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Offline Sardine

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Re: My African Dream
« Reply #1360 on: December 11, 2019, 05:25:22 pm »
1.) Almost 30km in
2&3.) Almost there!
4.) My steed

Offline Sardine

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Re: My African Dream
« Reply #1361 on: December 11, 2019, 05:26:46 pm »
Kariega river and beach.

Foooood!

Offline Wayne

Re: My African Dream
« Reply #1362 on: December 11, 2019, 06:24:06 pm »
We do that downhill tar section when we ride the Grahamstown to Port Alfred (G2C) in July. Absolute blast. That event is also 60km.

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Offline Tom van Brits

Re: My African Dream
« Reply #1363 on: December 11, 2019, 08:09:25 pm »
Well done Sardine, indeed morning well spent!!  :thumleft: :laughing4:
 

Offline Ri

Re: My African Dream
« Reply #1364 on: December 12, 2019, 10:20:26 am »
I would deem your work/life balance to be perfect  :sip:

Well done! Very impressive and thank you for sharing.
 
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Offline EssBee

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Re: My African Dream
« Reply #1365 on: December 12, 2019, 11:18:27 am »
Now that's a part of SA I have never been to, and it looks appealing. Where's that to-do list  ???

Thanks again for sharing.
 

Offline Sardine

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Re: My African Dream
« Reply #1366 on: December 18, 2019, 05:46:36 pm »
@Wayne when does the G2C happen?

@Tom van Brits absolutely! Any day started with some exercise is going to be a good one. NEVER thought I would say that!  :peepwall:

@Ri thank you :) I would prefer a little more work, but I am certainly not complaining!

@EssBee Yes! Come visit! It is incredible!
 
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Offline Sardine

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Re: My African Dream
« Reply #1367 on: December 18, 2019, 06:19:39 pm »
14 December, Saturday

I was up early. I don't think I had slept well either. Partly because of my housemate. Partly because I was excited about the weekend. Partly because I feared over-sleeping. So come about 04:30, I was up.
I made some coffee and packed the car.

I was heading to Hogsback!
I drove across town to fetch my friend, and at 05:30 we hit the road.

It was my first time taking that route out of town, and first time going to Hogsback. Roadtrip!

The scenery was spectacular, and I'm pretty sure my jaw was hanging open as we reached the base of the mountains leading up to Hogsback. Wow, wow, WOW!

We arrived in good time, despite the drag of two bicycles hanging off the back of my Getz. I was really worried about missing the 8am registration cut-off. Or whatever it was. My memory is foggy.

I was signed up for the 15km Hobbiton on Hogsback Mountainbike "Race", a first for Hobbiton.
Initially there weren't many riders, but they soon started arriving and the place filled up with all sorts of people, young, old, fit, not so fit, fancy bikes, REALLY fancy bikes. I may have drooled a little.

A few Grahamstown people were there, so we chatted a while, checked out bikes, commented on the weather, and waited for the start.

I will let the pictures do the talking, but I overall, it was an absolute stunning ride. A mix of gravel roads, jeep tracks, and a little bit of single track. Some really nice flat and downhill sections, and a couple of tough climbs. We went from pine forest to cliff-edges, to open areas. All of it was beautiful, and I stopped for photos often.

About 10km in my friend's chain jammed. Fortunately I had packed my gift from the USA (a handy pocket-knife) and we almost managed to work the chain loose. After 10 minutes in the baking sun we were both sweating and my friend decided to retire from the race.
I continued, and leap-frogged with two kids- a brother and sister in their early and late teens. The brother was more of a cyclist and enjoying it but his sister was struggling. So I made sure to encourage her whenever I could.

Towards the end she was sat on the side of the road in the shade, finishing up her water. I gave her some of my water, and stuck with her on each of the climbs after that (she was far more fearless on the downhills though, and often pulled ahead).

The final climb was the toughest, and not even 500m from the finish. Sneaky.

But a REALLY great event! Very well-marked with lots of marshals.
Very hot, and the under-estimated the distances (it was actually 18km), but the views more than made up for it.

They also ran a competition for the most interesting animal photo. Cows and monkeys didn't count. In one of the forest sections I noticed a beautiful old Colt, and crouched steathily behind a tree, managed to snap a photo.
I won a yellowwood tree as a result  :lol8:
And had a really good boerie roll. I have been struggling to find a good boerie roll.

After the prize giving we headed to Away with the Fairies, where we would be camping.

I was very excited to try my new Naturehike tent, and had it set up in a matter of minutes while my friend struggled with a huge mansion-of-a-tent (turns out he is a bit of a camping novice too).

You know it was a good ride when you have a dirt-tan around your ankles, thighs, gloves and sunglasses  :ricky: The cool shower was most-refreshing, and we set off on foot to explore. First stop, the Chocolate Shoppe.
Then we headed through town to 39 Steps Waterfall.

It was really cool seeing the areas we had cycled just that morning (though it felt like it had been days). The arboretum was beautiful, but unfortunately idiots left their rubbish everywhere.
We meandered among the gardens and came to the waterfall. Which was dry.

A nice little walk after all of the cycling.

Back at the Fairies, I headed over to the viewpoint and the famous bathtub. WOW! Beautiful!
I decided I would get up early to timelapse the sunrise.

We joined some of my friends from Grahamstown for a drink and early dinner. The pizza was supposedly good, and we all settled on the same: chicken and mushroom pizza. It wasn't bad, and the beer was cold and refreshing.

A chap from Belgium joined us. We got chatting and I learnt he is backpacking through South Africa. He works as a waiter for about 8 months, and travels for the other 4. Now that's the way to do it!

It was still early when I climbed into my sleeping bag, headlamp strategically placed so I could read. It was really peaceful, and it felt good to be out in nature.
I couldn't be bothered to check the time of sunrise, so I set my alarm for 4am, and settled in.

I didn't have a sleeping mat or anything, so the night was spent rolling from my back to my side, but I slept better than I had the night before.
At 4am I was up but it was still dark so I dozed another 30 or 40 minutes.

When I got to the viewpoint, I saw Murphy had been about; it was completely grey. The rain had arrived. I set up my phone anyway, and dozed while standing up. Not long after, it started to drizzle. And then rain. I gave in and headed back to my tent, grateful I had a proper raincoat. It was only about 05:30 so I shook off my raincoat, placed it and my shoes in the vestibule of the tent, and dozed until about 06:30. The rain was light-ish but persistent, and my tent had sprung a leak  ???

Oh well, I mopped up the water with my towel.
The plan had been to hike/walk to Madonna and Child Waterfall, but that wasn't looking likely.
At 07:00 my friend knocked and asked if I wanted coffee. YES!

We all huddled under a shelter and sipped delicious cups of coffee.
At 07:30 we headed to the Hogs Inn for a scrumptious breakfast.

The rain was supposed to let up by 09:00, but it clearly didn't get the memo. So we decided to bin the hike. My friends from Grahamstown packed up while my other friend and I bundled into the car and went to each of the little shops in town to see what they had, and we also stopped at The Edge.

Wow! I know, I have said wow a lot. But it really was wow. The clouds were lifting and we were treated to the most incredible views.
It's easy to see how this place could have inspired JRR Tolkien!

But unfortunately it was windy and bitterly cold. And I don't like the cold.
So even though it was clearing, I said I'd rather head home than do the hike.
We stopped by the Chocolate Shoppe to get some treats and then packed up and headed home.

What a fantastic weekend! I can't wait to go back and explore some more.

Offline Wayne

Re: My African Dream
« Reply #1368 on: December 18, 2019, 07:08:55 pm »
@Wayne when does the G2C happen?

@Tom van Brits absolutely! Any day started with some exercise is going to be a good one. NEVER thought I would say that!  :peepwall:

@Ri thank you :) I would prefer a little more work, but I am certainly not complaining!

@EssBee Yes! Come visit! It is incredible!
Normally the second weekend of July on the Sunday.

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Offline elandsrider

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Re: My African Dream
« Reply #1369 on: December 18, 2019, 08:01:16 pm »
Great story 👍
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Offline >>Thump°C

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Re: My African Dream
« Reply #1370 on: December 19, 2019, 08:54:32 am »
Great walks and hiked to all the waterfalls and mountain views around there.
Hogsback is totally different and special in each season.
Make a point of going there regularly while you live close by.
Boys will be Boys.
And girls are darn thankful for that
 
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Offline Sardine

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Re: My African Dream
« Reply #1371 on: December 19, 2019, 07:52:00 pm »
Photos...

Leaving Grahamstown. You know it's going to be a good day with a view like that!

--

Approaching Hogsback. Biiiig mountains!

Offline Sardine

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Re: My African Dream
« Reply #1372 on: December 19, 2019, 07:53:46 pm »
Cows, trees, bicycles and awesome views.

Offline Sardine

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Re: My African Dream
« Reply #1373 on: December 19, 2019, 07:55:35 pm »
Cool colours and textures.

Shhhh, or you will spook the Colt!

Got hot up there but the views were worth it!

Offline Sardine

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Re: My African Dream
« Reply #1374 on: December 19, 2019, 07:56:36 pm »
I almost took a dip in the dam. Almost.

Such diverse flora!

I survived!

Offline Sardine

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Re: My African Dream
« Reply #1375 on: December 19, 2019, 07:57:32 pm »
Exploring town.
The Chocolate Shoppe chocolates are delicious!

Offline Sardine

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Re: My African Dream
« Reply #1376 on: December 19, 2019, 07:59:45 pm »
My favourite photo of the trip.
_---

Exploring the arboretum and 39 Steps Waterfall.

Offline Sardine

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Re: My African Dream
« Reply #1377 on: December 19, 2019, 08:00:57 pm »
More of the town

Offline Sardine

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Re: My African Dream
« Reply #1378 on: December 19, 2019, 08:02:05 pm »
Away with the Fairies


Offline Sardine

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Re: My African Dream
« Reply #1379 on: December 19, 2019, 08:05:34 pm »
The Edge