My Wilderness Trail Experience…by Sally Brown
I recently had the opportunity to venture on a 5 day Wilderness Trail with the Wilderness Leadership School in Hluhluwe iMfolozi Park. I had heard a lot about this trail and how incredibly enlightening it is. The bush is a place of magic for me so I knew this would be a wonderful trip. But I didn’t want to build it up too much in my mind and took what everyone said with a pinch of salt – I wanted to see for myself what I would feel while out in the bush for 5 days, sleeping under the open sky staring at the stars and planets, and listening to and watching the wilderness as we walked through it.
Well, the experience was mind altering. It is an experience that should be explored by everyone at least once in their life time.
We were a small group of 8 including our Guides, Wayne and Siphiwe. Two people on the trail worked with each other but the rest of us knew nothing about each other. There was no bravado, no anger, no egos, and no artificial noise – besides the clanging of a pot or plate at dinner time. We were just 8 people walking in the wilderness, savouring the sounds of the wild, respecting our surroundings, talking about life, watching the sky, and best of all immersing ourselves in a personal spiritual journey.
On our last day of walking out of the wilderness, knowing that we were heading towards the vehicle that was to drive us back to this materialistic world, I found that I was overwhelmed by the thought of it. I was sad and I felt my tears roll down my cheeks.
I thought I appreciated all that I have had the privilege of encountering in my life so far but this opened my eyes even more. It was a humbling experience.
Every person in our group, including the guides who spend most of their life in the bush, took away with them something very special, something emotional and spiritual. Mine is for me to know and to keep at the forefront of my mind lest I forget what reality is and I fall back into bad habits and I forget to say thank you for our environment and the people who dedicate their lives looking after it! Humanity would be lost without it.
Not everyone can live and work in nature where one is free to keep ones mind focused on what is real but we can always take our minds and our bodies back there to keep our memories of the experience fresh and to keep us grounded.
Ewing Trust Company Charitable Division