He may be blind, but George resident Carl de Kampos has never let this stand in the way of him enjoying life and experiencing adventure.
His latest exploit was a hike up the 1,370-metre high George Peak on Saturday, together with a small group of supportive hikers, reports George Herald.
Being an avid runner, De Kampos is very fit, but he feared that he would hamper the other hikers’ pace. As it turned out, he was among the faster members of the group who waited at the top for the others to finish.
Carl is used to running jeep tracks in the forest and enjoyed the challenge of the climb.
“It was a mentally testing terrain. Along certain sections, we had to climb on all fours and there was one spot where they told me to keep to one side as there was a steep cliff,” he says.
While hiking, he held lightly onto the backpack of the guide in front of him. He also has a trekking pole to secure his balance when going down large dips and drops.
“I have always wanted to climb George Peak as I enjoy the outdoors and do a lot of running, tandem cycling and horse riding,” he said.
“I met a guy, through a friend, who agreed to take me on an easy hike and test me on some rock scrambling, and then agreed to take me up George Peak. We chose to use the shortest and steepest route, straight up the mountain, and then to descend around the back way, which was less steep. I have done some hiking before, especially as a teenager with my parents, but I must say this was quite a tough hike. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
“The descent felt pretty long, but was actually pretty enjoyable. Summiting was a wonderful feeling. Although I could not appreciate the view, just being up there surrounded by openness, and also enjoying the smells and sounds and feel of nature is always something special to me. Also, the camaraderie of fellow hikers supporting each other reminds me of when I ran the Comrades Marathon.”
Stroke survivor also summits
Another brave hiker who summited George Peak with the group had had a stroke about a year and a half ago. Rodney Fenn, who will be 73, in December was left slightly paralysed on the left side, but this did not deter him from taking up the challenge of climbing to this height.
A friend of his, 70-year-old June McGahey, joined him for the climb.
McGahey said: “I had to try and chase Rodney up George Peak! His left leg didn’t help too much on the hike and yet he got to the top. Doing this with Rodney and Carl was amazing.”