Walking with only two guests makes such a difference, you can cover distances in such a short time but most importantly you do it whilst making minimal noise. It’s the latter that’s led to some amazing encounters so far on this trail.
This morning we walked Houtini Gorge. It wasn’t long before we had our first encounter, first up were a herd of 200+ buffalo as we crossed the floodplain. Once we’d made it to the top of the mountain we had some serious downtime, thirty minutes sitting in the sun looking out over a stunning view. There’s been a lot of talk about meditation, Steve is a huge advocate. I personally don’t quite understand how it works so I was just happy to get a comfy spot and switch off but not so much I’d fall asleep. I had to work hard to keep awake and had the constant danger of whiplash as my head kept on rolling forwards and backwards nodding dog style.
As we made our way down the mountain the painkillers were beginning to wear off which meant I could feel the blinding headache behind my right eye again. This combined with the fact that I was hungry and desperate for a cuppa was putting me in a grump. I said to Steve that if a Dagger Boy comes between me and my tea and biscuits I’m going to shoot it.
Thirty seconds later I spotted a loan bull walking with his head down directly towards us. He had not noticed us at all which gave us plenty of time to move behind a fallen tree for cover. Steve made some noise to try and get its attention but it was still non the wiser. The bull carried on walking past us and into our scent that the wind had carried downwind. He found this quite a rude awakening, shot his head up, clocked us and the bolted.
The Fever Tree Forest looked stunning in this afternoon’s light which made for an excellent short walk. George and Shirley were keen on exploring so Steve and I jumped on the opportunity. We headed north east and found a beautiful pan covered in water lillies. We walked back to the vehicle along a drainage line of jackalberries and sycamore figs where we spied a young male wart hog waddling towards us. The wind was in our favour so we simply sat down and watched him as he carried on his business. Inserting yourself into the wild without being noticed gives you such a buzz, it’s what trails is all about.
Back at the Cruiser we watched the sun go down until the forest was all but black. As we finished up two huge silhouettes lumbered towards us, the sound of breaking trees and the outline of trunk behind extended vertically to reach the branches of a fever tree confirmed that we’d been joined by a couple of elephants.