* by Ryan Weaver
Lesotho preparation and anticipation…
Ten days of uninterrupted, totally focussed, open-water flyfishing. Wild trout, un-fished rural rivers, camping, surviving on the basics, totally immersing the soul selfishly and indulgently in a pure raw passion to hunt, discover and explore. An opportunity to go back to the basics, flip this crazy techno-obsessed life on its back, take out that tiny pin-head screw driver and hit the well-concealed “reset” button that takes you back to the basic uncluttered essence of survival. That is what the prospect of ten days hiking and exploring through Lesotho represents to me. And yet from the day-to-day perspective of family man and commercial farming work it seems unattainable. A notion so dream-like and foreign that I’ve parked it off in a dusty recess of my head to wait for the right time to whip off the dust covers, shine it up and take it for an indulgent spin.
That time is drawing nearer now. The back-and-fourth email banter is intensifying, tantalising the nervous chords of excitement inside that awaken the inner child. The responsibilities of day-to-day life have made me controlled, measured and hesitant to even think about this trip. While my fishing mate Fred fills the character of the kid at the bus stop in that iconic old South African TV Bar advert sprouting “Imagine a river of milk falling into a chocolate whirlpool swirling with crispy rice and coconut imagine eating all of that now”, I’m the other kid shouting “stop!” because the reality of it is just too overwhelmingly exciting to even comprehend right now. And yet it is just about here so, in my measured way, I’ve started “preparing”.
Preparation consists currently of two very basic things and neither involves fly-tying, gear checking or any of the other essentials most sane people would consider before a trip like this. Nay, I shall, most likely, leave those for the very last minute! Preparation firstly is physical, i.e. getting my lazy-arse into shape to actually be able to walk the couple of kilometres a day with a pack necessary to make it from point “a” to “b”. My method has been quite simple. Load my over-enthusiastic twelve kilogram toddler into a carry pack and mission as far and as fast as her patience will allow. While I certainly won’t miss the back-chat my training load gives me once we’re in the Drakensburg I certainly will miss having the occasional opportunity to coax my load to hop out and carry itself for a while!
The second part of my preparation is family focussed. Spending good, solid family time with Jen and Chloe before I vamoose for two weeks into the great unknown. Tricky, not because of the length of time away, but because I’m using up valuable leave time for an entirely self-focussed purpose and returning to work over the traditionally festive family Christmas period. For a once-in-a-lifetime experience with good friends like this I’d say it’s worth it, but being mindful of the impact on my little family is important to me. Of course the fact that we’ll be surrounded by close family and friends on the farm over Christmas (work or none) certainly helps!
(NOTE: I set Ryan and Rex some homework about prepping for the Lesotho trip. Ryan is the only one of us who has a (beautiful) family and therefore his prep was was very different to Rex, Neil (I think Neil is joining for half the trip!) and myself. His What’s in the Bag info turned into this honestly written account of what a “take-for-granted” trip comes to mean to a fisherman who is also a passionate family man. I would like to nominate Jen, his lovely and understanding wife, for the “AWESOMEST WIFE OF THE YEAR” award for her encouragement and support of Ryan going on this little adventure! – Fred)