Day 14 - mid-morning Day 7 - Northern Experience Tour 42 Celsius, deep blue sky, very hot
As you know, I was already exhausted from having climbed Dune 45 earlier this morning! Plus, the fact that the temperature had gotten much hotter was draining me of whatever little energy I had left.
However…….it did looked very tempting to climb Big Daddy Dune which promised me spectacular views of Deadvlei from high above the ground as opposed to seeing it from the ground up.
So, which option do you think I chose! Hmmmmm! Without any hesitations, Michel and I as well as NTando and another person from the group marched towards Big Daddy Dune while the rest of the people elected to take the 30 minute walk through the marked flat pathway in between dunes! NTando did promise me that either way, we'd all arrive at the clay pan at the same time!
The incline of Big Daddy Dune wasn’t as much of an angle as Dune 45 but regardless, my hip joints and muscles still ached from my earlier climb plus my calves were sore. As for Michel, that little rabbit full of energy appeared all energized once again and was still going and going….
It didn’t take me long to realize that as my previous climb, each step taken was a step backwards which sank in the sand and at the same time, filling my hiking boots! That each second step taken was a heavier load making my breathing harder and body aching.
But with determination in mind plus the fact that Michel kept pulling and pushing me every two minutes or so, I continued to climb Big Daddy Dune stopping several times along the way to take some sips of water and to at least take a few minutes to admire my surroundings.
In the distance, Deadvlei was gradually appearing like a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. I just couldn’t believe that I was now setting eyes on it but on the other hand, that I was still so far away! The heat was intense. Was I having hallucinations!
It was a good thing that I was wearing a hat or I probably would have had a heat stroke. I kept wiping my forehead full of droplets of sweat and pulling on my top making a breeze to cool me off! At one time, I even thought that this climb was inhuman, that it was pure hell and that I was having a really bad dream.....but reality was I was living through it!
It might have been pure hell but the minute we reached the spot where we were high above Deadvlei and getting a perfect vista of it just looking down, the minute I set eyes on the clay pan and on all of those dead trees and saw its surreal beauty, all the pain and sweat that I had to endure just coming here was already forgotten!
The vistas were out of this world! Deadvlei appeared like a dream and a fantasy as it looked so unreal! No clouds were in the sky making the contrast in colors of the sky’s deep blue set up against the reddish of the dunes and whites of the clay pan a photographer’s paradise!
Taking my time to digest this special moment, devour my surroundings and at least to catch my breath, five minutes later and like a bunch of wild kids, we ran down the side of Big Daddy Dune one at a time with great anticipation of stepping foot on Deadvlei's clay pan!
Looking at my watch, it was 10:30am! So NTando was right; it really did take us half an hour to come here! But regardless of how much time it took us, I was happy just knowing that I survived my second climb of the morning!
To be continued…Monique :-)