SEASONS GREETINGS FROM YOUR EDITOR
Seasons Greeting from your editor and my best
wishes for a great year ahead lets hope that it will be peaceful,
active and productive with lots of love for our friends and family
Well I must say that the year 2002 was a
wonderful year for me, getting out on many hikes and trails and
especially to be able to do them with the lovely lady in my life,
Margie. We had a very good trip up to my house in Randburg and even
went out with my older son Jamie and friends to hike in the Mountain
Sanctuary Park in the Magaliesburg. We drove back via the
Hartebeespoort Dam and caused a huge traffic hold up while Margie had
to stop and take a photograph of the Wall!
Unfortunely time flies when you are having fun and
before we knew it, we were back at our desks at work – boring. At
least as members of the Trails Club we can look forward to good
exercise, great views and quality time with friends in the future. We
had an excellent hike with John Boakes, ably leading the eleven of us
on Sunday the 11th from the helipad up to the contour path, taking care
to keep us in the shade for most of the time, which was very welcome on
a hot day. We went around on a Circular route, back to the car park and
are always impressed with John’s knowledge of this side of the
mountain. John Elliot’s dog Tana must have been very happy at the
end of the day, albeit tired out, and really enjoyed flopping sown to
lie in the water of the stream.
I look forward to receiving your articles and in
fact to seeing most of you in the months to come.
Cheers and God Bless,
To the top
HIKE TO CONSTANTIABERG PEAK
Leader: Peter P.
Weather was fine on start at 8-30 am and we
followed the very nice newly laid out path by parks board with
duckboards etc. As usual we had to get sort of lost. At the beginning
we found the path blocked due to wetland rehab but were soon on track
again. We moved rapidly up to the dam for very brief water break as
Peter was in big rush for reasons unknown and then gently up to the tea
stop (not Noordhoek peak by the way) to the top of a peak whose name no
one knew. Unfortunately the view over Noordhoek was covered in mist
although the false bay side was somewhat clear but we did see three
very energetic runners / orienteers running up the mountain past us and
they were in good spirits offering us eggs for breakfast. After about
20 minutes we proceeded along the mountaintop to Steenberg peak where
there were fantastic cloud covered views in hout bay etc. We were only
there for a brief 3 minutes as once again Peter was in a rush, but we
did learn from a hiker with gaps and foreign legion cap that we had
ascended about 250 meters from the car park. We then descended the peak
and up another hill and down where we started to do calculations on how
high our climb up Constantiaberg would be. The general consensus was
about 500 metres. We continued and started our big, steep, body-sapping
climb up to lunch break at the mast with good views over Hout Bay etc.
We spent some time at lunch break spouting usual
trivialities. At our lunch spot there was a small building with a steel
ball on top, which Ray Green, a fairly new member, told us was
radar-tracking equipment to monitor ships etc. I always thought that
radar was a sort of rectangular shape that turned round and round.
Thankfully after lunch the hike consisted of easy downward movement
only as opposed to backbreaking upwards before lunch. We stopped at the
turnoff to elephants eye where 3 of the party did a quick recce of the
cave, whilst us others had to listen to Peter`s very eloquent solution
to increasing the female proportion of hikers. It is apparent that
Peter and Tony are very worried why the female hikers have dwindled in
numbers and we are waiting for further information from these two. We
did a diversion to the dam to look for the trees planted by the club
earlier this year where there were lots of day visitors chilling out
with beers, braais etc. We reached the car park at 4 p.m. and some of
us proceeded to the usual watering hole where the high standard of
intellectual conversation continued between gulps of beer. A final
note: there was a lot of botanizing and about 50 % of the day’s
hikers had the botany bible (Mary – Matham Kidd), which means a
big increase in botanical interest. Species seen were wachendorfia,
orchards, mountain dahlias amongst others and Ray kindly gave us a
lecture on the difference between geraniums and pelagoniums (he is a
guide at Kirstenbosch). Thank you for a very nice hike Peter and keep
up the good work.
To the top
Date: 15 October 2002
Reporter: Jaap Hendriks
No news is good news, so this must be bad news,
for me anyway. I am going to have to bow out of hacking for a while
until a reluctant foot is fixed up again. So this is a very good time
to say thank you to all those members and visitors who have helped to
make Silvermine a better place. Even if you could manage only once or
twice, you made a difference. Thanks also to Peter for getting people
off their backsides with his exhortations in the schedule. There is a
lot more to be done, and the good news is that Graham Pietersen has
agreed to lead future hacks for the Club. Graham has been a regular
hacker for a long time. He will bring some fresh enthusiasm to the job.
Please give him a lot of support.
Thank you Margy for your enthusiastic report in
the last newsletter. If I had know you were coming I would not have
gone to China. The name of the little peak above the area we are
hacking is Spitskop. I don’t think the ridge itself has a
See you around folks – on the easier paths.
To the top
Sandy’s last hike
Reporter: Peter P.
Well, I’m sorry, I thought that the Heritage
Day afternoon hike would be a gentle stroll to Vlakkenberg, along a
gentle path through fields of flowers. As always, Sandy had news for
me. 24 members assembled at the appointed meeting place. It was a
perfect day for hiking. The boffins had said that there would be rain
in the evening but the afternoon was just perfect. Why is Mervyn always
late? We all stood around and waited for him to put on his boots and
perform other necessities at his car, before ambling across to join us,
and Sandy could give her warning about being not responsible etc. Off
we went up the pedestrian entrance to Vlakkenberg. This path used to be
very overgrown with aliens. So much so that one would have to almost
crawl under a canopy of those horrible, prickly Hakea. (Australia sent
these trees to us to undermine our rugby and cricket players somehow,
as well as cause all the trouble for our vastly superior flora.) There
can be no tree quite as ugly as a Hakea. These were all burnt down in a
fire and have been removed resulting in the path being very eroded.
Sandy led us up and up till she found a path off to the left leading to
a rocky outcrop. In the meantime we had lost two of our hikers. Win led
some who found the going too much, back to the start. At the top of
Vlakkenberg itself we stopped for tea. Tony had brought a delicious
pineapple, which he kindly shared with me. After tea we headed down. I
think Sandy somehow lost the path. A bit of bundu bashing, which made
Tony very proud of Sandy, followed. Anyhow we eventually found the
path, thanks to some pioneering path finding work done by Derick Archer
and moi. We will miss Sandy Howell. Not only because she was on her way
to becoming a hike leader of merit, not because of all the work she did
so meticulously as the membership secretary, but because she is, well,
because she is Sandy, and it will not be possible to get another Sandy.
Sandy, we salute you. Please try and forget us
not. Trails club will definitely not forget you.
To the top
14, 15 and 16 March 2003.
This weekend trail is very special and not very
far to travel, close to Barrydale in the Langeberg Mountains. We will
pitch tent on Friday and start walking on Saturday 15 March. If we get
more than 12 bookings then we will split the party.
Paul Taylor will lead a group into the Wilderness
on a 2 day hike and Tony Burton will use Grootvadersbos as a base camp
and lead 2 one day hikes into Forests, Streams and Kloofs and
To save disappointment as bookings are already being made, first come,
first paid and first served rules will apply.
Phone Tony Burton @ 701 5021 or 082 658 3056 or
Paul Taylor @ 715 5382 to secure a place on this wonderful trail.
Don’t procrastinate, if you snooze you lose!!
To the top
Reporter: Peter P.
Mervyn is leading a visit to KwaZulu-Natal from
28/6/2003 to 13/07/2003. He intends visiting St Lucia to do the
Emoyeni/Mziki trails followed by a visit to the Umfolozi Hluhluwe Game
Reserve. Then on to do the Giants Cup trail in the southern
Drakensberg. You will require two weeks leave.
The Emoyeni Trail is an exciting guided 5 day
wilderness trail (see leopard, buffalo, elephant, black rhino,
crocodile and hippo,) winding trough grassland, forest and beaches with
four campsites offering breathtaking views of lake St. Lucia and lake
Bhangazi. The campsites have showers, toilets and table and benches.
Tents must be taken with you. The trail is 65 km long and is of average
difficulty, and 8 people at a time can do it.
The Mziki Trail is also guided. It is a 3-day trail in the same area
from the Base camp at Mount Tabor. There are three circular routes. The
hut is an old radar station with beds, crockery, cutlery, gas cooker,
gas fridge/freezer, shower and toilet. 38 km of average difficulty also
for 8 people.
You will have to choose either the Emoyeni Or the
Mziki, as they will be done at the same time.
The Giants Cup Trail (4 days) runs along the
foothills of the Drakensberg near Himeville, from Sani Pass into Garden
Castle. Small patches of indigenous forest on the first day, but mostly
through mountain grassland with views of the crests of the Drakensberg.
Many small lakes, tree ferns along rivers and occasional stands of
Proteas. Bushman paintings on the second day. Huts have bunks and flush
toilets. The trail is 47 km long, of average difficulty and all 16 will
Cost: Transport and accommodation approx. R1
200.00. The trail is R760.00.
A deposit of R400.00 will secure your place. Bookings start on 3rd
Phone Mervyn @ 715 6187 to book and enquire.
To the top
Helderberg Farm Trail
Date: 23 September 2003
Hike Leader: Denise Hopkins
Reporter: Denise Hopkins
Hikers: Denise, Margie, Peter, Tony, Janet & Mike, Val, Gaynor,
Sandy, Jenny, Erica, Deryck & John
After placing this hike on the schedule for the
4th time it was a relief not to cancel due to foul weather. We were
expecting to be blown off the Helderberg but the mother of all South
Easters did not follow us to Somerset West, which was warm and
windless. The hike started from the tea garden, past the
children’s playground and farm animals with a stroll through
Granny’s forest, past the overnight hut and dam and on to tea
under the biggest rock candlewood (that’s a tree!) in the
Southern Hemisphere. I was disappointed to notice the promised
strawberry fields are now fallow and filled with weeds.
We were accompanied by a couple of farm dogs,
Snuffles a black cross Labrador/collie and Bakkies, a cute pug. The
going got quite tough for our short legged friend and he huffed and
puffed like a steam train on the way up. Margie carried him like little
Lord Muck up the steep sections and the higher we went, we were
rewarded by views stretching from the Atlantic to the Indian Ocean. We
traversed the right hand side of the dome, which was in the shade, and
we could look out over Gordon’s Bay and miles of vineyards
towards Stellenbosch as we walked.
Lunch was shared with the dogs in the sun under
the dome. The promise of tea and scones made our descent fairly quick
with Tony B. and Mike taking turns to carry our ugly baby down again.
Peter P. had a good laugh when the owner asked why the hikers are
always so stupid as to carry his pug up and down the mountain? Cute
rules, I guess! Bakkies collapsed under the tea table whilst we shared
home made Ginger Beer, Carrot and Cheese Cakes and I had the
long-awaited (yes, John) Strawberries with Ice Cream.
To the top
Kiddies Hike – Silvermine en route to Steenberg Peak
Date: 17 November 2002
Leader: Rod Arnold
Report: Libby Arnold
Once again the junior hikers, 15 in all, (with
almost as many adults) were raring to go, reluctantly behind the hike
leader – Rod. Even the hot uphill climb up the nek didn’t
deter them, as they looked for the items on Libby’s picture
checklist, such as, anthills, insects, leucospernums etc. The most
difficult ones to spot that day were butterflies strangely enough. Many
of these young hikers have been to all the kiddies’ hikes,
proving their enthusiasm, and for some visitors the hiking and rock
scrambling were a new and exciting discovery. We would like to see more
members and their youngsters on these hikes.
To the top
Leader: John Boakes
Reporter: Judy Mackintosh
Present: Gesine, Jane, John S., Julie, Lenny, Sandy, Sue, Sybil, Val,
John and his merry band of followers attempted to
enter Kirstenbosch at the lower end near the Bolus Herbarium. However a
Security Guard was posted in this area and we were not allowed to gain
access at this point although John had been doing this route for
approximately 20 years. We then proceeded to enter Kirstenbosch via the
Newlands Forest, having walked along Rhodes Avenue as far as Upper
There is a beautiful sunny spot on the mountain looking towards Cecilia
Ravine where we stopped for lunch. We were made aware of the changing
moods of the mountain directly after this, when we ascended zigzagging
south into the icy southeaster. What an amazing contrast of weather.
The mountain dahlias were out in all their glory
as were the ixias and lobelias. Descending into Kirstenbosch was a
treat, as the Gardens are looking particularly beautiful this year. We
did feel a pang however, when our band of thirsty hikers reminisced
about the no – longer-in –existence pre-fab tearoom where
we had spent many happy hours after our hikes, refreshing ourselves and
treating ourselves to wonderful apple pie and ice cream. Many of us are
hoping that a similar victualling abode will be built on the upper
reaches of Kirstenbosch in the near future.
To the top
Limietberg Trail with Sapstap
Reporter: Peter P
I had not done the full Limietberg Trail before,
so when I heard that Andre’s SAPSTAP were going to do it, I asked
if I could join them. “Yes,” they said, so I packed my bags
and on the appointed day Fritz picked me up at daybreak. Paarl is a
pretty little place as the sun rises and shines on the rock, so we
waited outside the Police station, and waited, and waited, and used the
police toilets, and waited for the rest of Sapstap to join us. The sun
disappeared and was replaced by ominous dark clouds. It began to
drizzle. Sapstap began to arrive. When we were all assembled and
introduced we were told that the second day on the trail was closed so
we would do the first day twice, there and back. Now we did not have to
drop off cars at Tweede Tol so we all drove to Limietberg Nature
Reserve and the start. Rain was now falling. At the Reserve a lady
ranger and her dog met us. She reiterated that the second day’s
route was closed because of bad erosion. However as we were the Police
hiking club and were presumably competent we could do it if we wanted
to. “How,” we asked, we have not left cars at Tweede Tol.
“No problem”, she said, “I will fetch you with my
trusty bakkie”. Boy! it was now raining. It resembled an
equatorial forest. It rained all the way from the start till we got to
the hut at Happy Valley! Happy Valley?? All the way there I worried
that maybe I had not packed a dry pair of pants. Any way at the hut I
found that I had, so all was well with me. All was not well with Fritz.
Water had go into his bag and his sleeping bag was wet and his
tracksuit was wet. We set about making something hot to drink and
started to get to know our fellow hikers. It appeared that the young
policemen have neglected to bring any of the stuff that all hickers
pack first. Viz.OB’s, or Oude Meester, or any of that sort of
delicacy. So we passed around my plastic bottle of OB’s and they
made a concoction of beer and other stuff they found which tasted,
well, to put it kindly, horrible. But they drank it. It continued
raining until we went to bed.
Next morning broke with the sun shining, and a
cold breeze. So we set off at 8 am. The second day starts off easily
enough till one reaches the tar road at Baines Kloof village. Then
things get nasty. The first part of the climb goes 6k’s to Limiet
Kop. So named because the pioneers believed, correctly, that this was
the limit of civilization. The path climbs for another 5k’s to
the summit of Pic Blanc. So named because one is pale and wan because
of fatigue. How can they make you Summit a mountain after climbing for
11k’s? Now the path starts to descend. Now it becomes clear as to
why the trail is closed. It is very eroded and very slippery and your
progress is very slow. And the strain on your feet and ankles becomes
quite severe. And so after 8 weary hours and 17 hard k’s we
reached the camping site at Tweede Tol. Here the four of us waited for
Rika, the lady ranger. She arrived and we waited for the rest of the
group. They eventually arrived 2 hours later. Some of the group decided
to go for something to eat in Paarl and took Rika for dinner as reward
for her kindness. Fritz and I left for home and the best nights sleep I
have had for a long time.
To the top
Date: Saturday 21 September 2002
Hike Leader: Paul Taylor
Reporter: Margie Crawley
Present: Paul, Derryck, Sandy, Geoffrey B., Annette, Mervyn, Jen, Tony,
Peter, Rene and moi.
An excellent turn-out, considering the vicious
South-Easter which had come up earlier in the day, being 19 persons in
all – including 7 visitors and 12 members as listed above. Paul
is without doubt a very popular hike leader! Annette kindly offered to
be TEC; it was grand to see her after a long spell.
Paul explained our route, which would change if
the weather really turned foul; we had to get on top first to find out.
We duly set off, having successfully negotiated the many steps leading
up to Boyes Drive from the parking lot whilst really upsetting the
Alsatian dog which lives in the house just below the road as we walked
past him. We admired the small caramel and white puppy who didn’t
mind our passing by, however, and I even got a finger lick as well, the
Council really mean business and we were pleased to see huge pines and
eucalypts which had been felled in the surrounding forest and over the
road. The visitors were in fine form; there was no stopping them! We
were absolutely thrilled to see 3 whales just below us in the
blue/green waters of False Bay proudly showing off their beautilful and
graceful dives and elegant symmetry. The white horses were really
whipping up the seas leaping over the many, many white waves in
turbulent False Bay below us. Soon, though, the whole bay was lost to
sight as we ascended into the mist and clouds. Jersey and anoraks were
donned and even some beanies amongst us. It was cold alright!
Surprisingly, though, we all needed the occasional water to drink
despite the chilliness and howling wind, which was blowing us all
We finally got to the top of Mimetes Valley and
over into the Silvermine area where Paul called a welcome tea break at
Junction Pool. It was a lovely spot to sit at, on green, green grass
surrounded by what looked like wild sweet peas bushes whilst listening
to the noise of the brown coloured water rushing by in the river just
below us. The compulsory call for filling up of water bottles (mine)
was duly executed making my evening Scotch just that much sweeter.
We didn’t linger long, it was getting colder
by the minute and the wind was really whipping through our wet t-shirts
and bodies so off we set into the mist and clouds once more. Coming
down Peck’s Valley was at times quite hairy, Jen nearly got
knocked off her perch on several occasions as did quite a few of us,
made defenseless by Nature’s forces. I was glad of my stick to
help steady me down. Towards the end of the trail just before Boyes
Drive came into view once more, one of the visitors pointed out some
exquisite parasitical plant – big, fat, red clumps of flowers
with no leaves growing right on the pathway, which he said grew on the
roots of other plants but magic to view.
To our absolute chargrain the two minutes left of
the rugby game (as I heard it on the radio once in the car) was won by
Sharks over Stormers at 36 to 29 – what a bummer after such a
lovely afternoon’s hike. Thanks again, Paul!
To the top
New Table Mountain Map
Reporter: Paul Taylor
The first in a series of six maps covering the
Cape Peninsula National Park has recently become available. It is a
Ziggy map (remember the old Ziggy series of the 70’s) of Table
Mountain by Peter Slingsby and is endorsed by the National Park. It has
a map scale of 1:20 000, a contour interval of 20 meters and claims to
be GPS compatible with a 200 meter grid interval for easy scaling off
of co-ordinates. Furthermore, it gives brief descriptions of twenty-two
different hikes on the mountain and includes a list of emergency phone
numbers. All in all, this is a very useful acquisition for any hike
leader or anyone else for that matter with an interest in being able to
find one’s way around the mountain. It is available at Exclusive
Books at a price of R35.00.
To the top
Did you Know?????
Reporter: Peter P.
Sirkelsvlei, a small perennial lake near
Olifantsbos in the Cape Point Reserve is unique. It has no apparent
water supply. The water level is maintained partly by seepage. Because
this water filters through acid sands it would be expected that the
water in the vlei would also be acidic. After all, the water in streams
and man made water holes ar acidic. Sirkelvlei has neutral water. This
may mean that there is a subterranean source of water. The water tastes
brak but test have indicated that it is not very saline. Although the
vlei has some aquatic life for example, the Cape River Frog and fresh
water shrimp, it does not attract much in the way of bird life. Not
much is known about this body of water.
To the top
Date: Sunday 25 August 2002
Leader: Mervyn Henderson
Reporter: Dave Crouch
A walk up Observation Peak
13 seasoned members of the trails club gathered at
the Enviro-Centre early on Sunday morning. Mervyn read us our rights as
always, “you hike at your own risk, but we will endeavor to bring
you back in one piece,” and collected our money before allowing
us to get in the cars.
We then set off in three cars for the top of
Bain’s Kloof. Mervyn fooled us all by not stopping at his
traditional one stop and arriving early. After parking our cars near
the Lodge we set off for the river. There was an icy wind blowing and
it looked as if the peak would be closed in. 5 minutes later we
experienced our first obstacle – the Wit River was high and we
could not cross at the usual point. This meant a 45-minute delay as we
bashed our way upstream, took off boots and waded the river. Once
across we picked up a good pace with Ian bringing up the rear. Soon we
could see the waterfall on the horizon. Alison had new boots and did a
boot change before we started the serious climb up the side of the
gorge. Beautiful ericas waved us on our way.
Once we reached the river on the plateau (above
the waterfall) the group split into two – a summit group and a
river group. With time running out, the summit group left immediately,
bundu bashing towards Observation Peak. Brian decided that he did not
want to summit but that his GPS did. Fording the stream before the
serious uphill, part of the Summit Team decided to join the River Team.
The remaining summit party (7) hurried on. The going was hard with us
taking the shortest (but steepest) route to the top. Just as we were
about to give up (not really) Ian informed us that the cool breeze we
were experiencing meant that we were near the top. This proved to be
true and we ran out of mountain, summating a 4 minutes to 1pm. The top
was clear and we had a wonderful view of the surrounding mountains.
Everyone collapsed in a heap to eat lunch and get back our breath. But
hikers of note that we are, within 5 minutes everyone was talking about
which of the surrounding mountains they would like to climb and how to
do it. A dispute on how high we had climbed ensued, brought to a rapid
conclusion after consulting Brian’s GPS (the answer was over 800m
from the car park.) As we ate our lunch on the windward lea of the
peak, an eagle (which our resident ornithologist then correctly?
indentified as a jackal buzzard) flew overhead. For some reason no one
took a picture on the top, but the reading on Brian’s GPS proves
we did make it. Phil produced a welcome bag of crisps, which he very
generously handed around. Soon it was time to start down. Due to the
cold wind, no one was keen to swim, which meant that progress was
smooth. We were soon reunited with the River Team who had enjoyed a
lazy lunch. Alison had gone on ahead because he knees were sore; we
only caught up with her just before the river. We arrived back at our
cars at exactly 5pm. All in all, a great day for a hike and those who
summated all agreed it was work the extra effort. And that’s
more, as promised; Mervyn had again managed to get everyone (and
Brian’s GPS) back safely. Thanks to Mervyn and fellow hikers for
a great day.
To the top
Peter’s Comedy of errors or much
ado about nothing.
Reporter: Peter P
Dramatis personae: Peter, fearless leader – Tony, a merchant
– Geoff, a second merchant and handyman – Deryk, Duke of
Kenilworth – Peter, a wandering visitor – Lenny, a clown.
It seemed that the Genadendal Trail was never
going to happen. At first offering I got two takers. So I offered again
and this time managed to scrape up six takers. I don’t know what
happened to the females of the club, all the takers were male. (You
don’t know what you missed girls, or maybe you do.)
So we arrived in Genadendal on the appointed Friday evening. All seemed
normal. We bought wood, made a fire, braaied our meat, drank a few
beers and decided to have an early night. On the way to our dormitory
we ran into some females. We quizzed them as to what they were doing
there and found out that they were members of some church or other and
that they were going to pray all night for South Africa. She did not
say that along with praying they were going to ‘sing’ too.
Along with their chanting and assorted noises from my sleeping
companions I had a restful night.
Genadendal trail follows a route over the
Riviersonderend Mountains, which is probably 200 years old. Day 1
starts with a fair climb up the left bank of a deep kloof. Once over
the top it follows an attractive route passing some strange rocks and
two attractive swimming pools. It was an overcast day (it had rained
most of the night) so we did not swim. The first day ends at a
farmhouse where one can buy meat and beer or wine. All was hunky dory.
We established ourselves at the hut and were joined there by 4 members
of the Meridians. We braaied, we drank beer, we drank wine, we chatted,
we went to bed.
And so the second day broke bright and sunny. Now
I must tell you, my dear reader, that prior to our setting off to do
this trail, Lenny had told me that he was having trouble with his feet.
All the first day he lagged far behind and we waited for him to catch
up every half hour or so. We set off for the second day a 07h00. The
first part is about 3k’s on a jeep track till one gets to a turn
off to the mountain one has to climb to get out of the valley. We
missed this turn off and found what looked like the turn off but
wasn’t. We waited for Lenny; 15 minutes went by, No Lenny. I sent
the other 4 on. I waited for Lenny, another 15 minutes, I got worried.
Had Lenny had a mishap? Had his feet given up? I decided to walk back
along the trail to find him. I walked all the way back to the
farmhouse. No Lenny! The Meridians had not seen him. The farmer had not
seen him. So I hiked all the way back. Lenny, Lenny, I shouted as I
walked. No response. In the distance I saw Tony, Geoff and Deryk. They
had found that they were on the wrong path and had turned back and had
now found the correct path, which turned off quite a way before the
spot where we had waited for Lenny. He had turned off at the correct
spot, which was why I could not find him. Lenny was now ahead of us.
But I did not know this for sure. Peter the visitor had last been seen
disappearing up the side of the mountain. I was exhausted. The extra
6k’s at an extra fast rate had taken its toll. It is a 3-hour
climb out of the valley. We stopped for lunch on the top. I had lost
33% of my group. As we started the steep descent I was delighted to
hear Peter the wanderer’s voice. At least I had found one of the
group. Lenny was still missing. At least there were no mishaps. Lenny
was found in Genadendal where he was the first to arrive. The
Genadendal Trail is one of the best trails I have done. Really ladies
do yourselves a favour and do it if it is advertised again. Who knows,
I might do it again soon.
To the top
Get your camera loaded with either color print
film, color slide film or if you can get it, black and white film, and
get out the hikes and take a photograph that will earn for you the
accolade of. “BEST PHOTOGRAPHER IN THE TRAILS CLUB OF SOUTH
AFRICA”. We will organize a social evening late in 2003 to assess
the art works.
To the top
Are you interested in doing an overnight trail? Do
you wonder what its all about? Not sure if you would be able to
complete one, not sure about what equipment is needed. We know that
there must be a few beginners out there just itching to really get into
the mountains. Please do not hesitate to phone one of the hike leaders.
Some of us even have extra gear that you could borrow before you go out
and buy stuff you don’t need.
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Hike Leaders phone numbers.
Mervyn Henderson - 714 6187, Marie-Paule
Henshall-Howard – 674 1539, Tommy Hiscock – 712 7476, Peter
P. – 685 2033, Paul Taylor – 715 5382, Tony Burton –
We are currently looking into a beginners trail.
So lets hear from you and lets get you up into the mountains where your
sense of seclusion and rustication will be so great that we may have
trouble getting you to come down again.
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Date: 24 November 2002
Hike Leader: Tony Burton
Reporter: Marilyn Mills
Once everyone had arrived at the garage in
Glencairn Heights at 08h00 in the morning, we shared cars and set off
for Red Hill. Peter, with a carload of ladies, disappeared very quickly
to Tony’s concern. Knowing Peter as well as he does, he should
have known that an opportunity to get 3 ladies alone on Red Hill before
the rest of us joined him, was too tempting. We found them waiting for
us at the top of the Hill.
Tony took us on a scenic drive along the narrow
dirt road passing many skeleton houses, before turning around to get
back to what he knew all along was the start of the hike! I enjoyed the
short drive past those houses as I love history and they reminded us of
those past lives up there.
The hike was an easy one as he had promised. We
went along the paths and across the fields filled with mega beautiful
wild flowers. Different varieties cropped up around every corner and it
was great that a couple of hikers had brought their wildflower books
with so that we could identify those flowers that we did not recognise.
We had our tea break sitting on a rock ledge
overlooking Scarborough on a perfect summer’s day. It was such a
treat not to have to fight the wind. We could choose the right spot to
sit for a change without looking for a windbreak. We then followed a
different path back in the direction we had come from, walking towards
the lake that Tony had highlighted for our lunch stop. He has such a
wonderful sense of direction that even when the path seemed to be
veering off the wrong way, he turned and took us across the fields and
was spot on! We came over a hill to look down on a very lovely, large
lake. After a bit of mild bundu bashing we reached the water’s
edge and selected our spot for lunch only to be surrounded by a lot of
bees. Peter led a small group up the rising to sit on the rocks away
from the water in the hope of escaping the bees but he needn’t
have bothered as once we all sat down and stopped moving around, the
bees disappeared. I could have spent the entire afternoon there at the
water’s edge it was so relaxing and peaceful. Brian had a walk in
the water but no one was brave enough to take Tony up on his invitation
to skinny dip. Tony didn’t entertain us either by
stripping… On the other side of the lake we spotted 2 large
dogs, probably Great Danes with a couple of people sitting on the bank.
Other than them, we had the place to ourselves.
Conversation was pretty good all round with Tony
even asking if a certain lady was pregnant when she said that she was
not feeling so well. He was also rather interested in her early morning
activities; I hope it was her cooking that he was referring to! We
reluctantly left our lunch spot and walked around the lake to join up
with the path on the other side. Lenny led a small group off to look
for a rare flower that he had seen 3 weeks before and I took the
opportunity of taking my boots off and walking in the water to cool my
feet down. The return walk went rather quickly and early afternoon
found us back at the cars.
The afternoon finished with some of us stopping
off at the pub in Fish Hoek for beers and much to Peter’s
disgust, a coke with lemon for me. I had had enough champagne and wine
the day before, celebrating my birthday, thanks to my great friends.
This hike was just what I needed to make my birthday weekend a really
special one. Thanks to everyone for the good company on the hike and to
Tony for taking us to that special place which was a first for most of
us. He promises a return trip so we’ll hold him to that!
To the top
Date: 10 November 2002
Leader: John Boakes
Reporter: Marilyn Mills
On a lovely fresh Sunday morning I hesitantly
ventured out to join John on his 6 dams hike. As I have done very
little uphill hiking for a number of months I just knew I was going to
suffer afterwards. A really nice group of 7 ladies were waiting for
John, the only thorn amongst the roses (not that he minded of course).
We started off on the hike saying that the breeze was rather fresh and
we hoped that it would warm up a bit. John took us off on a short cut
uphill through the forest, he always knows these wonderful short cuts
to make us feel inspired. It was still cool amongst the trees but that
was very welcome considering the effort it took for all of us ladies to
hike uphill. You know everyone is taking strain when the talking stops
and the heavy breathing starts!
There were quite a few other people also walking
and many, many dogs of all breeds, shapes and sizes. Walking up the
concrete Clayton road is quite an experience. We took it in stages but
John was right, once we reached the bridge, it seemed to level out even
though it was still uphill. It took us almost an hour and a half to get
to the top from the car park, but wow, it was worth the effort! The
world up there is something else. Walking along the contour path we had
an amazing vista of fynbos, hills, and wonderful bird life. The proteas
were out in all their glory as well as a lot of heather making colorful
splashes on the hillsides. The dams were reasonably full considering
the amount of rain we have had in the last couple of months with only
Victoria drained, possibly due to pending inspections. The rock
formations in the empty dam were incredibly interesting with their
white color and amazing shapes. We were surprised to meet the
courageous 91-year-old Wally walking along the contour park. He had
started from Constantia Nek at 7h00 and had walked to the Mountain Club
hut for breakfast and was now on his way back to Constantia Nek.
Walking with his 2 sticks, he is certainly an inspiration for those of
us who believe we have limitations.
The icy wind came up quite strongly and our tea
break was spent clustered in front of a rock formation at
Kasteelspoort, and oh, that coffee was good! We then continued head on
into the wind past Woodhead to the Museum. Besides being very
interesting, the museum was also a welcome break from that wind!
It’s amazing to think how all that very heavy equipment was taken
up there in the 1800’s and how their workmanship has stood the
test of time. I love looking at historical photos and at the people of
a different era. The workers looked so overdressed compared to our
dress codes of today. We left the shelter of the museum and continued
on past Skeleton Gorge to Castle Rock for lunch.
Perched on top of a rock platform in the shelter
of a higher rock overlay, we were enjoying our lunch until we noticed a
few rather large ants coming in for a snack. A few ants at a time were
not a problem but John suddenly moved his foot and discovered that he
had been right over the ant nest. Disturbing them, the whole army came
out and we decided it was time to move on.
The homeward trip took us past Ash Valley and
thankfully the wind died down more and more as we descended back into
Cecilia Forest. My hips and knees were telling me quite forcefully on
the way down that I had given them a hard time. More regular uphill
training and hikes are definitely needed so I guess you will be seeing
more of me in the months ahead. Regardless of the aches, it was a truly
enjoyable day with a really nice bunch of hikers, so thank you to all
of you for the good company and to John for taking us on his annual
trip to the 6 dams.
To the top
Tony’s Smitswinkel to Simonstown
Date: 6 October 2002
Reporter: Peter P.
It all began as a beautiful day. As promised by
the weather boffins the sun was shining out of a clear blue sky. Birds
were singing in the trees, the breeze was rustling the new leaves in
those trees. All in all a great day. Bag packed with a sticky bun and a
sandwich and a flask of tea, I set off for Simonstown and the great
adventure. Plenty of time, I thought, as I steered my car toward the
Blue Route. Then it struck me. Did I pack a pair of socks? A quick
check in the boot. No socks. Turn the car around, go home. Time is now
not so plentiful. Arrival at the meeting point and everyone is
patiently waiting. Quickly done socks and boots and off we all go.
About an hour into the hike I began to feel that all was not right with
my feet. I was struck again. Did I put my orthotics into my boots? No!
I had forgotten. I was having a truly bad day. The path leads up the
Swartkopberge. At first there is a bit of bundu bashing and the path
when found, leads steeply up and up. At the top it levels out and the
views are spectacular. It is of course spring and the fynbos was
unreal. We even saw whales in the sea far below and I began to envy the
sailors, sailing in False Bay, with their feet up. Near Swartkop itself
there had been a recent fire so the fynbos, although sparse, was
beginning to recover. Painted ladies were in profusion and we even saw
a white disa. We stopped for lunch on the top of Swartkop. By this time
I had slowed to almost a crawl, my feet were killing me and we still
had to descend to the cars in Simonstown. Anyway, I did manage to get
down. Albeit about half an hour after everyone else. The drivers had
already left to fetch the cars left at the gate to the reserve. The
beers at the 2/6 pub were probably the best I have ever had. I
apologies to Tony, Rory, Dawn, Brian, Sue, Penny and Ray for been so
slow and holding them up. Sore feet are a curse we don’t have to
suffer. Read the words of Dallas Fell, a podiatrist, in this newsletter
and heed them well.
To the top
Tony’s Expedition into
Reporter: Peter P.
We had decided it some months ago. Both Derrick
and I had told Tony that if he didn’t put this hike on the
schedule we would. So he did and on the appointed day 7 adventurers met
to have another look at Klaasjagersberg etc. It was a perfect hiking
day, a pity more members did not take the opportunity. After the care
shuttle, we started at Wildeschutsbrank picnic area. A path leads up
steadily till a jeep track is found. We searched for a path we had
descended on our recce, couldn’t find it and so bush whacked up
to the rock band on Klaasjagersberg. A little easy scrambling found us
on the top next to the trig beacon. Teatime. After tea we surveyed Cape
point gap and the best way to the Swartkopberg path to Swartkop and
thence to the cars. We chose the wrong option and had to bush whack
again. Never mind. We learned from our mistake so that next time you
will have an easier hike. As far as I know, this route is new to the
TCSA. I can recommend this hike. Next time it appears on the schedule
please do it. You will not be disappointed.
To the top
Date: 8 – 12 October 2002
Leader: Mervyn Henderson
Hikers: Reni Bürgi, Ian Cowburn, Frances Hills, Steve Behrens,
Marie-Paule Henshall-Howard, Phillip Williams, Carola Meyer, John
Boakes, Carol Cromhout
Reporter: Reni (with additions by Marie-Paule and Mervyn)
This is the best trail I have ever done! Beautiful
fynbos, great views, picturesque rock formations, stunning coastal
lines with rock pools and whales, sunny skies, great company - truly
We all met in the late afternoon of Monday at the
Potberg hut near De Hope Nature Reserve, where we braaied on a lovely
indoor braai in a well appointed hut with two bedrooms and a large
kitchen with plenty space around the table, electricity and hot
showers. This standard was maintained throughout all the huts, and
makes this trail a real luxury one. Louise, the CNCB ranger, visited us
and gave a pep talk on climbing the Potberg. That afternoon we were
entertained by Ian's car hooting when driving around any bends, and
later by John's car alarm going off every so often.
Just as well we left all the car noises behind us
when setting off early the next morning to do the 14 km hike over
Potberg to Cupidoskraal. It was a reasonably strenuous but well graded,
longish hike over the Potberg in quite strong winds, particularly when
walking along the crest of the mountain. We got to the top in 1 hr and
40 minutes; about half the time Louise had suggested it would take! We
were rewarded with splendid fynbos, lovely views, interesting birds,
and rock formations similar to those in the Cederberg Mountains. The
flowers was very beautiful with many stunning everlastings of different
colours ranging from shocking pink to poached egg, yellow in the middle
with a white surround. There was little shade, but the wind helped
cooling us down somewhat. Steve was the only one to spot a Cape
Vulture, and then promptly lost his binoculars! Carol, having had to
use devious means to persuade her principal that she was going to
Everest, also made the top in good time. Steve only noticed that he had
lost his binoculars about 2 hours after the lunch stop, and ran back
all the way to look for them without success. He slept well that night
after the extra 10 km or so of walking! We reached Cupidoskraal mid
afternoon. John was out front and like all good leaders, narrowly
avoided stepping on a puff adder guarding the path to the hut.
That night the wind howled very strongly, and I
prayed all night that it may calm down, otherwise it would be very
unpleasant walking. Well, it did settle down to a bearable level, and
we had another sunny day for a long walk (again about 14 km) heading
down towards the coast. The sun was beating down on as and we all got a
good tan. The last few kilometres were really hot with no shade, and
the last people to arrive did take a bit of strain. The water didn't
taste good either at that hut, but with a bit of flavouring it was
drinkable. Noetsie, as this hut is called, is situated close to the
beach on a lovely bay, where we immediately started to watch the whales
right from the stoep.
The third day to Hamerkop was a rather short hike
about 8 km along the coast. I took plenty of photographs. The sea was
turquoise, the sky blue and everything just too perfect for words! At
the lunch spot Stilgat (we arrived there mid-morning!), some people
snorkelled in the beautiful rock pools in warmish waters, where as
others just explored the interesting creatures under water. Ian and
Mervyn discovered a beautiful red fish, about 30 cm long, and I tickled
a sea anemone until it grabbed my finger, which gave me a fright! John
walked ahead fast, and must have arrived at the hut at about 11 am!
This gave him plenty time for resting and whale watching.
The fourth day from Hamerkop to Vaalkrans was
longer again, starting with a long beach walk through soft sand, which
was rather tiring! Some people saw a seal pup, and everybody spotted
lots of whales with their calves. From various lookout points along the
way we could watch their performances and were lucky to see a school of
dolphins, too. For tea we branched off the path down to the beach once
more to sit on a lovely shelly beach where we ate up some more snacks
(there was absolutely no food left in my pack by the end of the trail!).
Along this stretch of coastal line we encountered
a lot of derelict buildings of what looked like former holiday houses.
Vaalkrans is built on a huge cave, and it was quite something to
imagine the sea washing up underneath the building. It also had a
stunning whale watching lookout point right in front of the hut, where
we would drink our teas and enjoy sundowners. Whilst Mervyn still had
some butternut to braai on the last night, most of us resorted to our
least favourite meal like smash and toppers, pasta with sauce etc. The
previous couple of nights had seen some rather inventive menus like
Thai green curry, oysters in Cajun rice etc. Marie-Paule, however,
still managed to produce a lovely fresh vegetable stir-fry and very
successfully feasted on reconstituted mincemeat. This last night saw us
eating dinner by candlelight, as the electricity (normally fed by a
solar powered battery) didn’t work. After 4 bright and sunny days
it got overcast as we ate our dinners and then started to drizzle and
continued throughout the night. The logbook at the hut mentioned an
infestation with fish moths. During the whole night I felt around my
sleeping bag and kept checking with my torch around me to see whether
the feared creatures perhaps already covered me. Luckily, I only saw a
few on the walls, and was safe.
The next morning, sadly our last day, we set out
in overcast weather, which suited the fynbos well. The path followed
the coast, and the highlight of the morning was the sighting of a whale
calf, washed up on the beach. We could go really close, and it was
astounding to see the size of this creature. It only just started
smelling, and the environmental staff didn't know of it yet, so they
were glad to be given information about it. They immediately set out to
dissect it to find out the reason for it to be stranded. This stretch
of coast had abundant interesting rock formations, some of them
resembling a Japanese rock garden, and we could make out all sorts of
shapes, from ducks to dragons. This last day from Vaalkrans to Koppie
Aleen was very short, and we were almost a bit disappointed to be
arriving at the collection point at about 10.30 am. The transport back
to our cars was to fetch us at 12:00, so we had ample time for a cold
shower at the environmental centre, do some more whale and dolphin
watching and explore the area. On the way back, we craved a decent
lunch and took the first opportunity in Bredasdorp in a new and stylish
coffee place, where we enjoyed a splendid meal: very recommendable!
Mervyn led the hike so that everybody could walk
at their own pace, giving us much freedom in our movements. We started
every day around 7.30 am and went to sleep rather early, too, full of
lovely impressions, sights and sounds. There is surely nothing better
then sleeping to the sound of waves rolling and crashing.
Many thanks to Mervyn for organising and leading
this trail in great style. Thanks for everybody's company which made
this a very enjoyable and memorable trail.
If you have anything to contribute
to the newsletter,
please email our editor.
James would love to hear from you.
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