My Solitary Hiking Trip
An Area Near to where I Walked
Walking Alone in the Outdoors
I spent a couple of nights and days on a hiking trip, sleeping and walking in the outdoors.
Here I relate my experience of this endeavour.
Walking and sleeping outdoors on one's own can be lonely, but doing it for just a couple of nights and days is fine for me.
I remember reading about a guy who walked along the whole coastline of our country alone, wow what an accomplishment!
Crossing rivers was especially one of the most difficult tasks for him, he had to do it without getting his backpack and its contents soaked; somehow he managed it.
Do you enjoy going on hiking trips and the liberating feeling it gives of 'getting away from it all?'
The place I spent my first night
Some years ago, in the latter half of the 1970s when I was in my twenties, I'd completed school and spent 18 months doing military service; I did not yet have any employment and had a lot of time on my hands. One day I decided to go on a hiking trip to spend a couple of nights and days in the outdoors; or for as long as I could manage considering the amount of food I had with me and the circumstances I might encounter. In the past I'd enjoyed walking in the outdoors and spending a night or two there with a group of people.
So my friend Jimmy drove me to a mountainous area outside the city in which I live, and we walked down to a lake that is part of the river there. We spent the afternoon at the lake's edge and then it was time for my friend to say goodbye and leave for home.
The sun was starting to set: earlier, I'd found a place away from the edge of the lake under some small trees where I planned to spend the night. I had a groundsheet to put on the ground, a sleeping bag, a rug-sack (backpack), some food, but no tent; just some plastic sheeting that would serve as a bit of cover for the night. This I tied to the branches of the trees and shrubs around and above me.
It soon got dark; I ate something and prepared to go to sleep for the night. However, during the night after I'd fallen asleep, I was awoken by a scratching sound coming from the area where I'd placed my belongings. I had a torch and some candles with me; I investigated the sound, feeling a bit fearful as to what it might be.
It turned out to be a small brownish mouse that was trying to get at my food supplies. I tried as best as I could to put my food into a packet inside my backpack, and attempted to go back to sleep. The mouse however pestered me the whole night trying to get at my food supplies; I had a restless night, hardly sleeping at all, due to being woken up repeatedly by the mouse.
A small waterfall on a river
Well the following day I packed up my gear and started hiking along the river, inland through a forest area called Longmore; this being an area near Port Elizabeth, my hometown in South Africa. The weather was quite warm; if I recall, it was early autumn and the cold of approaching winter had not set in yet.
I had a swim in the river and continued to walk inland. There were some workmen in the distance working in the forest with the pine trees that grow there in profusion; it is a really beautiful area, especially with the river running through it.
Eventually, as I walked on I came to a type of weir where there is a body of water that is kept in place by a small dam wall. I spent some of the day there relaxing and having something to eat, then later returned the way I had come, and found a place next to the river where I would spend my second night.
There is a lovely pool at this part of the river, with rocks surrounding it, where I lay in the sun whilst swimming in the rock pool at times. There is a small flow of water running between the rocks down into the pool here: a small waterfall.
That night I slept near to the river next to some smooth rocks; some bats or some type of birds or creatures were making odd sounds during the night, in the trees above, but I managed to get a better night's sleep.
The following day I set off again hiking along the riverbanks towards the direction of the sea which is quite a few kilometres away. The weather had cooled a bit and it looked as if it might rain.
At some point in the hike I left the river and walked through an area where there are gravel roads and farmlands. Then I came to a tar road near the main highway and went to a small shop where I bought a few food supplies. Beyond this area there is a gravel road called Woodlands, that I went along. It eventually trails down to the river again but closer to the coast.
Then it started to rain, quite heavily and it did not seem to stop raining for ages. I got out my plastic sheeting and tried to cover myself with it as best as possible, to protect me from the downpour. However it was difficult to not get wet; as I walked on it continued to rain and I got wetter and wetter from the rain. Walking became a bit uncomfortable as my clothing was soaked and I was extremely cold too.
Heading towards Van Stadens River Mouth
Later on I reached the river and continued along its banks until it started to widen and at one point it was quite difficult to find an area to walk because of the high bank of the river here and the undergrowth on it being quite thick. Nevertheless I managed to make my way to where the river meets the sea; here there was, and still is, a resort at the mouth of the Van Stadens river along which I'd been walking.
My clothing and body were soaking wet and I felt a bit miserable. What was I to do, stay there for the night and hope the rain would stop and that my clothing would get dry the next day if the sun came out; continue along the beach a long distance to my home town, or try to get a lift home?
Eventually, after thinking about my options for a long time and realising that the rain was probably not going to stop any time too soon, I decided I'd had enough and used a public telephone at the resort to phone home. I phoned home and it was arranged that my one sister would come and fetch me, which she duly did.
I Can remember on the journey home in the car that I didn't have much to say, I'd spent two night's and days in the great outdoors, but unfortunately I didn't have proper equipment to protect me from the rain (such as a poncho). Thus I didn't want to continue with my hiking trip, I just wanted to get home to a warm bath, a change of clothing, something good and wholesome to eat, a rest and a good nights sleep. I also didn't have the finances on me to stay the night at the resort.
Nevertheless it was an interesting and enjoyable experience despite the hardships I endured; there were also good aspects to it, such as walking through the forests and mountains and enjoying a swim in the fresh exhilirating waters of the river.
So ends the true-life story of my solitary hiking trip in the great outdoors.
Hiking the Great Outdoors
Do you enjoy Hiking?
Comments welcome! You may have walked to the South Pole or climbed Mount Everest, or maybe done some hiking in various parts of the world or in your own country; perhaps you've done some day hikes. Share your experiences or feel free to comment on mine.