“Tarn Cave”
Bushman's Nek
10-11 March 2007

Photographs submitted by Irene Wisdom write-up by Petro Mostert
(the Webmaster integrated the pics into the writeup and they are not necesarily chronological)


Not most likely an offer to refuse……….

BUT think twice just in case the fairy wand is for real…….

SO first quantify your million how much do you want
then qualify your million of what do you want so much
type in the combination of the lock, drag away the heavy steel door -
derive great pleasure in seeing millions of bucks packed away :- would it be in R Rand, $ Dollars, (ok maybe not Zim ones…) £ Pounds, but the ones you use for the Woolies goodies not the ones you carry around your waist ooh Euros ! or even Yen, Rupee’s, Kwacha’s, Peso’s or Pula’s


park your butt on a big flat rock beneath an overhang, watching the shadows creep in after a good day’s hiking then later try count the stars – a mere million………? strangely how very few that now seem to be

no steel door in the way no steal at all its there and its free

This is what stories are made of “once upon a time, in a cave, deep, deep in the belly of the mountains, there was a little star who fell through the hole in the blanket that covers the earth by night……..” without written warning, nightfall becomes the magic wand; the ordinary looses its rags and unfolds a world of costless yet priceless enchantment

While sun sets in, share a few sips of whisky, wine, OBS , all lukewarm from dangling on backpack all day - no sweeter taste on wine list to order While muscles set in too, time has come to tip the sand glass slower, restore the 30,000 seconds the weekend is made of and a brand new millionaire enters the stock exchange ;>)

: - not counting money taking stock of life and of living what’s worth it and what not and why do we carry so heavily on all the ‘necessities’ for living….

Pictures. No. Too flat, too narrow, too dull. Words. No. Too little, too indescribable, too lacking in emotion. So how can I possibly reveal to you the richness beyond measure brought upon the human, by two days of this up hill and down hill thing we call hiking which these memories are made of….

Attention, please ! Caps off to our hike leader ! At the first apple stop/loo stop/packs off stop (the heads count stops, not included) very punctual and very precise “OK guys, we’ve hiked now for one hour, 47 minutes and six and a half seconds…….” Wow in silence I was wondering whether she also counts our steps and breaths ! Can only be a teacher of some kind could it be maths ???

It takes a really seasoned hiker to show the rest of us how to buy a piece of land in Lesotho; all you do is pretend tripping over a loose piece of barbed wire and as far as you can stretch out, that piece is officially yours. Only that it was not on the Lesotho side and it was not pretending it was a bad fall but absolute amazingly how she braved the rest of the hike heavily loaded pack and all. Wow again. Attention please ! Caps off again !!!

If there is no shade at lunch time well, then it is not lunch time. They spot an overhang in the hazy distance and suddenly I know exactly how a desert mirage must feel……… in my visions, the crushed Provita’s and tiny tuna sachet with almost boiling Game in my water bottle, has turned into a refrigerated ham and cheese sandwich with a glass of Coke topped with ice.

With newly gained strength from the meal, I now bite the bullet and set off on the last leg of the journey. Only by now, I feel as if I am on my last leg too. No mercy yet. The school bell has rung. Big time playtime. A hole in a rock made to fit a squirrel - through there we shall crawl. No, no, no, not at all compulsory. But only you have to…….. the rule of the school………. ;>) Personally I am now the proud owner of the best picture of my best part luckily no other evidence that it was me………..

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This is the place to leave your hiking sticks behind if you were wondering where the best place could be to do that. Much further on, at the cave, a little steep step made her miss them. Comes to show, hey. Just like so often with our loved ones we only realize they’re not there when we need to lean on them. The jumping jack amongst us, weirdly out of balance hiking with the two sticks up to the cave - not quite knowing how to walk with them !

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If the water in the tarns is not to your liking you just go down, down, down, down and more down to where the river might be and if the river is not there, you just walk further and further until everybody but mostly your wife, starts wondering whether you’ll be back before dark. Lesson? Next time? well, the Micropur tablets are always in the backpack, they are not heavy to carry and are a simple solution for occasions like this…………

The best bath you could ever think of ( and that with no shower gel or even bath oil ) is a quick, VERY quick ! cold splash in a tarn fit for a king and voila ! the transformation of dusty smelly hikers into good and clean and fresh ones body and soul.

Just for in case the whisky, wine or OBS did not do the trick to send you off to dream land, this group imported a bedtime storyteller from overseas. If you are already nice and comfy in your sleeping bag, it is not at all compulsory, but you only have to…. get out, and come listen to the story of little boy Albert’s trip to the zoo, been eaten by a lion without teeth, kicked his way out again and stood in front of his parents just as they were claiming his insurance. And you better listen carefully, hey, they are asking questions afterwards, and those that cannot answer correctly, may not come hiking again………. ;>) Presented so really nicely, I would hike up there anytime if only for a story !

Sunday morning rises as quiet as no where to find. The professionals run around the mountain before breakfast and are back in time for the group to return to starting point. Which feels more like ages ago than just one day. And now you are grateful the downhill back is not the uphill going there !

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This time lunch time is on time… and a picnic spot with a better pool, nobody could ask for. Everybody walks into the car park safe and sound that is if stiff and tired is not included !


Thank you, Midlands Hiking Club !

Some statistics to end the tale - with 5 hikers of this group doing the Grand Traverse, and 3 more to do the re-supply not quite an ordinary bunch I’d say………