Stepping into independence

| September 3, 2010

Students at Herschel Girls’ School in Cape Town recently undertook their first extreme experience: a hike in the Overberg Mountains, which they called the Herschel Stepout.

It proved to be an apt name: for the 100 Grade 10 girls it was a giant step out of their comfort zones into the unknown. Although preparation included practice hikes on Table Mountain, nothing could prepare the girls completely for their walks between Genadendal, McGregor and Greyton. In four days, each girl walked 60 km.

Some hikes took up to seven hours over extremely rough mountain terrain, in weather conditions varying from 42°C to freezing cold. After hikes, they had to
prepare meals. Accommodation was basic. Then there was the early morning challenge of donning wet socks and bootsover blisters and going out into heavy rain
to continue. And worst of all for some: no cellphones or iPods were allowed. On their return to the school after four days, it may have looked like a ragtag bunch that disembarked from the buses, but there was a distinct sense of achievement and euphoria.

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Category: Featured Articles, Spring 2010 Edition

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