When I read about Steven Otter’s murder a month ago, I read the article and I thought the man looked familiar but couldn’t place him. He was a politician so may have seen him in the news or something.
It was only later that I read a Facebook post from one of his friends that he use to do Platteklip barefoot. That’s where I know him from! I use to see him Earthing Platties as well!
As Shaheen and I could not join the planned Barefoot Platties in his memory, we decided to have one of our own.
I’ve Earthed Platties a few times already and this was Shaheen’s first time.
My first experience and why I started hiking barefoot. My first solo barefoot Platties
We meet at 5:30am and ask Shaheen why is she still wearing shoes and takes it off. She said that she was only planning to hike barefoot for about 5 minutes to see how it goes and check in with Mountain Tracking and Safety at 5:40am, ETA 8am.
Up we go and it’s quite warm even though it was windy in the Southern Suburbs. Fortunately our bare feet are touching the cool rocks ^_^ and notice a lizard out even before the sun has risen. Shaheen says that it’s an indication as to how hot it’s going to be later and she turned out to be right!
Also some people decided to deface the rocks as well…One rock is ok but several further up? Sigh at casual hikers.
We reach the contour path and Shaheen said that she actually only planned to hike barefoot up until then but carried on as she’s quite enjoying it. Except when we are forced to walk on smaller stones. Those are eina! And she blurts “ouch!” each time she steps on a loose jagged stone.
It felt as though my NEW hydration pack (which I just purchased the night before) was leaking as my back was getting wet. I take off my backpack to check and see Shaheen relaxing on the path ^_^ I had to take a photo of course 😀
There’s not many people this early on the route so it was blissfully tranquil but pass hikers here and there/or they pass us and having to explain each time why we are barefoot hehe. In memory of a fellow hiker who was murdered in his home and use to hike this route barefoot. We reach the top by 7:05am. Well done Shaheen on your first barefoot hike!
Before sitting down, we see broken glass and said that we would pick it up on our way down.
A balanced breakfast is had but didn’t bring coffee this time as I needed the space for my boots and essentials and we chat with other hikers passing by or those who decided to sit with us. Asked another hiker to take photos of us. A teenager comes up huffing and puffing and said that he came up in 45minutes! #goals!
Putting our boots/shoes on was such a pleasure to our grateful feet and it’s time to go down at 7:25am but not before picking up the broken glass wondering what it could be as it wasn’t a bottle. Some type of jar of sorts and picking up the pieces, I smell it and said it smells weird. There’s also a crochet needle in the mix. Only after seeing the plant remnants, I realised its weed lolz. Someone was smoking a bong! They must have cut themselves as well as there was droplets of blood around the vicinity of the bong.
Picking up the tiny shards, father of teenager said we should leave it as if someone catches with it, we would be in trouble. I can’t just leave broken glass there and replied that if the authorities don’t believe me, they can do a drug test.
I said I wasn’t going to pick up litter as I was pressed for time but I couldn’t just leave it so only picked up the litter that caught my eye. Some people was using a crack as a litter bin and I tried to reach as best I could but only managed to retrieve a coffee cup and a bottle. I had to leave the rest there unfortunately.
I got a couple of hikers that I knew and chatted to them for a bit but as Shaheen was ahead, I had to rush down to catch up with her each time I stopped to retrieve bottles and cans. Shaheen said later that one lady said it sounded like firecrackers but told her that I was crushing plastic bottles haha.
And then a Chihuahua comes running up the mountain! OMG! He’s so cute and tiny! I wanted to put him in my bag and take him home with me lol! I took a video of him but he decided just then to wait on his owner lol.
Also encountered another male hiking barefoot and had to take a photo! He initially said no but said that I had to as we were doing the same and asked why we were wearing shoes going down. Told him it’s too painful! Also took a photo of a man wearing those weird foot gloves? Told him, don’t worry, I’m not taking a photo of his face lol.
As my bag was getting full, hikers started asking me if there is a Woolworths on top *rolling my eyes*
We were then distracted by 2 Greyhounds! Also a stunning breed! The one was a bit confused about which way to go as the path split on that spot. We tried to encourage him to come up but eventually the owner got him to come up (note how I am not afraid of dogs biting me a hike but paranoid whilst I’m trail running?)
There’s now lots and lots and lots of humans making their way up the path and it’s very hot! It was peak hour! And I ran out of water! O_O Did I really drink 1.5l water?!
We are eventually down by 8:30am which is a good time considering all the distractions lol.
Shaheen said that doesn’t like Platties but she surprisingly enjoyed that very much. Combination of hiking before sunrise, hush of the mountains before the crowds and of course, connecting/Earthing with the mountain J
Rest in Peace Steven Otter. Before I started hiking Platties barefoot, I thought you crazy. A case of ‘don’t knock it until you try it’ and I absolutely love it now and will think of you each time I’m hiking barefoot up our beloved Platteklip Gorge.
Until my next mountain adventure, ciao for now and thank you for reading.