Although the Upton training hike in the Jonkershoek was long (18km in total) and particularly tiring, it was excellent fun. We did a lot of interesting bases to improve our skills and walked far to improve our endurance and, by the end, we were definitely ready for the shorter, actual Upton Shield.
We had to wake up before 6am on the day, which was hard to do as it was a public holiday and the rest of South Africa was sleeping in! Once we arrived in the reserve, we started the bases. We did a range of bases, from creating a patrol song to mapping skills. By eleven o’clock, we had finished the bases and continued hiking. Our patrol started hiking at a quick pace, no sooner to realise how tired it made us. We were at the back, but then started to speed up, and ended up at the front! We ate lunch with a view of the Berg River, and then, we just kept hiking up! We came across an oddly cute baby snake. It was quite a steep and slippery hike down, but for once I didn’t fall.
After being on the mountain for over 8 hours, we were all dead tired and just wanted to go home and sleep. But of course, we had to study! At least we were fitter and smarter and ready for Upton.