Somewhere Between a Rock and a Hard Place

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Lately I have been finding myself with one too many sticks in the fire, and on top of that I am trying to cope with some personal issues that really took the wind out of my sails. I suppose that when it comes to dealing with tough times, we all have different ways of coping, as for me, I normally find that some time out in nature helps clear my head a bit even if it is just a temporary fix.

So when I got an opportunity to go out to a game farm situated close to the Zimbabwe border, I decided that going wasn't the worst thing I could do...

It certainly wasn't the ideal time of year to go out on a hike, as the seasons were just paging over from the dreary winter months to the hot and humid summers we can expect from the African sun, grazing and as such, animals were scarce to the eye, and the few I managed to encounter were either too far or too shy to stand still long enough for me to grab a decent pic of. Except this one...

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My hike started off with a gorgeous young Nyala ewe enjoying the sparing shade from the morning sun close to the cabin that I was staying at. I estimate her no more than a year or year and a half at most, and it was strange seeing such a young Nyala wondering alone. I soon discovered when she got up that she had a bad injury to one of her hind legs, and that could more than likely be the reason that she is no longer grazing alongside her mother, or other Nyalas.

After this encounter, I didn't manage to get any more wildlife pics through the duration of my hike, a shitty cellphone camera and less than ideal circumstances will do that to you, but luckily the wildlife in these regions are certainly not the only beauty to be found.

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Thanks to the fact that the grasses and undergrowth had not recovered yet from the harsh dry winter, it left some interesting rock formations that would otherwise be hidden exposed for closer inspection... yes I know it might sound a bit strange but I have a thing for rocks, their compositions, formation lines and shapes always manages to fascinate me, so I figured that I would share some of my rocky finds with you guys - just in case there is someone as crazy as me out there who enjoys these things.

In the picture above you can see a protruding rock that I found on the first leg of my hike (when walking was still easy and I wasn't heaving in breaths like a hippopotamus in heat) The rock barely broke the surface of the hiking trail footpath, but the small piece of the boulder that was visible, was enough to make me take a closer look. It had a very molten feel to it, though I doubt the existence of active volcano in these parts, at least not any that I have come across in recent documented history.

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Up to this point the climb had been gradual and easy going, and as I started making my way up the gradually unfolding hills, I noticed that I had reached a point where I could see the distant mountain peaks on the horizon, peaks that didnt belong to south Africa, but the neighboring country of Zimbabwe.

As someone who has not traveled out of my own country, I always find it strange to think that you can stand in one country and look out over another. Its a conceptual mismatch to my eager but slightly unexposed brain.

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One of the strange things that I noticed was that there had seemed to be a lot of man meddled rock placed all over the place, like huge shards of rock chippings, such as the copper lined granite in the picture above, or even the fortress like wall of rocks that you can see below. This looked very much like something that was fashioned as a military style gun hide during the border wars in Africa however, when I inquired about it on my return no one could give me any information regarding a battlefield on this location. I found quite a few of these off the beaten track of the hiking trail, all overlooking entrance points from the valley below, I imagine them being vantage points for soldiers back in the day, but I might be completely off track as far as this goes. I guess with enough research I might be able to find their origins, but until now, I've got nothing

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Other great rock finds included hard granite rock laying in the middle of nothing and nowhere that showed signs of manual drilling lines along the lengths of huge slabs as you can see in the picture below. One can only wonder what the purpose was of splitting rocks in this fashion and where the cut sections of the rocks might have been moved to or used for. but again one can only speculate in the absence of facts, and it would take a whole lot more than a day of exploring to find more clues as to the history of this place.

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The hike turned out to be a rocky wonderland, filled with mystery and intrigue, and I couldn't help but wonder why this is a topic that has not been looked into despite the desolate location - there must be some documented history on all of this.

Below a quarts ribbon streaking artistically through the harsh outlines of granite. Not quite as captivating to the inquiring mind but equally appealing to the creative eye.

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In-between rock gazing I would stop ever so often to admire the views as the horizon lines shift ever so slightly. Through the branches of lone Baobab standing on the side wall of a koppie - as if stuck in time and space, the landscape has an almost more majestic feel. Almost as if looking through a keyhole into tomorrow, wondering what this lovely yet turmoil driven country of ours has in store for years to come.

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This gorgeous triangular rock, layered from base to tip caught my attention, just as I realized it was about time to head back. Doesn't it look like a directional arrow of some sorts - yeah I know, that is a little far fetched, but lets not starve the imagination...

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A quick stop just to admire the sun as it starts setting, almost surprised at how fast the hours from morning till now had passed by but mostly sad that the day was at an end.

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