As must be apparent by now, the Hofmeyr clan is quite fond of the occasional long stroll…if by stroll you mean expedition far and wide in as much wilderness as we can find, preferably carrying our necessities on our backs. Franelise and I both grew up hiking and camping, albeit in very different environments, and have been able to enjoy some great wildernesses together, culminating in our off-season circuits in the Falklands and Patagonia. My brother Stephen was well on his way through the 2650-mile Pacific Crest Trail in the USA when he had to return to SA unexpectedly, and plans to return with his new wife Kristen to complete it. Now my dad David and step-mom Jane are about to depart to walk the Camino Frances (Camino de Santiago, or Way of St James) across Spain to Santiago de Compostella over the course of the next 6 weeks. They have started a blog, “Midlife Meanders,” to allow us all to track their progress and read about the experience. Check it out!
A quiet moment on call has me trying to make inroads into the photographs from our Patagonian explorations last October. Here’s an image that was immediately emotive: A group of hikers on a guided exploration of a small part of the Perito Moreno Glacier as dwarfed by the immense magnitude of the ice. I love the mystery and majesty of glaciers; the idea of such harsh hardness being in constant flux, constantly flowing between accumulation and ablation while appearing immobile. You can explore a glacier for an entire day, convinced of its permanence, and then return the next to find the landscape changed, fresh and beaconing with new discoveries. The mute whiteness from afar disguises endless shades of blue, and the stark purity of the ice unfolds to reveal the pebbles and dirt it has collected along it’s course, like a child of the wilderness who can’t return from an adventure unsoiled.
Yip, the blog has been somewhat silent the last few months. Life, in contrast and by way of explanation, has been very full. I hope to post some more content soon, but rest assured that I am working on it in the meantime. Here’s a random snippet: Fran in Torres del Paine, Patagonia, looking epic (and relieved) in her First Ascent gear, descending from the (closed for winter) Garner Pass.
We Hof’s are fairly well known to be difficult to pin down w for too long: the call of the wild is too strong to resist. My younger brother Stephen (not to be confused with the singer of the same name) is no exception. Although he is often to be found tweaking a PC or other gadget for it’s last speck of performance, he’s an accomplished outdoorsman in his own right. We share a love of mountaineering and the backcountry, and he takes great pleasure in reminding me that he has bested my highest climb (sans aircraft) when he summited Kilimanjaro.
Steve has taken some time off now to lose (or find?) himself in the wilderness, and in searching for a suitable challenge discovered the Pacific Crest Trail in the USA. The PCT covers more than 2600 miles (4200km) as it traverses wilderness areas right up the west coast of the USA from the border with Mexico to Canada. It’s more than just a walk in the park; around 300 hikers set out each year to complete the full distance, and only half make it all the way. Click on the small map image for much more detail.
Steve is blogging his experiences on the trail whenever he stumbles across a campsite with any form of internet access (much of it written on his Kindle, believe it or not!), which allows a lot of insight into the mindset of the lone thru-hiker. He’s currently hunkered down in a shared hotel room in a place called Idylwild due to an unexpected 8-inch snowstorm. Go check it out on SteveHof.com
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