Saturday, December 13, 2008

Day 4


There is a nice big area of flat grass to camp on at Eagle Falls with showers, loos and braaing facilities.

We shared the braai area with these two Karoo toads. Well they seem to both be Karoo toads though the colour of the first one does not match the picture in my little Sasol book. They hopped around the place but I did not see what they caught to eat. Quite small by toad standards – smaller than a platanna. There must have been others creatures sharing the facilities as I left most of my lousy P’nP boerewors uncooked on the wall next to the braai but only an empty pack was there next morning – no loss as I would not eat any more of it. Got really nice boerwors from the Spar in Riversdale.

First TR made us do the 4x4 route at Eagle Falls. It is rated 5/5 I understand but 4x4 routing is all new to me.

This shows the camp site with the end of the 4x4 route on the hill behind.

These are the falls which give the place its name with the big pool below as seen from the road you come in on.

This is the easy start to the 4x4 route

Now we are at the top of the ridge with a wiggly descent and straighter climb out but it is all fairly steep and the surface is loose. Looking south at the Kammanassieberge I believe. The wide tyres of the TW was a huge help on the loose stuff and it has a lovely low first gear which made my life so much easier than the rest besides for TR who just cruises along no problem in these conditions. LGF & Operator had the most difficulty because their bikes have comparatively high first gears so they need to keep up a much higher speed to be in the torque band of their engines to avoid stalling. Etienne just has class on his bike and made it look easy.

The Swartberg with the Great Karoo behind them

TR leading the way up the far side- no trouble.

These flowers were quite common along the summit ridge. Some sort of creeper. Very delicate and attractive.
EDIT: I have since found them in a book of mine. Convolvulus capensis with no common name given by Schelpe. That means it is part of the Morning Glory family. They are a pest here in Green Point (the introduced ones) as they are very intrusive and grow all along our neighbours fence & try to invade our space but we fight it off with garlon 4.

We had to walk this slope to find a route for a bike. Had to do quite an S shaped route to miss the largest steps. My big front tyre and the weight on the back resulted in the front wheel being bounced right off line leading me directly into the veldt so I had to stop & re-align the bike then re-start on the slope but the fat tyres and low gearing of the TW made that relatively easy. This is the second real proving ride I have given the TW and it has really endeared itself to me.

At the top under a waboom; Rooipoot, Trailrider, Operator, EtienneNXR & LetsGoFishing with the Swartberg in the background. You can see we have gained a lot of height which we were going to give up in a very short distance after this.

EtienneNXR. 16 years old but absolutely an equal integral part of the team. It was great riding with you man.

Saw this tortoise up there.

Start of the ‘drop’. It is extremely steep from here on.

Operator could not keep his bike under control because the seat is high so he has poor ground contact with his feet. You have to be able to steady the bike. I helped him turn the bike around but it was too steep and loose to ride out again, we were past the point of no return. He had to turn it back downhill and walk the bike down. That’s what is happening here. See the slope the other side? It was similar this side – I mean where the plants are growing of course.

Once we were down and packed up we set off for George via Paardepoort where we saw this flock of goats being driven with a very young boy having to contribute his share to the family endeavours.

Stopped at Amanda’s Grave at the top of Montague pass. On the opposite slope you can see the railway line which can’t slope nearly as much as the road, below that is the continuation of this pass and on the distant slope is the new Outeniqua Pass. Montague pass opened in 1847 and is today the oldest unaltered pass in the country, Outeniqua Pass opened in 1951, I don’t know when the railway pass opened.

We went to George where we bought our supper and refuelled then TR led us out to the family farm and the mountain slopes behind.

We passed this stream on the way. This side (south) of the Langeberg is really wet and the forest shows it but on the other side from where we had just come it is semi-desert. Not very high mountains but they have a truly dramatic effect on the climate.

Trailrider leads followed by his son Asterix & then EtienneNXR with Operator ready to launch.

Some of the route was in indigenous forest and some through pine plantation.

And this pool of coke with a head of beer froth floating on top.

Trailrider watching his son Asterix going down the final slope to the camp spot on his little CRF70. Small as that bike is it has a 19” front wheel just like a BMW 1200 GSA. He went down with aplomb & made his father justifiably proud. A nice interaction to witness.

Operator coming down the same slope but viewed from the other end.

There was a stream running through big white smooth rocks where we camped and braaied. Trailrider had organised a braai and wood to be there. We all are extremely grateful to you TR for the effort and time you spent in organising this expedition, all we did was pitch up and have a really terrific trip. Many thanks.

Some slept under the stars but I erected my little tent lest there be any mosquitoes – since there was no one around there really was unlikely to have been any mosquitoes living there.

Continue to Day 5


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