Wednesday, August 4

The Curse of Old Man Willy

This was my first assignment for Travel Writing, a fun yet disturbing true story about hiking in Drakensberg...

I've never been on a proper hike – although I've heard it's just walking, it seems a lot harder. But hey, I'm in Drakensberg, there's this Blue Grotto thing -- I could hike. I don't have any hiking clothes, so I wear the hikiest stuff I brought on the trip. My off-black Guess shirt and Betty Boop hairclip probably don't have counterparts selling at Cape Union Mart, but I'm feeling pretty hardcore. We set off on the trail and are quickly immersed in a seemingly endless lush forest. As the mud squishes beneath my virginal trainers, I start to think I'm a natural at this hiking thing – that is, before I lose my balance on huge boulders crossing a tiny stream, and my left leg plunges knee-deep into icey mountain water. Our journey is lengthened by overwhelming obstacles – well, actually just by our B.A. tendency to photograph every funny-looking tree and magical-looking spiderweb we come across. Two hours later, we reach what seems to be the end of the trail: a dusty cliffside. We look at each other quizzically and realise that none of us knows what a 'Blue Grotto' actually is. Edging further, the cliffside opens up to a gorgeous waterfall which creates a placid pool. As my friends dip into the freezing water of the pool, an old man emerges from the forest and jumps in – buck naked. Gathering our stuff and averting our eyes, we hike back to civilization in under twenty minutes. We do not take any pictures of funny trees along the way.

While we were discussing the story in class, Emily and I mentioned that we'd dubbed the random naked guy Old Man Willy. Nobody knows if Old Man Willy lives in the forest, if he was just out of sight behind us the whole time, or if he's an apparition that haunts the pool waiting in the hollow darkness of eternity for the opportunity to make girls uncomfortable. Anyway, I don't think hiking is for me.


  1. LOL! Happy birthday to me. Good times! :D

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