Midlands Hiking Club

21 – 22 August 2010
Club week end at Mountain Shadows
Highmoor Area
Central Berg

Story & pics Dave Sclanders
(for more stories and pics of Club Hikes done this year , see Dave’s website at www.bergfree.co.za , click on “Newsletters” at the bottom of the Bergfree Home page)

Mountain Shadows Caravan & Camping site at the foot of Mt Lebanon in the Highmoor Area of the Central Berg is an ideal place to base yourself for a comfortable few days of Low Berg Exploration. They also provide fully furnished Bungalows and Cabins. A well provided covered boma area with TV etc supports a great place to socialize at the end of the day. MHC has used this venue on many occasions . This occasion was a Sponsored Prize of a 2 bed Bungalow for 2 nights for one of our club competitions. The winners held a club meet there for the week end , and over 20 people joined in by staying in provided or own accommodation.

On Saturday morning Keith led a group up to Mt Lebanon, and I led another group up to Highmoor as some had not been there before.

The views from Highmoor are fantastic, in winter the dams shine bright blue, and there is the ever present Giants Castle looking down at one from the great KZN Escarpment.

One of the great birds of the Mountains, the Bearded Vulture or Lammergier wheeled around us a few times , curiously looking down on “these mere intruders” of the vast spaces, and we in turn looked down into the great valley below us – into which we would shortly venture.

Going down theses very steep slopes can be tricky. The grass is long and dry, the earth and rocks slide from under ones feet, so perhaps it is best to go down on all 5 points of contact.

All reached the “Bottom” well , with no real problems except for some tattered shorts. An energy building snack was had on a large rock next to a shelter of some really lovely Rock Art paintings.

After lunch , we made our way back up the ridge - what goes down , must come up – and so in the middle of the hot day – we started UP. There area few recognized routes up the slope, however we decided to try a new route to the top. Slow and steady, a bit of zig zagging, a bit of resting here and there, and then we were half way up . Where lunch was had on a high outcrop of rock

Great views were enjoyed from here as our ever watchful “Safety Sentinel” experienced.

We investigated a new route home, walking down a twisty windy stream, and came across a lovely small waterfall which was great to find. In many instances, going off the beaten track , can be very rewarding. But , there is always a but, one must know where you are heading for , and how to get out if the weather changes.

That evening at the Boma , the 2 groups had lots to talk about around the braai fire and TV. A great end to the day.

On Sunday morning Keith briefed those who were going to hike with him up to an old abandoned hut high up the mountain side. A number of folk had volunteered to spend a quiet day at the camp site.

Many , many years ago someone had a dream to build a refuge high up , and far way from any visitors. The hut was well built with properly dressed sandstone blocks, windows and doors. Great views of the valley, but so far way. What time and energy to build here , we did not find water there, so maybe in the old days, there might have been – and I suppose that there were not to many buyers who wanted to move there when the originator moved on.

The weather was great, the hiking company great, the hiking – not too strenuous – all in all another great week end for the outdoor lovers of our Club