes, here it is, the final day of our perilous journey. By now we were all pretty relaxed, we had made no mistakes along our journey, the food was great, and most of us had slept brilliantly. What could possibly go wrong!

Of course.

Why did I have to open my big mouth?

I am an idiot!

We took a wrong turn, BRILLIANT! Of course we took a wrong turn, who am I kidding? I have the navigational skills of one of those pigeons that always fly into windows.

Anyway, we set off and went down the completely wrong path, although this wasn’t completely to our downfall. We came across a stream and a cup on a stick! This was by far the highlight of my hike. After staying at the stream for about five minutes by chugging the water from the cup even though we weren’t thirsty and our bottles were obviously full, we carried on forwards.

Now, I have to inform you my dear readers, that we were not aware that we had taken a wrong turn. Oh, on the contrary we thought that we were absolutely brilliant and were obviously on the correct path and everything was going along smoothly and that we were definitely not going to encounter any troubles along the way. Of course, Murphy’s Law meant that we were incorrect. So we carried on in ignorant bliss, that was, until we found that we arrived at Base Camp a little earlier than we were supposed to. So there we sat, trying to figure out how to cover the kilometres we were supposed to cover earlier in such a short time. For those who don’t know, a Springbok Hike may not be less than 30km over two nights and 3 days. It was then that wisdom finally became present in our minds, we would hike up to Main Falls and back again and then down the road to the first Stop n Go we see.

We set off to Main Falls expecting it to be an easy stroll with very little difficulty. As always, we were wrong (no surprise there). The trail was filled with the clambering of rocks and the scrambling up of ropes. To this day I am still convinced that I will be a cat in the next life due to my amazing skills. To get up to Main Falls was a bit of a scramble and me, being the brave narrator I am, I refused to get down from the rock I had perched myself upon. Yip, I could definitely be a cat in the next life.

We made it back to Base Camp and after saying goodbye to Giorgio we set off along the road looking like hitchhikers in our purple Scout t-shirts. Here, for once, we did not encounter any problems and everything went along smoothly. After a long walk, and some very funny looks from people who honestly thought that hiking with three day hiking bags was odd! We finally spotted my mom’s car in the distance.

When driving home the only problems we encountered along the way was the misting up

of the car windows, my terrible singing and mom having to stick her head out of the window to be able to see where we were going.

So my fellow readers, unfortunately we have reached the end of our magnificent tale. I hope that your hiking bags served you well and that you did not run out of water halfway. Thank you for reading this and as always.

This is the end There is no more Until I meet This blog once more!

Mia 1st Muizenberg PL of Seals Patrol Soon to be Springbok Keeper of all Kinder Joys PMA Bringer

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