Posted by: nextbigadventure | April 14, 2014

The Cederberg has been Traversed!

My white shirt is mostly black, arms and legs are laced with slashes of coal markings delivered by the burnt-out protea bushes and fynbos we’ve been running through all morning. 22km since we chased our headlights off the top of Pakhuis Pass; 8 more kilometers and the Krakadouw Pass until our lunch stop. The sun is almost overhead and it’s well past when we were hoping to already be at Heuningvlei for our first meal. Traversing a large part of the mountain that had recently burnt made for tough navigation and much slower progress. The extreme heat and hot wind didn’t help either.

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Drinking my last sip of water I hope I’ve read the map correctly and that we’ll soon cross a stream before the trail goes up and over the saddle ahead. Fortunately, the stream appears a few minutes later. I refill my bottles just before Pieter submerges himself in the small stream; he would find his way underneath every body of water we crossed for the remainder of the run and be the first in the rock pool at the finish.

Approaching the saddle of the pass I catch up to some of the others. Conversation has long stopped; only utterances of ‘time’ and ‘distance’ to lunch emerge. Going over the saddle we have a couple kilometers to gently descent to where food is waiting. The pace picks up to a steady run and the group of 7 – Pieter, Nic, Freda, Armand, Taryn, Alex and I – comes back together as we drop into Heuningvlei.

30km done. A long way to go.

A few weeks earlier I had arranged lunch for when we would arrive in Heuningvlei. Not sandwiches and juice, but a serious meal of roast chicken, vegetables, sweet potatoes and even rice incase non-paleo-believers were to join us! Ladies in the village delivered the huge meal to a small table, already set for 7. The conversation and energy returned to the group after inhaling the food and the Afrikaans contingent taking a quick nap (a cultural / genetic tendency Afrikaaners have after lunch on weekends, something we had to explain to Alex, the Frenchman.)

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Leaving one meal we aimed for the next – 20 kilometers to dinner and a bed at Kleinvlei. For me, the afternoon was more about the charismatic people we met in the next village and the hospitality waiting at the overnight point than the running. Amelia, the homestay operator in Kleinvlei, welcomed us into her home with cold beers just as the sun was setting on day 1. She created a massive dinner with ingredients from only “die tuin en die kraal.” The next morning a smiling Amelia was ready with breakfast and coffee at 5:30.

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Day 2 started with Alex losing his car key. Taryn told him not to worry about it, ‘it always works out.’ She was right (how did she know?) – a few phone calls to people (sleeping at 6:00 on a Sunday) in Clanwilliam and we found he had left it there. Some of the group were hurting before starting out on that second day – those hurting more than the others must have overhead what Taryn was telling Alex. They sucked it up and continued, and it did work out. It’s amazing what someone can endure when they’re doing something they’re passionate about.

Day 2 covered amazing trails, a spectacular sunrise, more villages and an early lunch. With a better ratio of food-to-running than day 1, there was a much more energetic vibe when we started the last 20 kilometers of the trial, and Gabriel’s Pass, after lunch. More water for Pieter to find his way underneath, a quick detour to the Wolfberg Arch and we began an epic descent through rock formations towards our destination and pick-up point, Driehoek.

A lifetime of experiences squashed into one Adventure, and a good warm-up for what is to come.

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Responses

  1. Reblogged this on Running The Cape.


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