Could an adrenaline rush be the alternate route to mindfulness?
The sudden crunch of tyres on the dirt track disrupts the otherwise peaceful atmosphere. Mountain bikers fly past, leaving clouds of dust in their wake. At the Garden Route Trail Park, a series of rip-roaring routes attract adrenaline junkies and thrill-seekers alike. “There’s awesomeness around every corner,” Rob Dormehl says. He spent his childhood here, exploring the surrounding forests and hidden pathways of his family’s farm. In 2011, the keen sportsman transformed the familiar slopes into a course filled with exhilaration.
Hikers, trail runners and mountain bikers are welcome at the track, which spans over 20 kilometres. “I’ve always wanted to share this place with other people,” Dormehl says. “The mountain bike trail park is the perfect place to do that.” He’s mapped routes that cross streams and pass flourishing ferns, each offering varying levels of intensity and challenge. “When you’re on a bike and you’re on these trails it’s like a forced meditation,” Dormehl says. “The only place you can be is in the moment.” For him, the dirtier the shoes, the clearer the headspace.
The landmark along the Seven Passes Road provides the opportunity to galvanise the body and rouse the senses. At the base of the Outeniqua Mountains, it’s the epitome of our country’s adventurous character. “South Africa has got a wildness about it you don’t find anywhere else,” Dormehl says, “and with that wildness comes a pioneering spirit.”