This blog is primarily to record our walks in the mountains, valleys, hills etc. as well as any other events we may do...

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Elandspad Hike

Who: Richard, John, Celia, Grand, Yogi, Konrad, Jimmy and me
Where: S 33° 43.974' E 19° 7.249'
When: Sunday 14 March 2010
What a day for a hike!  Richard organised the whole thing and we met at the Rondebosch train station and headed off from there.  The only person missing at this stage was Konrad and so we set off to meet him at the 1-stop on the N1 where coffee and some petrol were purchased.  We didn’t hang around long and headed out on the N1 towards the Heugenot Tunnel. 
Just on the other side of the tunnel, we hung a sharp right into the service road and after a hundred meters or so we arrived at the parking lot.  This is where the day really started!  Suncream was donned, packs adjusted and a quick photo taken to register the official start of the walk.
Off we headed on a day walk in the mountains that proved to be spectacular.
The after clearing the manmade structures including roads, bridges and power lines we came across a pool which John told us is called Baboon Pool (or something like that – memory like a sieve). This was just a sneak preview of the type of terrain and views we were to expect for the rest of the day:
Well we walked quite hard for a about 45 minutes until we came our first pit stop which was a beautiful set back in the rock which provided some welcome protection from the sun with the river running past only meters away and a chance to have some energy snacks and some Energade jelly babies (thanks Richard).
After a decent break we headed off again along the trail that ran along the river but did not always provide Grant’s 500mm clear specifications) towards Gogg and Magogg (sp?).
The route included some interesting shimmying along ledges and rock hopping to try and keep out of the water.
Naturally, this did not always work and some of us ended up getting a little wet!
We found a great spot to sit and rest while we decided what to do next.  The river up ahead was quite overgrown and the going would have been a bit difficult so we decided it was better to head back to the junction pool and have a nice long swim and rest there.  Off we set back down the river.  For some of us the going was easier because we no longer cared how much water was in our boots.  The problem with waterproof boots is that once water is in, it doesn’t come out!
The junction pool offered an awesome break, some swimming and very little shade.
John and Celia decided to hang around a little while the rest of us decided to head off to the waterfall.  The going was not easy and certainly took its toll on some of us.  Various profanities were spoken, we boots and other general grumbles were the norm for this portion of the day.  The rocks were very slippery due to the lack of sunlight that gets into the ±20m wide ravine.  When asked how far it was Richard simply said “you’ll know when you’re there” and boy was he right.
After about 20 minutes or so of rock hopping, sliding, bumps and bruises there it was:
What an awesome waterfall.  We estimated it at about 50m.  Richard said it was the highest he has seen in the Western Cape and that it has no official name.  Sitting nearby and listing to the water crashing into the ice cold (very little sun ever gets down here) water was mesmerising.  If anyone out there ever wants to be see natures beauty at work, this is surely one of the best possible examples.
As is the case with such things, we had to eventually turn around and make our way out of the ravine, back to the junction pool and back to the first stop where we were due to meet John and Celia.  We found them well rested and headed off for the cars once again. 
The walk back was not easy going.  The rock hopping had left us all pretty beat and with muscles complaining from work the likes of which they have not performed in a very long time.  Nevertheless, all good things come to an end and we made it back to the cars relatively unscathed.
We all said our goodbyes and clambered back into the cars and headed back to the city, already missing the peace, tranquillity and beauty of a great walk in the mountains.
Thanks Richard for an awesome day and what turned out to be the best day trail we have done.

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