Saturday, 11 April 2009

Scouting for my trail run - part 2

It has been almost a year since I got out to scout part 1; 4.5 years since I first decided to plan this race; and 3.5 years since I fixed on the area plotted the route on a topographical map and later flew through the area on Google Earth...

I am indebted to Debbie and Mark (Foodstate) and Janique for joining me yesterday. Magnificent weather, incredible scenery and tough terrain.

I emailed the nearby Innibos Guesthouse, which I'd seen on my exit route from 'scouting part 1'. I dropped Elzette an email on Thursday, asking if I could leave my car there. She was super friendly and accomodating - I wasn't even a guest - inviting me to leave my car there anytime. It is a lovely venue, situated on a citrus farm - about 30km from the Hartebeespoort Dam wall on the Mooi Nooi road.

On our way down and back to the tar road, we went through a settlement. The people were really friendly too, waving and calling hello.

On our way up to the ridge summit, we passed a flowing stream. When I was last in the area in June last year it was dry all around. Debbie and I took a drink - we'll see what the repercussions are today... if any.

This is really a great time of year and some of the grasses are still green too. Saw BIG spiders!

We took an earlier exit, so our plan of leaving a car at the start and another at the finish backfired. We ended up on the tar road, needing a lift. The nearby police, in their van, were of no help. But, they did show us which hand signal to use to flag down a taxi. Within 15 minutes a passing water truck stopped, and they gave us a lift. Very friendly guys; they spend their days delivering water to the informal settlements.

Trying my hand at catching a taxi.

Ooohhh... look what I caught!

One thing I realised on this outing is that the terrain is really tough and slow going in places. I've had a complete re-think about the route and I have many hours to spend on Google Earth and many trips to make before the route will be ready for public consumption.

My plan is to assemble a bunch of 'test runners' at the end of winter and to have the run ready for this time next year. That's the plan... The thing is that I have this A to B route fixation because of the views and superb locations at the start and finish; so the challenge is how to make this work and not keep you out there non-stop for 2-days!

More on the development of the route as I get out there. I'm glad to finally be able to commit the time and planning to getting this route sorted. Way cool.

Lunch time!

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