Apprentice Trails Guide September 2021 Final Blog Update
The last day is nearing an end and the stresses of the final exam are over. What a crazy 7 weeks it has been and I don’t think I’m quite ready to totally pack up and leave yet. I was an apprentice field guide student in the April 2017 course, back in 2017 I called this home and from the moment I walked through the dining room doors on the 26th of September this year, it felt exactly like coming home again.
The last two weeks of the apprentice trails guide course has been filled with prepping and assessments. Week 6 was filled with so many incredible tracks and some signs you would never notice until you get out on foot and get completely in touch with nature. We also had our last team walk on the Friday of week 6 which Piet lead and allowed us all one last time to really get in touch with nature. The walk was filled with trailing a herd of elephants that definitely took us on a wild goose chase as they kept us on our toes with their indecisive movements. We eventually landed up with the herd across the river from us where they were completely relaxed and carried on with their natural behavior providing us with the most incredible sighting ever. Being able to watch them safely while on foot is one of the highlights of my whole bush career and I’ve been in the industry since 2017.
The weekend of week 6 was filled with 2 days straight of the track and sign assessment. Track and sign is one of my favorite things to do as you really need to get down and think hard about what has happened in the box and what animal could have caused it. One of our questions was a small digging in the ground and just on the outside of the diggings were 3 perfectly round dung beetle brood balls that some animal had dug up to see if the dung beetle larva had hatched so that they could eat them… Being able to pick up small disturbances like this and learning how to interpret what exactly has happened there is a beautiful art (as well as an incredibly addicting activity) that one learns over years and I’m super thankful to Ulovane for helping me open that door to learning this incredible skill.
Week 7 was stress week for most of us, the people that had passed their ARH assessments had to start preparing for and doing their practical assessments. Everyone that did their assessment walk was a little ball of nerves and stress but the moment they returned they all had big smiles on their faces and were all very pleased with their walk and all enjoyed it thoroughly. From what we heard their walks all went very well, the people that were assessed said it was really amazing sharing what they’ve put all their time and energy into with people that are quite possibly experiencing a bushwalk for the first time ever. Needless to say, Piet was happy regarding the performance of the 3 and so all 3 of them passed the practical component.
Our last few days were filled with studying for finals, sleeping in (with pretty much every morning during the course being a very early start), chilling around campus, and holding mini-game nights. All this relaxed time really gave me time to reflect on the whirlwind of the apprentice trails guide course.
The course is filled with very early mornings, some long days and some intense lessons but I really couldn’t recommend it more than I do!! It is definitely a must for everyone with a love of nature. Even if you aren’t exactly keen on doing walking trails as a profession, taking part in the trail’s course provides you with so much more of a deeper understanding of not just the bush but it helps you find yourself as well.
An incredible experience that I’ve been incredibly blessed to have been a part of. I will never forget the trails experience I had. I just wish that I had done it sooner!
It is only in adventure that some people succeed in knowing themselves – in finding themselves. – Andre Gide