September 2003 Newsletter
Dear Fellow Members,
Greetings from your Editor! I hope that you have
had a good time over the last couple of months. I am sure that,
although we have all wished and prayed for rain, some hikes (and some
renovating) must have been disrupted because of it! Anyway, it is
wonderful to have had so much rain over the period and to see the white
stripes down the side of Table Mountain where the streams are flowing.
It was good for us in this year to be able to gaze
upon Mars which was very bright in the night sky being closest to Earth
for many, many years - +/- 60,000 in fact. Our next siting is due in
+/- 160,000 years! The joke that comes to mind was when one child asked
his brother “Have you seen Mars?” His brother replied
“Yes, but what is wrong with Pa’s?” (Yes, I have also
The Sealand Express has been of interest and a big
worry stuck on the sand at Milnerton especially seeing that they cannot
seem to be able to budge it – notwithstanding many tugs and
spring tides, etc. Let’s just hope that they succeed soon.
I hope that you all have good hikes and that the
sun shines while you walk. Margie and I look forward to being back with
you on a mountain somewhere – the renovations are coming along
Cheers and God Bless,
THREE SISTERS, KLEINMOND – SUNDAY 8
LEADER – MERVYN HENDERSON
REPORTER – LORETTA HENRY
Not even inclement weather could keep these
adventure addicts from a hike. An early start from Cape Town to
Kleinmond was well worth getting out of a warm bed for. The serene
drive as one leaves home so early in the morning is refreshing and
relaxing with the looming mountains ahead; a gentle reminder of what is
still to come! The hike started at 10am in 4th Avenue and as Claude and
I had started some time earlier, we had the advantage of finding a view
spot at the saddle of Jean’s Hill. From here we enjoyed the
expanding panoramic views, the surrounding mountains, and blue oceans.
The sky overhead at that time looked somewhat ominous with a definite
promise of rain ahead! After meeting with the group, we gradually began
the ascent to Sister No. 1. This magnificent mountain range as seen
from the R44 in the comfort of your seat in a motor car is eye-catching
– but when the shoe is on the other foot – (or shall I say
– hiking boot) – then we have a story to tell!
Sister No. 1 proved to be quite challenging, very
steep, but still very pleasant as one is still capable of standing
upright to take a breath and catch a glimpse of the view. As Claude and
I trudged wearily on, we envied the front walkers who seemed to be
tackling the steep gradient with relative ease. Mervyn called for a tea
break in a rocky nook at the neck of Sister N. 1 What a relief I
thought! – I am finished! – my punishment for being unfit!
Our reward – a view unparalleled! Using a hiker’s poetic
licence, I can only describe the following scene as follows – the
group ahead of me looked as if they were hitching a ride on the back of
the world’s oldest form of transportation – the camel! Nose
to the ground and in true sniffer-dog style, I plodded wearily on. Tony
and Geoff, the sweepers, kept me company and from falling off the
camel’s back. Yet one is always aware of the startling beauty of
the sloping Paardeberg Mountains on the right running parallel to the
coastline, with its sheer cliffs and deep shady gorges. Up and up we
went, our stride becoming easier with enjoyment. The broadening horizon
over Kleinmond to Hermanus looming like a huge portrait offered us
glorious sights whilst the grey ominous sky overhead threatened to
release its heavy watery burden.
Although this particular hike from a distance
looks like 3 huge peaks – this is an illusion as I soon
discovered - there are several crevices and interesting rocky hills to
negotiate which breaks the sheerness of this hike. The dreaded rain had
approached, on with raincoats, beanies and long pants, as the grey mist
slowly wrapped itself around the ledges and higher peaks of the
surrounding mountains – nature once again delightfully displayed
its secrets by shadowing and hiding the trails head.
With the last hump ahead and fully energised, we
finally approached the highest peak. Standing next to the beacon, a 360
degree view is displayed at your feet for miles around. Looking down at
the knife edge of the peaks below, they appeared like a fragile thread
spun along the ridges until breaking point just before disappearing
into the valley below. Overlooking the Palmiet River one sees a thick
black slithering coiled, almost snake-like mass of water plunging into
the Kleinmond Lagoon! The looming Hermanus mountains in the distance
partly covered by thick cloud, the Kleinmond Lagoon running into
odd-shaped marshes surrounded by thick indigenous undergrowth all
contributed to our glorious reward – all our hard work definitely
not in vain. Lunch was a quick affair as the approaching rain was again
lying heavily in the arms of billowing clouds overhead. The final
descent – much easier and equally as delightful. A footpath
ascending towards the Highlands trail to the right was spotted through
a veil of enveloping mist – another hike for another day! Onto
the path at last.
Traversing along in an easy manner we enjoyed
casual chatter whilst appreciating nature’s offerings. Fynbos,
sugarbirds and other various sightings accompanied our party on the way
down. Huge protea bushes at the foot of the mountain were on display in
its full glory. We approached the start/end of the hike at 3.30pm as
planned. As we turned around to view the climb that we had just
accomplished – we were astonished to see that the mist had
completely swallowed the mountain leaving only the peaks visible, the
hump of the camel, the fragile knife edges had mysteriously transformed
into gigantic ancient gods descending upon the little town of Kleinmond.
My thanks to Mervyn our leader and fellow hikers
– also good luck to Paul who will be doing Mt. Kilimanjaro in
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ITEMS OF INTEREST BY GEOFF BARTON
Preliminary Notice – Karen Watkins will be arranging a
pre-Christmas hike December 20th to 25th. Hex River Traverse, a repeat
of last years hike WITHOUT the lightening. Details to follow.
ORANGE KLOOF VALLEY WALK – June 28th
GUEST LEADER – KAREN WATKINS
HIKERS – (MYSELF), Margaret, Gesine, Mary, Pat (Visitor), Ray and
We joined our guest leader for an easy hike around
the Orange Kloof Valley. During the hike we discussed the various
routes that start from the valley and lead onto the Back Table –
room for a lot of exploring. We also identified various indigenous
trees and planes that grow in the valley and some of us even sampled
some field mushrooms. Good news, we all lived! We also managed to pull
out some aliens – an ongoing task. We returned back across the
valley visiting the Education Centre (not in use) before returning to
our starting point.
To walk in Orange Kloof one needs a guide, as well
as a permit. So, many thanks to Karen who is an Honorary Ranger for the
Orange Kloof section of the National Park. Thanks for taking us on a
most enjoyable afternoon hike.
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Peter P’s and my comments in the last Newsletter regarding
booking for hikes – I feel it is wrong to put ones name down for
a limited number hike and then not turn up for the hike. If you cannot
make the hike, PLEASE let the leader know. This is good manners
Remember the Hike Leaders devote a great deal of their personal time
arranging these hikes for us.
SIGNAL HILL AMBLE – SUNDAY 20 JULY
HIKE LEADER – TOMMY HISCOCK
REPORTER – MARGIE CRAWLEY
PRESENT : Tommy, Yvonne, Nicole, Rosemary, Rory, Gudrun, Margie and
Sunday morning dawned and for once I thought a
hike was in order and renovation of my cottage could wait, my erstwhile
partner being in higher places, namely, in the City of Gold, Egoli,
Gauteng. I was actually suffering withdrawal symptoms having not hiked
for 3 months or so and thought I was fairly deserving hearing the
mountains gods calling me, calling me, calling me …
Eight of us gathered at the Kloof Nek parking lot,
what a pleasure to see Yvonne back in action having had a successful
hip op. recently. It was a truly beautiful mild winter’s day, so
typical of the Cape, as we have experienced these past few (worrying)
months albeit with so little rain thus far.
We started our amble from the Glen where I
haven’t hiked for over 20 years and was pleasantly surprised to
find it not as awful as one reads about in various daily rags, the
normal amount of litter being found, nothing too awful though. We then
crossed Kloof Road and walked around Lion’s Neck to the Camps
Bay/Bantry Bay/Sea Point side admiring some of the simply enormous
houses which have been built there, worth (to some) millions of Rands.
We passed and greeted tourists and locals alike all enjoying their day
as we were.
Tommy called a lunch break just below the Kramats
and as everyone wasn’t in an hurry to go home, we all agreed we
would like to walk some more, along Lion’s Rump in fact. We took
the lower path passing the spot where motorized aircraft/handgliders
and paragliders spring off the mountain though there were none at this
particular time, whilst admiring the really beautiful fynbos, heather
and wild flowers which have sprung up prematurely in this beautiful
part of the world where we live. At the very end, about ¼ of
France in the guise of tourists had alighted and I wondered how many
millions of photos have been taken of Table Mountain, the Twelve
Apostles and Signal Hill itself from that very vantage point.
The guinea fowl were there in their dozens,
totally unafraid of humans scratching for crumbs and other goodies from
the picnickers. We were privileged to see a lone black eagle circling
high, high, high above us with the telltale white patch on the
underpart end of its wings. I know Signal Hill well as that was my
exercise place when my dog was alive but for all the hundreds of times
I have been up, I never fail to re-appreciate its beauty and
We got back to the cars via the path which runs
parallel to the road after retracing our steps alongside his back about
1 ½ hours later. Good company, good conversation, good hikers,
good everything, what more could one ask for in this paradise of ours?
Well done Yvonne for your efforts, we all enjoyed
it as much as you did and thank you, as always, Tommy, for a delightful
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WHAT A DISAPPOINTMENT!
There is something wrong with the Trails Club of
South Africa. It is descending into a club of people who want to take
and take and give nothing back. It never ceases to amaze me. If nothing
is organised, there are complaints. If someone goes to a lot of trouble
to organise something, and I mean A LOT OF TROUBLE, then the response
from the membership is more than dismal, it is downright mind boggingly
I refer to the response to the Wine tasting
evening organized by Tony.
A wine fundi was prepared to educate you on the
finer points of wine. A cheese expert was prepared to bring some exotic
cheeses and educate you on the finer cheeses. Tony had organized the
wines, both red and white, and had gone to a lot of trouble to find
examples of the various varietals. SIX - only six members phoned to say
“Yes, we want to learn.” The rest of you preferred to
remain uneducated and wallow in your uninformed lives.
Listen up people, if there is no support given to
people who go to some trouble to organise either functions or trails or
hikes, they are going to stop. You will be left wondering what happened
to the Trails Club of S.A. We have already lost some of our best
leaders because they were not supported. We have lost the people who
organised the conservation programme because they were not supported.
Tony has some great ideas for functions and he is not going to bother.
What will we lost next?
WAKE UP, PEOPLE!!!
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MAKING LEADERS ON TABLE MOUNTAIN –
Something of Interest
REPORTER – MARGIE CRAWLEY
This article was spotted in a local rag recently
– making us all very proud of one of our “famous”
members! The award-winning Pride of Table Mountain Project, an
educational programme of the Wilderness Foundation, provides youngsters
from poor areas on the Cape Flats with this experience. But the
programme has another purpose, which is equally important – it
creates leaders, and fosters leadership skills. Erica Widelko of the
Wilderness Foundation has been with the programme since its inception
The twice-monthly walks are booked out 2 to 3
months in advance. The project is self-sustaining – news gets
around mainly through word of mouth. Schools – usually high
schools – and community groups take part. There are no costs for
the children – they are transported by bus to Kirstenbosch,
provided with water bottles for the walk, and given lunch.
Out of these walks, the leaders have emerged. (ED.
Hopefully future Hike Leaders for TCSA?) They are mostly in Grades 12
or 13 or recently finished school, and besides leading groups, meet
separately for hikes and leadership training. Erica says she keeps a
core team of about 20 leaders. Over the years, more than 70 youngsters
have learned leadership skills on the programme – they are have
come from Langa, Philippi, Nyanga, New Crossroads, Gugulethu,
Khayelitsha, Mitchell’s Plain and Manenberg.
During the walks, Erica hands over full control to
the leaders. Afterwards, they have a debriefing session, and there is
also an “indaba” with the children, who are asked how they
enjoyed the day, and what they learned.
“The early years were extremely challenging.
What is most evident is the way they work as a team and organise and
run the day. Remarkably, in a culture of limited resources, they are
all volunteers” Erica was quoted.
The event is well co-ordinated. If it rains, the
event is not cancelled. They go to the National Botanical Institute
educational facility at Kirstenbosch, where they are taught about the
environment, and interact with the leaders, playing educational games.
The Pride of Table Mountain Project won the Cape
Times environmental award in 1998, and the Nedbank Green Trust award
For enquiries about this project, phone Erica at
the Wilderness Foundation on 674 3450.
(ED – Well done, Erica and keep up the good
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KAREN’S THREE ROCKY PEAKS
The weather was not of the greatest, it was
overcast and a cold wind was blowing. Seven of us were greeted by Karen
and led off to the start of her hike. An indistinct path was found
leading up towards a rock band. Karen led us up a short scramble which
everyone managed quite easily. There was an easier route up the right
hand side just in case. From here we were led to yet another short
scramble before reaching the top of the first peak. A short rest and
onwards, yet more scrambling and after the third peak, we were led down
the Vlakkenberg path and back to our cars. Karen always has interesting
adventurous hikes. She has written a book about these hikes which will
be on sale soon.
Look out for news of the slide show she is giving
in September about these routes.
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TONY’S KLAASJAGERSBERG!!! Sunday 3
REPORTER – PETER P.
So I had to get up at 06h00 on a cold Sunday
morning to meet with Tony in Glencairn. O.K., it was worth it. We had
done this route before but this time we had decided that we had chosen
the wrong route and thought that we would be able to choose a better
route. There were 8 of us – Tony, Dereck A., Geoff B., Mervyn,
Paul, Ray and a delightful visitor and the only female, Joanne –
We shuttled cars and set off from Wildeshuts Brand
at the bottom of Red Hill. The first 1/8th is along a path leading up
into the mountains. We soon turned off the path, and then started our
bush whack. We reached the top of Desember Kop and took in the glorious
view over the northern area of Cape Point Reserve. This was Peak 1. We
were to bag three more peaks. Klaasjagersberg was our next target and
here we had tea, at Peak 2. Our visitor began to say that her new boots
were hurting her ankles. On the way down to the Cape Point Gap, I
tripped over a stupid rock that didn’t get out of my way and
thought that I had broken my leg. All was well, however, and we all
pushed on, towards the Swartberg Mountains. My knee then started to
stiffen up and Joanne too was in a lot of pain. There was a long stop
while all the men tried to lighten her pain by stuffing a piece of foam
between her ankle and the boot. It did not help very much and by the
time we had reached the path to Peak 3, Swartkop Berg, for lunch, we
had a very pain-racked lady on our hands – or rather, on
Tony’s hands. I felt that if I rested for too long, my knee would
get cold and stiffen up. I asked permission to push on, and on I went
back to the cars where I waited for the others to join me. Tony in the
meantime had to nurse Joanne down. Geoff B. carried her pack. We hope
that we did not put her off hiking for life.
Beers at the Two ‘n Sixpence never tasted so
I am happy to say that there is no damage to my
knee, ice and anti-inflammatory gel has set it right.
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VISIT TO MITCHELL’S BREWERY IN KNYSNA
I saw, I think, in the April/May Newsletter, that
someone missed the tour to the Brewery, so here is my little report.
The Brewery is located in the industrial area and you can follow your
nose or ask Tourist Information for directions. Tours are at 10/30
Monday to Friday only. It was raining so we were the only ones on the
tour. As you all know, beer is made of hops, malt and yeast, plus
water. The Castle rubbish has maize added to it. The hops are grown in
the George area by S.A. Breweries and malt is sourced overseas. There
are various stainless steel tanks where the water plus additives pass
through until finally the clear amber fluid is ready for bottling. The
tour lasts about 15 minutes and is interesting if one has never toured
a brewery. However, what really annoyed me was having to pay R15 for
the tour. There is also sampling available. I did not partake as it is
too early, but I have the feeling that one must also pay. There is a
very nice selection of T-shirts, etc., for sale and the definite
highlight of the tour were the Ferrari look-alike peak caps and I
purchased one of the same. When one wears this cap everyone looks twice
to see if it is the Ferrari cap.
By the way, in conclusion they have an amazing
beer, brewed by Knysna Mitchell;s Brewery, which is not brewed by Cape
Town Mitchell’s Brewery. Try it and you won’t regret it
– it is called “Ten Shillings.”
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HIKING BOOTS FOR SALE
1 x pair of Hi-Tech UTAH Leather Hiking Boots Size
6. Only worn twice and as good as new. R350,00. Interested? Please call
Margarethe on 082 701 3105.
A ‘MUST’ FOR YOUR FIRST AID
KIT ON TRAILS – REPORT BY SUE FORD
After seeing some terrible blisters on the
Club’s recent trip up to KwaZulu-Natal, I realized I knew of
something that could have helped those poor hikers. It is called
Wecesin drying out powder by Weleda products. After witnessing how
quickly it has dried up and helped to heal my son’s hockey astro
burns and grazes, it is the perfect remedy for all of us who go on
trails just in case of blisters. Apart from being used to dry up
broken, weeping blisters, it can also be used for grazes, burns,
athletes foot and itchiness. In the case of blisters, grazes or burns,
the powder can be sprinkled directly onto the raw area and does not
cause any stinging or discomfort. The container it comes in may be a
bit big to take on trails, but a film canister would be the perfect
size to carry some in. It is available from pharmacies.
SO YOU THINK YOU KNOW TABLE MOUNTAIN?
Come test your knowledge, or learn about some of
the exciting routes on your doorstep. We will also celebrate the launch
of Karen’s new book “Adventure Walks & Scrambles on the
Cape Peninsula”. See pictures from the book and identify familiar
faces, maybe even yourself!
If there is time, Karen will also show slides of
her recent climb of Mount Mulanji, Malawi.
ENTRANCE FREE BUT BRING MONEY FOR THE SHEBEEN,
(ED. – As this event may fall after the
Newsletters go out, TCSA members can at least purchase a copy of
Karen’s book, should they wish.)
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FLASH – FLASH – FLASH!!!
FORTHCOMING SOCIAL EVENTS TO LOOK FORWARD
Friday 12 September 2003 – 19h30
– Envio Centre
KAREN WATKINS will discuss her new book on ‘Adventure Walking and
Hiking on Table Mountain’. There will be a slide show and we will
share this evening with Meridian Hiking Club. There will be no charge
but bring money for drinks, snacks will be provided.
Thursday 9 or Friday 10 October 2003
– 20h00 – Baxter Theatre
BANFF FILM FESTIVAL – This highly popular event is really
worthwhile watching. Tony Burton will make a block booking. Seats are
limited, so phone Tony immediately to indicate if you wish to attend.
We will try for bookings on 10 October but will advise. Phone Tony @
Saturday 11 October 2003 – Visit to
the PLANT PROTECTION INSTITUTE in Stellenbosch
Meet at Enviro Centre at 1pm
This is a total “must do” for all plant and fynbos fans.
Denise Hopkins has kindly arranged this interesting visit. Phone Denise
to confirm at 797 5638.
Saturday 25 October – KAROO NATIONAL
PARK (WORCESTER) and a VISIT TO KLEINPLASIE
Meet at Enviro Centre AT 08H00
Please note the meeting time has been changed from
07h00 to 08h00. Visit and walk in the Karoo Worcester Gardens and
appreciate the magnificent collection of local flora. Afterwards, take
a trip into South African history and step into the past and see in
REAL LIFE how our ancestors lived and survived.
NB Mervyn has made a booking for
accommodation at Kogelberg Nature Reserve for Saturday for 8 people -
+/- R60,00 per person. He will be doing a hike there on Sunday 26
October, so for those wishing to either combine Saturday and Sunday, or
for those wishing to stay at Kogelberg for the night, phone Mervyn soon
to book – 715 6187.
Sunday 26 October – KOGELBERG NATURE
RESERVE – Mervyn Henderson to lead.
A TALK ON ERICAS/DISAS –
This talk will be arranged, details to follow later.
If you have anything to contribute
to the newsletter,
please email our editor.
James would love to hear from you.
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