Winter Wonderland

Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.
~ John Ruskin

Sunday was no different from Saturday morning in the fact that I was slipping on my hiking boots when I should have been sleeping still! But maybe I lie just a little, it was different in the fact that it was even earlier than Saturday’s wake up! Long gone are the days of sleeping in on a weekend.

It was a biting cold in the air and armed yet again with gloves, beanie, a few layers of clothes and a rain jacket we headed out to meet our hiking party at Constantia Nek.  There was a steady rain falling and it was cold.  When we arrived Thomas, our hike leader, and his son were there as well as our two wonderful new friends, Pierre (FM) and Dave.  I guess most of the others decided to stay in bed! Everyone was undecided whether to walk or not as the weather was likely to stay this way for the entire hike. Donna and I on the other hand were 100% keen to walk ~ never mind the fact that we have to get up at ridiculous hours of the morning to make it by our meeting time, it would also be a great training hike to do this in the cold and wet. Decision made, we would walk!

All suited up in our rain jackets, we headed out around the Constantia Nek restaurant and around the back and as is becoming the norm for our hikes, within five minutes we were heading up!

There are a lot of photos, I took 96 in total, so many beautiful shots, the low rain clouds enveloped us often in this magical winter wonderland on the mountain and it was hard to decide which ones to use (Don’t worry they are not all on here – but a selection of the best).  So sit back and enjoy a trip with me as we walk from Constantia Nek to Silvermine on what is called the Vlakkenberg Hike!

(I’ve been having a problem with WordPress and trying to post this blog update since last night so if a few photo’s come out wonky, have no caption or finds itself upside down please just count your blessings that I didn’t throw this computer out the window and that you are reading what managed to post – Murphy’s Law it will post perfectly and this paragraph will be pointless!!)

Rounding the corner of Constantia Nek Restaurant our first climb up began.

The clouds gave everything this magical look as they swept in low.

As we began our climb, the views below began to unfold.

Such a beautiful “look” of winter.

The stark beauty of a winters day on the mountain.

The rain kept coming down, it was cold but still we headed on up.

And still the rain came down but we marched on.

The beautiful contrast of the brilliant green with the misty cloud.

Despite the cold and wet, we still managed to crack some jokes and laugh!

Well most of us still had smiles on our faces!

A wet and very slippery wooden walkway ~ And no I didn’t slip!

A quick huddle to keep warm!

There is beauty all around ~ All we have to do is open our eyes.

Finally, the clouds parted and we had some respite from the rain.

The sun trying hard to break through the clouds.

A beautiful wet morning ~ The earth washed clean ~ rain like starlight having fallen into glistening raindrops ~ Simply Beautiful!

The sun finally managing to break through.

Blue sky up ahead ~ for a short while anyway!

View of the beautiful pine trees along the way ~ the is nothing quite like the smell of pine trees ~ love it!

Our good friend Dave, such a gentleman, leaves for Kili in just a few more weeks and will return just a few days before we head off. Can’t wait to exchange tales of our adventures!

Anyway we turned, beautiful views unfolded before us.

The sun was back out and the layers of clothes were coming off.

Some flora along the way.

Donna and Pierre (FM) keeping us entertained from behind.

The sun didn’t last too long ~ before we knew it we were digging in our bags for our rain jackets again as the rain began to fall again.

 

 

View of the pine forests below.

I cannot begin to explain just how many times we had to dig out our rain jacket, and when the rain stopped and the sun graced us with some warmth to dry out we would once again be stripping off our layers of clothes, only to repeat the whole cycle as soon as the cloud cover came back and the rain began to fall yet again.

The beautiful thing about the mountain in winter is that there are waterfalls all over turning the hard, solid, barren rock into beautiful cascades of water.

Looking back, a view of the path we have just walked.

View of the waterfall with the misty mountains behind.

Still raining, yet still smiling, we found a nice overhang to stop and have some lunch!

Wet and a bit cold and very hungry ~ it was lunchtime!

Some beautiful flora with pine tree trunks as a backdrop.

We planned to do a slight detour up to Elephants Eyes to see some magnificent views of the city below.

The sunshine was back, drying us off yet again!

A stunning view of Elephants Eye ~ Can you make it out?

A view into the Elephants Eye.

Standing at (in) Elephants Eye taking in the view before us.

Dons and I sitting right inside the Elephants Eye! We were wet, we were dirty but we were loving it!

David and Donna sitting inside Elephants Eye.

It is such a pity this picture didn’t come out clearly! A very young girl who had been sitting there drawing in the sand offered to take the photo for us ~ It took about four try’s, each time she said it was out of focus ~ but we appreciate the offer to take the pic!

A view of Elephants Eye from inside the “eye”.

Such a pity some people have to deface everything they can find.

A view of Silvermine Dam in the distance.

The last hour of our hike was spent walking along Silvermine River Walk ~ a beautiful walk through trees and along side a rushing river. It was a perfectly beautiful way to end our hike.

Views of the gushing river as we walked along.

As we headed back to the where one of our “pick-up” cars was parked, we spotted these two magnificently huge proteas just off the side of the road.

Yet another amazing day spent with amazing people on the mountain training for the “big one” and although we had plenty of rain we were yet again spoilt with some of the most incredible views. Later today we head up Lions Head again for our mid-week wander training hike. If last night’s sunset is anything to go by, I can’t wait to see what tonight has on offer.

Oh and there is talk about Mount Elbrus in Russia for next year… Now it’s only talk so don’t get too excited, and anyway first I have Kilimanjaro to conquer! Who knows I might just be adding # 153 to my bucket list… The Seven Summits perhaps….! *Grin*

And last but certainly not least, a very big thank you to my latest donor, Anonymous ~ Thank you for helping me help make a difference in the lives of those living with CF and although “thank you” just never seems enough, it’s all I have to offer. Each donors generosity does not go unnoticed.

44 days, 7 Hours and 33 minutes till our plane starts to roll down that runway….!!!

~ All Photos By Me ~

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. PushDumpFatButton
    May 28, 2012 @ 21:09:50

    Reblogged this on Push Dump Fat Button.

    Reply

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