Similar to my update following my first vacation in Coffee Bay I will be highlighting only some of the parts of the vacation. There are plenty of pictures though so enjoy.
This was the only worthwhile picture I took during the workshop. It was certainly the finest Peace Corps training yet. Not only were the accommodations stellar but the training content was somewhat informative if not entertaining, even when it slid into pseudoscience. Most importantly though, there was an incredibly dangerous trampoline. It was too irresistible for some to walk by without a bounce. I stayed away this time because previously I landed on the grass after a complicated jumping maneuver.
The beginning of the half marathon. There were some far more ambitious volunteers who attempted the 56km run and started quite some space-time ahead of all of us. We were bused halfway up the mountain and dropped off here. Those at the starting line were getting pumped up with "Shosholoza" before the gun went off, neat stuff.
The pack thinned out pretty soon after the start with me being pretty close to the caboose. The scenery was gorgeous and the climate was refreshing. Even though I was walking I tried to draft behind as many people as possible. I made it to the finish just fine in case you were wondering. Thank you again to all those who contributed, the combined donations surpassed last year's donations.
After the race, a small group decided to go hiking on the Fanie Botha Trail, which is around the same area the race took place. This was at the very beginning of the trail. The land is all owned by a timber company which meant scenes showcasing varying degrees of a tree farm in progress: seedlings, fully grown trees and freshly cut areas. Don't my comrades look like they are off to see the Wizard ...the Wonderful Wizard of Oz? I was on the lookout for flying monkeys, one can never be too careful.
The trail offered lots of different types of hiking in a fairly short stretch. There were times where we were in deep in vegetation, which is certainly a change from my site. The spiders were out in droves, I must have walked through about 100 spider webs.
There were some absolutely stunning waterfalls. This one was "Cathedral Falls" which was pretty massive, being down near the bottom was like being around a during helicopter takeoff but wetter. We saw another five or so from varying distances but this one was probably my favorite.
This was after we came out of the woods and saw how high we had climbed. Again it is apparent that the timber company had recently been to some areas. I wonder how they go about cutting and replanting, it seemed somewhat haphazard but I doubt that is really the case.
There was a fork in the road and the gals went one way and we fellers went the other (we met up again at the shelter). I am glad we went the way we did because we went through a pretty large field and saw some manner of African ungulate, we think maybe an ibex. It is somewhere in the picture there. I think it is one of those black dots in the center.
Another spectacular waterfall. All of the pools created below the waterfalls were very tempting to get into but it was not very hot and the water was frigid. Shortly after this we encountered what we all believe was a baboon troop. I took a video of it but it was far away, grainy and I was walking so it looks like a Sasquatch video combined with the Blair Witch Project . Truly though we saw some baboons!
Right in the middle of some clouds. This pictures doesn't do justice to the peril we were all facing. It is hard to tell from the picture but the slope was quite steep and along with that the trail was slick and the ground uneven with broken up pebbles and stones. Everyone had a few close calls.
A break from the clouds to show the rolling hills. Again it was amazing to see such different landscape all in one day.
This was in the same areas as above but we were just moving through the valley which gave a great view.
Look at how green that grasshopper is! You might ask yourself "how much more green could a grasshopper be?", well the answer is none... none more green.
The trip was amazing and I was glad to get some backpacking done. Next vacation is World Cup which I am excited for but am uncertain as to how it will play out.