Bulwer Mountain Hike
Sunday, 10 March 2013

Report and photos courtesy of Rod Hart

We met leader Brian at Sven's Hilton home to finalise lift arrangements and then set off for Bulwer, with the rain and mist clearing then re-emerging along the way. Dave provided a Norwegian weather sites prediction of 14 deg C with mist which proved to be accurate when we arrived at the Bulwer Mountain Park Hotel. Altogether 14 hikers braving the wet and misty conditions.

The hike is marketed in our Fixtures List as a: "walk to the top of Bulwer mountain where the hunks and their hang gliders hang out" - well we neither got to nor saw the top of the mountain, and I would imagine the hunks and their hang gliders were wisely not venturing out onto the mountain with the mist swirling around. What we did however see, which was not advertised, were some quite good, though sadly vandalised, Bushman paintings - photos of them follow. Also an inadvertent "detour" along our hike led us to a waterfall, which on a hot sunny day would have been a charming setting - remember it for next time!

Starting out from the hotel where the key for the gate and a brochure detailing the description and directions of the various hikes is obtained the hike leads towards the mountain along a wet, rugged and slippery path. Further along the paths and junctions are no longer clearly designated and higher up the mountain they become very indistinct, which because of the misty conditions, resulted in us abandoning our quest for the summit and also of circumnavigating along a contour path - the path we were following petered out and it was deemed safer for us to retrace our steps back down the mountain, leaving the heroics of standing on the summit for another sunnier day.

The hike concluded happily enough with tea/coffee, scones with cream/jam, and/or hot vegetable soup in the warm, hospitable, hotel basement bar.

Photo 1 - The rather daunting looking Mountain Park Hotel appearing out of the trees and mist
Photo 2 & 3 - Kitting up with rain gear
photo 7 - All smiles as Brian briefs the hikers

Photo 4 - This way to the Dog in a Doublet Arms
photo 5 - Around 8 or 9 degree C...
Photo 6 - The Mountain Park Hotel
Photo 8 - Baby stone hippo hiding on the rim of the Koi pond
Photo 9 - I find a naked lady holding a pot of plants
Photo 10 - The sundial reads "I only count our sunny hours"!

Photo 11-18: First leg of our hike to the "Waterfall"
Photo 19 - and on the way back down from the "Waterfall"

Photo 20 - A concrete table & bench appears seemingly in the middle of nowhere
Photo 21 - then more more tables and benches in this one time picnic spot at the base of the mountain
Photo 22-24: onwards and upwards
Photo 25 - Interesting spiky flower - type unknown
Photo 26 - Into the mist along the path to the cave and paintings

Photo 27-28: Tea break in the cave with Bushman paintings
Photo 29-34: The paintings (colours in these photos have been digitally enhanced for clarity)
Photo 35: Out of place Geranium forms a centre piece in the cave

Photo 36 - Back out into the mist
Photo 37 - we had stopped at the top of an incline, as the mist cleared we saw we were perched on the edge of a steep drop
Photo 38 - Protea & hikers in the mist
Photo 39 - Yellow flower thing...
Photo 40 - A protea graces our lunch stop
Photo 41 - Lunch!

Photo 42 - The mist clears below to give us a view of Bulwer - the hotel at lower right
Photo 43 - The hotel
Photo 44 - View
Photo 45 - Back to the hotel

Photo 46 - Settling into the hotel bar
Photo 47 - Lamp decoration
Photo 48 - Not quite a roaring fire but still giving warmth
Photo 49 - One of four relief castings on the wall
Photo 50 - Not sure the kids should see this before going to sleep in the hotel! A "strange" display in a dugout beneath the stairwell