Last night I switched on my PC and started Quantum GIS. I loaded some maps, overlaid with satellite images of my local area, with the idea to plan a route for my usual Sunday hike. After examining the maps for a while, it occurred to me that there was a route I could follow without having to come back the same way, as I usually do. What’s more, I could include a part of the Kobee Mountain which I haven’t seen before. I used the measurement tool in QGIS and found that this route would be about 18 km — just what I was looking for. After plotting the route I up-loaded it to my GPS device. I also called the farmer on whose land I would be walking in order to obtain permission.
This morning the sky was overcast and the mountain covered in thick mist; not quite sight-seeing weather, but it was cool — ideal hiking weather. I set off at 07:30 and followed the route in a southerly direction across the flat land towards the track that leads up the mountain on the neighbour’s farm.
I started up the track, a long, unrelenting uphill grind. At times it seemed that the mist would clear, but the small patches of blue sky were quickly covered again.
At about 10:00 I reached the point in my route where I had to turn south for a detour through an area that I haven’t seen before. But the mist was thick again, and I thought that I wouldn’t see anything if I followed the route as planned. So, instead of turning south, I continued along the track until I reached an old mountain house which is used by the farmer once a year for about a month or less during harvest time. It was time for a tea break.
After tea I looked around and saw that the mist had lifted somewhat, so I decided to follow the planned route after all. The temptation to see that part of the mountain was too great, and it turned out that the detour was worth it.
Shortly before 13:00 I reached a shed where I had a lunch break. Then I continued on my way home, passing golden wheat fields where sheep were feeding on the stubble of the recent harvest, and green rows of ‘rooibos’ (red bush) tea. (Green? Yes, but when cut and dried, it turns red.)
By now the mist had cleared.
I reached the mountain track on which I usually do my training, then started the long, steep descent. I arrived home at 15:15, pleasantly tired but otherwise in good shape after a 19 km hike. Well, 18.95 km to be precise …