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 Post subject: MeanderingMouse Meandering down a road less travelled Oct 11
Unread postPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2011 8:55 am 
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A book that had a remarkable affect on my life was M Scott Peck’s, “A road less travelled”. He talks of the challenges life brings and the courage to walk your own path, travel down a road freed from convention and opinion. He brings to the reader's attention that life is difficult and only once we have accepted this fact, can we stop fighting our own fear and embrace the challenges it brings.

The road less travelled has become my own personal mission. It is more than a journey, it is a pilgrimage.

Image

While recently looking through some of my daughter’s photos, I stumbled on some that marked another turning point in my life. These were photos taken on my 18th birthday gift to my twin daughters. They were pictures from a walk done with Bruce Brydon.

It is usually not the dramatic moments that illicit change, but the understated choices we make that put us on a collision course with our own destiny.

So I am inviting you all to come with me, join me on my journey, down a road less travelled.

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 Post subject: Re: Meandering down a road less travelled
Unread postPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2011 9:42 am 
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One can always count on a deep philosophical thought for the day :wink:
I am not familiar with M Scott Peck's: A road less travelled :hmz: I should look into it.
But what you say reminds of Robert Frost's poem - the road not taken.
I am sure you are familiar with it :)
Frost also decided to take the road less travelled and found fulfillment so I'm going to paste it here :D


Two roads diverged in a yellow wood
and sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveller, long I stood
and looked down one as far as I could
to where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
and having perhaps the better claim
because it was grassy and wanted wear;
though as for that, the passing there
had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
in leaves no feet had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I --
I took the one less travelled by,
and that has made all the difference

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Kruger 2014!!!

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 Post subject: Re: Meandering down a road less travelled
Unread postPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2011 5:36 pm 
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Cheetah :D thank you :thumbs_up:

This is the poem on which Scott Peck based his book.

M. Scott Peck was a psychiatrist who died a few years ago. Although I never met him, I felt that I had lost a mentor. He was both a man of science and a man of deep spirituality. His book looks at case histories and remains one of the best books on emotional well being that I have ever read.

Thank you, Chappie. I hope that it will bring both thought and laughter :wink:

Wildflowergirl, it is a book worth reading. I have bought so many copies and always end up giving them away. I now buy second hand to save on the expense. :wink:

FC, thank you and I am so happy to see you on board. 8)

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 Post subject: Re: Meandering down a road less travelled
Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2011 7:54 am 
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Hugh, jump on cuzz 8)

Spookie, I have been missing you, lovely to see you :D

Rino, our Cape trail enthusiast, welcome to my world :thumbs_up:

Pumbaa, welcome, welcome, welcome.. wish I had your :cam:

Herman, certainly no middle of the road here :lol: :lol: :lol:

Foxy, I hope that you enjoy the journey and super to see you around.

The year 2003 marked an important turning point, although I really did not realise it at the time.

It was a year when email and internet banking filled me with technophobe anxiety. I remember the destructive power of the delete button and viewed my computer with resentment. For this reason I am amazed that I even saw an email inviting interested parties to a “Walk with Nature” with the well known ranger, Bruce Brydon.

“Who is Bruce Brydon?” I thought.

There was something there though that raised my heart rate. I had been thinking about what to get my twin daughters for their 18th birthday. This seemed ideal. They were going to be making important career choices and were being bombarded with conflicting, though well meaning advice.
Time in nature seemed a good place to connect to their intuition. I do not believe in jobs, I believe in vocations.

When I think back I also remember how I nearly never booked. It was the start of the year. I had just survived the Christmas rush on my bank account, followed by the early school year demands. It was looking very, very sad indeed. There was also the coming matric dance, the matric holidays and the likelihood of two up and coming university students. I hesitated.

but

I have found that I sometimes find it difficult to understand the “i” words "irresponsible" and "impossible" when the word "irresistible" raises its head.

Image

So I picked up the phone and made that fateful call.

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 Post subject: Re: Meandering down a road less travelled
Unread postPosted: Thu Oct 20, 2011 9:24 am 
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FC, I do hope that you will soon have a sense of Bruce Brydon.

Ah, that fateful phone call.
I remember the person on the other side of the line telling me that there was a lot of interest in the course. If I wished to secure a place I had to make a 50% deposit as soon as possible. Little did I know how important that voice would become a few months later.... but that is another story.

At the first gap in my day, I rushed to my bank withdrew the money, leaving a very fragile bank balance and headed for ABSA bank. My heart was pounding until my money was safely deposited. Somehow my intuition was telling me that this was a vital decision.

Strangely, once my decision had been made, money no longer became a problem; it was as if I needed to take that first step in order for energy to flow.

Image


The time grew closer until it was time to do our last shop.
The twins and I made our way for final preparations. Other than malaria prophylaxis, all we really had to worry about was suitable clothing and what to drink.

We were going to be leaving the day after their 18th birthday.

“You can chose one alcoholic beverage for sundowners”, MM said, “and I’ll take a dinky wine and one Black Lable for the braai”..

Oh dear, another story there.

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 Post subject: Re: Meandering down a road less travelled
Unread postPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2011 7:24 am 
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Aat, indeed, a long and winding road is appropriate :wink:

Pumbaa, it is an experience we still laugh about. As you will soon see, it had its moments :whistle:

Val, thanks for watching.. and you do know, I am very :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: about your freedom to go down roads less travelled.

The morning finally arrived.

We had to drop my youngest daughter off at school and my heart broke as I waved “good bye”. Then we hit the road :dance: :dance: . We had a good seven and a half hours before we had to meet up with our fellow companions at the Hamilton Memorial. “Enough time for a short drive”, I told my children.

Well, we hit the road... we hit the road for a whole 10 kms, that is :shock: . A truck had over turned on the freeway blocking all but half a lane.

Well, this was Wednesday morning, Johannesburg at its worst and we were standing still.

After an hour of waiting, I looked at my children.. my heart was in my throat, “I think we are going to be late”, I said.

Fortunately we had the letter with contact numbers and we started phoning the rangers on the list. It did not help matters at all. This was Kruger in pre-cell phone days, and all we got was, “the subscriber you have dialled is not available at the moment..”..

Eventually my daughter managed to find the name of the person I had phoned to make our bookings. She turned out to be our guardian angel, calmed us down and promised to relay our predicament.

Just before ten am we were free and on our way. By this stage, my mouth was dry, my palms sweaty and my heart was thumping in my ears.. not to mention what my bladder was saying.

I will admit to doing some low flying, as low as I could manage without feeling that I might be jailed. The road at that stage was not what it is now, and there were sections of one way traffic.
Finally, we reached a section of road that invited me to “hit the pedal”.... and so I hit the pedal.

I now know that part of the road so well, it is the part that travels through a way station close to Belfast, the part that widens so seductively, but has the little signs

80kms/hr

By the time I saw the sign, it was too late. I slammed on brakes as I saw the traffic officer step out into the road.

This is an artistic photo taken by my daughter. It is of her mother receiving the largest traffic fine she has ever been given in her life.

Image

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 Post subject: Re: Meandering down a road less travelled
Unread postPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2011 7:20 am 
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I can be a fairly chilled person 99% of the time. Then there is the 1% when I can be in a blind, mindless panic. One of my buttons is being late.

By now, we had used up any time cushioning and were into the red zone. I was also stupid with panic.

We reached Nelspruit and I felt a sense of relief,..............that is, until one of my daughter’s said, “ma, I don’t recognise this road, I think that we have passed the White River turn off”.

She was right; we had gone long past and were now on the way to Mozambique. My mouth went metallic.

All was not lost though, we saw an inconspicuous turning to White River and off I went. It was a road under construction and included the airport road being upgraded. My poor car, this was 4X4 track at its most challenging and I was driving my almost new, out of the box, beloved Honda Civic.

My daughter was back on the phone to the kind lady. Again she calmed us down. It did not help though that she had no idea where we were.

Finally we reached White River and it was the final stretch to Hazyview and then Kruger Gate.

Have you ever noticed how many really, really slow cars populate the Mpumalanga roads? I do. It seems most prevalent on one way roads, in between the goats and cows.

We finally arrived at Kruger gate. And off we went to Skukuza. By now we were going to be half an hour late. It did not seem to matter that much anymore, at some point; I thought we were not going to arrive at all.

A beautiful, beautiful sight. :D

Image

I made my way to the Hamilton Memorial, our meeting place.

It was empty of any interesting looking vehicles. All that I could see were sedans, empty sedans. No people, no baggage, no activity. :big_eyes:

Someone appeared from the memorial and a tall tanned ranger made his way towards me.

“Are you the group from Johannesburg coming for the nature course?”

I nodded.

“They could not wait” he said, “They will pick you up tomorrow morning”

My heart sank.....where would we sleep, what should we do? :(
Then I looked into a pair of twinkling mischievous, eyes.

I had just met Bruce Brydon.

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 Post subject: Re: Meandering down a road less travelled
Unread postPosted: Tue Oct 25, 2011 6:56 am 
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Wildflowergirl, Bruce Brydon turned out to be a terrible tease. He managed to pull my leg so many times on the trip. I would give an "oh wow" response, look up and see that twinkle. Until the final day, he was managing to get my gullibility.

Tawny, the adventure did indeed start with the journey. What is to come is a trip that changed and redirected my life forever.

Will be back soon with comment on my fellow adventurers. One is now another forum member, maybe even a forum "guru". :hmz: I wonder how many people would recognise her. I don't want to post the picture yet, it would spoil the flow.

What I felt like when arriving at Skukuza. Just hanging on.

Image

A Skukuza sunset.

Image

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 Post subject: Re: Meandering down a road less travelled
Unread postPosted: Thu Oct 27, 2011 9:26 am 
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Melph, I really do hope you enjoy the ride :thumbs_up:

Billy, I bought the book as soon as it was released and was so :wall: :wall: :wall: that I did not find my name :wink:

Wildflowergirl, at this point, it starts to get fun.. with a few :big_eyes: moments.

Sparrow, great to have you on board. Welcome :D

Gwen, great to see you :D :D :D :thumbs_up: again..

FC, the frog is not mine I'm afraid :( but the story is :wink:

Tracylee, this was the start of many meanders and it certainly changed my perspective, stick around and find out why :wink:

Lovely to see you back again, Delene :thumbs_up:

Pumbaa, I hope that everyone gets to know him better and enjoy some memorable moments. 8)

Anyone who has been on an honorary ranger’s walk, an eco teaching walk, or any walk in the bush, will know that there has to be a strict rule on the number of participants. After packing all our baggage onto an exciting looking vehicle we went off to the conference centre to meet the rest of the participants.

When we walked in I had no idea that this would become a place where I would enjoy more than one evening of fun before the forum cricket weekend. I had no idea that this was going to be the start of a long and exciting adventure.

Image

I am not sure how you cope with new introductions... I tend to smile, my brain turns to mush and the first thing I do is forget everyone’s name :doh: . Over the next few days, I finally got it right.

There was Bruce and his wife. What a lovely warm person. She is a microbiologist and gave us a completely different knowledge of the bush.

The other rangers were Sakkie, many who have completed the FEGASA course would know him and Vanessa. Vanessa is now a forum member and has even played in the angels cricket matches. It will be interesting to see if anyone recognises her.

Johanna was our honorary ranger cook. Friendly, enthusiastic, down to earth and full of information, I grew to enjoy her company in the few free moments. I also loved her cooking 8)

The participants were my two wonderful daughters, two accountants looking for adventure and 3 ladies completing FEGSA 1. Then there was MM, a very bush green MM.

Signing an indemnity form before another adventure. Photo thanks to Hugh.

Image

We signed our indemnity forms and we started the trip with a formal lecture. The lecture was on pooh, all kinds of pooh. It went right over my head (just like everyone’s name). I gazed at pictures of all kinds of droppings, most looking like something I had always just classified as “bokdrolls”. Before this, a droll was a droll, was a droll. Now it was a spat and I was expected to remember where it originated. :?

Image

After our lecture, it was a quick cup of tea and into our ready chariot.

The Sandriver bush camp is about 15kms from Skukuza. When I went it was a lot more basic than today. Once we arrived, after some spectacular bundu bashing in the 4X4, I once again, fell in love. It was perfect, more perfect than my wildest dreams.

No electricity, no piped water, beautiful riverine trees, bird sound everywhere, I was in heaven.

These are the ablutions.

Image

We were allocated our tents. Because our group of three consisted of the youngest members, we were allocated 2 tents furthest from the ablutions. Little did I know that this would result in one of my terrifying bush moments ever, but that is another story.

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Last edited by Meandering Mouse on Thu Oct 27, 2011 10:36 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Meandering down a road less travelled
Unread postPosted: Thu Oct 27, 2011 10:34 am 
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Tawny, time to stretch and chill :wink:

Image

I am off to work now, but will be back soon.

Thanks for joining me.

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 Post subject: Re: Meandering down a road less travelled
Unread postPosted: Fri Oct 28, 2011 2:58 pm 
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Wildflowergirl, more fun to come. Thanks for watching :thumbs_up: .

Elsa, I wish that I had more photos, but I am able to add some more recent pictures to keep the story flowing.

Joao, welcome :D I am pleased that you are so present.

Wendy, stick around, the moment will come.

Sparrow, I hope that you continue to enjoy this life changing journey.

I was utterly delighted with our tents. They were simple, right at the fence, and most of all under a tree. That would also have consequences later.

Image

In many families tents are allocated according to hierarchical structure. This is not the case in my family; they are allocated according to tidiness. There were three of us... super tidy, reasonably tidy and absentmindedly chaotic.

Explorer and I decided to leave super tidy to her own devices.

Once we had off loaded our baggage, we had to leave for a quick briefing and sundowners. Super tidy took a little longer than the rest of us.

Sakkie, the senior ranger spelt out the rules:
Walk in a straight stripe (that was what my accounting teacher always used to say)
No talking while walking.
Keep in view of the lead ranger at all times.
Obey all instructions...
Then, the most important one of all...
If charged by a lion, whatever you do, don’t run.

Image

Ah yes, and don’t feed the animals, particularly not the lions. Running will break that rule.

Image

I think that our first sundowners were at Jones’s dam. We were all a little awkward and shy with each other at that stage, but I knew that that would disappear with time.

Image

Once we returned to camp, we had our first delicious supper and spent a while listening to bushfire tales. Bruce turned out to be entertaining and full of experience.

All too soon we were advised to go to bed. It would be an early start and an eventful day.

I drifted off listening to the night sounds of the bush.

Suddenly, I was awake :big_eyes: . I could hear what I thought must be the death throes of an animal. It went on and on and on. It was a sound that sent chills through my bones. I prayed that its agony would be over soon. :pray:

I would start to drift off, and the noise would sound again. I could not begin to imagine what drama was playing out in the blackness. I did not want to know. Eventually I fell asleep.

The next morning I could not wait to hear what had happened. I was sure that one of the rangers would be full of knowledge and an explanation for that horrible, horrible sound.

I went off for my early morning coffee. Sakkie was already there waiting for the group to appear.
He wished me good morning.
“I hope that the rutting impala did not keep you awake?” he asked.
I was appalled. :big_eyes:

You mean those blood thirsty screams were nothing more than the lust of this gentle creature?


Image

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 Post subject: Re: Meandering down a road less travelled
Unread postPosted: Sat Oct 29, 2011 7:38 am 
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FC, I can still hear the tales. Bruce Brydon was not only a man of great experience, but he was also an expressive story teller. As for the trees, another night episode will be coming soon :wink:

Anne Marie, I hope that you enjoy the encounters :thumbs_up: and adventures of a very inexperienced MM.

Gemma :D welcome, I hope that you stick around.

Herman, lots of lust and life happening while I was there :lol: wwith the impies, I mean :wink:

Pumbaa, there is more on its way. :thumbs_up:

The rest of the group arrived in good time and we grabbed a quick snack. While we chomped away, Bruce was telling us that he had heard the resident Leopard during the night and he hoped that it would show itself sometime.

Resident Leopard, I was so excited. :dance: :dance:

Image

Let me, at this point; give you a quick rundown of our itinerary.
We were usually woken up an hour before sunrise. This gave us a chance to have our cup of coffee or three and a light snack.

The kitchen, eating area and meeting place.

Image


I quickly learnt that too much coffee would lead to a very uncomfortable journey. A full bladder in a 4X4 is a potential method of torture.

Image

Brunch was eaten at about 9am on the walk. It consisted of more snacks, fruit and fruit juice. I learnt to love these breaks.

Image

Once the walk was over, it was back to camp for a lightish meal. We then had a couple of hours to rest or read.

At about 4pm we would leave for a short walk, followed by sundowners, followed by supper, followed by a talk, or stories.

If it sounds like paradise, it is.

Image

Before we left for our destination, Sakkie asked for our watches and cell phones. We now had no way of knowing time and had to rely on our powers of observation and intuition.

My daughters and I filled our drinking bottles with “Energade” and got ready to climb into our chariot. The choice to buy concentrated Energade would have rather dramatic consequences later. But, as I said, this was a very green MM.

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 Post subject: Re: Meandering down a road less travelled
Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 30, 2011 9:21 am 
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Gemma, Anne Marie, that Leopard was taken on the Voortrekker road, one of the best Leopard sightings that I have ever had. It sat only a metre away not at all disturbed by our company. I am using it, because if you keep reading, the Leopard will play a vital role in the report.

Own, thank you 8) . I hope that you pop in every now and then.

Elsa, I consider myself very, very blessed to have been able to have this experience.

More coming cuz :thumbs_up: keep watching.

FC, if you are back in 8 days, I am very, very :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

This was my first experience of bush walking and having Bruce Brydon as my first mentor was such a privilege. I realise this more and more as I grow to appreciate the bush at a deeper and deeper level.

It was not only Bruce though. Our other rangers were also amazing, so dedicated and knowledgeable.

Sakkie is an authority in all things Botany. His love for trees, grasses all things growing became infectious. I do think that he is respected in the wider bush community for his expertise. He and Bruce had a wonderful rapport. It made the trip that much more enjoyable.

Vanessa was very young, but had a maturity way beyond her years. I loved to see a woman so comfortable and doing so well. I could see that my daughters were looking at her as a role model. Sisters are doing it together. Having grown up in an era when all things nature were considered the sole domain of testosterone, it was good to see that you could be young, female and attractive and still be taken seriously.

Bruce has his back to the camera. My daughter Explorer is closest to the camera, Noname has a black hat. Vanessa is sitting in the middle of the group.

Image

Our first day did not yield much in terms of sightings, but it did not need to.

I was quite awed by the smells, the sounds, and the feel of the air. At one point, Bruce stopped. “What has happened here?” he asked.
We stopped, looked and looked again. I could not see a thing, no spoor, no spats, nothing. This was not going to be a brownie point moment for me.
“Smell”, he said... and indeed, there was a strong smell... of something. Still no brownie points though.
“An elephant has passed by”, he said.
Wow, wonderful.

Image

Now, when I stop my car and just sit, I am sometimes aware, an elephant has just passed by.

We spent a lot of time looking at spoor, examining spats. I am still useless, but I just enjoyed the moment.
I was very tired by the time we left to go back to camp for lunch. I was also very hungry. On arrival, Johanna told us that she had seen the resident Leopard walk past the camp, probably on its way to have a drink.

My intention was to take a quick snooze while my daughters studied, this was there matric year. It was not to be. Johanna asked me to accompany her to Skukuza to pick up some ice. Always ready for an adventure, off I went.

When I came back, my daughters were full of excitement. They had spent the afternoon watching the antics of a small group of monkeys.

Image

“Make sure all your things are safe”, said Sakkie, “their sense of smell can detect the smallest item of food”. That is another story.

Before we left for our evening walk and sundowners, I heard Sakkie shouting and using some rather strong expletives. Ever curious, I went to have a look to see what was causing him so much agitation. He was busy trying to get rid of some baboons that seemed intent on paying an uninvited visit.

Not that used to baboons, I could not understand why he seemed to dislike the thought of their company so much. After all, “live and let live”, I thought.

Ja, well, no fine. That is another story. :roll:

Image

We left for our evening walk and sundowners. This became my favourite time of the day. As the coolness sets in, the bush takes on another mood, one so sensitive and listening.

Image

We travelled to an area with interesting rock formations. I was keen to explore, until Sakkie said, “be careful, this is the domain of black mambas”.

Eish..

It was on our way back to the vehicle that the first truly disquieting moment happened. Bruce picked something up. It was a shoe.

Sakkie and Bruce looked at each other. A meaningful look was passed, but nothing was said. Maybe, having my daughters, still so young and vulnerable kept them silent. For me, I was left with the terrifying thought, was this final place, a place of terror of some refugees end?

Sundowners had me thoughtful.

Image

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 Post subject: Re: Meandering down a road less travelled
Unread postPosted: Mon Oct 31, 2011 6:47 am 
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Gemma, Anne Marie, Wendy, Bruce spoke a lot about the plight of those killed by Lions over the few days we spent with him. He also touches on it in his book. It is sad when one thinks of the ramifications of war and the desperation of the poorest of the poor.

Pumbaa, I am happy that you are enjoying this. :D

Icurrie, an absolute pleasure to have you on board :thumbs_up:

Me Skarabee, after having giggled through your very original reports, welcome aboard 8)

On our way back to camp, I thought I saw it, silent, slinky, sinister... the resident Leopard. It was so quick, and then it was one with the darkness.

Image

When we arrived back, Sakkie came out with a few expletives again. We looked up into the trees, they were filled with baboons. “A few baboons”, I thought, “what’s the problem?”

Johanna told us again that she had heard the resident Leopard.
“What does it sound like?”, I asked.
“Once you have heard it, you will never forget, it sounds like a saw in the night.”

Supper back at camp was always good. This was followed by a talk by Bruce’s wife on anthrax. I was very pleased that it was after supper, as it is a horrible disease and images of dying animals did not sit well with me.

I went to bed as soon as the talk was over. I was dead tired a looking forward to a more peaceful night of sleep.

The impala were on the go again. This time I was not perturbed. Knowing that this was the start of life and not the end of life left me calm. I drifted off.

Image

I woke up with a start.

The sawing in the night.

Every baboon also woke up. There was a cacophony of sound a screaming of outrage of terror coming it seemed from every branch in the tree. If you have heard baboons scream, you will know that it is shrill, cuts like a knife and travels for miles.

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This continued through much of the night.
They would quiten down for a while, then one would perhaps move a little too much, talk in its sleep, do what baboons do.. and the hysterical screaming was set off again.

Another problem with baboons is thay they are not house trained, they eat high roughage diets and they are not house trained. They also fart..... a lot. I would hear “stuff” drop on the tent and my imagination would take over.

Rutting impies, screaming baboons, farting baboons, sawing leopard...

So much for the peace and quiet of nature.

I would get more peace and quiet on a new year’s eve in Hillbrow

Image

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 Post subject: Re: Meandering down a road less travelled
Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 01, 2011 8:10 am 
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Legendary Virtual Ranger
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Location: meandering between senility and menopause
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OWN :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: I hope that you enjoy your Kruger trip to come.

Sparrow, the next walk will be starting right away :thumbs_up:

Val, you are soon to find out just how green MM was :lol:

Anne Marie, the Leopard is yet to play a big role :roll:

Tawny, thank you, that is very kind.

Bushmom, indeed, a bit later you will see that it really had life changing moments.

Wendy, indeed.

Granjan, thank you for the :cam: compliment. So far, 2 are from National Geographic, some are from my other trips.

Mellory, the Sandriver Camp has spoiled me for life. I wish you a stunning time :thumbs_up:

Rino, thanks, more adventure on its way :thumbs_up:

Gemma, I never think of myself as a :cam: person, so thank you.

Me Skarabee, I have no doubt that they were s*** scared. It was dropping on my tent :lol:

Melp, I hope that you are feeling better. :gflower:
It is a special experience. If you are going to be in Punda for any length of time, I suggest you book a trip to the Thumalela ruins. I believe it is well worth it.

I must have drifted off at some point, because when Sakkie came to wake us, I thought of using the same expletives he had used the previous day.

I fully expected to find bits of baboon body parts, but when I left my tent, they had long gone. Have you ever noted how well the culprits disappear in day light, leaving behind overturned bins, raided fridges and of course spoor? There were no bins, but certainly there were signs of high roughage diet.

If you look carefully you will see that this is a baboon tree.

Image

By now we were starting to get to know each other and I was starting enjoy the company of the rest of the group. The awkward silences were disappearing.

MM, still slim, fit and thirty is sitting next to the gentleman on the rocks. The slim and fit has gone, but the thirty remains :wink: Explorer is close to the camera again and Noname has her black hat.

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The next morning’s walks were once again focused on spoor and spats.
At some point Bruce stopped.
“What happened here”? he asked.
Silence.
Again, no brownie points.
“Don’t you see anything”? he asked.
I saw a bush.

“There has recently been a kill here”, he noted.

Then from almost nothing, Bruce started to reconstruct the “crime”.
He had noted a small piece of hoof, a small bit of horn, a tuft of hair stuck in a branch and from marks indistinguishable to any of us, signs of struggle. Bruce reconstructed the death of a young buffalo, now almost completely consumed by nature, one with the elements. He showed us the indentations under a tree close by. This is where the Lions had been lying, indicating that it had happened not too long ago, possibly a few days.

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He looked further and found the perfectly white pooh of a Hyena and a bit more horn. I felt sad for the little creature.

A little later we came across the bones of an elephant. Bruce showed us again how to determine age, sex and a bit about how it could have died.
I’m afraid I still don’t know how to tell sex of an elephant, other than the obvious bits. That is not very helpful if you have a dead elephant turned to bone.

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By the time we returned to camp I was really looking forward to a bit of a catnap. Two nights of screaming lust and noisy primate terror had pretty much wiped me out.

We ate our lunch and the girls and I excused ourselves and made our way to our tents.

As I turned the corner, my heart sank. I saw a trail of my daughter, Noname’s, super tidy Noname’s toiletries.

It reminded me of an occasion when I once went out, leaving my Labrador outside to guard the house. I later found her in a locked house, tail wagging, excited to tell me about the visitors we had just had.

I realised, we had had visitors.

Image

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