GOLDEN GATE

1 - 3 December 2000

Eleven of us gathered at the Glen Reenen camp site at Golden Gate on the Friday evening.   The site is wooded and grassy and well run.   Although I had booked in advance we were lucky to find a good site because on Saturday there was a marathon organised at the nearby Brandwag Hotel and we were surrounded by runners rather than walkers.   Those of us who got there before dark were treated to a magnificent sunset illuminating the golden cliffs in the area.   Campbell was the leader and the group consisted of Lorraine, Keith and Margaret, Bushy and Pat, Merle and her son Andrew, Vicky, Danny, Hester and two visitors.

Saturday turned out to be a beautiful day for hiking, clear but not too hot, so after the office work was finished we set off just before nine to do the first loop of the two-day Ribbok trail.   A moderately steep but not too long climb took us to a long overhang.    After traversing this we were faced with a steep rock face up which we had to haul ourselves with the help of a chain.   At the top a small detour took us to the magnificent viewpoint overlooking the valley while we recovered our breath.

A small group of us now set off up the hill, and had to be called back because the correct path was down again.   So down and then up and wind round into a lovely hidden valley and a beautiful stretch of path along the bank of a clear mountain stream.   A few bold souls tested the waters, but the rest of us enjoyed our lunch.

A final climb over the last ridge and here the group got strung out and separated because a fast group got too far ahead of the leader and the second group took a wrong turning and wasted half an hour or so before getting back to the correct path. Up to this point the path had been well marked and easy to follow.   Now a gentle climb down to the main road.   The Ribbok trail crosses the road and reaches the overnight hut in another hour or so, but we did a left turn and walked back along the road to reach the camp

On Sunday half of us did a short walk back up the hill on the other side of the valley following the end of the Ribbok trail in reverse.   The others motored around the game drives in the area - great views, including a surprise view of the amphitheatre in the distance, but no game.

An enjoyable weekend in beautiful countryside.


Campbell Downie