Friday, June 10, 2011

Busy June

The year is almost over - I exaggerate not. It seemed just the other day I updated this blog with all the activities.
Now its months down the road.
I've found an editor for my Nanowrimo novels, @gardengodmother and I have started running more seriously even including track work, I entered Ride2Rhodes for some inspiration and I spent four days last weekend hiking in the magnificent Drakensberg.
Like I said....Busy, busy.
Ian had a drink to many last year when we were in the foothills of the Drakensberg and suggested we go and hike "that sucker".  He rustled up to other Capetonian mates, Simon and James and the date was set for early June.
The only problem was the discrepancy in the term - hike.
The Myth and I mission when we go, covering bigger distances than considered normal and we somehow failed to convey this to our coastal brethren.  The food list should have given us our first clue - brie cheese, cucumber, baby tomoatoes, humus, cos lettuce, exotic mushrooms, sundried tomatoes and get the picture.  The Myth and I - well, Outback dried meals. lightweight crackers and snacks and some Jack Daniels for comfort. 
There was plainly a problem looming which was exacerbated by the taking of the espresso coffee pot and ground coffee.
The plan was to hike up Icidi Pass to the cave on top and work our way across the escarpment to Easter cave before descending back down via Ntonjelana Pass.  Hint: the best kept secret of the Mweni area of the Berg is the Mweni Cultural centre. What a fantastic base to begin from. Agrippa (head honcho) organised a taxi to get us to the end of the road which saved about 7km of walking and we organised with the driver to meet us four days later on another road with an aproximate time - saving another 5km of hard walking.
It was perfect weather - sunny and cool and before long we had stopped at the river to brew coffee!  Confusion between GPS routes (new school) and map routes (old school) had us split up before long and eventually we re-united with a very tired James finally arriving at the second river stop.  We'd lost time so we bashed our way further upstream before calling it a day and bivvying in the boulder strewn river bed.
Eish - the hike up the river to the looming exit and steep climb to the escarpment hung over us and the quads quailed at the prospect. But we made it and flopped down out the wind at the top. (This sentence does not do justice to the effort)
Re-arranging our route plans meant heading for Mbundini cave - which we missed, ending up at Rat Hole cave. Literally a long narrow passage with a slightly wider area at the back. Ian and James were offended at the name and its implications and decided to try and find Fangs cave. Nobody knows what they found but it was an overhang keeping out the worst of the cold.
The hike to Mponjawane cave was a big one with a howling wind which forced us to lean at crazy angles. while we walked. Many of the rivers were frozen solid on top of the escarpment.  It was a long day but oh, so worth it. It is one of the most spectacular outlooks in the Berg: Mponjwane Pinnacle (Rockeries Tower) is mysterious and the view extends for miles over the community lands far below.
As it got dark, it started to snow. The flakes grew larger and world grew silent.  It didn't last long but the morning still brought a white world and mist to five weary hikers.  The descent down Rockeries was misty but there was no wind so clothes were stripped off as we descended. The views were non existent but every now and then the mist would lift her skirts and we would see massive cliffs and deep river cracks.
Then it was over. Bongani met us as promised (my feet and hips were very grateful) and it was hot showers, spare ribs in Harrismith and home to icy cold weather.
And now its off to Pietermaritzburg for the Ride2Rhodes - the first 6 days of the Freedom Challenge Race Across South Africa (

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