It was a dark and stormy night – well, somewhere in the world it possibly was, but, at 8am at Silvermine the weather was not about to show its cards just yet and so the surrounding mountains were half covered in an ominous grey cloud.
Undeterred, and confident in relying on the yr.no weather forecast, the small group of hikers congregated in the lower car park while waiting for the stragglers to arrive. Arrive they did, with one bemoaning being stuck behind a truck all the way up the infamous Ou Kaapse Weg.
The die was cast to commence once all had signed the Indemnity, and the leader, shrewdly sensing the groups inner fears, mentally assigned the group’s individual phobias – snakes, spiders, getting lost and benighted – and as is common with the predominantly older Tuesday group – the fear of GRAVITY and it’s propensity to cause the dreaded falls…
We set off towards the well-marked trail and almost immediately the leader took a small path to the left and wowed the group with the delight of witnessing SANPARKS corporate Braai Area, complete with a little lake, wooden bridge and a large, lawned area with abundant Braai plekke. Indeed, a sight to behold!
Back to the path, we were accompanied by the soporifically sonorous sound of Silvermine stream as it swiftly made its way down from the dam spillway on route to the sea at Clovelly.
We were fascinated by the vast plumes of accumulated coffee brown foam – which our leader vaguely and open to correction recalled being a protein chain rejoicing in the scientific name of a “Mucopolysacharate”. Whatever the correct term we were intrigued to see a 40 cm conical shaped plume that was stuck in some little eddy and rotated at quite a generous rate.
We soon reached the highly anticipated WATERFALL – and much to our leader’s delight, it was showing off quite nicely as it cascaded noisily down and under our wooden bridge. Tucked away between some cliff-like rocks, in an adjacent overflow stream, a huge pile of the frothy foam heaved and pulsated like some froth creature in a Stephen Spielberg horror movie!
All too soon we reached the dam and were treated by an eerie, ethereal panorama of the water that stretched into the distance with a surreal covering of misty low-lying cloud that blanketed the surrounding mountains. Another setting for the aforesaid Spielberg!
As we watched, a few drops of drizzle spattered the water of the dam – and us – prompting a hasty donning of rain gear after which we followed the jeep track up towards the left and a promised tea break a little further on. The drizzle soon disappeared but the low cloud continued depriving us of the sight of our destination but little glimpses gave us added determination – or it may have been the prospect of an imminent tea stop.
Reaching our intended stop, we were disappointed that the low cloud initially blocked our view but after a short while, the cloud lifted and we were rewarded with the lovely view across Noordhoek, Long Beach and Kommetjie while Chappies slowly revealed itself across to the right.
We trekked back along the jeep track until we found the path across the veld on the left and followed that to the intersection of the main trail which we followed down to the jeep track and returned to the cars via the same River Trail.
A lovely, lazy, leisurely 4 hour hike.
Leader: Richard Ferguson
Pictures: Colin Pritchard and Menka Vansant