24 NOVEMBER 2018
Report and photos by Rod Hart

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


Our Hiking Club Xmas Party was again held at Mount Park in the Dargle area, literally under the shadow of Nhlazane, which club members will be hiking on Sunday morning. When I arrived Eric was gathering his group of hikers for a short, introductory walk. in the forest at the base of Nhlazane - as you can see all happy faces! I took the opportunity to take the hikers group photograph and see them off, then, not having been to Mount Park before had a look around admiring 1. The Wildlife (a bunny - not such a wild life), 2. The flowers (including a beautiful protea bush in flower, and 3. Some of the general artifacts and items of interest around the Mount Park.

Photo 1: Hiking group photo
Photo 2: They have a map!
Photo 3: Off they go...

Photo 4: Local not so wild life
Photo 5: View of reception on left, main house and activity centre on right
Photo 6: Beautiful canna flower
Photo 7: Lily
Photo 8: Protea
Photo 9: Nhlazane in background
Photo 10: Clouds building up toward Nhlazane
Photo 11: Interesting old apparatus, maybe for threshing?
Photo 12: Year age rings on stump of an old tree

Inside the house the MHC ladies Xmas "committee" had gone to a lot of trouble to decorate and provide a festive atmosphere. Tempting to identify some of the decorations with Club members but I will refrain from doing that...

Photo 13: Festive Xmas tree
Photo 14: Who has long legs like this...
Photo 15: Who has a beard like this...
Photo 16: Who has an angelic round face like this...

Chairman Alistair had organised a number of games to keep members entertained prior to the braai, a cross between golf and putt-putt proved very popular with many members displaying great accuracy in avoiding hitting the ball, an interesting rule, occasioned by the "holes" being large plastic bowls, was that when within three paces of the "hole" you are allowed to pick up the ball and toss it in!

Photo 17: Alistair and Dave watch on as Carolee sends the ball flying
Photo 18: Alistair shows off the professional stance
Photo 19: Beautiful shade area to watch the golfers attempting to putt over the tree stump
Photo 20: Bench under the shade tree
Photo 21: Dave lining up his shot
Photo 22: Dave calling foul on Charlie's shot which went around the stump instead of over
Photo 23: Carolee sending the ball over the stump
Photo 24: On his replay shot Charlies shows how close he can get to a hole-in-one
Photo 25: Alistair making or changing the rules/plan...
Photo 26: Dave trying his hand at boulles
Photo 27: Alistair tallying up the scores (what you got, what you should have got, what score you deserve...)
Photo 28: Chris having a go at boulles

After the games activities the braai fire was ready and we entered braai and eat time, after which Julia entertained with playing the keyboard to which lighthearted carol singing was attempted by the members present with carol sheets being handed out by Alistair. A lot of effort was put into making "a joyful noise..." Following Julia's recital, Eric, playing the saxophone treated us to some further carols and other songs. I believe all present enjoyed having Julia and Eric demonstrate their musical abilities. Of course for some... (photo 35)... the meal/refreshments had got the better of them...

Photo 29: Braai time
Photo 30: Listening to Julia play
Photo 31: Julia at the keyboard
Photo 32: Carol singing
Photo 33: More carol sheets being handed out
Photo 34: Eric takes a turn
Photo 35: Perhaps NOT the best promotional photo for a hiking club...

Following the musical interlude we arrived at the awards presentations. Alistair gave out prizes for the golf tournament, and then I (Rod) explained how the selection of Photo-of -the-year was made (from over 1000 submitted photos a selection of 128 was made, this was then reduced to a final 8 and from these the photo of the year was chosen by common agreement by Alistair and Cathy). I was delighted to be able to present the award to my daughter Katy for her photo taken on New Years day in the Bushman's Nek area. Peter then took over and read out the hiking report which was awarded Report of the year, and awarded Julia her well-deserved gift for this entertaining report.

Photo 36: Golfing prizes accompanied by droll jokes by Alistair (like he won't tell the story of the pencil with a broken tip because there is no point to it...)
Photo 37: Golfing prizes and more droll jokes (what is the difference between a buffalo and a bison? - You can't wash your hands in a buffalo...)
Photo 38: Charlie tries on his "one-size-fits-all" prize to the delight of everyone!
Photo 39: Katy with her framed canvas print of her award-winning photo
Photo 40: Julia receives her gift voucher for her Report of the year
Photo 41: Penny explains that instead of exchanging gifts, this year the committee was requesting a voluntary donation towards a worthy charitable cause
Photo 42: Bonginkosi outreach in Sweetwater was the committee's chosen cause