Another hike that I’ve been wanting to do forever ago. Spes Bona Forest specifically. The Amphitheatre and Cave was just optional extra as I’ve been there several times via various routes but if my beginner hikers could see it, bonus for them J
Another hike where I couldn’t remember the route so had to do lots of research looking for the easiest path. The easiest route being Ou Kraal which isn’t even on Google maps but fortunately, people mentioned that it’s opposite 110 Boyes Drive J Thank you people of the internet.
Anyway, with the last Sunday before the month of Ramadaan and the last race, I knew we would not have a big turn-out and only my cousin confirmed that she would come with her family. My beginner hikes has become my cousins hike (both maternal & paternal) 😀
Before checking into Tracking, I run up the pavement/sidewalk looking for a clear view of the sunrise! It was uphill but worth it J don’t you think?
Anyway, check into tracking at 07:50am, 6 Pax, our route and ETA at 12pm and before embarking on our, its group photo of course and study the map on the sign board. The plan was to go up Spes Bona forest but it seems that going up Echo Valley forest via Old Mule would be easier and off we go.
The kids are leading and I am sweeping, giving me time to take photos without holding up the group and get Yasier to pick up a discarded bottle on display in the bush sigh. Gradual incline makes for faster pace and I am pleased. With the views as well! I don’t mind seeing it again considering we were in the area 3 weeks ago haha but its views I haven’t seen in years and taking it all in! Also, it was overcast 3 weeks ago and Sunday was all sunny!
Past Heart Rock, past Boomslang Cave turn-off and into the forest! ^_^ yay! Happy days! But wait! Where is the Carousel?! O_O Why did Sanparks remove it? Crime hotspot? The boardwalk is a gradual incline as well and still taking several photos. It’s not often on a hike that we encounter such a lot of green! Tokai forest is burnt down, Cecelia Forest barely has any shade so the only other green/real forest to speak of Newlands.
We were soon out of the forest and to the left is Boomslang Cave and right is Amphitheatre. We are very close. I wasn’t as clueless as I was with our hike to Boomslang haha. Once we were past the Cave turnoff, everything looked familiar and didn’t have that feeling of uncertainty.
At the Amphitheatre and breakfast is had and posing for photos as well. Just had to climb that boulder hehe
After breakfast, I ask them if they want to go down to Robin Hood Cave and they were game but didn’t have a torch. Said that I have one and it’s not as big as Boomslang. We’re just going to go in and out and no crawling involved.
Get to the Cave but can’t remember the easiest way down! O_O Was there an ‘easy’ way down though? I’m just so use to scrambling that I didn’t even think that others would need to. Oops! Its assisting the 3 kids over with the help of Yasier but his wife (my cousin) would not go down with us. I would not have her alone out in the open so ‘forced’ her to at last come over the first hurdle. Not to scare her (although she is going to read this) but a veteran hiker was murdered on this trail a few years ago. Never mind the muggings. Hence the warning signs at all the entrances.
With mother and daughter on the safer side, Yasier and I help the boys and we successfully enter and exit the cave and only tell him after that the reason I was in such a hurry was because there was a big black spider right under one of the rocks we had to pass lol. I didn’t want to scare them and take a photo of it and scare it with my flash either.
Before retracing our steps, it’s another photo shoot 😀
Back at the Amphitheatre and another veteran hiking group is having a jolly time J
The beginners ask which way and show them it’s uphill. They groan and I say don’t worry, once we are up and over, it’s all downhill from there. My leaders keep meandering off the path though so told them that I will lead from hereon in and make sure that my pace is doable for the beginners and check back every few minutes that we are still hiking in one group.
First check out the view from the peak (first time my beginner hikers reach a peak BTW!!!) WELL DONE GUYS! I actually don’t know what peak it was lolz.
Finally! Down to the forest where I wanted to be! It’s still a forest and still very much green. Not affected by devastating fires 2 years back. Thank goodness! It’s still very much green but a whole lot drier than I remember. No ferns to speak of or other green shrubbery that’s supposed to be found on the ground which is almost arid –from the drought? But the trees are still lush with moss.
Lots of photos later, we exit the forest and back in the sun and its hot! And the trail no longer look familiar. Fortunately, I know where I want to be and know what to look for so just follow the path as per the map 😀
Back on Old Mule path and every now and then, I (we) hear a bang and look down to Kalk Bay, wondering where the construction could be (assumed it was construction happening as what else could make that banging sound? But on a Sunday?)
It was only when passing hikers asked if we saw the whales? WHAT? WHALES? WHERE?! They pointed out and BAM! It’s the whales splashing and breaching making that banging sounds! ^_^ I jumped and down with glee! And we stood there watching the wales playing for a bit J
Eventually check out of tracking at 12:25pm and oh so very happy! There wasn’t much litter along the route (besides 2 obvious cans picked up at different spots). I hiked a path I haven’t in years, my beginners are progressing well and I got to see whales playing!
Until my next mountain adventure, ciao for now and thank you for reading.
May we have a beneficial month of Fasting J
PS – wrote this in drips and drabs…its been a busy week!
PS – I’ll add some photos of previous hikes soon