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HILTON COLLEGE NATURE RESERVE
18th November 2012
Hike Leader, Brian Henwood, Report & Photos, Rod Hart

[CLICK ON PICS TO ENLARGE]

Having wanted to hike in the Hilton Conservancy for quite some time I can now claim to have, quite literally, ticked this one off. Ticked off in fact, 17 little "pepper" ticks - just goes to show the value of wearing gaters (which I was not).

The planned morning hike scheduled to be followed by a braai at the very well maintained Hilton College Conservancy picnic area had to be called off at the last minute due to the weather, however later that afternoon, Brian thought that the weather had cleared sufficiently to give the hike a try, and so it was that I met Brian at the Hilton entrance where I left my car and we drove down to the picnic area in his 4X4 which is most probably just as well as by the time we came back it was raining and the road had become quite slippery in places.

From the picnic site Brian led the way out along the Gwen Falls trails. The trail was muddy in places but once through that, the path was clear and easy going, until we came to a section where it appears that part of the trail has been flooded by the river, Brian obliged by laying a flat rock in the middle to make crossing possible without totally submersing one's foot - thanks Brian, much appreciated. From there on the trail, which our Fixture list rates as a Grade 2, quickly climbed up the rating to a 2 1/2 especially as it was now, since we were climbing a bit, quite slippery, then as we were clinging by tree roots over the side of the river bank (Pics 11,12 & 13), I had personally upped it to a Grade 3!

We travelled as far as the cave (Pic 15), admiring some of the old tree ferns in the area (Pic 16), then due to the failing light opted to return by the same route. Along the way back it started to rain, so we donned our rain jackets to finish off the last stretch of the hike

Thank you Brian for introducing me to this area and for guiding our two man hike - it was a most enjoyable afternoons hike.



Pic - 1, 2, 3, & 4 Along the route



Pic - 5, 6, & 7 A cascade appears from out of the overgrowth and flows into a pool between huge rocks, one of which I am doing my best not to slip off!



Pic - 8 A ladder takes us over an obstacle of rocks
Pic - 9 & 10 Walking between the two halves of a giant rock split in half



Pics - 11,12, & 13 The trail becomes a little "technical"



Pic 14 Another photo shoot to prove I was on a hike - thanks Brian for taking the pics which have me in them!
Pic - 15 The cave
Pic - 16 An ancient tree fern



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