Did this hike on Sunday and today is Saturday already. First time I have time to sit in front of the laptop. Thank goodness I don’t have deadlines.
About a month ago, Zaynu asked me to take her and a few of her colleagues on the easiest hike possible. It was only a few days before the hike that I decided on either Constantia Nek or Pipe Track – both that I was not in the mood for as it is way too boring (for me). It was then that she said that most pulled out and that only left the fitter people and some of her family. Great! I could take them to Woodstock Cave as she nor her brother has done this route. Finally! Sanparks Volunteer Ranger Saeed assisted me.
So 8 of us met at Rhodes Lower Parking at 6:30am as the gate was still closed! Even though opening time is officially 7:30am, some kind soul always has a key to open up before then. So we sat around waiting discussing whether or not we should walk from there which is a long way from the cave or drive to Tafelberg Road which is an easier route. Everyone but Sanparks Volunteer Ranger wanted to walk from the lower carpark. Sorry Saeed, you were outvoted.
I check in with Mountain Tracking & Safety at 6:45am and off we go and start taking photos just past the closed gates. As we are walking up, we agree that 2 of us will go back to fetch the cars as soon as the gates open.
We see a huge nest in one of the trees and Moegsien says it’s a family plot lol.
Shortly after taking the turn to the right, we hear cars coming up the road and Zaynu and myself, being the 2 runners (well, me the trail runner) ran down the shortcut but not before giving our backpacks to Saeed to carry haha.
Still I am distracted by photos haha.
Get the cars and pick up some of our group still walking along the road but 3 decided to carry on and we wait on them at the car park.
I’m leading and Sanparks Volunteer Ranger Saeed is sweeping and off we finally go at a good pace considering that it was a beginner hike. There’s a fallen branch along the path which wasn’t there Christmas day (the last time I was in the area) and as I know Saeed will do a great job sweeping, I hike at my pace 😀 but do wait on the group here and there. Also to give them a chance to take photos.
The last section up to the contour path, I’m away ahead of the group and still have time to pick up bottles strewn in the bush. Zaynu’s 2 colleagues were the first to catch up with me and said they were worried that they lost me. Told them not to worry as they can’t get lost along that section.
Give them time to catch their breath and take photos before moving along. Next break is just through the turnstile for more photos and take the shortcut up to the blockhouse.
We spend a long time here for a photo shoot haha. The views are of course phenomenal from the cannons.
The wind drastically picks up and getting cold. Told them that Sanparks Volunteer Ranger Saeed and I will wait at the blockhouse. Didn’t have to wait long for them as they were right behind us.
Along the contour path we go, still taking photos, I see that ‘newly’ formed path and as we were hiking at a good pace, I said I’m going up to the explore a bit as I’m quite curious about a new potential rock-climbing route. Only Saeed and Cathy follow me up the path. Curious also to see if it will take us to the Cave. But it took us to another cave….A filthy one with evidence that people were definitely sleeping there.
Time to get back to the group and Saeed says that there is another path leading to the Quarry and off I go much to his disagreement. Told him I’ll only be 5 minutes. When I realised that I was going to be longer, I shouted down that he could go ahead and I will catch up.
This really was not a safe path and decided to stop in my tracks when I almost pulled on a loose rock. I took photos from where I was and slowly and carefully made my way down again. In my mind, I’m berating myself for doing something that dangerous on my own.
On the path again and caught up with them at the very dry stream with Zaynu leading and both Saeed and myself sweeping hehe.
We regrouped at the fork and I’m leading again. Hiking at my own pace but check on them every so often.
Finally at the cave at 9:05am with others leaving. We would have had the cave to ourselves be it not for 2 dwellers. The stench of urine at the entrance was overwhelming but fortunately could not smell anything smack bang in the middle and could enjoy our breakfast before taking photos.
We were being loud when someone in the group said that we were making a noise as those 2 dwellers were sleeping to which I responded, ‘its fine, they don’t pay rent so we can make as much noise as we wanted haha’
I couldn’t think of original poses in the cave as the setting is quite different to Wally’s Cave and it had to be all about length. Saeed did catch Cathy and myself twerking though ^_^.
Time to go with others coming up and I’m sweeping with Zaynu leading.
Moegsien and Marlene are in no hurry and soon we were far behind the group. Also because I got distracted by a Golden Orb spider which caught a grasshopper in its web. I of course had to take photos and a video of this.
We do catch up with them at the blockhouse but for some reason, we (Moegsien, Marlene and I) split from the group again thinking that we would catch up with them somewhere along the path but didn’t.
Thinking that we would get them at the car park again but they weren’t there! We were there before them! How we missed each other, we do not know as they insisted that they waited for us on the contour path.
All safe down the mountain and I check out of tracking at 11:23. 30 minutes before my ETA ^_^
Great hike guys! Thank you J
Until my next mountain adventure, thank you for reading and ciao for now.