Wednesday, April 27, 2011

"Surviving" Jonkershoek

 In my previous post I mentioned about the predicted cold front heading towards Cape Town. Three cold fronts later and tired of staying indoors it was yet again time to explore the outdoors and what better way than to do another "survival" trip with the little survival man? When we left for Jonkershoek just outside Stellenbosch the weather was opening up, but a stubborn dark cloud was still hovering over the Jonkershoek Valley where our next expedition was about to take place. But this is what survival is all about and how do you tell an excited 4-year old that he cannot "do survival" because of a possible runny nose afterwards? Jonkershoek is nestled between the Hottentots Holland Mountains and a perfect place for hiking and mountain biking...and in our case...playing ULTIMATE SURVIVAL. At the highest peaks snow was still visible, but getting there was not a possibility at all and we were happy sticking to the easier routes.

It took us a while to get to one of the shorter hiking trails after taking the wrong direction in the circle route that is running through the Jonkershoek Nature Reserve. But, when we arrived the little survival man was ready to take on the challenges that only Mother Nature could throw at us. Armed with only a map (that is what we've made him to believe) we headed into the mountains. Our aim was to find water and any possible food sources.  The latter only presented itself in the form of a dead grasshopper, but my son was clearly not hungry when he suggested that his mom tries it first. Water was in abundance, with streams everywhere as could be expected after three days of continuous rain. Food however was scarce, but mom was there, so we had nothing to worry about. The sun was struggling to get through the clouds, but the cold wet weather added to the experience and the need for proper shoes was clearly illustrated as we went along over rocks and through water. When the little survival man stepped with his one foot into a stream, he immediately wanted to get rid off his "survival shoes". Fortunately mom was clever enough to pack in his water boots, which in the end saved us from a lot of trouble. 

Reading the map. Important.
Anthill. Mmm, food maybe?
We were still on track but when it looked like we were going to get caught in the rain, we took an early turn-off through one of the plantations. This not only provided us with more things to discover, but more importantly a place to sit down and have our coffee and rusks. The little survivor man requested Rooibos tea and oats cookies, not even realizing that survivors don't usually have this luxury. The rain never came. After about two hours of walking we reached a road and saw our first human life in the form of a mountain biker. We were saved yet again. Our little survivor man was very pleased with himself, the only problem is that he wants his next survival experience to be in the snow or the desert. This is going to be a difficult one to solve....

Filling up
Building a soft "bed"

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