Report and photos by Rod Hart, additional photos courtesy of Peter Rippon
Pic 2 - Keith goes from two legs to one in this photo
John Fourie the hike leader described this as a "Morning hike on the slopes of Blesberg through indigenous bush and across grassland with beautiful scenery. Picnic lunch at the dam." John also notes that there is accommodation available in 4 cottages on the Farm"
Sixteen of us We met first at St Ives at 7:30 on Sunday morning and travelled from there to Blesburg Farm in convoy. The trail John had planned is an interesting trail through indigenous forest and mostly in shaded areas which would suit the sunny day ahead. However even the best laid schemes of mice and men are wont to go awry, as we found when we came to the river crossing to find the wooden bridge trailing on the opposide side of the river in the fast flowing water.
Despite his best efforts (while we lazed over an early tea break) John was unable to find a suitable alternate crossing. The revised plan was to head up to a viewpoint and lunch up there. Under the late morning sun the climb was hot and steep, but was rewarded with a cool breeze on the higher slopes and good views of the surrounding countryside and distant mountains. The return trip down the hill was a pleasure and a stop off at the dam for a swim for some was a highlight of the day and lured many in clothes and all.
Pic 3 - and we are off, into the shade of the tall eucalyptus trees. Initially we overshot the track, in part because of the insignigficance of the small green track markers nail to the trees.
Pic 4 - Once on the track it leads to an man made water fall - Carolee's chocolate labrador "Sundae" is at home in the water of the channel leading down to the falls
Pic 5 - Action pic of Sundae bounding up the water cascade steps that lead down to the falls
Pic 6 - A slight holdup along the path as the photographers among us take the opportunity to get some pics of the falls and surrounds
Pic 7 - Two of the green direction arrows can be seen on the tree on the left
Pic 8 - The man made "falls"
Pic 9 - Path in the beautifully constructed area surrounding the falls which at some time must have been the center point of a magnificent garden.
Pic 10 - Lush grass around a ploughed field
Pic 11 - Go this way...
Pic 12 - A muddy crossing
Pic 13 - Peter gets to grips with the workings of a traditional farm gate
Pic 14 - Avenue of pines
Pic 15 - Out in the more open fields,, on a Watsonia flower, a little praying mantis receives some unwanted attention
Pic 16 - Peter gets the clearest photo of the shy little mantis - thanks peter for this pic
Pic 17 - I am shooting against the sky for this pic as the mantis eyeballs me out from under his flower
Pic 18 - Gate to the fields that leads to the river where...
Pic 19 - I get distracted by photgraphing the seeds of a thistle bursting out
Pic 20 - and we find our bridge is drifting on the opposite shore
Pic 21 - Peter points out how the grasses are glowing golden in the strong sunlight, from the opposite direction they are just dull grass
Pic 22 - Unsheduled break while John goes off in search of an alternate crossing
Pic 23 - Brunsvigia natalensis - Natal Candelabra
Pic 24 - Up and onward...
Pic 25 - Time for a photo shoot to record the occasion
Pic 26 - and off to the dam
Pic 27 - John amuses with his unsuccessful (and comic) attempts at tightrope walking
Pic 28 - Sundae is in her element
Pic 29 - Boat on the dam
Pic 30 - The going gets heavy
Pic 31 - A last fence to crawl under at the corner of a stone wall
Pic 32 - Final stretch to the top
Pic 33 - Can you spot all the hikers?
Pic 34 - Looking back down along the stone wall
Pic 35 - Lunch break
Pic 36 - Contour planting seen from our vantage point
Pic 37 - Keith and John discuss the lay of the land (thanks Peter for this pic)
Pic 38 - Crossing at the spillway of the dam
Pic 39 - Cool clear water
Pic 40 - Going in clothes and all!
Pic 41 - It's worth it!
Pic 42 - The less adventurous cool off their toes
Pic 43 - Sundae tries to lead the swimmers to the safety of shore
Pic 44 - Apart from the wet tail lashing, I am about to get a doggy shower as Sundae dries off
Pic 45 - A rest under the shade of the pines
Pic 46 - I find a "death's head skull" (a weathered pine branch)
Pic 47 - The road back through the eucalyptus trees
Pic 48 - Back to the farm house area
Pic 49 - To the cars and farewells
Pic 50 - Heading homewards...