I went solo for this portion of the search. It's good to have some solo helmet time every once in a while. I seem to like it more and more.
We had some snow in the region recently. This is the view of the Swartberg mountains as seen from just outside De Rust:
And the scenic ride into Meiringspoort - for solo helmet time you can hardly have a better road than this.
During my research I came across this little story about Meiringspoort. It's in Afrikaans (I appologise to the international readers) but I just have to share it with the South African readers.
Geskiedenis boeke vertel vir ons hoe die pad deur Meiringspoort gemaak is, maar hoe is Meiringspoort gemaak?
Hoe Meiringspoort gemaak is:
EPORIA is 'n anderste meermin, maar soveel meer misterieus en eksoties as haar susters in die oseaan. Sy woon nie op die seebodem nie, maar in 'n poel in die Klein Karoo, die land van ruimte.
Eporia, half-vrou, half-vis, word deur die diere van die veld gekroon as die koningin van hul wêreld en Absolom die skaapwagter word haar vriend.
Dit is 'n wêreld waar almal in harmonie saamleef en Gamka, die laaste Kaapse leeu, se statige treë die respek afdwing wat hy as koning van die diereryk verdien.
Maar dan, op 'n dag, kom die jagters en moor die inwoners van die Klein Karoo een vir een uit. Selfs Gamka val dood neer met 'n bulderende slag.
Eporia sien dit alles en word oorweldig deur 'n siedende woede. Sy roep al die waters van die heelal bymekaar en neem verwoestend wraak. Met die water word die aarde en klip vervorm en só word Meiringspoort gemaak. *Bron*
I stopped at the rest stop and armed with my camera I headed up to the waterfall. The walk along the path into the kranz which was constructed in the 1920's so that the Prince of Wales, later the Duke of Windsor, could walk up to see the bottomless pool where the mermaid dwells.
The scene as I approached - the water falls into a deep pool before flowing into secondary shallower pools and eventually into the river.
The waterfall is 60m high and you're so close to it that it's impossible to fit it into one photo.
The pool at the bottom has lured a few people to their deaths. Legend has it that the pool is bottomless, but it proved to be a myth when, in 1987, a team of divers established the depth at 9m.
In the lower pools you can see that the water is crystal clear and clean. It's also cold and delicious!
The rocks it's been flowing over for centuries is polished smooth as soap.
There have been several drownings at this spot over the years and a lot of those have been attributed to the Watermeid. It has similarities to the other spots in that it is very deep and that there have been drownings here, but this spot has no reeds. And once again I had no sighting. Google Earth placemark here.
Meet Katrina Koorts:
Meiringspoort has several rest stops and these are manned 24/7. Katrina and one other works here today, but she's not merely hanging around. She is very helpful and knowledgeable about this area. She knows about the history, the depth of he pool and of course the whole Watermeid story of 1996. Does she believe the Watermeid exists? "No." Why not? "Because there are no such things as mermaids!"
Maybe, when you have to work here at night, it's better not to believe...