Starting out at 7:20, we decided to take a slightly longer route to catch the sunrise over the escarpment. Some baboons greeted the sun as the Madonna gave us a view I’ll never forget, even though the altitude had blessed me with an annoying headache. This part of the berg is so remote, there isn’t a soul around for many kilometers. In our eagerness to get going and see the sunrise we had far too little breakfast, something we paid for by having to stop and have a Futurelife shake mid morning, just to keep us going. I came to love the ease of this breakfast, just make a quick shake and on with the walking. Throughout the day we tracked prints in the snow, wondering if somebody was doing GT just ahead of us. Someone in Merrells.
Easy walking meant that we were at the source of the Orange river, the Senqu, by lunchtime. My boots were starting to give me a blister and I was now regretting not having my first choice pair on my feet, great to get them off and have a swim in the source. A bit too good perhaps, we let ourselves become convinced that a nap was what we needed and an hour and a half later we set out again. Whoops.
Soon thereafter we found the group we had been tracking at a confluence. They were a group from Johannesburg doing a Northern Traverse, cooking on an open fire because they had gas canisters that didn’t match their stove. Facepalm. They were also glad to have us point them in the direction of the right valley before we started up it ourselves. Little did we know what a slog we had ahead of us.
The hill wasn’t big. It wasn’t steep. It was long. It was this day that I realised the enormity of the task ahead. Thankfully, we had reached the end of day two on schedule.