13/14 April 2002


At 06:30 on Saturday, Dave and I together with three students, my son Tremayne, Fabian (Swiss) and Alan (American), headed off to Giantís Castle.†† After a warm up hike, we reached Bannerman Hut by lunchtime.†† We were able to shelter under the eaves during a brief, gentle rain.†† From then we were blessed with perfect weather.†† We ascended up to Bannermanís Pass, reaching the cave at 2601 metres by 16:00.†† The guys had to backtrack down the pass for water and we were also able to collect water, drip by drip from the roof seepage of the cave.†† In the large, spacious cave we selected our sleeping spots and settled in.†† That night we were entertained to an intellectual debate between a Swiss omnivore and an American vegetarian on how to cook their pasta and rice, which proved a complicated affair!


Next morning after a quick breakfast and catching a beautiful sunrise, we were ready Ĺ hour before schedule to tackle the steep ascent (Iím sure a grade 5) to the top of the pass at 3200 metres.†† Personally, I found the altitude slowed me down and it felt as if I crawled up, past all the dry cattle bones and skulls, but I was rather proud of myself to reach the top by 10:00.†† Iím sure Dave was relieved that we had all made it thus far. ††The view as always was magic and the stillness of the mountains soul soothing.


Too soon we were off again, with no definite path, heading up and over (quite difficult) into Lesotho.†† Fortunately there were no locals to ambush us with stones (remember to pack a catty next time).†† We passed Bannermanís Cave on our left, and had a short break and history lesson from Dave at the top of Langalibalele Pass, noting the Cabineerís buriel site marked with a cross on our right, before descending down Langalibalele Pass.†† The descent was rather steep and slippery for Tremayne, who amazed us all by continuing unhindered in his faithful old, holely, treadless Addidas takkies.†† Following the path down the crest of the mountains was the best for me.†† We ate our lunch relaxing next to a lovely waterfall and pool before tackling the last stretch home.


We reached the resort just after 16:00.†† I felt as though I could not walk another step thanks to a blister on the ball of my foot.†† Fabian looked fit for another 20 km.


A tough but very enjoyable hike.†† Many thanks to our intrepid leader, Dave, for sharing his wealth of knowledge and history about the area, making it much more interesting.†† Thanks for the company Alan and Fabian, hope you have many more happy hikes in South Africa.†† Thanks Tremayne for always backtracking to check on your old mom!!


Carolee Thomson