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We topped Pofaddernek in the Franschhoek Mountains and started the long descent towards the wooden hut far below where we would sleep. Without a word we stopped, not to rest but to look.

Late afternoon sun slanted through jagged peaks. Wet fynbos-spiced cold air, steam curling upwards as we breathed.

I don’t know how long we sat next to the path in complete silence. The hiking stove boiled water that warmed our hands around mugs of hot tea. Still we found no reason to speak. In a place like that words can’t improve the silence or deepen the friendships.

“The mass of people live lives of quiet desperation…”

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”

Henry David Thoreau (1817 – 1862): Walden