BLINKWATER TRAIL HIKE
21-23 MARCH 2014

Report and photos by Trail Leader John Fourie

[CLICK ON PHOTOS TO VIEW FULLSIZE]



HISTORY: Douglas Smith farmed in MOOI River at the turn of the last century being an early settler from England. He built a cottage at Blinkwater and migrated his live stock there for wintering. He brought trees from England and created a magnificent " Abatoruim " that was fortunately not destroyed by fire when the cottage burnt down. Then KZN along with Mondi , Sappi and two private land owner's created + 100 square km reserve and the Blinkwater trail. A replica of the Douglas Smith cottage was built prior to its inauguration in 1994.

FLORA : Endangered species. Site frequented by CREW.

FAUNA: Home of the endangered ORIBI. Was also the home of the blue swallow.

REMARKS: The section from D/Smith through the indigenous forest was overgrown in places which necessitated some " slashing". This was subsequently reported .At the time of writing (four days later) I was advised that it had been attended to.
Bird calls in abundance in the indigenous forest. None seen.
Grasslands produced two separate sightings of Reed buck. One very large male.
Butterflies in abundance. One species with black wings and large blue markings. Magnificent.



Pic 1 Arrival at Mountain Falls. Blinkwater trail. Sue van Malsen - Dave Coward - Max Ramseier -John Fourie
Pic 2 - Departure Mountain Falls at the Sappi start.
Pic 3 - Mystery derelict double story building in plantation forest by a waterfall.
Pic 4 -Trail marker on ridge. 180� view includes Mountains "Gilboa + MBona + Cumberland ridge and the entire Albert falls dam.
Pic 5 - Forestry road maintenance completing roller equipment next to the caretakers lodgings.
Pic 6 - Douglas Smith forest sunrise
Pic 7 - Sun rising creating " glow" on Douglas Smith cottage.



Pic 8 - Warm up before departure from Douglas Smith on Saterday, second day.
Pic 9 - "Many titles Dave".In this one, "innovative Dave" Came without a hiking pack and improvised using 2 day packs. One in front/ one on the back.
Pic 10 - Felled tree obstacle with Double pack Dave in the foreground.
Pic 11 - Lunch under the rock cliff face. Loud rumble of underground stream/ river clearly audible in the rocks.
Pic 12 - "What happened to my lunch? " A very able Sue (Ramblers) placing M.H.C females to shame by their absence.



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