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Author Topic: Mission: Finding the origin of the orange river  (Read 2752 times)

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Offline Dustbiter

Re: Mission: Finding the origin of the orange river
« Reply #40 on: April 08, 2019, 01:07:25 pm »
Hi @Xpat,

I am not sure how the map could be misleading (“red herring”), but I do understand that finding an actual source of a river can be difficult – as you and @Losper mentioned the whole area is a swamp with many small streams.

I had found the same when hiking in the South Africa and Europe – e.g. looking for the sorce of the Tugela River in the 1970s, more north from the area you were in – it is difficult to pinpoint an actual source. And we only had 1:50 000 topo maps then. Even with 1:35 000 maps as here in Europe it can be difficult – as conditions constantly change from the time a map is created.

I merely added the magnified area, as one of the WDs seemed confused as to the area you were in. And local place names can also be a nightmare - with many names being allocated to places widely dispersed from one another.

I always enjoy your and @Losper’s reports and photographs.  :wav:
« Last Edit: April 08, 2019, 02:34:25 pm by Dustbiter »
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Offline Xpat

Re: Mission: Finding the origin of the orange river
« Reply #41 on: April 08, 2019, 01:21:08 pm »
Hi @Xpat,

I am not sure how the map could be misleading (“red herring”), but I do understand that finding an actual source of a river can be difficult – as you and @Losper mentioned the whole area is a swamp with many small streams.

I had found the same when hiking in the South Africa and Europe – e.g. looking for the sorce of the Tugela River in the 1970s, more north from the area you were in – it is difficult to pinpoint an actual source. And we only had 1:50 000 topo maps then. Even with 1:35 000 maps as here in Europe it can be difficult – as conditions constantly change from the time a map is created.

I merely added the magnified area, as one of the WDs seemed confused as to the area you were in.

I always enjoy your and @Losper’s reports and photographs.  :wav:

All I meant by 'red herring' (and I may be using the expression wrong here) is that the river course indicated on each of the maps is just tentative. As said I do not think there really is one spot where the river starts - at least we were not able to find it. The whole plain acts like spongy sucking the moisture off the clouds rolling over it and then delivers the water via network of little streamlets (and most of it probably underground) into one little stream at the lowest point of the plain.

So one can say that both maps are correct or both wrong. I think the googlemaps seems to be starting where that little waterfall shown in the pictures is as it is kind of nice recognizable spot, while in the basecamp map the river runs further up in the plain as strictly speaking that is where the water feeding the waterfall is coming from.

But I'm sure we are on the same page by now. Glad you enjoy the report  :thumleft:
« Last Edit: April 08, 2019, 01:27:55 pm by Xpat »
 

Offline RrP

Re: Mission: Finding the origin of the orange river
« Reply #42 on: April 08, 2019, 05:00:14 pm »
Great report thank you both. Any fish up there ?
 

Offline Saddle Up

Re: Mission: Finding the origin of the orange river
« Reply #43 on: April 08, 2019, 06:23:47 pm »
Another legendary trip. Well done and thanks for sharing
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Offline Xpat

Re: Mission: Finding the origin of the orange river
« Reply #44 on: April 08, 2019, 07:15:50 pm »
Great report thank you both. Any fish up there ?

Thanks, haven't seen any fish, but there are crabs up there.

Offline Xpat

Re: Mission: Finding the origin of the orange river
« Reply #45 on: April 08, 2019, 07:38:23 pm »
So yesterday I finished at the top of the ridge after the successful conquest of Orange source. We still had to get back down. There were three possible routes off the ridge. One following the ridge north to Afriski about 70 km away. It was too afternoony for that one. Second retracing back the same way we came, which is what I thought we will do. And third was a shortcut heading almost straight down to Khubelu river and CITS in the valley bellow us. Losper not keen to retrace and aware of time was keen on that one.

I wasn't. I have done it once before and still suffer from minor PTSD - you will find that pitifull story somewhere here: http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=217872.0. The track heads down a valley nice enough initially but then about half way through - as is usually the case in Lesotho - the valley gets much narrower, with very narrow paths running along my main nemesis - steep offcamber - through thicked bushes that try to kick one over all the time, with few rocky sections thrown in to add insult to injury. Losper is a great charmer and somehow made me believe that one year later I am much better rider then I was then. In short, I agreed.

It turned out, I'm not much better rider. Marginally yes, but not good enough to not have to walk my bike long sections (which is extremely tiring in places like this) and not good enough to not have to ask Losper to ride my bike over one or two gnarly places. Losper kept my moralle high by saying that this is pretty easy offcamber in bronze Roof and some such. It took us probably 1 and a half to 2 hours to navigate the worst 2 - 3 kms, but we eventually made it down in one piece (well, two pieces) and made it back to CITS just as the sun started set behind the horizon.

Strangely, I now feel that I should try it again with softer tyres - some people never learn.

Here some pics of this melodrama:













































« Last Edit: April 08, 2019, 07:39:41 pm by Xpat »
 

Offline Xpat

Re: Mission: Finding the origin of the orange river
« Reply #46 on: April 08, 2019, 08:04:00 pm »
Day 2 - CITS to Katse

After the unexpected success of day 1, we were still left with 3 days of riding. Luckily I'm always prepared for this scenario (or rather scenario when I fail and have to look elsewhere), so I had a loop in mind that would take us to Katse over some mountain tracks that Losper did before and then from there I wanted to try to cross to Mokhotlong over the mountains and Orange river on a track I identified as possibility on one of my prior trips.

So we packed up, left my car in CITS and headed up to Afriski first, where we refuelled from Losper's car and then pushed on to the ridge running south between Motete river in the east and Malibamatso river in the west. Here planned route:




Initially we were making good progress, but I wasn't celebrating yet as I knew that the descent down to Motete Losper used last time with few other roofers is way above my paygrade and we were to try instead untested descent west to Malibamatso river, that promised to deliver the joys of the prior day descent from Orange source, and more.

Here some pictures from the ridge - night before there was big rain and even though on top of the range, we were basically riding one big swamp:
















































Offline Xpat

Re: Mission: Finding the origin of the orange river
« Reply #47 on: April 08, 2019, 08:26:31 pm »
View down on the Matete rive valley:





























Eventually we arrived to the new section of range and pushed on for another km or 3 through increasingly gnarly terrain until we got a good look at the descent down to Malibamatso river we wanted to take. I kept my mouth shut and looked away whenever Losper looked at me to keep my terror to myself, so it was great relief when Losper said that it doesn't look good and we should rather turn back. Suddenly much more relaxed I said jovially something along the lines that if he doesn't feel comfortable doing that I'm not going to push him, and we turned back.

It was a bit said as the only alternative left was Kao mine road which is a bit of a let down on 500, but hey - we coudln't expect to win every day. We had a bit of a fun on the way anyway as the Matsuko river was in flood with one bakkie stuck in the middle of the river on the submerged bridge and we had to use pedestrian bridge to get over to the other side.


































On the other side we bumped into local on DR300 or 350 or some such. I have seen people like him before - they are government employees who transport blood samples and vaccines and stuff to the remote clinics. He did not dare to cross the river and decided to ride with us back to Lejone - convoy as he called it. Man, did he haul ass! I had to bring my A game and was still barely keeping up, though at every stop I of course smiled nonchalantly, putting out the most relaxed vibe I could muster. We had at least twice the HP of the little DR, but on these tight tracks the DR was more then a match as he didn't have to be as carefull with his throttle.

In Lejone we filled up the tanks from the lady sitting on the side of the road and then took dirt road running along the east side of the Katse lake all the way down to Katse dam. Losper is an engineering aficionado and loves to explore different nooks and cranies of the dam system. Me being from a country where every bigger village has dam of its own was a bit more indifferent, though I was impressed when he explained the tunnels that carried the water underground from (and to) the dam for dozens of kms.






















We booked into dorm in Katse lodge and settled into the restaurant for proper steak and beer for me.



Offline Bokveld

Re: Mission: Finding the origin of the orange river
« Reply #48 on: April 08, 2019, 10:00:43 pm »
    This is a BBRR.  (big balls ride report) Thanks for a very interesting and spectacular RR. :thumleft:
 

Offline Losper

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Re: Mission: Finding the origin of the orange river
« Reply #49 on: April 08, 2019, 10:25:42 pm »
    This is a BBRR.  (big balls ride report) Thanks for a very interesting and spectacular RR. :thumleft:
Yes, Xpat is a story teller par excellence :biggrin:
Lots of good stuff still to come....
« Last Edit: April 08, 2019, 10:26:44 pm by Losper »
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Offline BlueBull2007

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Re: Mission: Finding the origin of the orange river
« Reply #50 on: April 09, 2019, 07:38:47 am »
Very lekker guys well done.

Did you meet any hikers up there? Bet you they would have been outraged. :laughing7:

Xpat: When you do it again on softer tyres, take a tripod and dumpy level with you. ;) Then set it up in that basin and find the highest marsh on the plain. No way it can be absolutely flat, and this way you would actually be the first person recorded literally on the right bit of marsh that is the source.

Riding with a dumpy level and tripod should be a piece of cake now that your riding is greatly improved! :ricky:
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Offline Osadabwa

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« Reply #51 on: April 09, 2019, 08:15:21 am »
Yep... that's cool. You suck.  :snorting:
 

Offline m0lt3n

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Re: Mission: Finding the origin of the orange river
« Reply #52 on: April 09, 2019, 08:15:42 am »
Another great report! And epic riding.

We used to hike the area when we were still at varsity, did cathedral peak and such. You didn't meet Xeni pass perhaps? Properly saw our asses on that one.

Looks like much more fun on bikes!
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Offline Vis Arend

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Re: Mission: Finding the origin of the orange river
« Reply #53 on: April 09, 2019, 08:17:50 am »
Very lekker guys well done.

Did you meet any hikers up there? Bet you they would have been outraged. :laughing7:

Xpat: When you do it again on softer tyres, take a tripod and dumpy level with you. ;) Then set it up in that basin and find the highest marsh on the plain. No way it can be absolutely flat, and this way you would actually be the first person recorded literally on the right bit of marsh that is the source.

Riding with a dumpy level and tripod should be a piece of cake now that your riding is greatly improved! :ricky:

 :biggrin: :biggrin:

Great stuff and well done.  Waiting for the rest.  Knowing the two of you I know it will become better.   :thumleft: :thumleft: 
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Offline Ganjora

Re: Mission: Finding the origin of the orange river
« Reply #54 on: April 09, 2019, 08:20:17 am »
As said I do not think there really is one spot where the river starts - at least we were not able to find it. The whole plain acts like spongy sucking the moisture off the clouds rolling over it and then delivers the water via network of little streamlets (and most of it probably underground) into one little stream at the lowest point of the plain.


between the top of sani and the saddle there's another such marsh.
also on the right side of the road as you go from sani to mokgotlong,  up black mountain - the entire side of the hill is a giant sponge that slowly releases water.
 

Offline OomD

Re: Mission: Finding the origin of the orange river
« Reply #55 on: April 09, 2019, 08:45:11 am »
If you look carefully at the photos of the bikes you will notice indentations on either side of the fuel tanks, where the seat meets.

This is to make space for their balls.

Enjoying this RR tremendously!  :thumleft:
 

Offline 0012

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Re: Mission: Finding the origin of the orange river
« Reply #56 on: April 09, 2019, 09:29:09 am »
Absolutely breathtaking scenery, WOW   :deal:

Thanks for sharing this, loving it   :thumleft:

    This is a BBRR.  (big balls ride report) Thanks for a very interesting and spectacular RR. :thumleft:

I also wanted to ask, how does the considerable testicular mass affect the handling of the 500s?


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Offline Thunderlinde

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Re: Mission: Finding the origin of the orange river
« Reply #57 on: April 09, 2019, 10:10:54 am »
Great RR! Can't wait for the rest.

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Offline CUZZY

Re: Mission: Finding the origin of the orange river
« Reply #58 on: April 09, 2019, 05:31:15 pm »
Congrats on an epic ride. Those photographs are the best ride report pics in ages. Absolutely befok!
 
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Offline Xpat

Re: Mission: Finding the origin of the orange river
« Reply #59 on: April 09, 2019, 08:41:27 pm »
Thanks for following  :thumleft: