Midlands Hiking Club
Wonder Valley Cave
Central Berg
15 – 16 January 2011

WONDER VALLEY CAVE WEEKEND – 15-16 JAN 2011 – By Margie Forbes
Photos: Rose Dix

Participants :- Keith Ashton (Leader), Margaret Ashton, Rose Dix, Margie Forbes, Joan Templeton, Lee-Ann Conway & daughters Leia & Anja, Dave Sclanders, Peter Wedge & Max Ramseier.

Eleven of us started off on a partly cloudy morning, one with an eye patch, one a sore knee & on crutches and one a sore hip and suspected cracked rib. (My fault!) It was a fairly easy walk to the cave, up the beautiful wooded Van Heynigen’s pass with the usual fun at the stream crossings, but no disasters. The scenery was stunning with the high berg shrouded in beautiful fluffy clouds. On arrival we all traipsed down to the stream with an absolute gem of a pool and lots of waterfalls. Bit cold, but some braved it, especially the two young girls with us.

The cave was a lovely surprise. Very cosy, with straw ‘nests’ for sleeping. When the booze came out, Rose discovered that her ‘dop’ had leaked into the plastic glove in which it was wrapped so she had to blow it up and suck it from the ends of the fingers. Very amusing. The girls offered massages to the weary which were accepted by some. Crystal clear water was on tap from the many drips off the overhang.

Absolute luxury! During the night we were enshrouded with mist and feared the worst, but I opened my eyes in the morning to the amazing spectacle of, Sterkhorn, Cathkin Peak, Monks Cowl and Champagne Castle bathed in a rosy pink glow like a huge fairy castle. Magnificent - a never to be forgotten sight. It was a glorious day with not a cloud in the sky and views forever. Dave was very excited on the way back because he managed to view Giant’s Castle, Monks Cowl etc & far north up to the Sentinel all at the same time.

It was a fairly hot walk back but the scenery took one’s breath away. All in all it was a wonderful experience and one I would not hesitate to repeat.

Thanks to Midlands Club for having me as a guest, to Keith and Margaret for all the organizing, to Dave for his endless knowledge, Rose for her friendship and endurance and to all who made it a special weekend. Thanks also to the weatherman for being totally and utterly wrong!!

Footnote from Leader Keith on behalf of the group: - Thanks to Max for going the extra mile to sort out some of the transport problems at the last minute. It was also great to have Lee-Ann along with her two young daughters sharing their first overnight sleeping experience in a cave & loving every minute of the weekend. Also thanks to Dave for his support & enhancing the group’s mountain experience.

FOLLOWING PHOTOS & COMMENT COURTESY OF ROSE DIX

1. Essential Hiking Aids - Eyepatches and Crutches!
2. Last Cave - First Cave
3. Margies 'Mazing Mattress
4. EnSuite bedroom - 'this is the life' as Keith would say...
5. First sight in the morning


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~