NEW YEAR IN THE OUTENIQUA MOUNTAINS
A group of our Youthful Hiking members celebrated the New Year along the Outeniqua Trail in the Eastern Cape. This is a 7 day hike, starting at Beervlei in the Hoekwil area, through Jubilee Creek, Milwood near Knysna, to Diepwalle Forrest Station, and finishing at Harkerville
Hikers: Rod & Michael Allport; Bev Brockman; Guilia Criscoulo; Hijme de Jong; Wendy Farrow; Roger Jannaway; Charley Lewis; Cecile Marquer; Padmini Moodley; Mike Openshaw; Elisabeth Pickard; Elsa Wloschowsky & John Faller.
Many days rain right up to the day before the hike made us wonder what we had let ourselves in for. However, the 1st day dawned bright and cheerful at Beervlei and remained as such for the rest of the hike. We were disappointed to learn that we would not be able to cover the route for day 1 as one of the rivers was too high for a safe crossing. The Parks Board kindly hired a truck to take us to Windmeulnek where we would have spent the first night anyway. Unfortunately, due to the wet conditions, the truck sunk axle deep in the mud 5 Km or so from the hut and so we had to complete the rest of the journey on foot. A very steep climb from the road to Windmeulnek got our legs into walking mode.
Next morning we set off early for a relatively easy 17 Km to Platbos in cool and dry conditions. Guilia’s yoga session at the hut loosened us all up, much to the amusement of forestry staff called to get the water supply on tap.
On Saturday we made another early start for the 16 Km ahead. This proved a tough, long day walking in very humid conditions with many steep ups and downs. We also had to make our first real river crossing. A rope across the Homtini River enabled us to get across without too much difficulty and no casualties. As the day wore on we left the relative cool of the forest and realized how hot it really was. A very enjoyable meal and many drinks were enjoyed by all at the Tea House at Millwood.
Sunday was another long, hot and humid 17 Km with many steep ups and downs to Rondebossie. We made our second river crossing – the Knysna River – more formidable than the Homtini. This time we needed to use our survival bags and made the crossing successfully. The Elisabeth & Cecile Massage & Sore Feet Service was in great demand at the days end!
The last day of 2007 was a cool, misty day which helped make the long climb up the Jonkersberg very manageable. We arrived quite early at Diepwalle so had plenty of time to prepare for New Year’s Eve celebrations. We put our watches 4 hours forward and enjoyed a super meal at the Diepvalle restaurant at 9 pm followed by a happy hour at midnight and bed by 1 am. Thanks to Wendy’s father, we were able to restock our supplies for the rest of the hike with parcels we had left with him at Beervlei. He also ensured that a generous supply of liquid refreshment was available!
The last two days from Diepwalle to Fisantehoek and then on to Harkerville were relatively easy days allowing early arrivals and good time for relaxation. Some of our party left Harkerville for other destinations and some remained for the 2-day Harkerville Coastal Trail.
Thanks to Wendy for her organization and her father for his transportation of our supplies and drinks, both of which made the trail such a memorable one.
Last Update: 2008/03/30 / Author: admin