The Otter Trail - South Africa - Part 4
Day 5 - Andre Hut to Natures Valley - 6.8km
Today the sky was blue and the sun was brutal. The majority of the days hike was along the top of the cliffs in the baking heat with no shade. We began with a big ascent, and The Machine wasn't feeling to great. And in fairness, if I had carried 26kgs on my back for 5 days I’m not to sure how I would feel if the South African sun was smashing down on me for every step. We stopped several times as there were many view points along this final stretch and it gave everyone an opportunity to keep applying sunscreen.
Lots of photos were taken, and pretty soon after the big ascent The Machine was feeling better and ‘strong like bull’ again. Walking down into natures Valley was awesome, although we loved every minute of the trek, it was exciting to see civilisation again and everyone was looking forward to some good food and a chilled beer!
Skipping down all the way to natures valley beach we were all giddy and in full blown celebration mode by the time we reached the bottom. We went swimming the clear blue sea, The Angelic One wrote in the sand and an on looker took a photo of us all together. A dog walker on the beach had the cutest little puppies that we briefly got to pet and play with too before kitting up and carrying on to ‘the real finish’.
We winded through a wood and down a road and into a camp site, where we collected our completion certificates. Everyone was excitable with the thought of having a hot shower, so we grabbed our other bags from our cars and enjoyed every drop of hot water.
Once everyone was refreshed we went to the only restaurant in natures valley. There are two traditions which apparently all who have completed The Otter Trail must do at this restaurant.
One is to do a free shot which looks rather like blood curdled with cream.
The other tradition is much nicer, simply signing an item from the trail and hanging it on a tree.
Everyone (except people who had to drive) successfully drank their curdle - blood shot, except me, who even with two attempts, instantly regurgitated it. You can’t blame a girl for trying hey!
The Doctor had a Visor Cap that we all signed our names on and hung in ‘ the otter trail memory tree’.
I can’t explain how incredible this trek was. It is one of those experiences you have that part of you wants to do it again and again, but the other part of you is scared of doing it again incase it doesn't live up to the euphoric time you had the first time round. We were so fortunate in having a solid crew of people who all got along and respected the space of one another. We all loved nature and being active so just embraced the time on the trail whole heartedly. There was a real sense of achievement at the end, and I feel like I've made some new life long friends that I look forward to adventuring more with in the future.