MOUNT GILBOA HIKE - 23 JUNE 2019

Report by Libby Deysel , photos supplied by Libby

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Eight hikers namely, Neville, Ken, Retha, Stephan, Rhona, Tony, Ralph and Libby, met at Bushwillow Caravan Park at 8 am on a very chilly June morning to climb Mount Gilboa. Fortunately, for us there had been no recent rain as the paths were very steep and we were walking in beautiful indigenous forest for quite a distance up to the level of the waterfall. We stopped for a tea break at that level, but did not go to the waterfall as it was decided to go there on the return, time permitting.

Neville led the way up to the top of the next ridge, through a smaller indigenous forest and pointed out that as there was a split in the path, it might be difficult to find the route down on the return. Libby decided to mark the spot with a bottle of tabard placed against a rock in the hope that no passer-by would curse someone for littering and pick up the bottle. Someone had also tied clumps of grass together to mark the route down. We then carried on to reach the masts and beacon about midday where we had lunch enjoying magnificent views of the valleys below. There was a solid stone structure on top which resembled some sort of little guardhouse, but which apparently was a toilet. On our descent we met up with a group of 7 young hikers who had ascended on a different route in the hopes of finding the waterfall, but they had missed it entirely as they were too high up the mountain. Neville invited them to join our group as we were on our way down to the waterfall. Their group were on a birthday celebration hike for one of their members and were from Durban, Hillcrest and Pietermaritzburg. When we got to the fork in the path, my tabard bottle had gone and on mentioning the fact, one of the youngsters said that she had picked it up thinking it was litter!!

They were very grateful to join us and to get to see the waterfall. I think they were quite surprised to see our small group with such differences in ages – Retha and Stephan being the youngest and Libby being the oldest. They were in a hurry to get back to the cars as having further to travel, so we let them go ahead. We made a slow descent, being so steep and were back at the cars at about 4 pm. We hiked 14.5 km and the height gained from the car park was 720m. It is probably the only Midlands hike where we gained extra hikers and did not lose the allowed 10%!!

Thanks to Neville and all participants for a great hike.

Libby Deysel







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