I was spoilt these holidays, or let’s call it making up for lost time.
The first hike happened as an ad hoc opportunity not to be wasted, none other than the Fish River Canyon in Namibia, the second in the Dolomiti in Northern Italy.
The only similarity between the two, was the presence of rocks, in all shapes and sizes, boulders, shale, stones, great big hurdles or denying obstacles in some cases. A firm reminder of what happens when those things come crashing down.
For the first time in my life, I’ve enjoyed a joint shopping experience, at a sports store, and nowhere else, because of course, kit has to be had! The new mini towels just piqued my curiosity and I had to have one. Strangely, they don’t feel like they’re drying but you do sort of feel dry afterwards, so it works, but not like a huge fluffy super absorbent specimen you’d have at home. And much like Ford Prefect in The Hitchhiker’s guide to the Galaxy, I rather wondered it it would be good to suck on when the nutrients got rather low.
The Fish River Hike is entirely self-sufficient, except that you can drink the water, and swim in mid-winter. The Sulphur hot Springs were most amazing, like having a swim in paradise. After the first two days, we didn’t see a living soul, except some baboons and horses, until we reached AiAis and cold beers, chairs and real beds.
In contrast, the Dolomiti we tackled in mid-summer, it snowed! No matter, the refugios cater for everything, even Italian monopoly and so we whiled away our morning. Rocks were copious but also catered for fun, in the form of via ferratas, a kind of cable system where you hook up so you don’t fall if you day dream. There was too much food to eat, and a plate and sleeping bag superfluous. Great excitement hooking up our crampons but never had to use our ice-picks, that’s for next time. Walking on a glacier was never on my bucket list, but should, be, most amazing formations, colours and sounds, ice falling, water rushing through below, all round fun.