If you ever need to plan an expedition, and you’ve never done it before, my advice would be don’t. Get Willie – or somebody like him – to go with you and take care of that side of things. Willie is a planner – in his profession life and in his personal endeavors. He does it so well, and quite frankly he wouldn’t be happy with anyone else’s efforts. If I’m going along on the trip, I usually let him handle the planning bit, and just do the jobs I’m told to do. Much less stress for everyone that way!
This year there are two major “expeditions” coming up. One is a kayak fishing trip to Mozambique, and the second another visit to the Kalahari. Yes folks, we’re going back there again. And yes, Willie is going to be doing the planning for both of those.
First however, is a mini-expedition. A 5-day hike of the Otter Trail along the Tsitsikamma coast in South Africa. Willie was invited to go along by his older sister and her family, together with a couple of friends. When Willie started emailing out spreadsheets of clothes, equipment and food that needed to be taken by each person, I thought they might reconsider ever inviting him again! Like in the Survivor reality show where the guy that takes charge and tries to organize everyone, gets voted off the island first.
So Willie did his planning thing. This included checking tide tables (it is a coastal hike – got to know when the best time is to cross rivers) and weather and wind forecasts. Apparently, Windguru is the best site for this as you can identify the exact area (by GPS co-ordinates!) you’re going to be in, and Windguru will model the weather based on the closest weather stations.
About 2 months ago Willie also started to get serious about improving his fitness levels. He hadn’t been hiking for “a while”. I have to point out here though, that he is pretty fit to begin with. He regular goes to the gym, and goes mountain biking and fishing. The kind of fishing which often requires long walks along the beach to get to the perfect fishing spot. With all his fishing gear on his back. Now he added swimming and going for a walk up the nearby mountain. Rosie, our dog would get excited when she saw him put on his hiking boots. She thought she was going for a leisurely stroll in the forest. Poor thing would come back panting heavily and exhausted!
So that was all taken care of. The one thing that Willie didn’t worry too much about was his rucksack. He knew he had one packed away somewhere. Okay, it wasn’t the latest technology, but hey it would probably do for a 5-day hike. That was until he actually got out the bag. Even a quick look told a very sad tale. The bag was about 30-years behind in “rucksack technology”! Besides being very dirty and not in such good repair. So a new rucksack had to be acquired for the hike.
The photographic evidence is below. On the left: the new, modern rucksack with all sorts of nifty straps and side pockets. On the right: the old, funny looking one!
Posts in the Go Take a Hike series (about hiking the Otter Trail) are:
- A Tale of Two Bags (this post)
- And They’re Off . . .
- The essential guide to gaining weight in five days!
- Here Be Dragons