Highmoor – Caracal Cave, 10.03.2024
Hike leader: Dusty Shaw
Photos: Dusty, Beth, Vanessa, Rebecca and Amy

Weather: clear blue sky
Hikers: 16
Total Accent: 333m,  Length: 10.2km, Severity: 2+
Route: There and Back
Overview and Profile

Another stunning day in the mountains of the Ezemvelo Highmoor Reserve where 16 eager hikers were ready to take on the open grasslands and then the amazing cave that awaited us at the turnaround point where we planned to have lunch. Once we had gone through all the introductions and expectations we headed off crossing the first stream  which leads to a beautiful water fall which can be seen from the spur which juts out into the valley just below.
We wound our way slowly up passed the two trout dames, had a quick chat with some fly fisherman who had not caught our expected breakfast let alone found any eggs to go with them and with great laughter and jokes we moved on towards the Tarn the last water source as such. A group photo was taken with the mighty Giant, tarn and Bless buck not clearly seen behind the group.
Continuing on through the grasslands with groups of Baboons and Bless Buck closely watching us we made our way to a stone marker termed a kern where it was explained to the group of the importance of them as well as “don’t point at the Giant” lest you bring mist and rain upon the group.
We arrived at a marker called Fulton’s Rock and took a quick diversion off the trail to look down into the valley where the famous rock art was situated for the brave who want to attempt the decent to the eMachunwini River far below us
Going back to the main path we continued on till we had reached the highest point of the hike 2045m  and that meant we were about to descend which we later called Thromboses hill due to the effort to get back up 
At the bottom of the hill was the remains of two old stone kraals where one could find water, but luckily we were well prepared and did not have to start a search. Another group photo was taken just above the cave.
Climbing down a steep section in the corner of a gully, the park rangers had erected a ladder made the decent into the cave much safer and easier (right) than in the past.
One last scramble over the rocks at the entrance and we were in to enjoy the vastness of Caracal Cave (pic 9)
Soon we had all spread out and found a comfortable spot to have lunch and enjoy the coolness of the cave (pic 10) as the thermometer was showing we were now in the low 30’s.
After about an hour we packed up, made our way out and looked up at Thromboses hill, yip we are going that way, no other way. We slowly tackled the hill and came out victorious at the top and well done to Angela who bravely tackled the heat and exhaustion till the top where we all took a well deserved rest, before we made our way back to the car park without incident. 

Last chirp

“It’s easier to go down a hill than up it but the view is much better at the top.” – Henry Ward Beecher

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