It’s not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves

Written by Maria Southey- 58th Durban Air Scouts

My Springbok theme was “It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves – Edmund Hillary”. It is fitting as we had to conquer multiple obstacles like Covid being around, the Level 3 lockdown, and lastly the weight we’ve been picking up from Christmas lunch and New Years. After weeks of planning, changing routes, changing the duration of my Springbok hike, the tons of stress that came with it and postponing my hike multiple times because of Covid, trials and finals, we finally got to go on the hike!

From 16 – 18 January 2021 we got to hike the route I had planned for my Springbok hike, and simultaneaously the Senior Scout Hike. It started from Giants Castle to Bannermans Hut on the first day (12.5km), from Bannermans Hut to Centenary Hut the second day (14km) and from Centenary Hut to Injushuti Base Camp (12km) on the third day.

When I planned my hike routes, the total amount of kilometers we would have had to hike was 31km. However, when we finished the hike we did 38,5km. Due to the Covid safety regulations the hike was a little tougher than anticipated. We had the difficulty of not being able to share the tent weight among ourselves because we had to sleep in our own separate tents, we couldn’t hike close to each other which took some time, we were not able to share things and had to drive in two separate cars to get to Giants Castle. Yet, we had a blast on this hike!

How on earth are we going to survive this hike?

On the first day we had to climb more than 2,265 altitude (above sea level). In the first 500m one of my team member’s souls of his shoes came off. “How on earth are we going to survive this hike” I said to myself. We kept on hiking up and up and after each “small” hill I would turn around and see how far we’ had gotten. I was very proud of my team. At the end of the final big hill we had some lunch. We now had some energy for the last push towards the hut. Finally arriving at the hut we took our heavy bags off, untied our boots and relaxed.  We all enjoyed the mist setting in after a very hot day.

The second day it was hard to see the path as nature had taken place. However, after a while we found it. We fell into a hiking routine that helped us to do more distance in less time, and take some breaks. Luckily it wasn’t as hot as the previous day. We would occasionally take longer breaks where there were small streams. After hill upon hill upon hill we saw the last hill in front of us. “Maria, stop there are baboons ahead of us and they are on our path”, said Caitlin, one of my team members. We decided to take a break and eat another snack. After waiting 10-15 minutes we carried on hiking. That day we hiked 14km which was more than the other days.

I’m always up for a Challenge –  or sometimes even two in one!

On the third day we had to hike in the mist. We even missed the right path! But eventually we found the path and started to hike down heartbreak hill. This was a killer! Imagine hiking up it… We discovered the boys were ballerinas as their shoes were slippery! The girls were real hikers with proper hiking boots on.  After a long hike we saw my mom’s blue car. As soon as we reached the car we dropped our bags and sat down. When we got home we celebrated Caitlin’s birthday.

My team members were the absolute best to hike with! To think to hike 38,5km in three days was hectic. We all have our favorite moments and once the hike was over we didn’t regret anything. We as a team overcame obstacles as well as grew an unforgettable bond.

While passing off my Springbok hike, I could also tick off another challenge which was The Senior Scout Hike Challenge! I couldn’t be happier to join the Challenge as I’m always up for one –  or sometimes even two in one!

#scoutssouthafrica #Scouting #SpringbokAward #SeniorScoutHike #MentalHealth #Skills4Life