Thingi Fungi things

So often we walk/run without noticing the small things around us. We always looking for the obvious, and yet the small little things in life are often as interesting if not more so. All my life I have walked in the Umgeni Valley but only last year and again this year did I notice the fungi growing out of an ant hill. Not knowing what it was, the fungi became affectionately known as Thingie Fungi. On a hike during the course of last year, in discussion with a fellow hiker, I discovered that ants farm fungi. It helps with their food storage and breaking down of the food into edible units of food.

Made me think about how oblivious we, as humans, generally are. We look for the obvious but don’t investigate the not so obvious which quite often solves a problem or offers an answer. Like the ants use fungi, why don’t we as humans co-exist and help one another. In the current COVID crises we are looking at the virus and seeing death, destruction, financial ruin and devastation. Yet if we just take the time to look, investigate, try something new we may find the answers to the success we so desperately seek. Look away from the obvious and look into what’s not so obvious.

Add to that the beauty around us like the sunsets and even the scary snakes in our paths we can appreciate life and what it has to offer. In the obvious we take for granted that snakes hibernate in winter. Yet this winter I have seen more snakes than in any other year. They cross our paths and we cannot be held to ransom for this block in our path, go around, jump, hop or skip over the obstacle. Again don’t look at the obvious there is always something to be grateful for even if it seems like a block in our plans. The winter cold brings with it beauty as well as obstacles, but that should never stop us from reaching for our goals.

My goal to complete minimum of 10 kms a day for the month of July to celebrate and raise awareness of those who have to walk to and from work. Lets not let the cold, snakes and daily chores stop us from getting out there and enjoying what life and nature has to offer us.

These boots were made for walking

Two years ago I came home from a particularly wet and muddy hike. Left my very expensive, incredibly comfortable hiking boots on the tail gate of my Land Rover to dry. Completely forgetting that they were there, I drove off the next day with the boots still on the tail gate. The boots obviously fell off and some lucky person picked up a pair of amazing boots who had travelled many thousands of miles on my feet. I was very sad as those boots and I had history and many memories.

I tried various other hiking shoes and boots but didn’t find anything that suited me or felt right. Today I received a pair of Hoka Hiking boots that I had ordered online and decided I would take a chance on. A quick diversion here. I discovered Hoka walking/running shoes through interactions with the various international virtual walking/running groups that I am part of. I fell in love with my #Hokas. For the first time in many many years I do not suffer from burning balls of my feet during and after a walk. I decided that if they can make shoes that fit my soles then they can be the soul for my hiking boots.

Couldn’t wait to take them out for a trial hike. Off I headed into my favourite valley this morning. WESSA Umgeni Valley is my happy place. Tried these new boots on grass, dirt, rocks, steep inclines and sandy rocky banks. 10 kms later I arrived back home with comfortable happy feet and a smile on my face. Have fallen in love with my new hiking boots. Looking forward to many miles and memories to be made.

It does make me realise how blessed I am that I can purchase a pair of beautiful boots for my leisure and pleasure, whereas there are many who cannot afford a pair of shoes. Be blessed, stay humble and be kind.

Wanderings of a walker

Each day we need an incentive to keep going to achieve an end goal. A friend and I registered to wander around Rome (virtually). 100,000 steps was the challenge. We both thought it would take a lot longer than it did. Now we done. So what’s the next challenge? Who knows. I’m sure Facebook and Google knows what’s next as they both have an uncanny ability to make suggestions. Let’s wait and see what the next adventure will be compliments of suggestions via social media.

Kind Words

“Kind words and kind deeds keep life’s garden free of weeds”.

Not sure who wrote this but it certainly strikes a cord given the current crises the world is facing right now. The feelings of anxiety, stress, fear which are constantly eroding confidence and planning. It takes nothing to be kind, to smile, to share a compliment with someone. So why are we not doing this more often.

Walking almost every day I come across many different persons. Some are quietly avoiding me and not wanting to make eye contact. Yet when they do and I greet them with a friendly tone (through my mask) their facial features (eyes) light up. Just a simple good morning with a happy tone can make a difference. There are those who greet back wholeheartedly and a short conversation takes place. Usually leaving me feeling good about the positive interaction. These regular walks mean I get to recognise an number of people coming to and from work. We have a lovely routine of a hello/howzit how are you. It’s inconsequential conversation but with the right tone you can make a difference to someone. Those who are finished with a night shift are tired, having to take care of someone needing mental, emotional and physical help. A kind word goes a long way with someone who is tired.

The cashier at the supermarket has been on their feet for a long shift. Be kind. Be nice. Leave them feeling like you really appreciated the work they do. You like to be appreciated, offer the same in return.

#Walking4Women 4th July

Let me start off by introducing myself and the reason for #Walking4Women. My name is Ali Engelbrecht. I am the voluntary CEO of a non profit organisation know as Women In Business, which is a social networking platform for entrepreneurial women.

At the end of November 2018 Facebook had a pop up advert for a group of virtual walkers. The challenge was 1,200 miles in 2019, called the Invincible Challenge. I had just finished a couple of years of studying part time and I needed something useful to fill my time, but something that wouldn’t be indoors. Having grown up on a farm and been an avid walker all my life, I decided I would take on this challenge.

During the course of 2019 I virtually met my other Invincibles. We interacted on a closed Facebook group. As the year progressed friendships were formed and a spin off was I became a virtual traveler and I became an informal ambassador for tourism in South Africa. We shared photos and personal trivia, laughed and encouraged one another and as we each reached the target of 1,200 miles, we celebrated. By the end of 2019 we decided that we needed to do another event so that we could maintain the common thread and stay in touch.

2020 brought many many challenges. The first one being 2,020 kilometres in 2020. The second one being the Lock Down due to COVID. Being in lock down and trapped within one’s own home and property created challenges but not insurmountable ones. I am very fortunate to live on a small holding. Mowed a maze of paths around the property and was able to enter many other virtual challenges and keep up my mileage for the 2,020 km challenge. The big bonus was to be able to work from home. Instead of spending two hours a day on the road to and from work, I used that time to walk. The mileage added up very quickly. We are now half way through the year, my mileage is 1,586 kms completed to-date.

A group of us girls, who are now firm virtual friends, decided to join as a team the Big Canada Race. 8,000 kms across Canada to be completed within a year. We agreed to our team name #BerniesBitches (story for another posting) setting off on 1st July to cross Canada virtually. Our Team Captain Bernie (a dog) and her mum Team Leader Janet have been instrumental in getting us organised and running (well in my case walking).

Throughout the 1,200 mile challenge in 2019 I came across other walkers on the road or on trails and just chatted in general. As a walker you are generally at the back of the pack and a lot slower than the majority. But you do get to talk to some amazing people who have such interesting lives. On the roads I chatted to many women walking to and from work. As the months progressed I realised that what I thought was invincible and fantastic was actually not. Many women (and men) who only have access to public transport to get to and from work, walk at least 1,200 miles in a year. The #Walking4Women awareness campaign was born. Through this #Walking4Women campaign I want to create awareness around how far women have to walk to and from work, and for employers to be empathetic towards these ladies. Often they have to stand for long hours at work making them leg weary. Creating awareness hopefully will make employers more understanding and supportive.

Having had many adventures over the last 18 months with the long distance walking, creating a following on social media and sharing the insights of the gorgeous places I get to walk, its now time to start recording these adventures.

More posts to follow. Explanation of Team Bernie Bitches also to follow in future posts.

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The Rhino Run 2018

My 2nd Rhino Run was extra special as my daughter walked with me.  This event continues to be a wonderful outdoor experience. Sadly not as well supported as it should be.  We enjoyed the walk and the magnificent views around iNanda Dam.   We decided to make a weekend of it and enjoy the pleasures of being in the outdoors.  As a country South Africa has so much to offer to the outdoor enthusiast. Any reason to drive my #LadyMavis #LandRover is a good excuse.  We booked into the Msinzi Tented accommodation and had a wonderful afternoon and evening outdoors and in touch with nature.  Being with nature truly grounds you and makes your realise all the dramatic drama of the work week is sometimes in our heads.  Being in the quiet stillness of nature brings everything into perspective.  Well worth the visit and the stay at Msinzi iNanada DamiNanda Dam41876527_10158612398544572_3488708454577602560_nPIC_7566.jpg

Capital Climb 02.09.2018 vs Entrepreneurial Climb.

Today I set out on an event that I have never participated in before.  Purely because I have always had something else on at the time.  However this weekend was the right weekend and I set out on the Capital Climb event in Pietermaritzburg.  15 kms of grueling testing of the legs on a pure uphill climb to World’s View and a pure downhill back to Voortrekker School.  The event was a test of determination.  The hill climb started on the tar road, led into a dirt road and then a slippy track which was extremely steep.  Once at the top we could not see the view due to the mist, but just the sheer delight in having conquered the muscle stretching climb to the top was enough.

This event made me think of how entrepreneurs have to climb many hills of various challenges in order to make it to the top of their game.  If you give up you have achieved nothing, but if you keep going and continually encourage yourself you can do anything you set your mind to.  The event required training and preparation, as does a business.  You have to be mentally and physically fit to be in business.  You need to ensure you have all the necessary knowledge to ensure your success.  BUT you cannot have immediate success without having to slowly find your way to the top.  Quick success leads to quick failures.  Rather slow and sure to be able to manage and plan the business path.

Today’s event taught me a lot about tenacity.  In one’s own life, private and business, this tenacity will go a long way to ensuring success.  Don’t give up because you can do it.
Capital Climb 2018

#Mandela Legacy lives on

Today I am feeling my age and my body agrees.  Two days participating in the #Mandela Legacy events has taken its toll, BUT it has been such fun and I have loved every minute of it.  Yesterday I participated in the 8 kms Trail Run from the #Mandela Capture site up through the hills and back down again.  Beautiful private farmlands that we were privileged to be able to walk through.  Today was the #Mandela Marathon.  I participated in the 21 kms.  A hard hot walk, but well worth the effort.   Continue reading “#Mandela Legacy lives on”

SPAR Ladies Race 19.08.2018

Today was bold, beautiful and sunny.  The complete opposite to the weather yesterday.  It’s almost as if I changed countries given the extreme difference in weather conditions in the past 24 hours.

10 kms #SPAR ladies.  The hype, excitement and energy was truly encouraging.  I was very pleased that there were no water sachets.  Participants were given a bottle of branded water at the start and were specifically asked to dispose of the bottles in a rubbish bin.  Sadly a number of participants threw their bottles down when they had dispensed with them, some even throwing down bottles that were unopened or partly drunk. What is it with the human race that we just ‘throw’ stuff away without thinking? Continue reading “SPAR Ladies Race 19.08.2018”

Dargle Trails Festival 18.08.2018

I woke up in the early hours of this morning to the sounds of soft soaking rains on the roof.  The sound of rain on a corrugated iron roof is calming and therapeutic. I turned over and drifted off into a sound, content and peaceful sleep to be rudely awoken by my alarm.  It was time to get up and get going to the Dargle Trails Festival.  I switched off my alarm, listened to the rain and decided it would be too wet and dangerous to walk today.  So I turned over and decided I would go back to sleep!
A nagging thought crept into my consciousnesses.  Continue reading “Dargle Trails Festival 18.08.2018”