Starting at 8h30 from Tafelberg Road, at the last bend before the Cable Station, a chirpy bunch of 11 of us met up at the allotted parking area – well all but one who had to be a bit superior, and park just around the corner, where from her loftier perch she gave her cheery wave to let us know she was here.
After the Indemnity bit and welcomes – especially to Flo from France, and Mark, a newcomer to our usual Tuesday group – we set off towards the Kloof Corner trail, where crossing the busy road was our first challenge. Ascending the path upwards, we were bombarded by the rapid descent of a runner followed at regular intervals by descending hikers, with or without dogs. Some in our party accepted the well-established challenge of finishing off the last 100 meters of steepish steps without stopping for breath. (Well done Gael!)
The junction with the Contour Path was a welcome first stop, water break and general view-taking-in opportunities. A happy event, with many Ooohs and Aahs from the ladies, was the sight of a young chap being pulled up the path by his Labrador – and in his backpack, a cute little Yorkie! Any excuse to extend our stop was taken by the ladies as they continued their O’s and A’s conversing with the lucky dog owner!
Then we meandered lazily along the very level Contour Path until we hit the India Venster route with it’s prominent sign post. We took another short break before the start of the well-marked trail, with plenty of well-worn yellow footprints guiding our intrepid leader ever onward and upwards. At one point, we saw the familiar warning sign / indemnity for the route. All our bunch solemnly raised their hands in acceptance – such an obedient mob!
Sadly, we bade farewell to our Tremendous, Tenacious, Tireless Tuesday co-ordinator who had a bad throat and wisely decided to turn back rather than risk aggravating it. But she was rewarded with a good sighting of a Verreaux’s Eagle.
After a while, we came to the first real scramble, where we were given a blow-by-blow account of how one of our group had fallen while descending a few weeks back. At the time she was amazingly lucky to just have a badly bleeding head, and managed to finish the descent. Names and places have been changed to protect innocent people…OK, “she” was the one who does superior parking…
We were startled by the very early firing of the Noon Gun – deciding that they were pre-empting our now-accustomed to Power Cuts and getting in early, but the initial report was followed by another, and another amidst a rapidly increasing plume of smoke from the Parliament buildings. More speculation – celebrating the nth anniversary of the infamous Parly fire maybe? Practice for when Putin arrives? The shots continued for a stately 21 and later on, Wendy gleaned it was for a Singaporean State visit.
Soon we were just around the corner from the stapled bit where we had our official lunch break before setting off back to the cars.
A lovely outing, lovely weather and pleasant, happily tired Tuesdaysnians said our farewells – not before being gifted with some lovely avocados from Liz, fresh from her garden. Thanks, Liz!
And a big thanks to Mercia for leading and to Richard Ferguson for writing this Report.