We, the Southern Cross Schools Grade 9s, welcome you to join our journey deep into– or up to – the heart of the Mariepskop Mountain where we trudged countless kilometres through steep uphills, sharp downhills, and paths so windy you lose your bearings completely. This was complemented by awe-inspiring views and courageous feats such as peering over a 200m waterfall or walking along the top of a steep and rocky cliff face.
Through rigorous activities and team building exercises, we learnt to expand our personal boundaries and take ourselves out of our comfort zones. We started the hike full of anticipation and inflated egos, however, little did we know that those egos would soon deflate like a balloon.
· Day 1 consisted of steep, endless uphills and two quick downhills which ended deep in the mist-belt forest where trees tower, and the canopy is a cathedral of birdsong.
· Day 2 was a beautiful trek! As we made our way tirelessly across innumerable ridges, when we reached the top of the mountain, we saw the golden and truly alluring views that stretch across the Lowveld.
· Day 3 was all downhill and a quiet, peaceful road led us to the picnic site on the Blyde River.
· Day 4 was spent resting on the banks of the river playing games such as the ‘giraffe game’. Toilet paper rolls are stacked and on top of the stack, is a bottle cap. The main objective is to use your mouth to pick the cap up and not let any body part other than the souls of your feet, touch the ground! We had tons of fun that day.
· Day 5, a cool windy day, was the last trek of the trip, and it was a long trek uphill! We had our sights set on an air-conditioned car, a shower, and a home-cooked meal – or takeaway. Wild horses heading for home, had nothing on us.
As we look back on the hike up and down the mountain, we have come to realise that this was truly a memorable and exciting experience. Not all of it was fun and games, but as we hiked that mountain together, the bonds between the Grade 9s strengthened and deepened dramatically. We can honestly say we had a great time.
Eric Williams, Kyle Grayer, Oliver Adams.