Saturday, 8 October 2016

3-Day Koepel hiking adventure

On our doorstep, here in Parys, is the Vredefort Dome. With it being school holiday, Celliers and I headed off - with the children - for a three-day hike in the Dome. With thanks to permission from landowners, I had the chance to show Celliers, Kyla and Ruben some of the Forest Run route and for us all to enjoy a wonderful local adventure.

We set off on Thursday morning from Thabela Thabeng, a lovely venue 25 minutes from Parys. They kindly let us leave our car there and from here we walked to a nearby farm to begin our hike. Of course, we took a photo as we left Thabela.

Day 1 covered around 9 kilometres and took us into the hills. We camped next to our friend's cottage (deep in the Dome) and enjoyed a lovely visit. 

Here are a few photos of our Day 1 sights.

Day 2 brought with it high temperatures, like Day 1. Our group fared really well and enjoyed magnificent views from the top of the highest point in the area. We enjoyed checking out a number of kraals and a ruin. We got to our overnight stop in good time and enjoyed a lazy afternoon. Ruben and Kyla even built their own mini kraal.

Day 3 was our longest and the children cruised it. Where they'd struggled in the heat on Day, they just got stronger on Day 2 and Day 3. 

We got off to an earlier start to enjoy the coolness of the morning. It showed - we made good time up a steep climb. Our timing for lunch was perfect. A great view and only a hop, skip and jump to the finish. Along the way we enjoyed seeing more flowers and insects. We didn't see any animals, even though there was evidence in spoor and droppings. We were probably talking too much!

Start of Day 3

Back at the finish.
By early afternoon we were back at Thabela and in the car for the quick 25 minute drive back home.

At 8yrs and 11yrs, Kyla and Ruben did really well on their first overnight (two nights!) hike. In their 12 litre backpacks they carried their own water (2l reservoir), clothing, self-inflating mattress and snack packs (plus breakfasts) for each day. Their total weight was up to 6kg with full water. The children weigh around 30kg (Ruben a kilo or two less and Kyla a kilo or two more), this load was just right for them.

We carried their sleeping bags, our sleeping bags and mattresses, tents (one for them, one for us), camping stove, pots, dinner food and, of course, our personal kit. It worked out really well for a trip of this duration (I had a 35l pack; Celliers' pack is 65l). 

We are indeed spoilt to have such a wonderful hiking location so close to home. Our daily distances were around 9km, 6km and 10km, which was just perfect for the children's first hiking experience. That they are keen to go on more overnight hikes that are further is a good sign!

Our heartfelt thanks to the landowners for allowing us to enjoy these few days on their land.

From this local adventure with my family to another adventure with my mom... 

We're off to Spain on Monday where my mom and I are walking a section of the Camino de Santiago route from Leon to Santiago. We start walking on Wednesday and expect to do the 300-320km route in 14 days.

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