Midlands hiking Club – Day Hike - Umgeni Valley.
Sunday 28 May
By Dave Sclanders

Sunday , 28 May , saw a small group of Midlands Club members meet at the Umgeni Valley offices for a day walk in the valley. Under the capable and experienced leadership of Selven , and a lovely warm day we set off into the valley. Ist stop was the bottom of Shelter Falls , where on reaching the river we had to boulder hop upstream to get to the base of the falls. However the stream was running fairly strongly , and we did not get to the very base opf the falls. We then climbed back up the hill , and soon we stood at the top of the falls. The red colour of the cliff rocks across the river stood out in the browning of the valley vegetation. Carrying on further up stream we came to the bottom of Cascade Falls , a very easy spot to get too.Crossing the stream , we again climbed up to the road , then followed it down into the valley again

An interesting point of discussion was the flowering and fruiting of the Natal Cabbage Tree , This tree takes a long time to first flower , and according to Selven once the flower heads come out , they take 2 years to flower. Following the valley road through the high grass vegetation we saw a “Bushbuck Ram” , looking at us from down the road. By the time I had the camera ready , it had turned , and ran off down the road.In the valley is a high rock , where the more adventurous members pitted their skills at getting toe the top. Here we see Keith standing on the high point of the rock

After a lunch at one of the campsite s , we set off down the road which did a bit of a loop , then a steady long climb to get back to the top of the valley. On the way we passed several “Hary Caterpillar trains”. These caterpillars formed long trains of caterpillars holding nose to tail across the roads. In more than one place we saw lines of squashed caterpillars where a vehicle had run over them. So much for “safety in numbers.”

By the time we arrived back at the office where we had left our cars , the sun was dropping down low in the horizon , and a cold breeze had sprung up. After quick salutations , we thanked Selven for the very good day we had enjoyed , and went our separate ways .