Linda’s dad, Colin (63), passed away from brain cancer last year and Linda decided to take on this walk not just as a personal challenge to herself, but also as a tribute to him and to help raise funds for Stepping Stone Hospice, where her dad spent the last days of his life.
To date Linda has collected over R11 000 for Stepping Stone and she hopes to collect a lot more, now that she’s finished the walk and has the blisters and stress fracture to prove it!
The walk started on 31 March and ended on 9 April. In her own words…
“The Karoo is a desolate place, dominated by flat plains, distant rocky mountains and thirsty succulents sprouting from the parched earth. It is also intensely beautiful.
There’s plenty of time to reflect when all you have in front of you is one long, dusty, seemingly never-ending road. I learnt a lot about myself. For one thing, I realized just how small I am in the world, and that it’s not necessary to beat myself up over trivial, day-to-day things. I’m okay as I am.
I cried for my dad every day. I could hear him in my head. In fact, I picked up two crows along the way that seemed to be following me. By Day 6, there were four crows and they carried on with us all the way to Ceres. To me they were definitely my dad and grandmother – the other two, I think, were for a lady that was walking with me… also people she’d lost.
I literally hobbled into Ceres on the last day, after nursing a blister I developed on Day 2 already, which turned into an infected, painful mess. I was also physically exhausted, not so much from the actual walking (although somewhere along the line my left shin started acting up too), but from the PT of having to ‘move house’ every day – unpacking and repacking all my stuff, setting up and taking down the tent, taping up my bag because the zip broke on Day 3, and so on…
Giving up was not an option. I had to dig deep and put one foot in front of the other while the tears flowed. The last four days of the hike were extremely painful and trying for me. The Tankwa Camino is tough – much tougher than I imagined it would be.
I left the Karoo with a great sense of achievement. I even won a prize for being the ‘most determined’ walker! This journey made me realize that we really can do anything we set our minds to. Would I do it again? Absolutely. Tomorrow. Only, I would pack a lot lighter…”
If you’d like to contribute to Linda’s fundraising effort, you can make an EFT donation directly to the Stepping Stone Hospice bank account:
Stepping Stone Hospice
Branch code: 632005
Account no: 4086095643
Ref: TANKWA CAMINO
(Please email your proof of payment, together with your full name and contact information to firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Caption: Armed with little more than an umbrella to shield her from the intense heat, Linda Keiser makes her way to Ceres in an effort to finish the grueling 10-day, 256km Tankwa Camino endurance hike.