I live at the foot of a beautiful mountain range called the Outeniqua mountains. Every morning I wake up with a view of the mountain and experience its mood. It changes colour on a daily basis and can be completely hidden behind clouds, shrouded with a misty hat or smiling brightly to the big blue sky.
One of the privileges of living here is that the mountain also comes with an incredible forest reaching all the way down its slopes and there is nothing better than going for a run, walk or cycle in the forest. We love doing just that on a Saturday or Sunday. This week-end was no different. We had some a good downpour of rain last week and resultantly the little waterfall is flowing again and everything is coated with an extra layer of luminous green.
Cycling on the dirt road avoiding mud puddles and disappearing into the dappled shade brings me tremendous joy and rejuvenates my mind and soul. It is the closest thing one can get to having a holiday every week-end. The smell of the fynbos, the musty decay of the leaves and the aroma from the different trees fills my nostrils and lifts my soul the whole rest of the day. It’s the quiet, far away from the noise of people and traffic and some days you are lucky and don’t encounter another soul along the way. You might, however, be lucky to see and hear a variety of birds, a little bushbuck or even a bush pig.
Of course, this time of year we also take time to look for some mushrooms (Porcini in particular). Few things can compare to a proper Italian Risotto made with dried Porcini mushrooms. Unfortunately they are very particular and shy and only show themselves in the most ideal of circumstances. It is such a fine balance of just the right kind of heat and the right amount of moisture. This week-end we were out of luck, but luckily the season is not finished yet and we’ll keep trying.
(Please, if you don’t know your mushrooms very well, don’t just pick any mushroom and eat it. The history of the family of our most famous hotel, Fancourt, teaches the lesson well. They were entirely wiped out by eating the wrong mushrooms.)
If you are ever in our area, do yourself the favour of taking a walk in our beautiful forest. For the fit and more adventurous, you can even walk to the top of George peak (1337m). Nature has such a wonderful soothing effect on the mind and body and every day I’m eternally grateful for having the privilege of communing with it on a regular basis.
If you haven’t been out in nature for a while – go and refuel! It is like pushing the refresh button on your mind.