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We have done this hike before, but not as a backpack. It was a small group that ventured out to take on this trail. it was Tania, Allen, Almay, Michael, Christopher, Jörg and me. Using the long week end so that we could travel leisurely down to Bethlehem and beyond.
The first night was spent in camp and in the morning the team moved off the rucksacks on our backs. First up and over the ridge behind the camp, we went along the mountain, passed the bushman bath which we had admired previously and wondered how they are formed. Well, we know the answer because Roland from Dresden enlightened us last time. It's a geological process of filling, dissolving and purging with the next rain.
Inevitably it came to a split in the party. I wanted to stop for lunch but the spear head group just kept on moving, claiming there was no suitable place to stop. Eventually the Müller group found a lovely shady spot with a stream that served very well for a coffee water supply. And so we stopped whilst the others disappeared in the distance.
from here on it was going down again, much easier on the lungs. We lost the path, and re-found it later on. This turned out to be the reason why we missed out on the gorge. That is the Bamboeskloof, one enters by going down some ladders, it is very adventurous. Anyway we missed it and were surprised at the last bridge to find them coming behind us. It turned out that there was a split in the path at a point where we had lost it. One giving the option of goind down the kloof and the other path for hikers who are afraid of heights.
It was now the major up to get to our cave, it was a steep climb of about 100m up, partially secured by chains. The cave provides beds with mattresses, that I would say is luxury for a cave, otherwise there is nothing, no running water, no shower, no bathroom, just a long drop around the corner. Sleeping in the cave was an adventure, it brought back memories of many caves I slept in with Jim and that was without the comfort of a proper mattress.
We got up early, we had to, because the sun was shining straight into the cave and onto our beds. The general decision was that we would be moving back to camp following the road, an about 500m walk. Jörg and I decided to rebel, we wanted to do an other walk without the rucksacks. What we realy wanted to do was to get back to the gorge that we missed the previous day. Our compatriots gracefully helped us by taking our rucksacks back to camp.
We retraced our steps of the previous day and went into the gorge from the bottom. Bridge after bridge we went deeper and deeper into the gorge. Very interesting, I thought, it was great being here. When we got to the final ladder only Jörg went up mainly to see where had we gone wrong the previous day. He confirmed that when we had lost the path this is where it happened.
Back at camp we had a shower and off we went to the Chocolate Coffee shop in Reitz for some cheesecake. Big disappointment, they were closed.
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