Silvermine/Elephant’s Eye/Hout Bay Lookout

We originally planned to do this hike during Sanparks free week but life is busy.  So busy that I was on leave that week (12th – 17th September) and couldn’t even take advantage of this 1 week a year opportunity.

Several went away for the weekend, others are nursing injuries, 1 was sick and another sent her apologies.  Fortunately, Nasheta and Zaida together with their clan did confirm or I would have had to do a solo (not that I mind) but this hike is for the beginners to see the views.  I haven’t been to Elephant’s Eye in over 3 years and was at Hout Bay Lookout in December 2014 (prior to the devastating March 2015 fires).  I’ve uploaded some before and after fire photos as comparisons (its much greener now since the fires though)

Anyway, prior to sending out the hike details, I go onto the Sanparks website to check the prices and gate times.  R45/adult and R25/child and gates open at 8am during off-peak season with on-peak starting in October when gates open at 7am.  Saturday night an Instagram follower asked me if I’m interested in doing this hike with him and meet at 7am and replied that I am actually taking beginners on the same hike but we going to the Look-out as well but the gates only open up at 8am (according to the website)

Get to the gates at 7:30am only to be told that on-peak season started on the 01st September and told them they need to update their website!  I message the group but there’s no signal and was only prepared to wait until 7:45am for anyone who didn’t confirm.  It’s cold at the gates but when we got to the parking area, it’s hot! @8am!

With iffy signal at best, I check in 4 Adults and 7 kids with an ETA of 12pm into Mountain Tracking and hope that my message goes through somewhere along the way.  The plan was to go to Hout Bay Look-out first but then decided to do Elephant’s Eye first (just in case I get complaints about doing something harder after doing something easy lolz)

I brief the group and go over Baboon rules.  I wasn’t aware that there are now baboons in the area as there weren’t any when I did my first rock-climb in January this year.  Nasheta was very concerned for the kids but I told her they wouldn’t be a problem (according to Shaheen who confirmed that as long as we obey the rules, it will be fine)

dsc_6516
Briefing and head count

My sweeper was a newbie hiker but I didn’t mind that I didn’t have a more experienced hiker as the route is pretty exposed so confident that I wouldn’t ‘lose’ anyone along the way.  We are finally off after group photos with our first stop at the ablution blocks.

dsc_6519
First break while legs are still fresh

I am so very chuffed to see all the greenery and flowers blooming after the fires which practically destroyed the area but also pleased to see a flower I have not seen before (or can’t recall as it was standing out from the fynbos – big bright and orange) and veer off the path to take a photo 😛

dsc_6521
Diana kindly commented with the following link….(Mountain Dahlia aka Liparia Splendens)

http://www.plantzafrica.com/plantklm/lipariasplend.htm

Conservation status
Liparia splendens ssp. splendens is classified as Vulnerable on the Interim Red Data List. The greatest threat is to the populations in lowland fynbos, as lowland fynbos is seriously threatened by urban development and agriculture. Liparia splendens is listed as Schedule 4 Protected Flora according to Western Cape Nature Conservation Laws Amendment Act, 2000.”

I decided to take the shortcut up the steps instead of the longer mountain bike track and make sure that my sweeper is always within eyesight.  If I don’t see him, I wait for them to catch-up.  Turn right towards the Eye and just before the trees (what was left) I see the troop of baboons. Oh crap.   Ok, tell the group to stick together, no loud noise and no sudden movements.  I don’t know the behaviour of the troop so gna stick to the rules as I have kids with me so veered off the path and slowly made our way alongside the baboons and of course watching them and taking photos.  The babies were so cute!!! I got my phone out too late to take a photo of one hanging from a branch but he fell off as I was taking the photo.

 

We watch groups further ahead who didn’t go off the path like we did and another veteran solo trail runner just shout ‘move move’ and the baboons moved!  They are more afraid of us than we are of them it seems.  Still, I wasn’t about to take any chances with kids in my care as we do have food which they could probably smell in our back-packs.

With the troop ahead of us, the group is at ease and we are still taking it slow and with one of the little girls by my side, a mommy baboon with her baby slowly came past us and quickly ran off.  My heart went out to these animals as their home was destroyed by the fires and now they are forced to share their space with ours.  How traumatic it must have been for them running away from the fires then.  They are not aggressive like the ones we encountered a while back at Crystal Pools.  That troop basically escorted us out the area but this troop is so timid.  I’m not saying that you should go out and pet them as baboons are temperamental and anything could trigger them.

It was amusing going up to the cave when I turned around to see Nasheta and Zaida taking photos of the view when I saw a baboon going right up to them and sitting on a rock.  Shouted to them that they shouldn’t turn around but they took the opportunity to take selfies with the baboon lol.

Up the zig-zag path we go and when we go to the straight path, I tell the group they can go ahead to the cave as I’m going to wait on my sweeper.  When he caught up to me, he tells me not to make any sudden moves as there was a baboon right on his tail lol.  I turn my back to the mountain to make space for the baboon to pass us but he was so afraid of us that he rather jumped around.  I could hear there was quite a few people in the cave and shouted to put their food away as a baboon was coming.  I then hear the screaming and commotion the baboon was causing and was told that one girl threw her smoothie just like that in her bag and another was too slow and the baboon grabbed something from her.  That group promptly left the cave but we stayed watching this baboon scavenge the cave and waited for it to come out before we went in.

After some photos, the group wasn’t prepared to snack there as the baboon was still at the bottom of the cave so made our way to Hout Bay Look-out and reassured them that it was a flat easy walk with no steps. Flat easy walk was torture in the heat!  The sun was really beating down and feel that I haven’t acclimatized to this weather yet and if I’m suffering, how must newbie hikers not be suffering!  I had on sun-screen but that didn’t deter the flies and other bugs from flying onto my neck or face.  Its walk walk walk, stop to regroup and walk some more and was looking forward to sitting on the benches enjoying the views until I got there and realised that the benches could have been burnt away from the fire and got to the Look-out to just that!  The benches are gone!  Oh well, we are there for the view after all.  BUT!  Oh gawd, the swarm of tiny flies was annoying that it eventually chased us away as you can only ignore it for so long.

It’s almost 12pm and with my ETA being 12pm and as we had signal there, I update Tracking to extend our ETA to 12:30pm BUT then Zaheer’s thighs went stiff!  He could not move and was in pain and we had to wait a while for his muscles to loosen up.  This was his very first hike after all and we are taking longer than expected.  It was a sloooooowww torturous walk back for him and tell the rest of the group they can go ahead and wait at various points as I’m sticking with him, his wife and my sweeper.

I took a packet with for litter but didn’t pick up along the way as I didn’t want to attract the baboons with a packet of litter hanging from my back-pack but I did pick up 2 cans as it was unsightly and with fire season approaching fast, just the right amount of heat at the right angle, could start a fire in the area (again). I wish litter bugs would realise this!

Side Note – Last Saturday was International Coastal Clean-up and joined the 2 Oceans Aquarium at Soetwater which is a cumulative coast.  Despite almost weekly clean-ups, there’s always litter washing up on this beach.   The staff has to free a Garnet that was trapped in fishing line which is one of the more harmful items to our marine life (including coastal birds)

dsc_6491
I won an eco-friendly straw…

http://www.streamstraws.com/

We eventually reach the cars at 13:05 and check out of tracking.  Was an enjoyable hike despite the heat and had an adventure with the baboons!

Until my next mountain adventure (whatever that is) ciao for now and thank you for reading.  (Even longer one today as had lots to write about haha)

PS – only published this blog a day later as….life is busy

 

Silvermine/Elephant’s Eye/Hout Bay Lookout

A Woman’s Day Lions Head Sunrise and Mountain Clean Up

With a guilty conscience for not picking up the litter last Sunday on my Hike/Trail Run on Lion’s Head, I decided to return and asked Shaheen to join me.  Meet at the Car Park at 7:30am to drive up and down looking for space to park!  Sheesh, don’t people go to the malls or sleep in on holidays anymore???

Screenshot_2016-08-09-18-54-35
October 2015

Lion’s Head is probably the busiest mountain on this planet and with so many humans comes trash bags of litter unfortunately.  I only saw yesterday that a hockey club actually did a Clean Up on Sunday (today being Tuesday and a public holiday) so assumed there was not going to be much litter but what the hey, I get a hike in as well J

DSC_6081
No caption required

Anyway, I check in with Tracking only at 07:45 with an ETA of 10am as we were distracted by the sun rising and had to take a gazillion photos off course.

It’s slow going, keeping an eye out amongst the bushes and immediately pick up sweet wrappers, bottle tops, lollipop sticks, straws, a trillion cigarette butts and tissues, napkins, toilet paper (with gloves!  Shaheen was thoughtful enough to bring along as we don’t normally pick these up – you know, bodily fluids).  We go down at the benches and pick up several plastic water and energy bottles, beer bottles (even an imported beer) and other wine bottles and chips and sweet packets.  We take turns going down to get bottles that were thrown down from the path and we didn’t even reach the steps yet (still on the winding gravel path) when our bags were already filled and with the conundrum of carrying these full bags up the mountain.

As several people were thanking us for doing this, Shaheen suggested we ask someone to take the bags down for us.  One man was so jubilant in his gratitude, that he bellowed kisses and bear hugs for us 😀  Fortunately!  2 other ladies were doing the same and we asked them.  Not only that, they taught us a trick of removing the plastic bottle tops and crushing the bottles!  Viola!  More space in the bags \o/  They also got the idea from Shaheen to use gloves to pick up (gross) litter AND they had this nifty stick (trash grabbers) to pick up hard to reach places 😀

IMG-20160809-WA0010
Bad light picture quality sorry

At one spot, there were so many bottles down below, that both of us had to go down it.  What we noticed is when we see one bottle, there has to be at least one other hidden close by.  Seriously, each time we think there’s only one bottle, there is at least another one in the bush.

We were so focused on the dirt that we forgot the beauty surrounding us that we took some moments to appreciate.  So many flowers blooming!  Whites and yellows and orange and pinks.  Spring is a coming!  And let’s not forget the views!  The city, the ocean, the harbor, the sun and in the distance, mist still covering the suburbs in the North.

The jubilant guy is coming down with bottles he picked up and thanked us for the inspiration to do the same!  \o/ 😀 We are thoroughly chuffed!

There are queues going up and down the ladders and chains and have to wait our turn.  SIGH!  But I do thank everyone for the patience as I remember once an argument broke out when people became impatient lol

DSC_6096
Wait your turn guys

Shaheen goes down one spot and calls out that there is a discarded panty in the bush lol.  I said take a photo of it 😀

We eventually on reach the peak at 10:10 and update tracking and to extend our ETA to 11:30 and gratefully sit down to quench our thirst and eat koesiesters.  We have our compulsory photos on The Rock and look down to see trash lying about.  Go down to get it and walk around picking up so many cigarette butts that I told Shaheen I’m not picking it up any longer – there’s too many!

DSC_6108
Yay us!

It’s a bit of struggle going down with full heavy bags and as its peak hour human traffic, we opted to go down the longer route to even more traffic!  I find a black bag which had a hole but Shaheen made a knot and put her heavy breaking bag innit.

DSC_6102
So many people O_O

One guy gives a thunderous applause for our good work and another guy asked us if it was a group event and said no, we only decided to do this yesterday as individuals.  He has to look on the hiking groups on Facebook for Mountain Clean ups.

We were wrong thinking that there wouldn’t be any litter on our way down considering that we picked it all up on our way up but alas.  Said to Shaheen ‘didn’t we just clean there this morning?’

IMG-20160809-WA0007
Enjoying the view

Finally down at 12pm and get Sanpark Rangers Aslam and Fierdous with their crew about to patrol the mountain for wayward hikers J

DSC_6086
Shaheen went down

Photos cannot capture just how much trash we picked up and in these pics below, imagine the pile of bottles it would have been if we didn’t crush them.  And this is besides the 2 packets we emptied to give to those women to take down for us.

Tis sad that there has to be events for Mountain and Beach Clean Ups but alas, if we don’t have this, who will?  Not those who litter off course because they probably don’t even pick up after themselves at home – their mummies do that for them.  There were bottles we didn’t pick up at precarious places which weren’t worth risking our lives for.

I am not hiking on Sunday due to family commitments so until my next mountain adventure, thank you for reading and ciao for now J

 

 

A Woman’s Day Lions Head Sunrise and Mountain Clean Up

Orangekloof Hiking Trail

I last did this hike in June 2013 with Tim Lundy and actually wrote a review about this route https://www.tripadvisor.co.za/ShowUserReviews-g2427457-d3803208-r162804879-Cape_Town_Hiking_with_Tim_Lundy_Tours-Kenilworth_Western_Cape.html It was through hail and thunderstorms so wanted to return on not a rainy day.

I can’t remember who suggested this hike in our Easy Hike chat group but we had to book this permit 2 months in advance!  The permit is free and only allows for 12 people (including your guide which is a must) and only 1 permit is allowed per day.  That’s how restricted this area is and why you have to wait so long for a permit.

DSC_4728
Group photo (obvi)

Anyway, after group photos, I checked 12 of us in Tracking with an ETA of 13:30 and merrily made our way along the jeep track with Saeed (our Sanparks Volunteer Ranger as our guide) leading us and Aslam and Johty (spellcheck) sweeping (both of them doing the Ranger course).

DSC_4762
Protea

I of course at the back most times busy taking photos lolz.  We regrouped several times and of course had to take photos at the waterfalls and oh yes!  One of my Instagram followers and blog readers and her husband joined us today ^_^

We then took the fork up to Disa Gorge which is a new route for me as we did the circular route back in the day and I am in awe with the views.  We stop for breakfast at the first communication pole (just above the path down to Woodhead Tunnel) and we feast on various delicacies.  As we were busy getting ready to go down to the Tunnel, a hiker (who shall not be named) came along and we are all surprised to see this hiker as I am in possession of the permit and we are 12 hikers so said hiker is in the area illegally.  Said hiker chose the wrong day to do Orangekloof as we had 3 Sanparks Rangers with us so said hiker will be getting a fine as Sanparks Ranger gave said hiker the option to turn back but said hiker chose to go ahead instead x_x

DSC_4785
Breakfast

Anyway, we make our way down to the Tunnel but not before crossing a bridge which became wobbly after some weight and Saeed decides to shake it as well!  Most of the planks has fallen away with rot so carefully and slowly crossed over.  Kareemah’s husband has a phobia for heights so told him he doesn’t have to cross but go under it haha

We get to the Tunnel and I am in awe!  I cannot describe how beautiful the area is with Gorge and all!  Volunteer Ranger Saeed gave some history about the area but I wasn’t paying much attention as I was too mesmerized by the views of course.  What I did hear was that the Tunnel itself leading to the Pipe Track is as long as Lion’s Head is high (from Sea Level) and the Tunnel is closed due to some rock falls.

We make our way back up the same path and make our way up to Woodhead Dam but not before taking several more photos at the bottom of the Dam!  Sanparks Volunteer Ranger Saeed wanted to go the ‘Surfboard’ on top of Kasteel’s Poort which I was totally up for as it was a clear sunny day which would make for the perfect photos but we took too long at the bottom of the Dam so had to can that idea.  I sorry Saeed L

But anyway, we get to the top of the Dam which happens to be 119 years old today!

After several more photos, we make our way along the boring Jeep Track (sigh) and I rush along until I got distracted by a Mountain Roach! I took some photos and wanted to poke it with a lollipop stick I had but I was too scared!  I had it like a mm away but couldn’t poke it lolz until Achmat (Muneerah’s husband) picked it up and had the thing crawling on his hand!  This freaked the bejesus out of me!  I screamed and ran away but came back as I wanted a photo of the thing crawling on him but couldn’t get myself to get close enough lolz.  I made quite the scene but fortunately Sanparks Volunteer Ranger in the making, Aslam, took the photos for me lolz.

We had another break at the water fountain and as this is the boring Constantia Nek trail, I wanted to get down as fast as possible so rush down until I get distracted again by a mole.  As I wanted to take a photo of the mole, a bakkie comes along and the mole ended up as splattered and gore road kill :/  no photos.

DSC_4912
Refreshment Break

Down I go (leaving the others behind yet again) and see a Savanna bottle down a path and contemplated whether or not I should go down and get it as its quite steep but climbed down anyway as who is going to pick it up?  This was the second time on the hike that I had to climb down from the path to get the bottle but this time I had no-one around to help me but I did make it up safely again hehe.

I get to the bottom of Constantia Nek at 13:00 and wait for the others to come down and watched 2 dogs get into a fight and the owners trying to control them.  The 1 dog got a hiding!

Anyway, I check out from Tracking at 13:25 and how’s that for timing!  Saeed said 6 hours and we did it in 6 hours haha!  We had a first time hiker with us as well and he did amazingly well!

DSC_4921
Litter from Orangekloof grrrr

Before parting ways and thanking each other, I take a photo of the litter I collected.  Now the thing is, I didn’t bring a packet with for litter as I didn’t expect there to be litter in the most restricted and serene trail in Cape Town!  Sanparks Volunteer Ranger in the Making, Johty was kind enough to keep the litter in her bag 😀

Sanparks Ranger Aslam Levy (not in the making but for real) course leader will be proud of his new students.  They were knowledgeable and took their job seriously.  Saeed did test them here and there and could answer all of his questions.  Their assistance was greatly appreciated thank you!

DSC_4851
Refreshment Break

Orangekloof is a phenomenal route!  Hope I don’t wait another 3 years to do this hike again!  Thank you to all those who made it all the more awesome!  So awesome that I even wrote this blog before nightfall haha!  (just uploading pics takes forever (3 hours!) and it’s always a struggle choosing which photos to upload lolz)

I’m not hiking next week so until my next hike, ciao for now and thank you for reading!

 

 

 

Orangekloof Hiking Trail

My Maiden Trail Run!

As a hiker, I could never understand passing Trail Runners.  Why would you want to run on the mountain and not enjoy your surroundings!  Taking it all in and just being.  Also!  Trail running is so much more dangerous than hiking I think as one slip on a loose stone and bam!  Broken ankle as they don’t have ankle support (or worse)

Trail running has never appealed to me.

Until, after the Blinkwater Rescue which I mentioned in my blog about my volunteering stint for the Ultra Trail run, I said ‘Watch this space, I may give Trail Running a try’  I wanted to know what drives them.

https://myhikingmylife.wordpress.com/2015/10/05/ultra-trail-cape-town/

12524388_10154044216584133_4132544686233069301_n
photocred to Nazeem Karriem which I downloaded from Facebook ^_^

So with the Easter long weekend, I basically vegged out on Friday, Saturday I marshaled for the 2 Oceans, yesterday I did a Solo Platties so today I could attempt Trail Running 😀  which I mentioned to my friend Saeed so he said he could perhaps join me.  I told him that I would probably bail on that idea so he was to be my motivation and inspiration lol.  I also told him not to take no for an answer as I would think up every excuse not to go!  Especially since we went to Peter’s surprise birthday party last night and I danced with sore feet!

So anyway, on the drive to Lion’s Head, I tell him that if it wasn’t for him, I probably would have bailed because my feet are sore!

We parked at the Sanparks office (Oh yes he is a Sanparks Volunteer Ranger so have these kind of perks 😛 ) and started up the trail before the hut and told him we need to stretch first.  Oh yes, he use to do trail and road running but not for a loooonnnngggg time so we are both unfit for this lol.  I checked in with Mountain Tracking and Safety before 8am with an ETA of 9am, Circular route around Lion’s Head.

I tell him can’t we rather just walk instead of running but in the same breath I tell him that I’m just kidding. I came to run not to walk lol.  I’m pacing us and think I do not like this at all!  My thighs are protesting!  What was I thinking to do my first trail run day after a solo barefoot Platteklip!   Fortunately!  He tells me when to stop running and walk.  Oh!  That’s right!  That’s how you start out running!  Run/walk, run/walk haha!  I like this!  I also tell him to remind me that this is a run not a hike so don’t have to take photos of everything lol

DSC_4203
Me on the Cannon

Just after the cannons is a slight incline and I groan as I have to run up that x_x  It was hard but I did it!  Also, my thighs are warmed up now so could do that short incline without stopping but I was out of breath.  It was run a little walk a little, struggle A LOT up the slight inclines and Saeed is struggling more than me which made me feel good about myself.  Only earlier he told me that he didn’t have breakfast so his sugar levels were dangerously low!

DSC_4209
break view

We did sit down for a while and just enjoyed the views and chatting about nothing specific.  I tell him that I can now understand trail runners a bit.  Besides the cardio endorphin, you can’t think of anything else but your next step as to not injure yourself.  It takes a lot of concentration which is an excellent way to block out everything I think.

It wasn’t my intention to pick up litter but I couldn’t leave an empty 1.5l water bottle just lying there so ran/walked the rest of the way with bottle in my hand lol

DSC_4214
Waiting for Saeed

We made our way up to the contour path and as there were lots of human traffic, I couldn’t run from there which would’ve have been so much easier downhill!

I then make a detour up to a shallow cave (not even a cave) and we sit there for a bit as well and enjoy the views once more.

DSC_4215
break view of 12 Apostles

The first chance I got, I start running again until the few steps down and felt the impact on my knees so walked down rather.  On the gravel path, I start running/walking for a bit but then stopped completely as I could feel the impact on my shins and felt that one wrong move and my tibia could splinter so that’s the end of running so walked the rest of the way down.  We get Mark just about to go up to Wally’s Cave and chat with him for a bit and he is training for the K-Way challenge as well J  Good luck you guys!

We get to the ‘Trail running’ path again and Saeed says to run again and I did for a bit but as I felt the impact on my shins again I say sorry, I’m done now, I’m not going to risk injuring my most important limbs as I need them for hiking haha he then says to take off our shoes to earth it out a bit and oh my goodness!  My sore tender feet did not like that one bit!

DSC_4217
A thingie in the forest

We are done and I check out of Tracking but see a path to the left and ask him if we could explore a bit as I’ve never been that side and I’m quite the curious one.  We go up and down the sheer steep unused path and I’m thinking we will end up at the other route up Lion’s Head but we didn’t so just sat and chatted a while on top of a sheer drop watching the cyclists, motorists and runners in “The Glenn’

It’s back to the cars and make our way home but not before going for a Mocha at Truth!

DSC_4220
Favourites!  Truth coffee and mountain!

A quite enjoyed that.  I think I will alternate my solo hikes with trail running 😀

I’m not hiking next week as my nephew is getting married so until my next hike, ciao for now and thank you for reading!

 

My Maiden Trail Run!

Agatha’s Gulley

Before I start with Agatha, we had our debrief and HPHC will release a statement soon about Blinkwater but I do want give a shout out for the 984 ‘Blinkwater Ravine Turned Rescue Mission’ views O_O from various countries all over the world! That was most certainly unexpected…even more unexpectedly and shockingly! A share onto the BDSM fetish community! O_O uhm! Thank… you…? I think…

last week's views with another 7 views this week..thus far
last week’s views with another 7 views this week..thus far

Soooooooo Yesterday we did Agatha’s Gulley and I was slightly apprehensive doing a scramble (as teeny tiny as it was) plus crossing the ledge as I feared my old phobia for heights would return and that would make hiking terribly sucky not being able to do buttresses, ledges, traverses and ridges :/ I have to hike. (I took 2 friends up Wally’s cave the week prior and didn’t blog about this as I wrote a piece for “The Wrap’ – a weekly old school newsletter one of said friend emails out and in ‘The Wrap’ I mentioned that Hiking Centers my Chi)

was a hot one people!
was a hot one people!

For me, personally, I’ve done the routes up Constantia Nek too many times and no longer finding it exhilarating but grateful for the fact that I am able to hike (in fact, my very first blog was about this route) but have no issue taking others up. I guess taking others up are for them and not for me hey.
So 8 of us met up at the car park and geez it was HOT and not even 7am yet! Off with my jacket. We also got old hiking buddies at the car park that did Hole in the Wall. This time I was with the faster hikers as it seems all the squatting of last week made my legs stronger lolz

waiting for the Sunday 'strollers' at the first break
waiting for the Sunday ‘strollers’ at the first break

At the first break, waiting for the others to catch up, it’s off with my long sleeve top which was already sweaty and appreciate the early morning views and smells coz geez people! I do not have issues with owners taking their dogs on hikes but for realz! Pick up their poop please!The start of this route smells like your backyard! (the good poopie picker-uppers excluded of course)

its fine, take all the time you want...
its fine, take all the time you want…

We then make our way to Belle Ombre and take another break at Agatha’s turn-off and admire the mountain ranges some more. The mountain may have hurt my feelings but I still love her!

After a while, I ask them are we just going to sit here or actually go up Agatha lolz and go through the almost unbeaten path as not many hikers know of this route and it’s time to cross the ledge and I’m slightly nervous. Crossing this, I’m like yay! I’m not scared! I can look down without fear so merrily and confidently make my way to the other side 😀 I go find a nice spot so I can take photos of the rest of the group crossing the ledge and now I’m right behind as its go-ocd-on-photos-time! We are also now extra cautious stepping on and over loose rocks.

the LEDGE!
the LEDGE!

And Agatha’s Gulley is now done lolz (why it’s not one of my fave routes is because it’s so short).

Luke kisses the mountain and I promptly say I wana kiss her too! Which I did, and stroked her and said I still love you my mountain. (yes I speak to the mountains) ok there’s still the teeny tiny scramble to Belle Ombre and on the way for the first time! I see The Throne!

sitting on the Throne in my Brian rescue-guy inspired funky pants! \o/
sitting on the Throne in my Brian rescue-guy inspired funky pants!
\o/

Well I called it a throne as it resembles a toilet pot lolz Why I’ve never seen it before I do not know but anyway photos! This is when the fierce wind suddenly picks up…where did this come from and then its up the scrambletjies and I admit that I am even more careful now when pulling myself up a rock. Fear of a rock dislodging is real people. We have always been careful, checking before pulling and in many scrambles, we only have fingertip holds to pull ourselves up (and push up with our legs) With the hikes we normally do, we have to be careful as all it takes is one slip…

Scrambeltjie
Scrambeltjie

Anyway, its up Belle Ombre and we break at the overhang. Not in the overhang where we normally sit as it was too windy! Soon a group of hikers arrive and I offer them koesiesters with them saying that they are a large group and I say its ok as they can all share…the lady looks at my top (with hikers paradise hiking club) and ask me if I am the hike leader and tell her no and point out to Anwar and tell her he is sitting over there…Anwar Adams…if the name sounds familiar…and Blinkwater was discussed.

thanks for the warm send off guys! *waving byeeeeeee*
thanks for the warm send off guys!
*waving byeeeeeee*

Another friend spent the weekend on the People’s Trail with his hiking club, Ommiedraai Hiking Friends, and as he wasn’t feeling well and knew that I was going to be in the area he asked if I could give him a lift so parted with my club at De Villiers dam and waited on Saeed. Anwar notified Mountain Tracking and Safety that 1pax was staying behind and that the rest of the club was going down. He asked that I check out when I’m done as well.

Volunteer Ranger Saeed aka sick Saeed!
Volunteer Ranger Saeed aka sick Saeed! PS he is single ladies!

As Saeed is a volunteer ranger, he educated me on some of the fauna and flora and I’m still totes clueless as to the names lol…what stands out for me is the carnivorous plant species that eats ants and got to take a pic of it! He also told me that in February, we should look out for Blue Disas along the trail as well.

and I forgot what these ant eating plants are called hehe
and I forgot what these ant eating plants are called hehe

Saaed would have to lead as I’m always in a hurry going down this path. My legs get bored with the monotony of this path and not even a long way down, he says he’s bored lolz

Despite Agatha’s Gulley being such an easy hike (for our hiking fitness levels), this route was the perfect choice for post incident hike actually to get us back into the swing of things so want to thank our Hike Leader for his brilliant consideration once again. Thank you Anwar!

DSC_0714

We missed our injured hikers (and Shaheen and our good doctor ) terribly on Sunday and wish them a speedy recovery!

(I wrote this over 2 days)

Thank you for reading and until my next hike, ciao for now.

PS. Sanparks free entry week is from the 14th to 18th September (specifically Cape Point and Silvermine, which will be open by then)
And Cape Nature free entry week is from the 21st to 27th September – highly recommended route is Jonkershoek and Krom River
Check out their websites for further details.

Agatha’s Gulley