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What a lovely hike that was. Not too long, not too short, not too easy, not too rough, and full of interesting features.
But let's start at the beginning. We went to Mosomane, that is the hike near Rosendal in the Free State. Last time we went there was in 2006, many things have changed. The accommodation has had a major upgrade to a lodge, with a cheaper backpackers option upstairs. We got upgraded at no extra cost because there was no booking for the lodge. This was very welcome and staying there was much more comfortable.
We were seven, Judith, Frans, Lydia, Jenny, Rosario, Eleni and me. Arriving there on Friday afternoon we first spent some time deciding which kitchen we should use and who sleeps in which bed.
The hike in the morning , attended by all except Eleni and Lydia, initially was along one of the dongas. The erosion patterns invited lots of photographs to be taken. I elected to walk the bottom of the donga. I was so fascinated and occupied by the patterns that I left me rucksack behind. Thanks Frans for taking it up the donga.
Once out of the donga the route took us along the base of the cliffs. The path was well secured at the difficult stretches, one could see its the handy work of Tiaan Strydom who laid out and constructed, where necessary, many of the trails in the area.
I always enjoy walking along these sand stone overhangs. We did find signs of human habitation in the form of grinding stones. There was also the promise of bushman paintings, we did not see any.
The highlight of the walk was most likely the owl's eyes. Why they are called that is very obvious from the picture. A view from inside the owl is presented on the right.
Eventually after a final climb we came to the turning point. From here it was downhill and along to get back to base. The lone standing mountain in between is actually part of the hike, but we gave it a miss and just went cross country to camp. Frans and I did this the next day, the top is very interesting and has been reported on before, its in the report on Mosomane 2006. In addition there are some low collapsed walls, most likely the remnants of an observation post during the Boer War.
Next morning we tried the geocaching thing, there is a geocaching route marked on the map. The first point, I think, we found, but the container was empty. At the next point we had no luck at all, my GPS kept on wandering around and just did not get us to any point. So, we gave up and Frans and I went over to the lone mountain as reported earlier.
The trip was finished by visiting the local cheese factory on the farm. Dave the owner/manager/cheeser took us around. He is only producing cheese from goats- and sheep's milk. The cheese that I bought looked very much like the Harzer Roller cheese I know from home, but, of course, it wasn't. I left it to rot for a few days before eating and it turned out to be quite nice, became very slimey with an exquisite taste. Some of us stopped in Rosendal for lunch at the hotel and I can report that Chris van Niekerk is still in town and that the old duck who lived in the old boarding house and was a homeopath has moved to Scotland.
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