Midmar Dam Hike. 13 December 2020. Leader: Sue Rowley
Report: Penny Purchase. Photos courtesy of Penny Purchase and Libby Deysel

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

It was a fine summer day for a leisurely walk around Midmar Dam. Rain had been predicted but with our Midlands weather being so unpredictable this year, we were hoping that the rain and hail would hold off - our optimism was rewarded. We met at 9.30 a.m., a most civilised time, at the front office just inside the gate. Following Sue Rowley and Pete Comrie, we drove to one of the furtherest bays, Hobie Point. The speedboats were skimming along and water- skiers were already having their fun on the water... and sometimes in the water too. We parked our cars in the welcome shade of a group of big trees on the edge of the dam.

Sue briefly explained the circular route we would take and assured us the pace would be leisurely, to the relief of many of us. We were a motley group of 20 hikers, some with age on their shoulders and over 80 (the Ashtons), many in their seventies (like Libby, Chris and the writer), some sixty year olds, some fifties and forties and even a teenager. But the youngest of all was little toddler, Mayalee, at 14 months. We were so happy to see Katy and Charlie hiking again with their little daughter high up in her backpack on Katy's shoulders. She took everything in and seemed to enjoy the outdoors like her parents. It was good to see some of our new members and Julia Preece, braving group hiking again, and characteristically striding out way in front. You couldn't miss Ali with turquoise hair this week. Chris Dobson brought up the rear, strolling along, in customary fashion.

We walked along the edge of the dam, through the caravan park, finding shade most of the way. There were changing vistas all along... the blue of the dam and the green of the grass and trees. Just lovely. We enjoyed the variety under foot - from gravel and tar roads to soft mown grass and sandy tracks. We spotted a red bishop, busy amongst a clump of bulrushes. There were potholes to avoid on the roads but the grassy picnic areas were clean and well maintained. We enjoyed the luxury of a flat route. And Margaret Ashton turned back the clock and had a good swing! We stopped for our snacks on some shady steps near an ablution block. It was a very pleasant Sunday morning amble of 2 hours 15 mins with the jovial hiking family. A good venue for an end of year hike, thank you, Sue for arranging it.

Back at the cars, some left for home. The rest of us arranged our chairs in an arc under the trees. Rob and Nelly, experienced campers that they are, were comfortable with their camping table set up. The braai fire was lit and Braai Master Pete supervised the braai-ing with Dave Sclanders helping. Some of us tucked into our sandwiches and tea and in Margret Kirsten's case, some red wine. Some spread their picnic mats out, to lie and rest, like the Guiot family of 3. Karen chose to recline on her towel with Debbie reclining close by.

It was a relaxed ending to a most enjoyable day outdoors at our beautiful Midmar Dam. What a pleasure to have this scenic resort on our doorstep. It's such a bonus.

1.Happy group enjoying a snack break
2. On the road with blue and green vistas ahead and beyond
3. Katy, Charlie and our youngest hiker yet, little Mayalee
4. the relaxed Guiot family enjoying the outdoors
5. Mayalee, walking sturdily at 14 months .... a great hiker in the making

6. Getting ready to start up again after a rejuvenating snack break
7. A tarred road makes for easy walking
8. Round the bend to another lovely bay
9. Bulrushes and summer flowers in this bit of wetland
10. Its a swinging life for Margaret!
11. The clouds are gathering
12. Nelly finds Chris entertaining

13. Braai and picnic time
14.Full tummies and enjoying the company
15. Midmar has lovely picnic spots with shady trees and lapping water
16. Front row: the Amber Valley crew. Back row: the Pietermaritzburg girls
17. Carefree picnickers
18. Karin relaxing on her towel with Debbie close by