With the clock ticking down, rather fast, to our Otter trail in less than 3 weeks time, we had the luxury of testing our final gear, meals and packing arrangements at Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve.
The guys from Deadbeat Adventures asked us to join them on the trip - A short day 1 hike to Springbok hut (approx 4.8km hike) and then a more taxing day 2 hike back to the start (via Blesbok Hut, approx 11.5km). Rodger and Marihette attempted to do a day 3 hike via Steenbok, but had to bail out, more on this later.
It was a case of fine tuning our gear, and relatively confident that every decision made throughout the last year was worth it.
I can confidently say that I know now, eventually, what should be in my pack when we start our Otter 2018 adventure.
While testing was the main purpose of the hike, one quickly realised how awesome the Suikerbosrand trail is. It's diverse with different views waiting for you just over the hill.
The trail started of with a serious climb, like majority of the hikes in Gauteng, but the moment the legs (read lungs) started to wake up, it was a great hike to the hut, with various fauna and flora to enjoy along the route.
We got to the hut without really breaking a sweat, so after having having a small lunch, we took some Beers, obviously, and went on a short walk to the ridge next to our hut, and just chilled...
The next morning we got an unexpected surprise... It was bucketing down with thunder in the distance. But as luck would have it, minutes before we started our day 2, the rain stopped and the clouds cleared, giving us a beautiful day, with great hiking conditions.
At roughly 6km's we stopped for lunch at the blesbok hut, to have lunch and as always ended up taking the customary #hikingmonkey photo. The group split after this, 4 of us went left, back to the parking lot, while Rodger and Marihette went right towards Steenbok.
The rest of the trail ended up very basic, but still some tough hills to get over, but managed a steady pace to the finish.
As we got to the cars, Rodger phoned and told us they are turning back, due to the overgrown route. Thus making it a 16km walk for the day, hectic!
This was one of two issues we had during the weekend.
The other problem was the toilet at the hut, in basic terms, it was disgusting.
Both these issues can be easily resolved, with help from volunteers and donations towards the reserve...
I feel a charity walk coming ;)
p.s. for maps, and .gpx files, REGISTER HERE FOR FREE