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A hike near Barberton, it has been done before, check in 2009. In 2009 we did it as a backpack, but this time as a slackpack. That was much easier, years are beginning to count against us.
We used the long weekend, getting over there at a leisurely pace and settling in at the Queen View hut in the middle afternoon. And who was there? Tom & Rita (the organisers), me, Jenny, Janine, Patrick, Oliver, Judith, Frans, Dalita and William. The plan was to start the hike from Queen View down to the Delfonte hut, staying there two nights and to walk back up to the Queen View hut. The day in between was a free day which we used to explore Barberton.
It was a varied and lovely scenery that we went through on the hike down to the Delfonte hut. There was a long and steep down on the way to the water fall, that took it out on my knees. As I am typing this I am about to see the doctor to check whether anything quick and easy can be done about it. A break and a swim was called for, although I have to admit as far as swimming was concerned I didn't get above the breast line and was out very quickly, this water was cold, I guess 14-16°C.
A surprise waited for us further downstream, a bakkie (for those not from this country, a bakkie is a LDV) was waiting for us, offering a lift to complete the last 6km. Only two of us refused the offer, Tom and Frans, the remainder of us thought rather a bad ride than a good walk. And it was a bad ride, the road was very bumpy and we on the back had to hang on with all four.
The whole of Saturday we spent in Barberton. Tom had organised us a guide to take us around town. There are plenty of historical buildings and sites, such as the first stockexchanged of the Transvaal. In the afternoon we took the tour up the road to Picks Peak, a number of geological sites have been laid out along the route. The main attraction in geological term is one of the oldest rocks found on earth, Greenstone. It had formed from lava emanating under the water surface. That was about 3.5 Billion (109) years ago, and was the base of the Kaap craton, an early semi continent.
Finishing off the day, my little group (Judith, Frans and me) visited the historical grave yard. Of interest here some graves going back to the pioneering days of the 1880's, a memorial to the people who died in the concentration camp and two British graves from after the Boer war.
And then we got lost, we could not find the road on which we had come into town. Google maps didn't help, a local farmer came to the rescue and gave us directions to get back. It was not the way we had come out in the morning, a much more adventurous ride through the forests of Barberton.
The last day back up to the Queens View hut was another super hike. Following the stream, it was a beautifull hike. At a point where the hike started going up steep the bakkie was waiting for us again. Pieter took us past the Queen water fall and up the hut where our cars were waiting.
This is a magnicent area for hiking and I enjoyed it very much, despite my right knee giving me shit. I have since seen the doctor, he gave me some pills to buy a bit more time, but thinks that a knee replacement is becoming inevitable. Some time early next year you will see me with a new knee.
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