‘Are my shorts ruined?’ I asked my girlfriends.
‘They’re holding up pretty well,’ they gasped. ‘Imported?’
‘Yeah, from Paris’.
A tear rolled down my cheek. A few rolled down theirs as well.
We didn’t really care about the rip in my shorts.
But we did care that at any given moment we may fall off the edge of the mountain. And if we didn’t tumble to our deaths we would probably die from sunstroke.
All that would be left would be bits of our clothing, remnants of Revlon 24 hour ultimate colourstay lipstick and a few tubes of Vichy sunblock.
Damn the ranger who told us the hike was ‘relatively easy.’
Damn the national park who hadn’t maintained their paths.
Damn the fact that we hadn’t taken enough water.
A trail that should’ve been four hours turned into eight. We’d started off with our bras in our backpacks, feeling the sun against our skin. We laughed, we loved the views, we took breaks and we ate our chocolate.
And then – we got lost.
The path disappeared. No matter which way we went, we couldn’t find it. We could find precipes and ravines and sheer mountain drops. But we couldn’t find a path.
What if we seriously couldn’t get down?
We stayed calm. Mostly. Until the midday sun was beating down on us and there was no shade, no shelter and still no fucking path.
We unhinged a little. Some tears, some anger, a bit of panic and a few rants.
But then we pulled outselves together and strategised. And we did the mountain on our hands and knees. We scrambled, we scraped, we rock climbed and hey – we forged a trail.
We forged a fucking trail.
When we got to the bottom we yelled at the rangers. Really yelled! Then we cried a little more, collapsed on the grass, took off our hiking boots, ordered a couple of beers and started laughing.
And when we’d recovered we picked up our boots, hitched a ride back into town and found a bar where we could watch the rugby.
South Africa verse Wales. A really tough game.
South Africa won.
And so did we.
One more beer please…