First some extra details about day 2:
So yesterday a lot of runners came in looking bleak having really struggled with the heat. A couple of them immediately needed intervention from the medics and there was an hilarious moment when Retha (who was dribbling/staring/meditating as one does) caught a glimpse of Gary’s feet protruding from the medics tent in puce/grey toe socks much the colour of a corpse I would imagine. She panicked and thought he may have expired: Oh my God are those his feet?? We had to reassure her quickly that his feet (under the socks) were a healthy looking pink.
Something I only found out much later about day 2 was the fact that Sybille had her bottom inadvertently set alight at checkpoint 3 by Mich who had made a fire to smoke out the bees. He was waving a flaming torch around in an effort to encourage the bees to move on (if I have the story correct.) There seems to have been no damage (other than to her dignity) when the entire crew had to douse her nether regions to quench the flames. (This story may have been exaggerated slightly in the repeated telling of it, maybe someone actually present at checkpoint 3 can clarify the facts).
Dinner time brought its usual fun and games and we were so tormented by the midges that Morgan (Karate Kid, because of the fabulous way he wears his towel tied around his head) treated us to the epic fail of trying to feed himself with his insect net still on. It was fabulously entertaining and he will be mocked mercilessly for this.
On a different note, Erica wrote such a beautiful note about day 2 that I have to include it:
“I sat with Fransa* at dusk talking about the Kalahari and the Khoi and dreaming about future adventures. Pella to Vioolsdrif Wild Walk, many moons to come….and while we were talking and sifting through the white sand , we unearthed tiny red garnets, little desert rubies. Reminding us how ancient and special this place is. Privilege.” Erica Terblanche
*Fransa is one of the contenders for the most elegant runner/walker of 2018. She is remarkably clean and wears a cotton dress over her tights. She is amazing.
And now finally about day 3
The morning was remarkably cool and windy, the weather gods REALLY smiled on us. Had it not been for this fact there would have been a LOT more casualties today. Before we set off (4 staggered starts once again to maximize persistence hunting joy), Bennie helped me repair my pack, which was down to 1 strap from the original 3. He was fascinating to watch. I had been stuffing around ineffectually with some cable ties and a knife when he decided to take over. I think my ineptitude was too much for him. Five minutes later my strap was as good as new and I am eternally grateful. Bennie is a man of many talents, just saying.
We started the day with a very technical steep climb out of a steep narrow river gorge and were gloriously rewarded with the most spectacular sweeping vistas at the top of the climb. (As I said, the only thing that keeps this race manageable is the lack of climbing…..)
Admittedly, because we are camping at the river tonight, there was a downhill trend (mostly) after that. 38km of rocky and/or sandy jeep track followed, always with the most vast and beautiful views to reward us when we could look up from the rocky path. Quiver trees were in abundance today (my absolute favourite), Craig spotted a snake, Erica saw a herd of Gemsbok, Estelle and I spotted a lone Gemsbok (astonishingly, as we were engrossed in chatting at the time.) We also saw a lot of dead things lying around, today they mainly seemed to be legs and feet. Funny that. I had to step over a number of shin bones with their hooves still attached and felt extreme sympathy for the victims, we could all very much relate to their suffering.
On a positive note, it is said that Harry shared his special fruitcake with Altie in a dark moment today (they are now exploring a possible adoption). Less happily, someone called Cynthia a Yank (she is Canadian and therefor very offended), Ian had to backtrack at least 2km back to retrieve a forgotten water bottle, a couple of folk succumbed to Kalahari belly (but seem to have it under control), feet are starting to fall apart (I just heard a bloodcurdling shriek from the medics tent as Jan had her blister injected with methylate), but everyone was massively motivated to finish by the thought of the river as our destination today. The unspeakable joy of having a swim, washing ones stenching clothing and knowing that the opportunity exists to get cool and clean again before bed time.
We are all waiting for our brave Mama Nadia and her chaperone (Julian) to arrive and then then we will be complete. There is a definite trepidation in the camp tonight as we try to prepare for the looming long day tomorrow.
Coming down the mountain after CP 3, all alone on the sandy, rocky track….absolute silence and suddenly 40 Gemsbok came charging through the brush , black tails aloft, dust kicked up as they cross the road at high pace. My heart racing as my cadence suddenly match theirs for a short while until they disappear around the hill, taking with them a piece of the desert magic. Erica Terblanche
It’s the 3rd day and I feel better, the weather saved me. After 3 meltdowns yesterday I almost quit, but my tent mates helped me to make the decision not to stop. I cried the whole way through the last leg yesterday and for most of the night, but they carried me through. Awesome. I’m sore and sunburned and blistered but in better spirits today and pray that step by step I will get through. I can’t not finish. I have to do this. But I’m going to need help. Este Bezuidenhout
Note: Toosie gave her a lollipop, Estelle gave her facecream (you have no idea what that means) and everyone else has been dispensing love, hugs and advice. She’s broken the back of this beast! We are so proud of her!!!
Another glorious day. All the water drunk at the checkpoints. Steady pace. Excellent walking companions. No blisters. The first 6 km’s were up a gorge lots of boulders and I goated from rock to rock. All that time at the gym paying off! Plateaus, sandy tracks, rocky tracks, not too much sun, stiff breeze. Living the dream. Cynthia Fish
Please send help. Being held captive and forced to run through the desert. Holding up ok but down to my last cheesecracker. Mark Gallen (Mark came to the Kalahari under the false impression (possibly created by Andy or Peter) that he was going on an English walking holiday or similar…)
Today’s wildlife sightings: 1034 x miggies, 1 times spitting cobra. Need new underwear. Russell Nugent