Journal entry for December 1, 2012
Approximate Distance/Time Hiked: 9.7km in 5h 20m
I had agreed to meet Herve and Greg at the start of Segment 7 at 8am. I had also agreed with Ian (owner of My Father’s Place, where I was staying) that he would show me the beach behind his property earlier in the morning. I got up at 6:20am to pack up, and Ian knocked on the door a little bit before 7. We made our way down a muddy and slippery path before reaching the beautiful beach. He insisted in going further south to show me a nice viewpoint. To get there we had to hop on boulders that were half covered in ocean water. By then I had removed my shoes to prevent them from getting wet. Ian was also barefoot and he was jumping around like it was nothing. I always had sensitive feet soles and I was having a miserable time. By now it was already 7:20 and I was also worried that I would not make it to the 8am rendezvous.
By the time we got back to the guesthouse, it was already 7:55am. I grabbed my bag and as I was running towards the front door, a car pulled up with Greg and Herv in it. It was the owner of the guesthouse they had stayed at driving them to Hatton Garden. Since they knew I was staying here, they were nice enough to come and pick me up on the way.
We started our hike at 8:30am.
The trail starts off with a gradual ascent through some nice farms. It goes down a bit in elevation before going up and down steeply. The nice part was that there were benches everywhere to take short breaks. The terrain was a bit slippery but not too bad. This was an enjoyable stretch.
The trail markers were very strange on this segment. There were 2 sets of markers. The ones painted on trees were in decreasing order. It started at a high number and went down progressively. This was unlike all the previous segments. The other set of numbers were in increasing order and were painted on metal posts.
We arrived at First Camp and found nothing there. It was puzzling why they would end and start a segment at this location, since it’s 20 minutes away from a water source and there was nowhere visible to camp. Before we looked for a suitable place to set up a tent, Ervé and Greg cooked some rice and shared some with me. My appetite was in full overdrive. The previous night I’ve had a huge dinner and still needed to eat some cookies before going to bed. It seemed like no matter how much I ate, I could not fill up.
We looked around for spots to camp and found a couple of other tents already set up on top of a ridge close to the start of Segment 8 sign. This spot was not visible from the trail, we had to climb up a small hill on the opposite side of the trail from where the sign is. We found a few other flat spots about 100 meters from the two tents already there.
Ervé and Greg went to get some water while I stayed behind to write on my journal and enjoy the beautiful sunset.
I was starting to feel some pain on my right knee. It seemed unrelated to the injury I had 5 weeks prior while playing soccer. This time the pain was a sharp one at the top of my kneecap, and I was worried that I would not be able to finish the whole trail. I was having trouble bending the knee but after massaging and manually moving my kneecap around for a while, it felt much better.
We stayed out long after the sun had gone down, talking about politics and travel while enjoying the stars on the clear sky.
Part of the Waitukubuli National Trail Journal