HILTON HIKE – 26th JULY
Leader: Neville Lee
Photo report: Rod Hart (CLICK ON PHOTOS TO ENLARGE)
Neville explains that for this particular hike you need to keep a "little in reserve" for the end and I can only agree with him on that - Celtis Road is indeed good hill training. Overall this hike done during the cool winter months is not overly daunting. Starting at Crossways Hotel the hike winds downhill to Worlds View then down through the municipal forest along an old railway route then dropping down to the vicinity of Lynpark school from which point the uphill climb begins up to Celtis Road then back to Crossways.
Along the walk up Worlds View Road I noted a house with the rather ostentacious name "Hampstead Heath" with an equally grandious entrance lined with sweeping rows of standing roses - I would love the opportunity to look behind the gates and explore Hampstead Heath garden and home. On reaching Worlds View, photo proof accompanying that I was indeed there (complete with new hiking stick brought out from Belgium by Daughter -thanks Tam and Andre!)accompanies. Worlds View has always been noted not only for the view (my pic shows our local Table Mountain in the background, but also for the transmission towers, thus herewith also a pic of what I assume is a microwave dish for interest.
After admiring the view and taking some refreshment we descended down towards the forest following for a short while the original Voortrekker track (on our last hike at Minerva Heights we also travelled for a while on a Voortrekker road)the pic of the sandstone rock shows what I, in my youth, was told is scarring from the steel wagon wheels being dragged up the steep slope. Shortly we bypassed a derilect bridge which indicated we were now on the old railway route; a hive of bees has made their home behind the abutment using one of the weep holes in the concrete as an access point - I didn't get too close, the African bee can be very defensive of its territory!
The road pics show the typical track throughout this walk going from shade into sun passing through plantation and other sections with wild vegetation (doesn't look indigenous so is most likely growth that appeared after clearing). In some areas along the route the earth bank had been retained by metal railway sleepers held in place by lengths of rail, recently some enterprising soul has brought in a cutting torch and cut out the bulk of the lengths of rail leaving only the stubs which are concreted in. Neville noted that trail direction boards mounted on pedastals which used to indicate the various trails have also been vandalised and have "disappeared".
One magical moment, especially if you are new to this trail, is coming around a bend and seeing the overgrown entrance to a tunnel looming up ahead (first pic below), though my second pic clearly shows the interior, this is courtesy of digital photography's ability to "see in the dark" since in reality it is very dark and appropriately spooky in the tunnel, third pic is taken looking back at the entrance (hopefully the light at the end is not an approaching express train...), last of the tunnel sesquence is of our group framed by its imposing structure. On the bank, just outside the tunnel, we found, almost as a token remembrance of an age gone past, a solitary Lily in flower.
From my photos you may note that I am fascinated by any number of things! The following photo set shows something of this variation, a dried bluegum leaf, somewhat mysteriously, coloured with maroon distinguishing it from the other leaves with their common shades of green and brown. A rock sitting atop two poles laid out on the ground makes one wonder, how, where, and, why, for what purpose was it left there? - appears to be a process as yet unfinished. My spider pic is one of those "lucky shots" which came out in focus with the first shot, because the spider did not stick around for a second shot - its web tunnel entrance can be seen just behind the spider. Back on the trail again the classic rambling down a country road style pic. The owl sign nailed to a tree is all that we saw of the markings which once identified the various trails through these forests.
A slight deviation in the hike from what we did earlier earlier this year brought us, after passing some colourful washing, to a giant Bluegum tree (don't let WaterWise know of it's location or it will be turned into woodchips...) what a magnificent tree, though very difficult to get a photo that adequately shows it's size, stand close and you can't fit it in the frame, stand back and you lose the size perspective, so accompanying pic is a compromise. Here the trail reaches its lowest point and from then it is all uphill, though my uphill pic doesn't do justice to how steep the hill felt - it is one of those that you have to be there to appreciate!
Lunchbreak was called as we took in energy for the climb. A further break as we came out of the forest "reserve" area into the edge of the developed area, gave me opportunity to get a pic of a pointsettier flower brilliantly backlit by the winter sun. A little further up the road, a peacock roaming in a garden, then a row of knarled old trees provides opportunity for a last (rather weary) group shot. A ladybug, eating or regurgitating something rather gungy on the road (click on the pic to enlarge!) wasn't quite what I wanted to see but is never-the-less a good pic of the little bug. An inevitable (from me) pic of an aloe in flower and some azaleas (in either early or late bloom) taken on one of my occasional rest stops up Celtis Road rounds off the pics from this hike.
Thanks Neville for leading us along an interesting hike (and doing it this time in Winter!)