The lockdown was very distressing for everyone. For the scouters it came with the added irritation of online scouting which is antithetical to how we see scouts as it should be. So it was not surprising that as soon as hiking was allowed, some of the scouters organised themselves to get out on the mountain.
This initially impromptu hike evolved quickly into an exploration of new routes on Table Mountain with the added dimension of doing the 13 Peaks Challenge. Choosing routes from books or simply sharing some routes that only one of us has done has resulted in some interesting moments including being totally unable to find any trace of a path on Lekkerwater Traverse despite the GPS telling us we were standing on it; some us turning back halfway up Nursery Buttress and then climbing all the way back up via Skeleton Gorge to join the rest of the party at the top; actually finding Hole in the Wall and then being unable to work out which way to go (luckily we met up with a group who did know). Hikes have ranged from a few kms and few hours to 16 kms and most of the day. Scenery has been spectacular and we have learnt a lot of new routes, some of which we look forward to sharing with our scouts.
But the most amazing thing about these hikes has been the opportunity to spend time with other scouters. The scouters spend many hours every month together but that time is always in the context of scouts. For the first time we have spent time as people who met through scouts but who have come together for a different purpose – simply to hike and enjoy not only the mountains but also the company of others – something we were deprived of under lockdown.