In 2 weeks I will finally be completing one of my mid term goals. I’ll be doing my assessment to become a summer hiking guide which is something I have wanted to do since starting to work for an outdoor company. Its been quite a process, especially doing it in South Africa where people seem to battle with the idea of customer service. After many battles with people lying to me, deceiving me or generally being uncooperative I have finally found a company that does what it says it does and I will now be doing my assessment to be a hiking guide in 2 weeks time. However, all these bureaucratic battles mean that I haven’t been up into the mountains in about 6 months and am now facing the prospect of hiking a 3300m peak, off trail, over 4 days with very little training. Living in a city, at sea level makes it tough to train for a mountain expedition but train I must and as much as possible and as often as possible.
Thankfully I live in a rather hilly suburb so I will be daily donning all my hiking gear, boots and pack loaded with books and walking around a peaceful suburban town in order to train for the mountains. Today was my first attempt at this rather unique way of training. I discovered a few things. Firstly my town is tiny! Walking around the place was a mere 7 kilometres (4 miles). I am going to have to zigzag all the roads to reach my goal of at least 10km/day! Secondly most of the gardeners spend most of their days tidying up the pavements of the houses they work at. I can only assume its because watching the world go by while raking an already perfect sidewalk is more entertaining than mowing neat straight lines in a sickeningly, orderly garden. Thirdly I was never once looked at oddly. I’m not sure if many people walk the streets in hiking boots and 65l packs or if gardeners see so many odd things that nothing seems odd any more. Either way, not once did someone look at me askance. I feel encouraged to continue my mad fitness plan. I will cruise up those mountainsides with ease and grace.