Our 370-mile commute from Cape Town meant that by the time my companions and I checked into the starting point of the Otter Trail, the sun was already dropping. And thick clouds had been growing overhead throughout the drive.
Park officials seemed eager to call it a day, and after a rushed briefing about which water we could drink, and what time to cross the rivers, we were left to our own devices. A quick weigh-in on a scale in the corner showed our bags ranged from 28 to 50 pounds, but it was too late to do anything about it.
Moments later we began the rapid descent towards the coastline. Though in thick forest, raindrops started making their way through the canopy. By the time we reached the clearing alongside the ocean, we were fully exposed to a steady downpour — for which we were woefully unprepared.
As we wandered off course over slippery rocks, water seeped through my shoes, and the temperature continued to drop, I wanted nothing more than a warm fire, a change of clothes, and a glass or two of the wine taking up space and adding weight, in my only water bottle.