24 February 2002
We met at Crossways in Hilton where we doubled up for transport to Page Place. Campbell Downie was the leader of Lorraine, Margaret, Noel, Arlene, Aris, Morris, Deneys and two charming young first timers, Petro and Alicia. They both coped very well and we hope we will see them on a regular basis.
Swartkop is a popular hiking area. It is not too difficult, it is close to Maritzburg and there are some breathtaking views across to Midmar, Albert Falls and Henley dams. On this occasion we shared the mountain with a group of trailbikers. Thumbing a lift from them was to no avail, however.
Much of the approach to the summit takes one through deeply shaded forest area. We are usually treated to a cape vulture display, but not this time. The weather was bearably hot and sunny but entering the wooded trails was like going into an air conditioned mall. There is no water available on the trail so plenty must be loaded into the backpack. On my last climb to this venue I ran short of water, so this time I had enough to start a market garden! We had our elevenses break on the summit. There is not much shade there so after a lazy look-see we headed down (and then up) to little Swartkop for lunch. The Swartkop hike seems to coincide each year with the summer flower festival.
Any members and friends who have not been on one of the regular Swartkop hikes should really make a point of joining the next outing there.