Into the Kaimais

adventure through the kaimais

By Kirsten Moratz

It was a sunny and brisk day in late September that we set off for a luxury weekend getaway in the Kaimais. We had decided to do a bit of a different adventure to normal and go off track. A couple years ago, Amber did a course where they went into the bush with a destination and a map, and had to find their way as a group, so we thought we would try our luck at finding the same spot. If all went to plan, it should be a fairly easy hike that would only take about 1.5hrs to arrive at our destination. But as we know, adventures rarely go to plan.

We set off from the parking lot on a well marked track. Spirits were high, especially since this was our first adventure since lockdown. We followed the track for about 45minutes, and reached the point where we knew we had to cross the river and venture into the unknown. It took us a bit to find the right crossing point, but we found it in the end and crossed the river without incident. We even took off our boots to stay dry since it was a relatively easy crossing (and we are true rebels). Fortunately on the other side of the river there was a path, so we set off following that. Roughly 30 seconds later we made a choice that would haunt us for the rest of the day. 

We reached a second river, this one deeper and faster flowing than the first. We thought to ourselves that we didn’t expect another river crossing so soon, so we looked for an alternative. There to our right hand side was a small path that appeared to follow the river upstream, which was where we needed to go, so we thought, great! Let’s go that way. Mistake number 1. We followed the path upstream, starting out with relative ease. 

As we continued, we began to come across the occasional supplejack blocking our path. No problem, lift it up or step over it and keep going, all good. We started hitting patches of dense supplejack though that impeded our progress much more than we would have liked. We looked at our gps and realised that we had only gone about 200m in 20minutes. That was when the terrain started getting steeper. Now we were scrambling up and down hills, through supplejack, with our heavy packs on. We decided that perhaps we should do something different, and Amber suggested we look to the other side of the river, where it appeared to be flatter terrain. I agreed, and we tried to find a place to cross. Unfortunately, we discovered that the river in this area was both far too deep and far too fast flowing for a safe crossing. We came to the conclusion that we would have to turn back and find a crossing back where we had come from.

At this point, our spirits were low. We should have already been at the campsite at this point, and we were bone tired from the supplejack and terrain, as well as mentally tired from trying to figure out where to go. 

We finally found a place to cross, this time we did not remove our boots for safety, as the river came up to our mid-thighs in depth. Crawling up the other bank of the river, we felt like there was finally hope. We found a sunny clearing where we stopped to have a snack and recuperate some. Feeling a bit better, we set off again following the river upstream. The terrain was certainly flatter, and for the first few minutes we felt happy that we had made the right choice. 

But that pesky supplejack snuck up on us again. First it was the occasional vine, and then before we knew it we were stepping on 4 vines at once while simultaneously pulling 3 vines up above our heads to crawl through the web of supplejack. And just when we thought we’d made it through a patch, we’d feel a pull back and realise that a vine was caught on the pack. We were tangled, exhausted, and making barely any progress again.

We stopped and talked about what to do, and we decided that we had to do something different, because we couldn’t keep going with this. Thus, it was decided, we walked straight away from the river and uphill. We walked for probably 3 minutes, and then I saw Amber stopped ahead of me. I came up to her, and realised the reason for her break. There it was, in front of us in all it’s stupid glory, it had been so close to us all along, the bloody path. Not just any path, but a well-defined, flat, easy to walk on path. We were simultaneously angry and delighted.

We celebrated, and set off, feeling happy to be free of the supplejack. Lo and behold, 15 minutes later, we made it to the campsite. We set up the tent, gathered water, cooked dinner, and roasted marshmallows. 

At the ever-so-late 6pm, we hit the hay. The day that was supposed to be an easy hike to a chill campsite turned into such a trek that we were asleep by 7pm.

We woke up to a frost that had frozen our wet socks solid. We were colder than we anticipated and rather sore from the day before, but we were exceptionally happy to have a much more chill day in front of us. We spent several hours drinking coffee and reading our books in the morning sun, watching as the frost melted and gave way to a warm and pleasant morning. We relaxed and enjoyed the serenity of the forest. 

Finally, we decided it was time to hit the road. We packed up and started the journey back around 11am, hoping that we would be able to stick to the trail today. Miraculously, we did, and after a much less eventful trek, we got to the carpark shortly after 12. We collapsed onto a picnic table, and ate our well-deserved lunch, feeling happy and grateful for making it out of the forest after a wildly eventful adventure.