MHC - Meander Hut, Giants Castle Nature Reserve, Central uKhahlamba Drakensberg
6 September 2020

Report and photos by Dave Sclanders

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



To hike or not to hike, when do you cancel the days outing in the mountains, especially if it is your 1st trip to the area. The Midlands hiking Clubs itinerary for future hikes was put out months ago, As the week end drew closer, the weather app was constantly reviewed, good or bad weather was the question. The weather on Saterday for Sunday was not brilliant, cloudy but cool ??? Sunday morning was misty as we drove to Giants Castle, a phone call from an early bird hiker who was near Giants was, its raining and misty, what next?? . To late to cancel, let the plans go on. At Giants picnic parking, it was cold and a bit misty, but the high berg was totally shrouded I mist. As we were going to Meander hut which was not very far and that the path was going to be good, we decided to go .For the first part of our hike, low visibility was good, higher up was thick mist



By the time we reached Meander Hut, the mist had dropped and visibility was very bad. Lunch was had at the hut, but due to the cold, it was a short break as hikers wanted to get going. I good weather the views from here are terrific, but no views today.



We we were returning via Oribi Ridge , which is a high ridge running back towards the Giants Camp direction. So it was first a climb to the beacon, then a drop all the way home. Somewhere , somebody got it wrong, we huffed and puffed to the beacon, a perfect 360 degree view point for the whole area, from Highmoor, Giants Massive to Monks Cowl. But the weather did not lift, a 3 meter view zone was all we had. For those who had not been here before, it must have been quite a nerve wracking experience, being in the middle of nowhere, not knowing where you were or your North from your South. But all did well, especially on the long up-hill climb, as one high point was reached, another appeared out of the mist, when would this climbing into know where Stop?. Worse of all what goes up must come down !!!



Eventually we met up right down the valley with the path that leads to Giants Hut. The mist lifted, we could see some views , best of all , the cars were just down there .



A difficult day of mind racing traumas, and muscle jarring hiking in the mist of nowhere land. Well done to everyone for sharing a unique experience.

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It brings to mind a hike I did many years ago up Langalibale Pass, a very steep and long pass. The weather was very similar, But with a few more short sunshine breaks, and a lot of mist. One of the participants wrote me a note saying that the hike was so mind blowing and exciting for her as it reminded her of daily life, with dark times and happy times and fighting on to the end, and getting safely home.

This could be a lesson for all those who experienced this hike.

Dave Sclanders

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SAME AREA DURING WINTER



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SAME AREA DURING SUMMER



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