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Problem - I left it to late, it's now 6 weeks since we did the hike and memory is already fading, so I must write quick. But then again, I don't need to write anything because Jenny has done it already. I will just borrow her writing without asking first.
A brief report on the above expedition which was, as usual, much enjoyed by all. The drive there seemed much shorter than anticipated, but some of us got a bit lost (as usual) once we were right there, so took a bit of time to actually make an entrance. Others were fortunate to get a directional message in time, from Tony, and avoided the pitfalls.
The "huts" were actually ranger houses, with lots of beds, rather thin mattresses, but running water, lavs, kitchens and everything that we needed for comfort. We were NOT in the new Dokolewa wooden hut (very picturesque and right on the water) and were a bit sorry about that, but as our numbers were quite high in the initial booking it would not have been large enough. We came down to 11 in the end, as the extra guests, for various fairly interesting reasons, did not appear.
Hiking was excellent. Quite stiff (literally and figuratively) but satisfyingly challenging and beautiful. Between the Sappi forests (where grows the tallest planted tree in the Southern Hemisphere - a bluegum at nine hundred and something somethings - feet? metres? something. . I'm sure there are those who will be only too happy to put me straight. I worked out it was about like a 10 storey building) and the indigenous forests festooned with monkey ropes and hanging lichens there was enough variety to keep us amused at all times. 15 kms on the first day with a lot of ups and downs - sufficient to encourage 4 of us (not all ladies!) to give the 18 kms next day a miss and some of the camel men to borrow our day bags.. Those who went were enthusiastic in their praise of the 2nd day, (with a misty start) and in fact got back to the camp so early that we were still wining and dining under the trees in Haenertsberg , and had to rush back as we had the keys for all the gear.
Tense moments on the last night as a small group of Adventure Hikers who were trying to do the whole circuit THREE times over in 27 hours got split up and lost some of their members. There was a lot of coming and going, missing each other , whistle blowing and torching around in the dark, and in the end, at some ungodly hour of the night, most of them got to a bed, and one spent the night in the forest on a bed of pine needles in the middle of the path so searchers would trip over him. All sorted out in the end, and our gallant All Stars guys very willing to help and worry along with them.
The last day (9 kms) very beautiful and balanced in terms of flats and ups (note the jargon that I don't know) and then a quick transfer to get the cars at the previous hut and no time wasted after that to hit the road. My personal feeling is always that these hikes are so regenerating and the interpersonal vibes so warm and comfortable the its not just the "getting away from it all" that is so necessary to our wellbeing but also the friendship, fun and laughter. Lets face it there is not too much of that ease in town. I could just feel my defences building up as we got closer to the dense traffic and urban build-up.
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