17 September 2017
15k Hike / climb 430m...
12 Hikers...Keith and Margaret Ashton.. Marie Gurr..Nevil Walmsley... Lynda Verreynne..Llew Evans..Margret Kirsten.. Inge Riemann..Vladimir Dobreff.. Vera Gradinski... Anna Kapp & Rose Dix

Report courtesy of Rose Dix; photos by Keith Ashton (Group photo 1 courtesy of Rose Dix)

[CLICK ON PHOTOS TO VIEW FULLSIZE - or view pics in accompanying SIMPLEVIEWER Presentation]

As usual, the Durbanites have an ultra early start to make it to Keith's Howick hikes ... This particular Sunday, for we sea-level dwellers, was problematic because of the raging winds and torrential rain during the night, so many tense whatsapps clogged the dawn airways . Of course nobody dared query cancellation of said Hike, because we all know that Keith makes us hike through blizzards and still come back for more. We have learned over the years that weather is an inconsequential part of hiking with this intrepid leader.

So having acknowledged the fact that WE WILL HIKE REGARDLESS, we packed a comprehensive wardrobe of winter gear, rain gear, space blankets, beanies and extra food and set off on our journey... and naturally, we were not disappointed.

The hike was limited to 12 of us, and what a lovely group we were... most of us being dual Midlands/Durban Ramblers members. The hike took us around the beautifully laid out Amber Valley, Ridge, Lakes & Lee, with some good hard hills and scrambles up rough paths, always watched by the curious eyes of the resident game herds and two inquisitive Warthog.

This was no easy day-amble..not at all. We clambered over rocks and pulled ourselves up on bunches of grass and then slip-slided down vertical declines with the usual scratches and bumps and mutters.

When we all thought that the end must now be nigh, it wasn't to be, as Margaret lead us through the adjoining gates into the new Amber Lee property which was yet another up/down and up again hike around this enormous development with upmarket houses and beautifully tended gardens.

So having made our, by now weary way, back to Keith and Margaret's lovely home ( the long way shortcuts permitted) we relaxed over Tea and a mouth-watering array of Margaret's cookies with innovative names ... cockroach crunches... etc. etc!

Keith and Margaret, thank you both, yet again, for giving up your time to lead us on this beautiful hike, filling our brains with knowledge and our tummies with delicious goodies.

Keith hiking on crutches again, as that pain hovers, but without complaint. You are truly amazing and set a wonderful example, Keith.

So we eagerly await the next exciting episode...

Maybe not for me as this was my last hike...sigh.(again) - (Keith's comment :- Those who know Rose well believe she will be saying this for many years to come)

Rose Dix 2017.09

1. Our group ready to hike - leader on crutches
2. Rose doing here modelling pose before we set off
3. First steep climb in Amber Valley - Amber Lee houses below
4. Second steep climb in Amber Valley
5. Lovely reflections of the trees & blesbok in Falcon Dam
6. Marie pleased to reach the top of another steep climb this time in Amber Ridge

7. Rose still smiling with some heavy breathing
8. More heavy breathing from Vladimir & Vera starts to peel off
9. Time for a rest & lunch
10. After a steep climb it is time for a steep descent in Amber Lee
11. Rough terrain as Inge does a KNEES UP MOTHER BROWN
12. Still a long way down in Amber Lee