Government schools had broken up and I was on holiday. It is the middle of winter and I had been following the weather app on my Nokia phone as the forecast moved from 14 degrees C and 60% rain to 13 degrees max and 70% rain to 60% to 40% and on the Saturday in question to 17 degrees and 20% rain. Nevertheless 2 intrepid families and 2 Guiders and family members assembled as arranged at 10am at the Phalandingwe Adventures reception.
After filling in the appropriate indemnity forms our instructions were to follow the yellow arrows until we had gone through the gorge and then not to go left, but to go right and to follow the orange arrows. The group before us had got lost:- claimed they hadn’t seen the orange arrows and had ended up in the target area of the bow hunting competition teams.
We set off with great enthusiasm and soon were rewarded by our first look out point.
We walked along the river a while and then, at what appeared to be the end, there was a fork. Yellow arrows to the right, no sign of any arrows to the left. Was this the end of the gorge? Our group was divided. Two or three energetic hikers went along the left route but saw no sign of any orange arrows. So we continued to follow the yellow arrows with half the group convinced we had taken the wrong path.
It was quite a while later that we actually walked through the gorge and before we started up and out, we stopped for lunch.
We did find the orange arrows but nevertheless we saw some targets to the right. In the back of our minds we were thinking of arrows whizzing past our ears.
I am not sure exactly where we went wrong. Again a fork with no indication of which way to go. Half the group had gone on ahead to the left when one of the remaining hikers phoned and for once got through to the reception. The right path was apparently correct. By now we were definitely in bow hunters territory with target etc. set up on the left of the road. We even came to a meeting of the bow hunters in their very official camouflage. I was again in the back with the other stragglers while the front group got instructions from base camp again. I asked a friendly looking bow hunter if she knew how far we still had to go. She said, not far – about five kilometres at which point I asked if there was a kind person with a big car who could take us. So we back four got into the car and phoned the front group. We would come back for them. As it happened, the bow hunter misunderstood where our end point was and we only arrive about five minutes before the rest of the group who made it on foot.
Well done to all. The girls did very well. I am proud of them. Thanks to all the families who joined us. We had a great adventure. I might need to send an e mail to Phalandingwe about their trail markings.