Monday 13 December 2021

Local hiking in the Outeniquas

 After more than a year of living in George, this weekend I finally went for some proper hiking on the trails - not that far from home - in the Outeniqua mountains that I look at every day.

Most my my activities have been 'confined' to the lower trails and I haven't ventured much into the mountains, with the exception of an up-and-down of Vensterberg a few weeks ago. This is one of the most readily accessible of the '6 Peaks'.

It my friend Erica, who came through from Cape Town, with her friend Soriaya and two other locals, Simone and Daryl. We hit two of the six peaks - Vensterberg and Losberg.

We were dropped at the Sputnik parking at the top of the Outeniqua Pass and ended up covering 26.5km in 10h20 to get back home. It was a day of excellent hiking, excellent company, good luck with the weather and many excellent plant observations for me. 

The Watsonia flowers were out in abundance with colours ranging from pink to a peachy and others with white thrown in. I was after orchids and was rewarded by seeing six different types of orchids.


We also saw many spiders - and their dew bejeweled webs. While I'm sure there were dozens of other species, I took photos of four of them.

Watsonias were out all over the place with different colour variations dominating in different locations. I enjoyed seeing them and marvelled at the abundance and eye-catching colours, but I didn't take many photos of them.

I did see some fungi. Coolest was two sightings of small, young Fan-shaped jelly fungus.

Aside from the great floral observations, this was much-needed, hiking outing with really good people.

We got lucky with the weather. Heading up Vensterberg, we got above the clouds and enjoyed blue sky and sun. We dropped back beneath the cloud and fortunately had very little rain or cold throughout the day.

Heading to the top of Vensterberg

Top of Vensterberg

Fun in the sun above the clouds.

A real blanket of cloud.

Photo by Daryl. Heading up to Losberg.

Top of Losberg
Top of Losberg. Photo by Daryl.

Clear below the cloud. That's the Montagu Pass on the far side.

We cam down that spur (you can see the trail) and then up the other side. A good dose of up and downhill.

Starting on Cradock Pass. Daryl's very sweet dog Shadow was with us. 

We walked for a section along the railway track and enjoyed going through two tunnels.

The vegetation and, in some places, cliffs along the railway track are very scenic.

After such a big day, which I haven't had in a very long time, I opted not to do George and Cradock peaks today with Erica and Soraiya. I've been too hesitant to put myself through steep downhills. I had a good day on Saturday and wasn't too worse for wear the next morning. But I figured that I'd rather stay good than load too much, too soon. A good decision. I've got friends coming here next week and the plan is that we'll do George Peak and Cradock Peak so I'll be more ready for it then.

A very good hike. A very good weekend. Onward into the week ahead and the remainder of the year.

No comments: