Monday 24 October Day 9 RASA | RTR 17:00
Misogi is a purifying ritual invented by the Japanese. It generally involves making the pilgrimage to an icy waterfall. Standing underneath the cold water symbolises intense purification.
The Western notion around the misogi is, you do something so hard 1 time a year, that has an impact on the other 364 days of the year. (Jesse Itzler)
Or in the case of RASA, an impact on the rest of your life.
The Finns call it Sisu:
“Extraordinary determination in the face of extreme adversity, and courage that is presented typically in situations where success is unlikely. It expresses itself in taking action against the odds, and displaying courage and resoluteness in the face of adversity; in other words, deciding on a course of action, and then adhering to it even if repeated failures ensue.”
So here we have a bunch of pilgrims working their way southwards. Every day is a challenge, every day is a opportunity to fail and every day is a chance to make memories, to find oneself and to experience intensely.
As of today, the field is spread over roughly 700km between front and rear. Andrew Rose has had an astonishing ride. He pushed through from Romansfontein to Groenfontein yesterday (about 165km) and continues his charge down the trail, days ahead of the next riders. I expect him to do another large day today to Pearston Hotel.
The conditions behind Andrew have been perilous with streams becoming rivers and rivers becoming torrents. After a few hairy moments yesterday, Mark Preen and Stefan Coetzee are on their way to Romansfontein and hopefully on roads starting to dry out.
The others behind them had warning of rising water levels and were detoured on safer but longer routes. Janine Stewart and Mike Woolnough found that out at 3am this morning. They made short work of the detour, had breakfast at Slaapkrantz and are now on their way to Kranskop. They're accompanied by Andy Wonnacott who managed to get to Kapokraal portage before the rivers rose behind him. A storm forced him to hunker down for the night so he rolled into Slaapkranz for breakfast as well.
Just ahead of them are Craig Bosenberg, Ian Henderson, Janine Wencke and the taker of spectacular photos, Guy Henderson (check out the Freedom Trail facebook page and feast your eyes).
Kranskop could be busy tonight.
Also avoiding the Langkloof Spruit flash flood were Nicole Morse and Marelise Badenhorst. They overnighted with one of the many trail angels (local farmers) as Nicole was unwell. These ladies are novices but are nailing the navigation. They are taking a half day and staying over for the night at Slaapkrantz. Hopefully strong again for tomorrow's portages.
Travelling backwards along the trail, we saw dots heading off route. Zooming in, Dave Templeton and Jacqueline Shaw rode to Slaapkrantz via Barkly East. A safer option and maybe a little less mud?
Back in Rhodes, Gary Preston had to withdraw through injury which is gut wrenching for any rider. Speedy recovery Gary.
Finishing their adventure in Rhodes are Richard and Lucy Erasmus along with Kathleen Rauch. I have a feeling they'll be back with bigger ambitions.
Not quite on their heels after having experienced a different route into Vuvu including a sleepover in a semi-built house, are the irrepressible Payne brothers. Their joy on the trail is infectious and they will have stories to tell when they arrive in Rhodes.
More families are pushing through behind them. Ingrid and Mike Talbot and Sally and Josh Hayman look like they are on track for Vuvu via the alternative route.
The last family and bringing up the rear are father and son combo, Tim and Murray James. This duo are having an easy time of it, maximising their time on the trail. They will probably end up at Mrs Kibi tonight.
And so behind them, support stations are closing for another year. Summer RASA has brought the challenges and our brave riders are riding the misogi wave of extreme adversity with courage and resoluteness.