Lunch in the Mountain Folds

At the risk of sounding incredibly unfit, I got into bed last night feeling absolutely spent – quads aching and fingertips rough and alive from scrambling up and down rocks, on what must have been the most perfect winter’s day in the Little Karoo.

Hello again. It’s been two quiet months of working hibernation as the desert winter descended upon us, blanketing the Swartberg range with a week of snow before the temperatures shot back up into the upper 20s last week. The only appropriate response to the weather this month would be bewildered amusement… as we went from this:


…to this…

Half snow

…to this:


With personal goals directly in my mental crosshairs, all my time and energy in the last two to three months has been expended at a desk or on the floor (with blankets and a heater to complete the winter resistance) and it’s almost time to come up for air… With a dodgy shoulder, ugly headaches and weird pins and needles in my hands (no, of course I’m not overdoing it…), the outside called and I responded with a pair of hiking boots and over-enthusiasm.

Two sets of local farmers, two well-travelled French “wwoofers” (yes, that’s a thing) and one ex-city-girl, we headed into the lower reaches of the Swartberg East – first via 4×4 and then on foot. After being holed up inside for so long, to then experience the endless rolling mountains from horizon to horizon was a soul-expanding experience. It was as much an ethereal experience as it was a grounding exercise to breathe this in:


…and then to observe up close the magic of these little flames of nature.


The closer we got to the “kloof”, the more we could hear the gentle sounds of rushing water, and the steeper the gorge became. No worries, let’s just use this climbing rope to get down to the waterfall.


Trigger: vertigo. While my left brain understands that the world is not trying to tip me off the rocks and into every open chasm, my sense of orientation says otherwise. So it was a bit of a challenge to climb down a rock face that felt like the neverending edge… wondering how much of a shallow splash I would make if I slipped and bounced all the way down.

With the gentle (and very patient) coaxing of an experienced bush guide and the sound of lunch being eaten without me, I just had to trust that there would be no head injuries on this day… and eventually made it down to this…


And these patient people 🙂


Rossco playing “Where’s Waldo?”


While the climb back up the rope was a lot easier – mentally – it was still pretty hard on the legs and hands (pins-and-needles notwithstanding). And with each metre of ascension, I promised myself that it would be worthwhile to do daily planking and push-ups lest I find myself hugging a mountain like this again in the not too distant future.

Tired bodies aside, there’s always an opportunity for yoga in the mountains – literally getting a new perspective on things.


And then sacrificing (horrible) form so as not to head-butt the yoga instructor 😉


What I learnt today?

After a hearty meal of hot vegetables and only my second coffee of the day (unheard of!), I dragged my happy-tired body into bed and realised that this is what the end of every day should feel like: that I’ve done as much as I can with all my physical and mental resources, and that the sleep I’m about to undertake is truly earned.

This is how I would like the end of my life to be as well: that I’ve spent my time and resources putting in as much as I got out and that the sleep I’m about to undertake is truly earned…


4 thoughts on “Lunch in the Mountain Folds

  1. Sjoe. Beautifully written. Beautiful pictures. (And I spent the day battling the traffic in Four Ways Seriously – 1 hr and 20 mins from Chartwell to the highway. Madness).

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s