Monday, 2 June 2008

A jewel in Joburg's crown

Three-and-a-half years ago, after my friend Paul Mitchell passed away suddenly, I decided to plan an ultra distance off road foot race. As an adventure racer, Paul loved trails (and no trails) and abhorred any event that featured road sections. The race I had in mind would be something that Paul would have loved to enter. It would need to be challenging with variety in terrain, striking scenery, interesting features and, of course, not even a meter of tar.

In December 2005 I discovered a potential location for this race, better than the first one I'd had in mind a year earlier. I plotted a possible location on a topographical map and flew across the landscape on Google Earth. And, although this race is seldom far from my mind, until this weekend that was as far as I'd gotten.

On Sunday, accompanied by fellow trail enthusiast friend Deon, we scouted the first third of the route. The weather was perfect and the scenery and terrain was even better than I had imagined. We discovered delightful features that we've named "Duiker Valley", "The Fort", "The Wall" and "Ripple Rock". I can't wait to get out there again.

As for the race... until we've been through the entire route the total distance remains unconfirmed (approx 45km perhaps). It will be a running/trekking event. I'll only confirm a date after I've finalised the route and permissions; I can say that it would only be next year as season is a big determining factor.

What really surprised me - and why I wrote this post - is that this area exceeded my expectations. It truly is a jewel in Joburg's crown that deserves every effort to be preserved and conserved from destruction by development.

Standing on The Fort Deon sitting on Ripple Rock The Wall

A HUGE thank you to my mom, Liz, for dropping us off and then finding us again hours later, on an obscure farm road; and to Deon for being a willing scout.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So, Why do we have to wait for a calamity before we act ? I am really sorry about his passing ; I know the feeling...
(talking to myself)How long must I wait before actioning the will ?
will the guilt be less or more with time ? Who knows ....what`s nexk ?