Midlands Hiking Club
Wet and Misty Protea Hike
Southern Berg
16-17 January 2010

After Keith's Hike briefing , 12 hardy and brave souls set off from the Bushman's Nek Wildlife office for Whyet's Cave The weather looked decidedly unfriendly with worse to come. The high hills were covered in mist, and a wet damp grass covered the hiking paths, hiding it in places. As we climbed higher, mist increased, and visibility dropped to a few feet not a good place to be looking for a cave if one does not know the area intimately. Remembering certain rocks , and where they should be is vitally important, as they indicate the way to go. If you can't find the rocks, you cannot find the way !!!!

During lunch, the rain came down harder, rain gear was put, and off we hiked.

Eventually we reached the cave a haven in nowhere land . we were wet, cold, tired and hungry, but spiritually uplifted by the wonderful flowers in the mist. Sleeping places were identified, backpacks dropped, a quick change of clothes and a hot drink sorted us all out. Then sleeping places were sorted, sleeping bags put out, and a time to exchange thoughts of the day, supper , and bed.

We awoke next morning to more mist and damp. Dressing into cold wet clothes , socks and boots was no fun . There is a big myth out there in the hiking stores they sell waterproof boots!! There are NO waterproof boots for a long hike through wet grass , unless one is wearing rubber gum boots trust me .

After breakfast we headed for the cars, the enthusiasm for the wonderful flowers had not dissipated, and many more photos were taken. The Flowers - were incredible, made more with the small amount of sunlight shining on/through the water droplets. In all my years of hiking, I have never seen such a show of Protea dracomontana . Other magnificent flowers were also in full bloom , and dressed in sparkling dew droplets. Taking pictures of these meant lying down in the wet to get the right angle. A small price to pay for that magic moment.

Later , just before lunch, the sun broke through, and we arrived dry, hot and sweaty back at the cars. A quick change of clothes, a short discussion on whether it was better to hike in wet or very hot conditions was debated , without an answer coming up.

A wet cold and misty week end indeed, however the rewards were unbelievable.

So often we rush through life to get to the next point, sometimes we have to, sometimes we don't, but we still do !. Then we miss so much .

Sometimes it is worth it to slow down and as the old saying goes stop, relax, and enjoy the moment

Take it easy !!!