29-31 JAN 2010

Leader: Mark Nellist
Report by: Christie Exall

Apart from braving a very rainy Friday 29th January at Mahai camp - Royal National Park - the weekend turned out to be a superb one - weather & friends wise. With our charming couple, Mark & Mary, our bubbly "pro" Rose & the ever helpful Max, the weekend turned out to be a very good one. Tents were pitched, a gazebo was put up & we were sheltered against the rain & ready for any eventuality. It rained non-stop on Friday afternoon & during the night I decided to throw in the towel & go home the next day. Saturday morning dawned, although misty, thank goodness, no rain. The weather improved greatly & we were off on a hike to Thendele hutted camp via Tiger Falls. The river was in full spate. We headed up to the Cascades which proved spectacular after the rains. We stopped at every available viewpoint on our way to the falls, simply to stare in awe at the raging waters. Here Rose spotted Phygelius acquilis. Soon after beautiful Harveya speciosa. The path to the falls is concreted all the way to Mahai "hotel". Very steep in places & it had yours truly huffing & puffing & cursing a few times. Once we reached Mahai "hotel" we had a little treat. ( as Allison Gunning will say) Again what a superb view from there. The weather still misty but very pleasant for hiking. The paths lined with beautiful blue Aristea woodii & Lobelia. The going became easy now. Before we crossed a smallish waterfall Rose spotted Schizoglossum atropurneum. She has such a good eye for spotting these beauties.Then we were off to Tiger Falls Now Tiger Falls!! What a spectacular sight. We stayed a while & stared in awe as the waters just roared over the edge. After the falls we walked past a wonderful wild Bottlebrush tree, huge, old & covered in thick green moss. Now the path cleared & we had a most pleasant hike all the way to Thendele hutted camp. Here we lunched, but unfortunately could not get a clear view of the Amphitheatre since it was shrouded in mist & clouds. We wandered past Thendele towards a steep path going down towards the Gorge. I opted to wait at a most inviting bench with the most wonderful view of the river way down. The energetic ones set off, dissapeared round the hill but soon appeared again to do the steep climb back to where I was waiting. By this time the sun came out & the weather turned glorious. Again Rose spotted some Galtonia candicans, Sopubia cana & Eucomis autumnalis. Now it was time for our reverse hike back to Mahai camp. Again it was a very pleasant hike back to Mahai camp. Once we got back it was a case of flopping down in our camping chairs & enjoying tea, coffee & biscuits or whatever took our fancy. Here we stayed & relaxed till supper time. Lots of good conversation was the norm. Then it was time to crawl into our sleeping bags. Sunday dawned with a sight to behold. The setting sun painted the mountains a wonderful red hue. I packed to go home while the rest of our group went on a short hike to Sunday Falls, where Mary, & Max enjoyed a swim. (How jealous I am that I missed this swim!) Once again - you do not know what a wonderful weekend you missed. Thanks Mark for leading us. Mary for just being there with your wonderful gentle way. Rose for pointing out the flowers. Who will ever get tired of her "Oh look!" & then she will always point out something worth looking at. Max for erecting your gazebo & ensuring that we were dry even though it rained so much on Friday. As for me.......I am so glad I went to Mahai camp. The hiking was great as well as my fellow hikers. Thanks to all for making the weekend a success. Christie Exall

Following pics courtesy of Rose Dix & Mary Clover:

Our Lovely Leaders playing House

Singing in the Rain

Saturday - wet wet wet - so what? Nothing daunts us...

Tantalising glimpses

Mary and Mark in a romantic setting

Caught in action

At 'Look Out Rock' - en route to Tiger Falls

Tiger Falls

Sunday - at last a SUN DAY

Mary the mermaid at Sunday Falls

Schizoglossum atropurpureum - p267 a special treat...

Cascades - a real Mermaids Pool