General, Photography, Travel, Walking

South Africa 2008 – Day 7 Otter Trail Day 3

By day 3, we had got our act together a bit and managed to be up and away by 9.45. Day 3 had several nice beaches and a couple of simple river crossings. The amount of driftwood washed up on the shores here is incredible, must have seen hundreds of tons of it on the various beaches and rocks. Some of the pieces were massive and a large number had been partially burnt.

On the second and largest beach we foraged for walking sticks as we were all suffering on the steeper parts, especially down hill. The steps on these paths appear to have been designed by giants, forcing you to take very big steps or to scramble almost on hands and knees to get up.

Heike was waiting for us on the big beach to show us a shortcut that avoided a trek upstream and across the river. Instead we were able to just walk across the river mouth on a sandbank. The tide was still high enough for the waves to cause a problem for some of us as the pictures show!

We had the first proper rain of the walk on the way up from the beach and got quite wet. Had a very damp lunch under some trees that gave a bit of protection and then headed on.

The walking sticks were really helpful but I still fell occasionally. There was some scrambling but nothing as severe as the first day. The rain made the rocks pretty slippery though.

Soon after lunch we spied the rest camp on the next hill and were cheered of the prospect of getting out of the rain and round a nice warm fire. Unfortunately, the next bend revealed that to get to the camp we would have to descend to sea level (for what seemed like the hundredth time that day) and cross a broad river before heading up again to get to the huts. At least the rain had stopped by then.

Lou, Dave and I made it to the river first. With her superior agility and shoes she didn’t care about getting wet Louise made light work of the river. Dave and I picked a likely set of stones to hop across on while keeping our shoes dry. Unfortunately the stones ran out halfway across and it looked like we were going to have to get our feet wet after all. I was determined not to get my shoes wet and so attempted to take them off while balancing on a boulder.

Dave and I had both managed to free one foot when disaster struck. I lost my balance and, instead of stepping into the water with my newly bare foot, plunged straight in with the one with the shoe still on! At this point I’m embarrassed to say that I swore at Louise who was only trying to help. Once I was in the water (with both shoes off now) the crossing was much easier and I was able to get to the other side with no further incidents. Krys, Helen and Neil turned up while I was pouring the water out of my shoe and made light work of the crossing using a much better set of rocks that we had totally failed to notice!

I squelched back to the huts in a bad mood but started feeling a lot better once we had got a fire going and started on the crazy clothes and shoes drying session that followed. The path appears to go past the camp and you have to turn off down a number of steps to get down to it. Dave managed to set fire to his hat while trying to dry it out.

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