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Seven attended, Greg Moore, Dave Manley, Jillian Manley, Janet Moore, Hilary Appelgryn and guest Trish Coninx. Gillian as leader.

Due to a west wind we decided to do the trail from Dana Bay to Mossel Bay Point. The Blaze trail forms part of the greater Oystercatcher trail starting at the Gourits River mouth – this is a lovely walk on its own.

We had a lovely day out in the sun, with sightings of both whales and dolphins. We did the 13.5 km in a reasonable time and where back in time for a stopover at Delfinos for a great ending for the day.

Gillian Forbes – meet leader

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Regrettably, due to the unrest on the N2 in Plettenberg Bay last Friday, 9 of the originally 11 expected hikers cancelled. Subsequently, the only three left were Irmela (member), my daughter Femmy (Guest) and myself.
We left at 11h40 from the Enrico boardwalk in an easterly direction.

We had our lunchbreak around 13h30 at Grootbank and then proceeded via our rope-assisted uphill climb from the coast below Forest Hall.

Thereafter we strolled over the escarpment through the flowering fynbos enjoying the magnificent views over the coastline.

We then climbed down to the Matjes River at around 16h00, which we crossed with dry feet to climb up again into the bush above the beach as the tide was too high.

We arrived at Enrico’s around 16h45 to have a well-deserved drink and pizza for Irmela.

We were very fortunate with the excellent mid-winter weather we had and enjoyed this hike along this section of the coast tremendously. I regret the 9 last minute cancellations but fully understand the reason why.

Hans van Ameyde – meet leader

Left – right: Greg and Cheryl Divine, Clive and Sandy Louw, Mike von der Heyde and Romy Foster, Wolf Schneider, Gerrie Forbes (guest) in background and Gillian Forbes (camera)

Quick breather to enjoy the view

On the narrow path to Tierkop hut

Morning break at Tierkop hut

An easy walk with a few steeper bits, Sandy and Romy, with Mike in background, George Peak in distance.

Beautiful wooded section just before the saddle

Kransberg saddle, lunch break and chance to admire the views

Cradock Peak from the east side

View of the sea and rock formations on way home, Wolf and Cheryl on way back

Gillian Forbes – meet leader

The group consisted of 5 people – Stewart Stiles (leader), Christine Stiles, Phillipa Barnard, Gillian Forbes and Dennis Weaver (visitor from USA). The weather was not great with early morning rain following a night of rain.

The group set out just after 07h00 from Witfontein.

The rain fell lightly and the small stream after passing the Witfontein plantations that one normally crosses by hopping across a couple of boulders proved to be a significant obstacle. It was now considerably deeper and fast flowing. Dennis decided that as he was travelling internationally the following week, he did not want to risk any  activity that might result in injury. He therefore elected not to cross the stream and did his own short hike in the area around the George mast keeping in touch with me throughout the morning until he returned to the cars.

An interesting feature just below the saddle was the small spring that often provides us with water. This was huge by comparison with its normally almost dry state.

We reached the saddle between George and Cradock Peaks just after 10h30 where we had a brief stop.

Needless to say, the ground was extremely muddy and slippery, so we exercised a lot of caution.

We summited Cradock Peak at about 11h50 where we had a quick lunch.

Due to the wet slippery conditions I decided that it was best not to try to do the George Peak section of the hike, so we did not need to rush the descent.

We were disappointed to note that some motor bike scramblers had been along the path below the railway line whilst we were on the hike. Their wheels had dug into the wet ground badly and had caused significant potential for erosion. I have sent pics of the tracks to Cape Nature.

We headed back down to the cars and the hike ended at approximately 16h10.

Thanks to all those who attended the hike.

Stewart Stiles – meet leader

 

A late start after some members had to undergo a close examination of wild cards and sign away their lives with the new indemnity forms.
This is a 9 km walk with a drop and rise of about 200 m with a coastal section of a few km. It was a pleasant day out with plenty of snack and viewing stops. Lots of new growth since the 2017 fires that totally burnt out a large section of this lovely trail.

Group photo – left to right: Clive Louw, Marianne and Peter Halbsgut, Tony Bowen, Maretha Alant, Cheryl Divine
front row: Sandy Louw, Ruth Powell, Wolf Schneider and Greg Divine.
Gillian Forbes – camera.

First snack break at bottom of the trail.

Start of coast section with lovely orange rocks

New growth on a badly burnt area

 

Gillian Forbes – meet leader

Participants/ members
Greg & Janet Moore; Gillian Forbes, Tony & Evie Bowen; Ulrike & Bruno Baldzuhn; Karin van Niekerk; Ed & Mimi Kay-Shuttleworth; Analyn Knight; Gonny Houtsma; Ruth Powell; Ann McGregor; Sanet van Meersbergen: Wolf Schneider; Tannje Strauss.
Participants / guests
Janet Meintjies: Graham Moore resident in the UK; Dennis Weaver from Oregon USA; and 2 extra guests brought by Ed.

Details
Hike distance and duration:
The Meet leader had estimated about 700m of height gain, and 15 km of distance to cover – however some of the participants say that their GPS trackers measured around 19 km!! They obviously did loads of extra steps!! A fast pace was set – thus we managed to finish in the allotted 6 hours.
Access, permits and trail head:
The hike in the Groeneweide Forest Reserve is controlled by SANParks. There is a “stand” at the trail head, where self-issue permits, and maps can be obtained.
Grade: The hike was offered as a grade 2M.
We followed a good footpath or track for the hike. In order to reach our “Kop”, a short section of both up and downhill of no path was encountered.

Note: The meet leader was possibly using the wrong name for our peak. Local mountain peaks and
koppie names are often very variable. No wonder Google does not include them on their maps. Looking at the “Garden Route” Slingsby maps, I notice the Koppie immediately behind Groenkop, which is the one we hiked to, is marked as “Haarnaald” at 734 m, while the further peak seems to be Paddakop, (See photo taken on a previous hike to Tierkop), and the highest peak is Melville Peak. Strange though – as I have heard local people using the name Haarnaald for the more northern peak at 918 m??

Hike details:
It was a wonderful day out. Perfect hiking weather. Our party of 21 hikers and the meet leader set of at a brisk pace from our cars which were parked at Strawberry Hill. Some super patches of local indigenous forest, which remained unscathed after the George fires of October 2018. Only the perimeter trees were affected.

Majestic views toward Cradock Peak and George Peak as we gained higher ground. Here the extent of the fires is very evident.

We climbed over numerous burnt pine logs to reach our” Paddakop” for the day. At this point the group showed off their different priorities. Some of us coming to grips with our very meagre snacks, while some relaxed into rather fancy prepacked home cooked Thai food-delish! Tony adopted a comfortable posture in his normal style. Ed was busy coming to terms with the Club’s newest gadget – the “SAT NAV”, and even Evie was given a brief introduction, while Gill concentrated on the info given. Our overseas visitors, Dennis and Graham stayed upright enjoying the circular views.

On the return no one was prepared for a dip in the pools just off the “Red route”. Ulrike dots the water with a few toes only!!

Finally, a meander in and out of the tall indigenous forest trees, where numerous tracks abound. Luckily with the aid of a cell phone, we did not lose any of the acceptable 10% of the party and all arrived back saying “despite it being a longish hike – it had been most enjoyable”. Some of the hikers even managed an extra stroll in a garden in “Wilderness Heights” in order to end the day replenishing their energy levels.

Thanks to all who participated and for enjoying yourselves. Many thanks to Strawberry Hill, for the excellent free parking.

Evie Bowen – meet leader

Hikers:
Members: Hanna du Toit, Wendy Thompson, Wolf Schneider, Erich and Margrit Brack, Greg and Janet Moore, Dave and Gill Manley, Tannje Strauss, Saartjie vd Merwe, Karen v Niekerk, Sandy and Clive Louw, Evie and Tony Bowen, Maretha Alant, Hans v Ameyde, Dave and Margie Barnes.
Visitor: Linette Swart.

After an inclusive and democratic discussion, the group decided to alter the hike. Instead of proceeding to Jonkersberg, much of the route being along the exposed path as a result of the most recent fires, an alternative and most rewarding route through some of the finest indigenous forest was taken. We followed the Gouna escape route, crossing the Rooiels River to reach Lelievlei-se-kruis. It is in this area, approaching the main Outeniqua Trail, that some of the finest virgin forest exists.

After joining the main trail, the route passes Kalanderdraai, and once again there is spectacular indigenous forest in the area called “Lelievlei Nature Reserve”. We reached the Rondebossie hut for a lunch stop. This particular group of hikers led by Evie Bowen, were a bunch of real enthusiasts and celebrated in an almost exhibitionist way when we reached the Rondebossie hut.

From this point, on the edge of the indigenous forest, the fire damage is plain to see. The entire area, right to the summit of Jonkersberg has been laid waste.

We returned to Grootdraai picnic spot along the Terblans Trail. Thanks to Greg Moore for the GPS info. We walked 15 kilometres and the vertical ascent was 520 metres.

Most of the party stayed on for the braai on a perfect afternoon at Grootdraai.

Dave Barnes – Meet leader.

The day dawned fresh with a high overcast, perfect hiking weather.

The party comprised Greg & Cheryl Devine, Clive Louw, Janet & Greg Moore (meet leader) Matthew Thompson (prospective member), Martiens & Stephane Bekker (prospective members) and Sandy Louw. Both Janet and Sandy electing from the start to only do the on trail portion.

This picture is a composite of three pictures but does not give credit to the ruggedness of the berg at the left end of the picture. The Attakwaskloof Trail starts at the hut, out of the picture on the right and rises across the face, to gain the ridge above the big green bush in the centre of the picture. After traversing three small peaks, the trail descends to the neck, about three quarters picture left. Here the trail leaves the ridge and continues across the shoulder behind.

The trail to the neck is easy going, although difficult to follow in places. At the neck Janet and Sandy turned around and we continued bundu-bashing up the ridge in easy conditions. From the neck we could see two peaks in front, but little did we know.

After about the fourth peak, with several more in front, we stopped for coffee and refreshment with wonderful views to the south.

We pressed on through very rugged terrain, with super views to the north and west, until we came to this, which was surely the top?

And it very nearly was, but the real top was some way over.

The highest peak, in the ridge, is almost at the end of the ridge, where it was my intention to turn around and backtrack down. From this point, it was suggested that it would be a pity not to complete the ridge and as we had the Attakwaskloof Pass below us, it was decided to complete the ridge walk and then descend down to the pass, for the return to the start.

From the neck, there were about seven false tops, before the highest peak at 1175m and the distance covered was 16km with ascent and descent of 960m.

Everybody agreed that this was a very enjoyable hike with superb views to the north, south, east and west and must be repeated. The hike was only really possible because the whole mountain burnt in January 2018.

Greg Moore – meet leader

The inconspicuous nature of this mountain from afar perhaps accounts for it being awarded the unflattering suffix of “kop”. Those members of the SC section who climbed the mountain over the weekend will be left with no illusion as to its true “berg” nature and the respect it deserves.

Distant skyline 0712 Sat 11th May 2019

Skyline close up 0712 Sat 11th May 2019

Looking back 1530 Sun 12th May 2019

Our group of eight from far and wide assembled at Khomeesdrif campsite, Riviersonderend late Friday evening and after a chilly night, Saturday dawned bright and sunny. After an impromptu “weigh-in”, packs were loaded and we made tracks to field No 26 ( the trailhead ).

Under starters order L-R : Tony Bowen, Derek Odendaal, Sonja
Wend ( Stellenbosch section ), Evie Bowen, Maretha Alant, Elna
van der Walt ( guest ), Greg Devine, Leader: Ed Kay-Shuttleworth
( out of frame taking picture ).

It was always, and will remain, a dilemma with this hike whether to “tortoise” or to “hare”. We opted for a night under the stars, flapping tents and slipping and sliding off the ground mat. The downside was the full pack and the  relentless 6 hour climb of 920 metres in altitude / 5.6 kms distance ( = tortoise ). This hike has been done up and down in a full day ( 11 – 12 hours = hare ) but what chance to enjoy the hidden secrets the mountain has to reveal to those who care to explore ?

Water is a vital element in this decision and fortunately the Olifants river above which we camped was a good provider on this occasion.

An early start on Sunday saw five of our group breaking the trail before the sun was up and before 0930 we were atop the summit after a stiff 600 metre vertical ascent. Like an island rising out of the plain the summit affords views on all sides with the Langeberg and Hex stretching behind in the North to the East and West and the solitary Babylonstoren to the South.

Summit seat

Summit five ( photo credit Derek Odendaal )

Camp beneath the summit ( photo credit Derek Odendaal )

Window onto the Riviersonderend range to the West

Our descent was surprisingly quick and a breeze in comparison to the previous day’s ascent. The camp was packed up on our way down and by 12.30 we were heading for the bottom fully laden.

So what of the elusive “Scarlet Pimpernel” ( Gladiolus stokoei ) that is rumoured to frequent the slopes ? Well – we sought him here, we sought him there but he did what he does best – and he’ll keep us guessing ! We did enjoy some other secrets the mountain had to offer and a small selection are here below.

Painted Lady ( Vanessa cardui )

An unusual Erica ( Erica fascicularis )

Red Lipstick ( Endonema retzioides )

There had been vague talk at the top of the mountain about staying over another night at the campsite if our descent was delayed but this was not deemed necessary and most of us were home in good time.

Our sincere thanks are due to Stuart McLennan for kindly allowing us access across his property.

So lets just – “Feel the fear and do it anyway”.

Ed Kay-Shuttleworth – meet leader

Angry man territory.

Team – Ed Kay-Shuttleworth ( Leader ), Clive Louw ( 2 IC ), Karin van Nierkerk, Greg and Cheryl Devine, Werner Frei, Ruth Powell, Ulrike and Bruno Baldzuhn and Jacolise Joubert.

In the annals of Western Cape hiking lore this three day hike is marked on maps as the Horingberg trail. Horingberg is a relatively innocuous mountain which at 1476 meters looms over the entrance to the Grootvadersbosch Nature Reserve. The clue to the nature of this hike lay in the name marked down in the Clubs meet sheet – “The Boosmansbos Wilderness Alternative”.
Fortunately most of the weekends participants were familiar with the term “Wilderness” and know that word carries a “health warning” ! But more can be gleaned from Boosmansbos which can easily be misinterpreted as meaning Bushman’s forest or bush. However that extra “o” ( Boosman / Bosman) carries a lot of weight and renders the translation from mere Bushman into “Angry man”.

Guardians to the Angry Man’s Territory along the Barrydale hiking trail.

And so it came to pass that early on a fine Saturday morning in late April ten fresh faced and bushy-tailed South Cape section members assembled at the start of the Barrydale hiking trail and dared to enter this “Angry man’s” territory. Deception and guile was already forefront in the leader’s mind as he had decided to approach from the North hoping to sneak in via the back gate. The Barrydale trail has suffered recently from neglect and Barrydale residents warned about the last few kilometres on the first day – we did find ourselves searching for the trail towards the end, just before we meet up with the Loerklip trail which is the normal Southern approach but this was mere practice for what was to come in the days to follow.

After a long walk the first night was spent either inside or outside the Helderfontein huts. Although we were self-sufficient in respect of roofs over our heads the difficulty was finding somewhere flat to pitch. Water was plentiful and the normal hut residents were noted for their absence. Our number had now reduced to nine after an early and graceful retirement had been forced on a member early on the first day. The “Angry man” was obviously making his presence known !

Helderfontein Huts – 5 * all season

Day 2 dawned warm and bright. A stiff climb ensued straight after breakfast and after two hours plus a little extra we found ourselves sitting atop Grootberg at 1637 metres surveying the world below and beyond in full 360 degree technicolor.

Grootberg summit

Sleeping Beauty lay off to the East, our overnight lodgings were down below and to the South blocking our exit lay Horingberg peak and its stunningly photogenic partner Noukranspiek. Descent off Grootberg was steep and slow and the “Angry man’s” presence was starting to be felt by all. A rest for lunch and some nourishment was not sufficient to revive the spirits of one of the team and shorty afterwards the decision was made to summon a whirly bird to facilitate a speedy exit for a night of observation and professional medical care. The decision was then made to camp exactly where we were perched astride a ridge facing directly onto Noukranspiek to the South and on the
distant skyline to the North the mighty Klein Swartberg on which the iconic Towerkop was clearly prominent. Replenished with water from nearby, and in nothing more to T-shirts we ate our supper and star gazed !


S.A.R.C.S Whirly bird arriving on the ridge top

Delayed the previous day, by what transpired to be 4 hours , we endeavoured to make an early start and were en route by 0745 on Day 3 knowing that the going was going to get tough. Well this was when the tough had to get going as the Boosman threw at us everything he had in his bag of tricks. Maps and GPS’s might have paths marked clearly but years of Garden Route growth had S.A.R.C.S Whirly bird arriving on the ridge top generated Fynbos exceeding the height of our heads and rendered those virtually meaningless. We knew where we had to go there – the question was just how to get there. The team dug deep into their reserves and after a late lunch near the summit of Horingberg we rounded the mountain to the South and saw our destination somewhere down there in the farmland 1200 metres below. The walk off the mountain was our final endurance test and after some 11+ hours as darkness fell we were grateful to have escaped the clutches of the Boosman.

Thanks to a supportive and forgiving team and especially to Clive for his pathfinding / bush-whacking skills as 2 IC, to Werner for the extra miles of ferrying and to Greg for remaining cool, calm and collected under the circumstance.

Thanks also to the 4 members of the helicopter crew who helped us out on a Sunday afternoon.

Now – where is that new map I just saw with Wilderness marked all over it !

So lets just – “Feel the fear and do it anyway”.

Ed Kay-Shuttleworth

Mountain Club of South Africa

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