Cederberg Hike – August 2009 August 20, 2009Posted by baldricman in Hiking, Uncategorized.
Tags: cederberg, hike, Hiking, trekking, western cape, wilderness
And so, this past weekend it was with no small sense of achievement on my part, that we donned our packs and once again headed out into the mountains to take another stab at one of our favourite pasttimes, this time in the Cederberg Wilderness.
Why? Well, it was a year ago, almost to the day, that wifey, friend Dawie, and I, did our last hike, in the Groot Winterhoek Wilderness area. It was a weekend with weather of epic proportions, which saw us walking almost entirely at night, and almost entirely while it was raining. (I believe the Cape had one of its highest recorded rainfalls on this weekend?) The wind was high at times, and there was the odd spot of hail and sleet too. To top it off, wifey sprained her ankle quite badly in the last stretch – the only positive in this being the fridgid water in the hole she stood in, acting as an automatic and immediate ice pack lasting just long enough to get us back to the car!
Then, a few weeks later, Dawie, our trusty encourager and hike-organiser, was involved in a serious motorcycle accident, which saw him out of action for a very long time (operations and rehab galore!). 2 weeks after that, I tore ligaments in my ankle (and bruised the bones), while playing some touch rugby, which put me out of action for a very long time too… (though not as impressive as Dawie’s excuse)
Wifey and I are both very unfit at the moment, so we were a little nervous about the hike, but the route was exceptionally short overall.
So Friday night was a short walk of a few km’s, but climbing roughly 600metres (if memory serves). That’s a fair climb for the likes of wifey and I, but Dawie, as usual, didn’t seem to notice. We set off a little after 9PM, which meant we were treated to quite a spectacular show of stars, and of course we didn’t notice the gradient of the climb quite so much. We were supposed to spend that first night in a cave (called, we think, “Die Gat”) – we couldn’t find the blasted thing however, and so opted to sleep under the stars (which, lets be honest, is often the preferred choice anyway!) Besides, the thought of poking around an unknown cave in the middle of the night, when you’ve just been walking past scratching posts: tree-trunks scored by leopard claws, is not as smart as it may sound… So after a good-night cup of tea brewed on the trusty hiking stove, we climbed into our beds (a thermal liner, inside sleeping bag, inside bivi bag, on top of a foam insulation pad) and counted the stars while we fell asleep.
We awoke the next morning to the most glorious weather, and after packing up, set off again on what was meant to be a much “flatter” walk, albeit slightly longer, to Sleeppad Hut. Unfortunately due to some minor miscalculations in planning, the route turned out to include a little more climbing than anticipated. The ascent was well worth it, however, as the view across the mountains, and the sunset that evening, were truly spectactular.
A perfect reminder of why we do what we do. So after a hot curry (a little experimental for us this time, but a welcome change from noodles), and plenty of coffee and chocolate (read about the source of me choccies here), we went to bed. Saturday night we decided to sleep in the hut, as the wind was by this point fairly brisk.
(PS: If you haven’t figured it out yet, you can click on the thumbnail images for the full size)
Sunday, our last day: 3 friends of ours were originally supposed to meet us on Friday night and walk with us. As we later found out, their car had broken down just outside the area, so had to bail at the last minute. Because we hadn’t seen any sign of them the whole hike thus far, we decided to just walk back the way we came, thereby allowing us to enjoy the view we had missed during Friday’s night-walk.
In my opinion, this turned out to be a great decision. It’s amazing what you can miss on a route, even during the day, simply because you are primarily facing one direction. By now, I had developed a few blisters on my one foot (a certain brand of hiking sock did not garner my approval this weekend….*coff*), along with the usual aches and pains of the unfit. I know wifey was feeling the strain too by this point, but I was always reassured by her sudden smile, everytime we passed yet more wild flowers, growing right on the path. They really are a treat though, and I can only imagine what they’ll be like when Spring really gets going.
And, to end off the trip, we stopped in at the Spur on the way home, and gorged ourselves on some good old burgers and cokes!
I’m absolutely ecstatic, and more than a little relieved, that my ankle was completely fine throughout the whole hike. Barring a slightly, er, *modified* way of walking over tricky ground, and the odd interesting click, I’m just about as good as I’m going to get. 🙂 I’ll hopefully be back in the hills a lot more over the coming months, both on short morning-walks (to get a little fitter), and the real-deal, multi-day hikes too!
Thanks to wifey and Dawie for an excellent weekend, here’s to another one soon…