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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

How not to hike the Fish River Canyon

I recently did the fish. I can only conclude from what I found that:

1. Many people hiking the Fish are not genuine hikers and should not be allowed there.
2. Many people hiking the Canyon are Pigs.
3. Many people hiking the Canyon are incredibly stupid.

It is only the middle of the 2008 hiking season in the Canyon and already it's foul and extensively littered.
A huge part of that litter is tin foil! Ja, it's lekker to braai every night and then leave your foil in the ashes of your fire. Maybe you really did not notice that the foil had not burnt away to nothing overnight!. But, if by what would be most people's camping spots average their 4th night in the Canyon, one still finds foil in the remains of fires you can only conclude that people are either very unobservant or plain stupid.

Foil does not burn..........neither do foil packages for energy bars and tuna sachets.

In fact, ordinary paper won't burn if placed on cold ashes left over from the night before. And believe it or not, someone had very conscientiously placed their papers on a dead and cold fire. To do what, I wonder.

Some people go through the motions by scraping some sand over their tins, old gas cannisters, styrofoam packaging, plastic bags, etc., etc. Others just couldn't give a 'hoot'......why go to all that bother? They just chuck it all behind a bush.

It's also nice not to extinguish your fire. I came across what had once been a huge log and was now just a line of ash attached to a still smouldering 'stump'. I had camped about 300m from this spot. I know there was nobody there on that night. Conclusion - The wood had been left to smoulder for an entire day. Apart from possible injury to other hikers or animals from the smouldering log, no consideration was given to other hikers later in the season when wood is in short supply and hard to find.

And then there is the toilet are supposed to burn it or at least bury it along with "your business". You are not supposed to leave it artfully strewn about the veldt like some neon flashing sign stating how proud you are that you have successfully mastered the art of 'Shitting in the Woods". If you need to brag about that, well then you are are an amateur.

The kiosk at the cause way was the worst. Here it appeared that 'hikers' were so ecstatic at seeing a building in the wilderness that they just could not control themselves........they just could not wait.......they just had to do their thing right there in the open without delay!!

One person must have really had it bad.......they appear, by the shredded space blanket, bottle of body cream, sun tan lotion and other litter, to have got so excited that they just tipped their whole pack out and left the contents there.

On day 1, I passed a sleeping bag forgotton at a dirty camp site. Are these hikers?

On day 2, I passed a pair of Hi Tech PCT's , left proudly on display so that all could see how this brave person had removed the boot laces but abandoned the boots as the soles had come off. You twat. Don't you know that what you take in must also be taken out - broken or not? And this despite having to fill in a declaration at the Park's Office that you would not litter and despite the big sign in the same regard at the start of the hike.

A really brilliant one was the person who had obviously lost a sandal at one point - fine, that was an accident. But at what was obviously their next break and swimming spot, the loss must have been discovered because now the matching sandal was left hanging in a tree!

Sulpher springs is also great. You take a seat to dip your toes in the hot water and find yourself surrounded by cigarette stompies and used plasters.

Then there is the woman........I guess it was a woman......who used lillette wipes instead of toilet paper. The wipe was left pinned under a stone over the wet spot and its packaging just abondoned next to this marker. Man....whoops......sorry, I mean woman. If you took as much care of the canyon as you do of your fanny then the Fish River would be a much nicer and cleaner place!

What are my suggestions regarding all this?

Namibia Wildlife should take an inventory of the contents of each and every hikers pack. If the appropriate waste/litter/refuse is then not produced at the end of the trail for inspection before disposal, then there should be a stiff fine for each item not produced. N$500 per item would not be unreasonable...........and hey! it could create jobs and boost Park funds.

All in all wasn't a bad hike.

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