February 17th-19th 2012,
This weekend was the first trip the AIFS crew took together other than the first beach outing. This was the fantastic trip to the Cedarburg Mountains where hiking and wine tasting was to be done. We loaded up in the van after classes, and in my van was Julie, Ginny, Melissa, me, James, Dave, and Zack with our speed demon driver Peter. As we found out in South Africa the way they deal with construction traffic is that they have road blocks for 20 minutes alternating the sides of the road that are blocked, so we had two or three of these roadblock stops and it was definitely interesting. On the way there we saw hippos and springbok which are small goat/deer animals. The last hour of the ride was very bumpy and curvy, and Janien’s van stalled on the middle of a hill, and it was quite scary to watch.
We arrived to the cabin areas, and they were very nice and peaceful, I shared a queen bed with Hallie and a room with Rory (Emily S.) and Shana and we had a lot of fun. That night Mama H. (our advisor/group leader) cooked us sausage and the “salad girls” made fantastic salad. We then star gazed, and I thought on 3960 Ryan Road you could see a lot of stars, but no I have never seen as many stars as I saw in S.A., we could ever see the Milky Way and it was breathtaking. Chris Moskal and I also inducted Mama H into the “Nooduitgang” (a gang Chris and I made up the 2nd day at Stellenbosch when we saw the Nooduitgang sign, which means emergency exit, and were very confused, so Chris asked if I wanted to start the Nooduitgang with him) and we taught her and Peter the secret Nooduitgang handshake. We woke up at 7am and packed lunches for that day’s hike. The hike we did was around 6-7 hours altogether, and it was tough! I had my speakers in my backpack playing some “pump up” music and Mama H said in her fifteen years of doing this hike (2x a year) she never had someone playing music for the group up the mountain. The first half of the way up Chris Moskal and I got quite lost for a good half hour and ended up basically rock climbing to get back on the path. The second half of the hike up, we went through the “cracks” which was a path inside of the mountain, and there was one part where the boys (James, Giorgio, Zack, and Peter) offered their gentlemen services to help us get boosted and shimmied up this boulder. When we got to the top the view was extraordinary and I’ve never seen a view as beautiful as that in a long time (since the Grand Canyon). The hike down was more of a struggle for me, because it was steep, rocky, and hard on the knees.
Once we got back to the campsite, we went swimming in this creek, and Mama H said that swimming after a hike is said to help relax sore muscles, and I was hardly sore from the hike the next day. I got back from swimming and took a short nap and was surprisingly woken to Meg and Jelly Roll (Kelly Cole) mooning me, because it was Kelly’s goal to moon everyone on the trip and she was struggling to moon me. Then, we went to the Cedarburg winery, where it’s said they have some of the most acclaimed wine in South Africa, because of the elevation. I again wasn’t surprised to find that I still hate wine, and I don’t think I’ll ever get accustomed to the taste unfortunately.
That night Mama H made this delicious beef stew concoction over rice and then smores for dessert. While Mama H was cooking, some baboons went into her cabin and threw granola all over her kitchen and bathroom. That night Kelly and I tried to prank everyone by running out of the bathroom shouting “BABOON” so we did and no one believed us, until Mama H got into the prank by throwing rocks at the bathroom. Then to get back at us for scaring the group, Mama H had Cori pretend she hurt her leg running away from the “baboon” and we both felt really guilty, until we realized that Cori was laughing instead of crying.
The next morning we packed up the vans to head out, and on our way out we stopped by some caves which the San Bushman had painted in, and these cave paintings were estimated to be about 6,000 years old and were painted with ox blood and bone. We went to another cave which a conspiracy formulated around, because signatures from all these political leaders of the apartheid movement, and it was said that they used this cave as a meeting ground for secret meetings, but no one knows if its true or not. It has also been tampered with because South Africans get upset with the fact that these leaders are said to have come up with the system of apartheid, which has caused many wounds to the country. On our way out, I bet Peter that I would fall asleep within 5 minutes and he wouldn’t be able to wake me up from the bumpy drive, and I guess James and Zack told me we hit this huge river bump, and my head hit the ceiling, but I slept straight through it, so I ended up winning the bet. Also, Janien’s van got a flat tire and we had to go back and help the with it. Overall it was a fantastic trip and has gotten me very excited for the other trips to come!