We had a good day on the trail, marred by the sad news that in South Africa, today the music died. RIP Johnny Clegg.
Our day started with finding a kiosk at a road crossing – it’s close to a farm house – stocked with cold drinks and a few snacks, and there is a pencil bag where you put the money for what you take (prices are displayed).
Finding this kiosk on the road made me so happy. Not because I needed cold drinks or snacks at 7h30 in the morning (though we had a cold drink and packet of chips each) but because there are people so trusting that they do this, and people (the hikers) honourable enough for this to work.
We had a short detour at lunch time to buy cold drinks from a family run motel. The woman in the office told us to make ourselves comfortable in the little (air-conditioned) breakfast room. There was a fridge with cold drinks and a tin for the money, you just help yourself and put money in the tin. There were some muffins too so we bought 2 each and that was our lunch. Although Trevor then also had his hiking lunch later in the afternoon!!!!
Again, as is often the case, there was no camp site at the distance we wanted to do today. In the guide book I found a reference to the Cookie-Lady (she hands out cookies to hikers coming to get water from her house, her farm is listed on our App as a place where you can get water) who allows you to tent on the premises. I called her and she said sure you can camp on the lawn. So we did our 34km and arrived at the house, where 5 other hikers were waiting.
She wasn’t there when we arrived so we all cooked (there is a picnic table) our dinners and when she arrived later we got cookies – a sweet old lady. Her husband died earlier this year and it sounds as if they always welcomed hikers and I guess she is continuing the tradition.
We are tenting on the lawn, it is so comfortable!
Hiking strongly, covering the 34km we wanted for today, and having the 3 experiences described above, made it a good day. Oh and with 3km to go there was a cooler box on the trail with ice cold cold drinks.
Talking about good days vs not-so-good days. Various factors play a role in whether I have a great, good, bad or terrible day. How my energy levels match the difficulty of the terrain and distance for the day, whether we meet any interesting people, is there a little trail magic, are there interesting retail detours, and, last but certainly not least: what is the character of the forests we walk trough.
Dan from Roanoke told us that 100 years ago 90% of what we now see as forests were logged out. Over the last 100 years the forests were re-established. We see the evidence of this, there are often remnants of stone walls which used to be farm boundaries:
The forests are therefore of different ages. Some are original, others have been re-planted long ago and some more recently. So some trees are tall and some are young. There are also many different type of trees, often oak or pine. The cover of the forest floor differs, at times its rotten leaves, or fern, or mountain laurel, or a messy mix. Some forests smell fresh, others stink a bit. In some forests you hear birds, in others frogs, in other legions of mozzies.
All in all these factors result in forests with different characters: airy, sweet smelling, welcoming, or dark, hostile and unfriendly. Naturally the character of the forest plays a role in how the day turns out, just see the difference in these two below:
One makes you happy and the other makes you anxious. Can you see that?
Okay mom: done reading? Back to sleep now! 😘