Go Take a Hike: And They’re Off . . .

[If you missed the previous installment Go Take a Hike: A Tale of Two Bags click here.]

Monday night was busy in our house. There was equipment laid out ready for packing, daily food packs were being put together, super-light hi-tech fabric clothing was being rolled into little “worms”. I have to hand it to Willie. He would have done NASA and the military proud with his packing and packaging ingenuity! I was personally amazed and very interested in the food packs. Food was carefully weighed out and repackaged. Snacks packs were assembled. These were then put together into daily ration packs the size of a softcover book (the type known as Trade Paperbacks). It looked way too little food for a guy doing some strenuous hiking, but I was assured that the food was all of the “add water and it swells to three times its volume” variety. And the snacks were of the “high calorie to minimum weight ratio” variety i.e. it was no haphazard selection of favourite snacks. Which would have been my way to go. The total daily calorie content was calculated to be more than that required. On other expeditions where Willie had planned what food needed to be taken, the catering was great. So I guess he won’t go hungry. Even if this time the food is mostly dehydrated and a lot less appetizing. Lets hope that the other people followed the spreadsheets he sent them! ;-)

View from Skilderkrans across Bloubaai-Wes (Image source: Wikipedia)

I am not going to say too much about the Otter Trail at this stage. I’m hoping that when Willie comes back, he’ll agree to do a guest post on my blog. Although I’ve asked him before and he was reluctant to, so maybe I’ll have to make do with an “interview”.

I also have found excellent summaries of the hike online, so don’t intend to do a step-by-step reconstruction. There are several good guides online which you can look at. One of them is from the Footprint Hiking Club. Click here for their summary of the hike, and photos of the scenery and trail huts.

The conclusion of the Footprint Hiking Club is that the “Otter Trail is justifiably considered by many to be the top trail in South Africa. It is only 42.5Kms long but it is not an easy trail.” I have to say that “on paper” the Otter Trail doesn’t look that impressive when one considers the distances and walking times. However, everyone I’ve spoken to has who has done it, calls it “challenging”. There’s a reason for that. It’s a coastal hike along some very rugged terrain. There’s boulder hopping and the crossing of quite wide rivers. And when tides are unfavourable, and rivers cannot be crossed at the mouth, it means one has to climb up from coast onto the coastal plateau and go the long way around.

Scott's Huts at the Geelhoutbosrivier mouth (Image source: Wikipedia)

I found an interactive map and route elevation profile (see image below) which is really worth taking a look at. It illustrates just what the difficulty is with this hike. For the Otter Trail Map and Elevation Profile click here or just click on the image below. The elevation profile is below the map. The interactive bit is that you can zoom in and out on the map. And if you run your mouse along the route, it simultaneously shows you where you are on the profile. Fun to do from your desk . . . not so fun if you’re actually walking it!

Stay tuned for the next installment called Go Take a Hike: The Better Alternative (working title still subject to change) . . .

Otter Trail Route Bing Map and Elevation Profile (Source: http://www.sharemyroutes.com)

Posts in the Go Take a Hike series (about hiking the Otter Trail) are:

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Categories: Lifestyle/Travel, Random

Author:lisa@notesfromafrica

I live on the Southern coast of South Africa, and write about the things that interest, amuse or inspire me. You can find me at http://notesfromafrica.wordpress.com and http://southerncape.wordpress.com (my photoblog)

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19 Comments on “Go Take a Hike: And They’re Off . . .”

  1. January 25, 2011 at 12:59 pm #

    Isn’t the Internet amazing? You can follow Willie almost every step of the way. Ahh, such beautiful terrain. Dying to hear all about it.
    Sunshine xx

    • January 25, 2011 at 1:09 pm #

      I’m also keen to hear all about it! Will have to wait until Saturday evening . . .

  2. January 25, 2011 at 2:56 pm #

    I’m looking forward to his “interview”

  3. January 25, 2011 at 3:48 pm #

    Some friends of mine did the Otter Trail a couple of years ago – it is definately NOT a stroll in the park, so Willie is absolutely right to plan carefully. I was never much of a hiking gal, but since my strokes last year there is absolutely no-way I could do such a feat, so I am going to enjoy his travels vicariously – via your blog!

    • January 25, 2011 at 4:50 pm #

      For health reasons I am not able to do this hike either. So I’ve become an “armchair hiker”! See the next post in this series for the gentler alternative.

  4. January 25, 2011 at 4:13 pm #

    Wow! Looks like a tremendous endeavor! I look forward to reading about the adventure.

    Stay safe and enjoy the experience.

    • January 25, 2011 at 4:51 pm #

      Since I’m not actually doing the hike, just reporting on it, I’ll definitely be enjoying it from a safe distance! :-)

  5. January 25, 2011 at 6:19 pm #

    What fun! Way to go Willie! Tell him your readers are begging for post from HIM. I have to tell you, Lisa, Willie makes me laugh out loud and I haven’t even met the man! You have GOT to write more about him. This is great stuff!

    • January 25, 2011 at 6:55 pm #

      I will do my best, Kathy. He always reads my posts AND all the comments, so “knows” all of the regulars that visit. I’ve already set him up as a “contributor” on my WordPress blog, so now he’s just got to start writing!

      I’m not sure that Willie is that comfortable with me writing about him on my blog . . . ;-)

  6. January 25, 2011 at 6:41 pm #

    It would be great to hear about the hike, the trail, and whatnot from Willie’s perspective! And it would be a double treat to see him as a guest blogger here! I hope you can convince him :)

    • January 25, 2011 at 6:57 pm #

      I’ll make sure he reads all these comments. Maybe seeing that he’s got some “fans” already, will persuade him to become a guest blogger!

      • January 27, 2011 at 8:35 am #

        Well, in that case, I shall add my voice to the chorus – PLEASE ask Willie to contribute a guest post. I’d love to hear about the hike from his perspective too – although I also love the idea of an interview, Lisa. Including dialogue in a post often makes it come alive in a quite different way.

      • January 27, 2011 at 8:42 am #

        Well, I’ll have to show him all his “fan mail” when he returns! :-)

  7. January 25, 2011 at 6:58 pm #

    The interview sounds like a fabulous idea! It would be a fun read, for sure.

    I feel the element of exitement in all the packing – I think if the trail were less of a challenge, it wouldn’t be as much fun for him.

    • January 25, 2011 at 8:43 pm #

      You’re right, as the packing for a trip progresses, it the level of excitement heightens.

      Not sure how to tackle the post-hike “report”. As I said I don’t want to repeat the great hike summaries which are already available online. And which probably won’t be of interest to most of my readers anyway. Maybe I should ask people what they would like to hear about?

      • January 25, 2011 at 8:47 pm #

        I’d say, think about what you’d like to hear if you were listening to a news report. What were you most excited about the first morning? Did you run into any unusual animals? Other hikers? Who did you meet, where were they from? What was the greatest challenge? Did you pack enough food – or did you miss Lisa’s non-dehydrated home cooking? :)

      • January 25, 2011 at 8:51 pm #

        Thanks for all the great suggestions! :-)

  8. January 26, 2011 at 6:35 am #

    Looks beautiful!

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