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DIARY OF A HIKER: LIFE’S CHALLENGES

January 28, 2015

Fish River 1Fish River 2  Fish River

Otter 3 Otter 1 Otter 4

4 Months ago, my adventurous friends and I set out to the hike the Fish River Canyon in Nambia. It’s a 90km trail which needs to be hiked in 5 days, practically in the desert. Smart us chose a wrong time of the year to conquer this horrid trail. The recommended time to walk through the-canyon-in-the-desert is May to July. But noooo, we decided to do it in September, when the river was drying up and temperatures were ridiculously hot (ok, so we didn’t know any better.)

Nonetheless, we set out on our adventure. It was by far the most difficult that that I have ever hiked. The terrain, made up of sand and rocks, was unbearable as we walked through 38 plus degree temperatures daily. We slept under the stars, with no tents (ok so that part was cool.) The day we finished that trail I promised myself I would never! Ever ever ever! Repeat that trail ever again. Never again!

Several months later, we embarked on hiking the Otter trail in the Western Cape… or is it Eastern Cape; Somewhere on the border of the Capes. The excitement was defeating. After having had researched the trail, it was unanimous that it was a beautiful trail with amazing scenery. What all those blogs and websites failed to share was how damn hard, intense and challenging the trail was. Day 1 was a breeze! Day 2 was nothing short of astounding as I threw myself on the bungalow floor at the end of the day, and promised myself never to hike again. And here we thought the days would be much easier after day 2… but ohh no! The trail remained as challenging right through to the end. 41km over 5 days! BUT as hard as it was, I would do it again.

The similarities between Fish River Canyon and Otter trail, is that they are tremendously challenging. The difference is that you wouldn’t pay me enough to hike Fish River, whereas I would consider Otter again.
As is life, there are lessons to be learnt about both trails, and the biggest lesson I learnt was, CHALLENGES ARE NEVER THE SAME. As we go through our lives in general, we face challenges, and challenges are never the same. How you may have managed one challenge in the past, may not be the same way you will handle the next challenge. Always be open-minded to deal with matters differently.

The beauty about hiking all the treacherous trails is that as hard as it is, as you are going through it, as life threatening as it may sometimes be, as much as you may feel like quitting or turning back, the most wonderful feeling is getting to the end of the trail and screaming. “I DID IT!”

The same applies to the challenges we face in life. The trick is not to give up. The trick is to put one foot in front of another as hard as that might seem. The trick is to take it slowly and not try and rush through it. The trick is to pause, sit down, take a breath, gather your strength, get up again and keep on moving. The trick is to have an eventuality in mind, and that eventuality should be “I DID IT!”

Every challenge in life is different. Every challenge in life will get you somewhere better. Life is a hike.

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