Report by Hettie Randall and the newbies Jayce and Karen Lane . 
Photos by various hikers

As the dawn broke, a grey mist clung to the earth with determination.  Undeterred, 20 hikers gathered at the start of the hike through Ferncliffe, ably led by Graham Keit and Iain Kerr.

The Reserve has unfortunately been neglected and with the heavy rains and heat of summer, the undergrowth was challenging but, as we all agreed, it added to the mystique of the forest.  It was cool! that made it even more enjoyable. 

As new members to the Natal Midlands Hiking Club, we were quite excited to revisit Ferncliffe Nature Reserve, one of the first hikes we did on our arrival in Pietermaritzburg 20 odd years ago.

2 hours in and only covering 2.5km this was clearly not the hike we recalled. Whilst a slight melancholy set in with thoughts of what was and what could’ve been, these thoughts were swiftly blown away, by Graham’s knowledge about the surrounding area, the fact that much of the built structures seen, dated from the late 1800’s when the area was worked as a stone quarry.

Despite the overgrowth, which Graham hacked away as we walked on with sodden trousers, well at least for the intrepid (or naive) people upfront, there was a spirit of adventure in the untamed fashion of Dr Livingstone, as we trudged on, sometimes head height through grasses. Hiking is about some form of adventure after all. 

Adventures are made better with the people who come along and because we thoroughly enjoyed our day hike of about 10km and 5 odd hours later it speaks magnitudes of our fellow hikers. Although I do confess to enjoying a hot bath and coffee later in equal measure to the hike.

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