The Mweni Story 5-9 Jan 2010

Mweni1001.jpg, 161418 bytesThe first hike of the year was planned to be up the Mweni valley to as far as our legs would take us. That was me, Christopher, Alan, Tania, Kelly and Michael. Arriving at the tourist place in the valley at about 10h00 we grudgingly paid our 'hiking fee', next time we do it differently and sneak in to the valley without paying. Stuff them!
And away they went, initially following the road, later up and over the shoulder down to the Mweni pool, our traditional stopping place with a flat camping area. Alas the water was high and to get to the tent space we needed to cross. Scrambling along the sides we came to a cave and thought that this would be a good alternative. Cows had to be ejected first and the place cleaned up, it provided a comfortable sleeping area for the six of us.
Mweni1002.jpg, 176446 bytesThe level in the river was down thus we had no problem crossing the river numerous times to get to the long pool at the confluence of the Mweni- and Icidi rivers. We will now call the pool Jim's pool, because this is where I placed some of his ashes. It had become tradition to stop and swim in this pool, its such a nice channel and one can float in the fast moving water. But not any more, nature has moved some rocks into the channel. But just upstream from it is another pool just as nice as this one used to be. Onward we went to make it to 5 Star cave before nightfall. We couldn't find the path leading up to the cave. The reason became apparent when we got to it, its not in use anymore. Some of it has collapsed reducing the area under cover considerably. What was to be done? We stayed there anyway, because Shepherd's cave, the alternative, is not a nice cave.
Mweni1003.jpg, 144600 bytesThis then was also our turning point, next day back to Jim's pool and on to Mweni pool. Tania wanted to spend two nights there, using the free day for loafing, swimming and just being happy. This time the river crossing posed no problem and we set up camp on very comfortable ground.The trek back to the tourist place was done in quick time with only one rucksack-off-stop under the tree, yes the only tree on the hike.
Driving back was interrupted by having lunch at the Little Switzerland Hotel, the tradition has been for some years now to consume a Lamb Burger.
And the next day we were all sick; fever, nausea, shits. Possibilities are tick-bite, sun stroke or lamb burger.
Something interesting we found on the hike is shown in the picture, some roundish teardrop shaped sandstone things. Our sandstone guru, Roland, who I send some of the pictures thinks its something like a coral or sponge. This would have happened 400 or 500 million years ago.
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