Modern Athlete Magazine Issue 135, November 2020 Nov 2020 - Page 32

TRAIL RUNNING

9Peaks

A Tale of

Chi takes in the view from Mafadi
I am not the same after completing the 9 Peaks Challenge in mid-October . I sat with my thoughts for quite some time and realised how completely overwhelmed I was ! Then I realised I was still the same overwhelmed human … but had a serious case of adventure blues . I had to come to terms that it had hit me harder than ever , and that was OK . So here is my 33rd attempt to describe just why I am not the same person I was when I started this challenge . You see , travelling can at first leave you speechless , and then it turns you into a storyteller . – WORDS BY CHI INGLEDEW , PICS BY TERENCE VRUGTMAN

There were six of us … Jack Attack , Mother Mary , Noddy , ( Fearless )

Sandra , Gorgeous and myself , a . k . a . Erik . At least , that ’ s what I called everyone in our 9 Peaks Challenge as I excitedly began living a mindful life from the convenience of our hired camper van , named Aloha . She was a van with a plan , ready to drive us to the highest peak in each province of South Africa , and this journey would include 150km of trekking on foot , with 8003m of climbing . COVID-19 curfews were a reality and set our travelling ‘ dead zone ’ from 12am to 4am , so we decided to take on the non-stop adventure approach – climbing , summiting , descending and driving as and when we could .
The intrepid six peak-chasers
The nine peaks we would be visiting , in order of attack , were :
1 Seweweekspoort Peak ( Western Cape )
2 Murch Point ( Northern Cape )
3 Kwaduma ( Eastern Cape )
4 Mafadi ( KwaZulu-Natal )
5 Namahadi ( Free State )
6 Nooitgedacht West ( North West )
7 Toringkop ( Gauteng )
8 De Berg ( Mpumalanga )
9 Iron Crown ( Limpopo )
Each destination was never just about a new location , but rather about a new way of seeing South Africa . In my opinion , checking off travel locations means nothing if you don ’ t allow each new location to change you in some way or another . That is exactly what the 9 Peaks Challenge did to me .
Images : Terence Vrugtman
32 ISSUE 135 NOVEMBER 2020 / www . modernathlete . co . za