An awesome sight: a herd of zebra and their young with the mountains as backdrop
The first short steep climb
Overlooking the valley below
Trish and moi
Friend Anthony stepping it up along the path
We break the fast just before Van Damm's Cascades
Focusing across the top of the direction rock,
After breakfast we turned right and headed down the grassy slopes. Most of the time we were bushwacking looking for the path.
Using one or two walking sticks
helps negotiate the overgrown indistinct paths
You had to watch where you were going and many times we slithered down steep places on our butts
The dried nettles were unpleasant to negotiate although we didn't have to deal with a lot of this type of vegetation
Ann, Neil and Lynette point downwards to the path
Looking back I saw Ant valiantly coming down the slope
One of the hills was covered with colored grasses
I try to stop and smell the
roses wildflowers as well. Leonotis leonurus are in full bloom in the mountains at the moment
Neil, Craig and the rest of the group stop to admire the view
Then it was a steep and grassy decent to the Blue Grotto.
The drop to the right of us was sheer
I stopped to take the above photo and my stick slithered down the slope. Ergh. I started sliding down the bank but the others shouted that I should leave it. Then Craig kindly clambered down carefully, felt around in the grass where I had indicated seeing it slip, and brought up my stick. Thanks Craig!
Craig manfully retrieves my stick and hands it back to me!
Soon after this we sank to a lower level and came across this beautiful jewel in the mountains.
The Blue Grotto. an idyllic scene in the mountains
We sat and enjoyed the beauty of the waterfall and grotto and then set off on a 2km walk towards the hotel.
The forest walk is absolutely beautiful. The huge trees are moss covered and monkey ropes, toadstools and ferns create a fairy tale scene.
Trish points to this peculiar tree with two trunks. It turned out to be one of the many Lemonwoods in the forest
Lynette set me in the strange bole of this Lemonwood
Around the next corner, Trish motioned for us to be quiet. There in the dappled sunlight, was a buck (deer) It seemed to be quite tame and Lynette and I took several photos of it before we moved off leaving an unfazed buck still watching us.
Because I wear a peak when I hike, I often don't see low hanging branches and have been known to hit my head on these. Passing a very large tree which was hanging over the path, Neil called back to me: "Jo, mind your head. " I managed to avoid banging my head but when Lynette asked me to pose but peering under the tree, yes, you guessed it, I hit my head!
Crossing a bridge in the hotel's gardens, I stopped to do a model's pose for Lynette (Jenny and Ant behind me)
On the last 10 meters before the hotel, Lynette wanted to photograph us coming up the path with the mountains in the background. When we saw her lie down on her back to get the perfect shot, Ant, Jenny and I decided to show how exhausted we were, LOL !
Ant, Jenny and I showing the effects of the hike
After all this tomfoolery, Lynette suggested we enjoy a refreshing drink at the hotel. The other hikers had already left, so we felt sad for them that they'd missed out on the fun!
Some of us know how to end a hike in style: Jo, Ant, Lynette and Jenny clink glasses on a wonderful day's walk
While we sat and replenished our fluids, Jenny gave me the hiking stats: we covered a distance of 11,4 km; did 16,651 steps and climbed the equivalent of ten storeys.
Another wonderful hike in our beautiful Drakensberg mountains.