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Post Berg Reflections

In a bit of a stress detox.

Lots of thoughts; some patting on the back... some dark... some self flagellation. I am remembering my promise to be kind to myself. I am so thankful for all the support and love.

I always knew this was Berg was going to be the epic challenge; I think the odds were never in our (mine and Dave's) favour, but we gave it a good try. That's all we could do; just try. It would have been a flippen awesome fairy tale ending, but then again this is real life. I certainly do not fit into Cinderella's shoe, and I know that Dave can't ride a horse...well, maybe he can ride a little pony, but not a big steed. We are just normal, middle-aged people, and that is ok. Healthy and alive.

I was so grateful to Dave in that he stepped-up to the task when others took a big step backwards ( now I know why 😂). The tree blocks were not kind, and it doesn't help having a very over-active imagination! At one time I was stuck for about 30 minutes in a tree across the river: the string of my hat ( tied to my life jacket) was wrapped around my neck and hooked in a branch, the water was flowing fast under the tree; I was really stuck and choking, I couldn't move. The only way to escape was to let go of the paddle, and free my neck. The golden rule of paddling is to never let go of your paddle.

I did try to find the paddle . I waded through boob-height water for about 20 min looking for it, I had to find it as I had already lost my spare paddle the day before, but no luck. The water was freezing. Eventually hypothermia set in and my body went into uncontrollably shivering. I became very 'dof', for want of a better word, and my judgement became impaired: I even promised to never drink gin again. Or eat cheese curls. Or watch Netflix.

In the end David called it; we just had to stop. We were both freezing and time was limited. I think we were only just passed half way and the day was disappearing very quickly.

But, I did learn so much.

  1. Paddlers are a hard core bunch of people. Very tough. I have much respect and admiration for them.

  2. I also learnt that I am scared of rivers. I am not scared of water per se, but the thought of being stuck under a canoe or tree ( with no gills) really does scare me. Perhaps it is an irrational fear, but for me it feels very real.

  3. I have learnt that it is ok to be scared. We are all scared of something. It is a real emotion and it makes us human. Actually, fear is a life preserving emotion that keeps us safe - so it does have some purpose.

  4. I have learnt that it is ok to fail; failure is inevitable and necessary for self growth.

I know that I will paddle again. I was always scared of steep rocky descents on my mountain bike, and I managed to overcome that fear ( although styl bridges without rails still elude me) 😂. With more time on a river I know that I will be ok. Hypnosis will probably also help.

Thanks to all of you for your support. It has been a flippen rollercoaster ride. I am so proud of Omphile (and Rebecca) for their courage and determination. What a privilege to be part of their journeys.

The next challenge is in August. Tagging the 13 peaks on Table Mnt (110km). Not sure of the start date; I get to decide this one. But, I will keep you posted. Luckily it does not involve a canoe 😂

Thanks all x

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