Friday, March 18, 2011

Day 158 - A heart of stone

Thursday is my hiking day. I get up at the crack of dawn and meet my hiking buddies for a day in the mountains. Unless someone has a really important reason to prevent me from packing my backpack and putting on my boots, you'll find me out there once a week.

Recently there have been a few important events that prevented me from getting out there but thank goodness, yesterday everyone was healthy and happy and I spent a glorious day in the Silvermine Nature Reserve, situated close to the city of Cape Town.

It was one of those perfect days on the mountain. Lovely weather, a great route and a grand finale consisting of layers and layers of cloud rolling in from nowhere. One minute we were sitting in the sun, enjoying our lunch, the next minute we had to scramble for jackets. As I watched the clouds roll in I couldn't help but think of that disastrous summit attempt on Everest in 1996 when eight climbers perished after being caught in a unexpected storm.

Just a reminder that one has to have the utmost respect for nature. You don't make the rules out there and I also made a mental note to double check the contents of my backpack - those little things truly can be lifesavers. Yesterday I was certainly reminded that a whistle is an essential item to have in case one gets lost in the mist.

A while ago I read that a whistle also came in handy when a pilgrim on the Camino found himself in the precarious position of being chased by a bull out in the middle of nowhere. The noise of the whistle was effective enough to stop the creature from flattening the poor fellow - a useful item to pack indeed!

While we were exploring one of the caves on the route I came across the perfect heart shaped little stone in the picture above. I knew I'd found my Camino stone and this is what I'll take with me to Spain next year. I'll add it to the great pile of stones placed at the foot of a cross on the route by so many before me.

There are many theories as to why people have been doing this for centuries and this forum provides a few good possible answers. I'm afraid that if the theory that the stone has to be big enough to represent all your sins is to be believed, I'll probably have to send a shipping container over there, so I choose not to go with that one!

I'm also very happy to report that at least three of my hiking partners are seriously considering walking to Santiago with me next year. That alone will be one of the biggest birthday gifts anyone could possibly give me! I look forward to meeting all the new people who are destined to cross my path but having these truly special people on the road with me is going to add another dimension to my journey.

God has blessed me with some of the most wonderful, sincere people in my life the last couple of years. Not
a day goes by that I'm not thankful for that!

At the beginning of the year, in the spirit of new year's enthusiasm and positive resolutions, I created a blog where I planned to post all my weekly hiking pictures. Well, I've finally posted some pictures and if you'd like to experience a little of yesterday's magic with me, you're very welcome to click here - I'd be very happy to hear your comments!

Do you have any beautiful hikes in your part of the world?


  1. A nice collection of images of your Thursday hike...Always good when you can share the experience with others both on the hike and also afterwards with use of photos and your blog...


  2. Hi Trevor! Thank you - I think I love taking the photos just as much as the actual hiking! What an amazing thing to be able to dedicate one day a week to something one enjoys so much. (Not to mention spending time with the amazing people who share it with you...) I'm sure as a cyclist you get it!

  3. emilene: There is only one logical explanation for the stone - Cupid shot and missed. I'd be careful in that cave!

  4. Hi JJ! Or perhaps that's the safest cave on the mountain - at least we know there's little chance of being hit with such a useless shot in residence! :)

  5. Do I have any beautiful hikes in my part of the world?

    Oh yes we do. California has some of the greatest areas in the world to explore :-)

    Take care and keep on hiking :-)


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