I’m continually surprised by people, and literally from one extreme to another.
Sundays always present themselves as great days to get out and do “outdoorsy” stuff.
As such we decided a hike up Lions head would make for a god use of a Sunday morning.
As a gift, Jamie had been given a unique and quite beautiful hiking stick. With individual carvings and the texture of the wood it’s really more than a stick, but a piece of art.
Considering the heat, and the fact that some members of our hiking group haven’t done much in terms of exercise since school days when it was mandatory, it was a slow, but blissful walk up the mountain. Well at least for the rest of us. Chris, the lager-behind in question seemed to be struggling quite a bit but he proved his strength and I must say am extremely impressed with his determination and dedication to summit Lions head. Being over 30 degrees Celsius didn’t make it any easier either.
Rule number one when hiking – which Jamie and I really should have learnt the last time – always take more water than you think you need. Two bobbles really doesn’t cut it and judging by the amount of perspiration excreted by the end of the hike we definitely seemed to be running low on our H20 bodily requirements.
That being said, we did manage to make it up, and down, the mountain, pretty much all in one piece. Barring the little rest periods some of us required along the way. As we were nearing the final stretch – you know that downhill part that’s a real leg and lower back killer – we realised we were a man down. All were present, sans the stick.
Having been a sentimental gift, and being too hot, and concern for certain members of our team prevailing we were in no condition to venture up to the summit a second time.
Being the fairly outspoken lass I am, and seeing the despair on Jamie’s face a t the thought of having lots the hiking stick forever, I took it upon myself to make a plan. As any girl with a drop of Jewish blood (and domineering catholic mother) would do.
Nearing the bottom the only hope was to plead with a fellow hiker to keep an eye out for it. Three men had just started their hike and so, as a last resort I approached the friendliest looking one and told him our story and implored him to keep a look out for it along the way.
As we were sure we’d left the stick at the top of the mountain and he was only going half way to the paragliding take off base we thought all hope was lost. Still, I gave him my number and one last plead to do what he could should he come across it.
No jokes – an hour later I got the following SMS:
“Hi Megan. Got your stick! Yeeehaaa! Will call you when I get down organising to connect, Wayne.”
I couldn’t believe it, and frankly neither could Jamie.
What had happened was that when he reached the paragliding base he spotted some guys coming down with a stick remarkably like the one I had described (in detail) to him.
When recalling the story to me, he had approached them and asked where they had found the stick. Having said they found it on the top of the mountain he promptly took it away from them and said that it belonged to Jamie and me and that he would be returning it to us.
Whilst on the phone later that afternoon we established that he worked and lived on the Atlantic seaboard side, but had a meeting in the Claremont area on Monday morning.
Having now not only gone out of his way to look for the stick, retrieving it from absconding hikers who thought they had gotten lucky, he then went on to offer to drop if off at my flat on Monday morning.
I mean wow. What an incredibly nice, decent person.
I was totally blown away.
Wayne – you have restored my faith in our race and the ability for people to be humane and honest.
This just made me realise that there are still some inherently good, remarkably kind and compassionate people out there.
The stick probably isn’t really worth very much in terms of monetary value, but the sentimentality behind it, and now this story that goes with it, make it priceless.