Day 5 – Earthrise Lodge to Langkloof Backpackers (24km)
We met at the dining room for breakfast early. 6:15 found us all huddled around another meal chosen exclusively by the manager. Our wait staff had enough teeth to make a thimble sized maraca. Breakfast wasn’t bad and the lunch pack was simple and economic. Today would be the longest walk we had done so far. Naturally Dad had bought a bottle of wine for me to carry.
As per usual the Lourens’ set off about an hour before us. About a kilometer in Dad realized that the shoe repair job he had done the night before was not holding. Fortunately, we had the power of belief and duct tape on our side. It would not be comfortable but Dads boots would at least be able to last until Langkloof.
Eventually the light clouds lifted revealing a vista of flatlands and isolated mountains around us. Stunning.
Problem though. If the guide book was to be believed, the route was actually closer to 30km and NOT 24. Dad and I worked through the route instructions and realized that Moolmanshoek (a local game farm), was the true halfway point at 15km. It was hot, dry and dusty. The two of us started to mentally prepare for a considerably longer day on the road than anticipated.
This did not stop Dad from having an epic rap battle with a local Ostrich.
A note on the guide: the guide is very comprehensive. However, it is comprehensive the same way a poorly translated warning sticker is on a Chinese Kettle. Suffice to say there are moments when reading it that the laws of grammar are broken or outright turned into Klingon. This has caused some debate. Furthermore, the distance measurements for each day have been mostly correct but the distances between waypoints in the guide’s descriptions have often been horrendously wrong. The best theory I have put forward is that this is a pilgrimage. Pilgrimages are arranged and done by religious people. The dude who measured distances for the route was SO religious he did it in cubits. Nobody knows how long a fucking cubit is.
But lo! Our turn off to Langkloof materialized a whole five kilometers earlier than what the guidebook said it would. Relieved (Dads feet were worrying him. For Dad to complain meant he was in pain) we wondered into Langkloof Backpackers and drank it all in. An isolated cabin surrounded by water-battered sandstone mountains and hills.
There was no power but it was well provisioned. There were enough candles and lanterns to hold a pagan festival for at least a middling daemon of the woods. What followed was hands down our best night. Everyone kind of mucked in and in the end, we had a marvelous braai under the stars and quite a bit of laughter.
You don’t realize that you shed your skin when you do things like this. Layer by layer it comes off leaving your naked ass for the world to see. I think we all had become quite naked.