Last night for the umpteenth time I paged through my copy of John Hone’s wonderful book, Encounters with the Dragon. Reading again the chapter titled, Comrades of the Trail made me realise that we all have friends and acquaintances, some come and go, but the real friendships are those founded on the long history you have shared together.
I felt the need to record this. I was blessed that our paths crossed some 30 years ago. You could not wish for two better friends, the kind you would be happy to have with you in the trenches; loyal, dependable, caring, and giving. We were different in many ways, but also shared much in common and especially our love of the Drakensberg Mountains – John ‘Mpondo’ Hone, MD of Art Publishers and Dave ‘Bushpig’ Osborne, Natal Parks Board Conservator at Monks Cowl in the Drakensberg. Over the years we hiked the length and breadth of the Drakensberg Mountain wilderness together; short day and overnight hikes in the foothills and physically demanding annual 10 day hikes in the high Berg with heavy packs and thin air at over 10 000ft. We slept under the stars, in caves and tents for our enjoyment, the spiritual experience and shared the adventures, but also to photograph that majestic environment in all its ever-changing moods. There were some tough times, but mostly good, enduring the mountains in all its diverse conditions; iced up passes, blizzards, severe electrical storms, tornado force winds, freezing temperatures and everything in between, but also balmy days and cloudless, wide blue skies – the kind of stuff that builds character and creates everlasting bonds of friendship.
But, most of all it was our fellowship over many years that was the glue that established the priceless bond. The sad part of all of this is that both John and Dave are no longer of this earthly world having left prematurely after long struggles with cancer. Dave nearly 6 years ago now and John 3 years ago on the 1st of May this year, Thank you for the journey, the memories and our times together. Until we meet again to climb the mountains in the sky, hamba kahle.
Some of the pictures, are copied from John’s book, I know he wouldn’t mind, but would give me hell for the quality of reproduction! All images and copy in this post are copyright Peter Brigg Photography © 2015. All rights reserved