Wow, I can hardly believe that we are already on Day 7 of Journey 2020! The time is flying by and I am happy to say that things are going well. In my role, I get to meet up with all the groups periodically as the need arises and it is so interesting to see the different dynamics, routines and best practices that they adopt to make things work efficiently. Parents can be proud of their sons and daughters and the way they have coped with most things that have come their way. We have put particular emphasis this year on the war on litter, and each person is carrying a 2L bottle ecobrick, into which they put any plastic or paper they pick up or accumulate. I am happy to say that it has already made a difference in the way they are managing their litter. We are a week in, and already we have some full
bottles ready to return to school!
The presence of a bubbly group of teenagers, tents popping up everywhere, and before long, a hearty campfire, all serve to transform an otherwise bleak environment into a vibrant and positive community. Group 5 had a really good run on Tuesday in cool conditions, perfect for running and they made good time
before settling into their river-bank camp in preparation for a good day of rafting on Wednesday. Last night they had a chilly but fun evening at Kareebosch and then headed out nice and early today over the mountains and down into the valley to camp at Klipfontein.
Group 4 had an excellent hike over the Nardousberg before completing a relatively short walk to Rietpoort on Wednesday. They were then picked up and brought to Sanctuary Farm, north of Cradock, which proved to be a pleasant stopover. Yesterday they were able to enjoy the morning at Sanctuary Farm before heading out to Umlindi and settled in to prepare for a day of running alongside the Fish River today.
Group 3 enjoyed a chilly day of rafting on the river while enjoying all that the Karoo River Rafters campsite has to offer for the two nights that they were there. They then had a warm but successful run into Sanctuary Farm and enjoyed a lovely evening last night. Today they are starting a three-day cycle leg. The Swaershoek Pass road is being re-gravelled, so we bused the group and their bikes over the pass in the interests of safety. They have a relatively short ride today, as a result, with an enjoyable overnight stay at Grootdam Farm to look forward to.
Group 2 are in the midst of their prolonged hiking spell as they head towards the Solo site. They hiked well yesterday and were able to enjoy the lovely dam at Mount Marlow on a nice warm afternoon. Today they head up to Oukraal, where they will again camp alongside a dam high on the side of Groenkop Mountain. Tomorrow they will be the first group to hike into Solo for a period of rest, contemplation and reflection. Both Rev Rich and Rev Rachel will be there, and this provides an opportunity for the boys and girls to recharge themselves spiritually and emotionally. They will also share in a communion service under the thorn trees, before hiking on their way. This process will be repeated for all the groups over the next five days. Solo has been a real success since it was introduced some years ago and serves as an excellent opportunity to recharge the soul and to enjoy some quiet time.
Group 1 were the first of the cycle groups, and they enjoyed three days of cycling from Petrusdal, where they had summited the Nardousberg. They enjoyed pretty
good weather conditions and made good progress. They camped alongside the Fish River last night and will enjoy a day of river rafting in sunny conditions today.