A Weekend of Extremes ~ Part 2

As is standard practice with me, I awoke early on Sunday morning even before dawn was breaking. I felt tired and desperately wanted to go back to sleep but my body was having none of it. Slowly, I watched as the darkness outside turned to light hoping for beautiful views of the mountain but finding them still shrouded in misty cloud and as it continued to grow light, I saw that a soft rain was still falling.

Simon was awake, he was getting a new fire started. Alan was still fast asleep.  I was excited about our hike today but I really hoped the weather would break and we’d get to see some sunshine!

Bruce phoned to confirm all was still on and as we were finishing off breakfast, he arrived to take us out. We quickly gathered our things and this time I remembered my trekking poles. How grateful was I!

We headed out the same way as the previous day but this time the snow on the lower grounds had already melted, leaving only tiny patches of white here and there. We were hiking up to the Krom Rivier Peak, which sits at 1420m, in altitude measures not high at all but higher than Table Mountain allows us to go and this time we had cold, misty, rainy weather plus snow on the higher grounds to really give us a good training session.

We started off by heading out to the Paarl Mountain Club hut, a beautiful log cabin with a few pine trees around it and a small gushing river alongside it. I felt a bit like I was in the Swiss Alps and half expected Heidi and her grandfather to come skipping down the mountain slopes!

Starting out on flat ground, the pace was fast.

Starting out on flat ground, the pace was fast.

With the low misty clouds covering everything in sight, there was nothing in the sense of views.

With the low misty clouds covering everything in sight, there was nothing in the sense of views.

The Paarl Mountain Hiking Club Hut, it reminded me of something out of a Heidi story book.

The Paarl Mountain Hiking Club Hut, it reminded me of something out of a Heidi story book.

Once we had passed the mountain hut, where we would stop for a nice lunch and coffee break on our way back down, the climb up began in earnest. Again I noticed my slower pace as we climbed up, my lungs lacking a month worth of exercise and as always with hiking each time you reach the top of the “hill” you climbing you think that’s it you’ve reached the top but just as you stand on the top you notice another mound of rock looming up in front of you. Today was no different.

Warm and extra snug in all my layers, I once again found myself overheating and having to remove my hood and unzip a few layers even though the mist was wet and every now and again the rain would begin to fall.

With each step you have to tread carefully as you have no idea what you are stepping on. You think it is snow covering shrubs and branches of fynbos but when you stand on it your foot treads down further than you expected it to go. Almost like when you try to take a step thinking there is a step beneath your foot but only to find out that there is in fact no step at all and your foot comes thundering down to much lower ground than you anticipated.  But that is not where it ended, scrambling over snow-covered rocks proved to have its own adventures,  besides slippery ice in places, where the snow was thick you had to be careful there was in fact rock beneath the snow you were about to step on otherwise you might just find yourself in a hole between rocks!

Needless to say, our pace slowed a bit as we carefully made our way over the snow-covered ground, constantly climbing up and looking out for the cairns marking the right way.

Making our way higher up the snow began to cover the ground, the higher we went the thicker it got. Oh and that's Simon in the background.

Making our way higher up the snow began to cover the ground, the higher we went the thicker it got. Oh and that’s Simon in the background.

Loving this white winter-wonderland, I could do this every weekend! And yes, that is still Simon in the background!

Loving this white winter-wonderland, I could do this every weekend! And yes, that is still Simon in the background!

In snow and mist everything looks different but luckily carefully places cairns helped us find our way to the summit.

In snow and mist everything looks different but luckily carefully placed cairns helped us find our way to the summit.

As we neared the summit, the scrambling over the rocks became a little more intense and technical to say the least.  Picture this, three guys have gone up this section in front of me and Alan and I are still need to climb it. What stood in front of me was rocks that were higher than me, completely covered in snow with a few shrubs sticking through. There were practically no places to grip in order for me to pull yourself up and my arms just weren’t long enough to reach the top, not that it would have helped anyway as it was all just snow. The foot hold that the three in front of me had used was quite high up (about waist height) and when you are wearing two thick layers of leggings it is quite a task to lift your leg up that high.

This is where the fun really began. I lifted my leg, with the help of my hand and grabbed some branches that were coming out of the snow but all I grabbed was a bunch of dead twigs in my hand. Well that wasn’t going to work. As I stepped up, I tried grabbing the bits of shrubbery sticking out of the snow; I put my weight on my left leg and pulled on the shrubbery as I lifted myself up. Two things happened. The shrubs easily pulled out of the snow and I was left with a handful of cold, wet shrubbery in my hand and as I stepped on the foothold, my foot pushed the  snow fast and swift under my foot and my foot and my body came sliding back down to the ground.  Alan and I both burst out laughing and I wondered how on earth I was going to get up this section!

I tried again, Alan behind me, ready to run out of the way should I come crashing down. (Just kidding he was actually very supportive behind me). Again, as I lifted my body to climb up, the snow crumbled beneath my foot hold and I came sliding back down again. One thing was for sure, I was becoming at one with the snow!

On my third attempt, now with absolutely nothing left to hold, Alan carefully placed his hand on my backpack as I once again tried to get a steady and solid foot hold in the snow and as I pushed my body up, Alan’s helping hand lifted me over the high snow-covered rocks and I popped out on top. Success!!

Finally over that obstacle we continued to walk up, the snow gobbling up our feet with each step, in places sinking deeper and deeper into the soft, untouched snow. The summit was getting close, you couldn’t see it but somehow you could just feel it but we still had one more obstacle to get over.

Next up, was a tiny crevice we had to cross. I don’t really know why I say tiny as it was a big enough crevice for my long legs not to reach the other side. I stood on the edge and looked at Simon on the other side and Alan behind me. I took a deep breath and wondered how on earth I was going to get across. I sat down on the edge of the one side and steadied myself with the high rock on my left, however again this didn’t have any good hand holds for me to grip onto. The rock on the other side waiting for my feet to touch down was covered in snow and ice and as I stretched my foot across just my toes would reach other side. The high rock was too far for me to stretch my hand across and I was just too nervous to make the jump in case the snow on the rock and the wetness under my hiking boot had me slipping right down the crevice.  My heart was pumping and my hands were shaking a little from the adrenaline! Alan took my trekking poles and laid them across the high rocks as a handhold for me to grab onto as I stepped across. I still envisioned my foot slipping so I took a few more deep breaths. I could do this! My whole body was shaking by now. Simon, standing on the other side of the crevice, leaning against the high rock to support himself and to avoid him slipping on the snow-covered rock, he stretched out his hand from the other side – this was it.  I took another deep breath, stretched out my arm, grabbed his and jumped! My body went crashing in the high rock stopping me from going right over the other side as Simon steadied himself on his feet again. Alan behind me of course just gracefully stepped right over without any drama!

By now all we were doing was climbing over snow-covered rocks, the mist was thick and then I looked up and saw Bruce and Andre standing on the summit! We had made it. But the rock they were standing on once again required some jumping from one to the other and although these rocks only had tiny patches of snow on them, I decided against going to rock jump and stand up on the very top! Where I stood would just have to do!

Bruce, Andre and Simon standing on top. I decided to give this rock jumping to the very top a miss and stayed on solid, snow covered ground. At least I hope it was solid!

Bruce, Andre and Simon standing on top. I decided to give this rock jumping to the very top a miss and stayed on solid, snow covered ground. At least I hope it was solid!

Hiking in the winter-wonderland ~ so super pretty!

Hiking in the winter-wonderland ~ so super pretty!

Alan at the summit, it if wasn't for him I'd still be trying to get up that big snow covered rock! Lol

Alan at the summit, it if wasn’t for him I’d still be trying to get up that big snow-covered rock! Lol

Such a pretty winter-wonderland!

Such a pretty winter-wonderland! The only thing that was missing was the view from the top.

Hiking in the snow is hard but I would do it again and again. It's just magical!

Hiking in the snow is hard but I would do it again and again. It’s just magical!

Alan, Me and Simon on the summit! I can't wait till we take another group pic on the summit of Aconcagua!

Alan, Me and Simon on the summit! I can’t wait till we take another group pic on the summit of Aconcagua!

We didn’t stay on top long due to the cold and wetness so we took a few pictures before heading back down again. The walk up had been tough, mostly because of my decline in my fitness since being sick, but if there is one thing  that spurs me on is in the toughness of what I do and the feeling of making it and standing on top. This is nothing compared to what we will face on Aggie, but as always I’m up for the challenge!

We took a different route back and of course going down was so much more fun than going up. I spent most of the descent on my bum, once again getting up close and personal with the snow. A few slips landed me there but thankfully with so much snow around, the landing was always soft!  The rest of the way I got off my feet and sat on my bum and slid down the large, snow covered rocks I had to earlier climbed up.  At one point with a stinging feeling in my derriere, I wondered if it was possible to get frost bite on my bum! Luckily my thermals soon had my chilly bits warmed right up again, saving the day or should I say my behind!

There was much laughter to be had on the way down, with sighting orcs (don’t ask) and even a wishful thinking sighing of Harvey Specter (and this was by one of the guys ~ again don’t ask), sigh if only!

As we made our way down, Bruce realised he didn’t bring the Mountain Hut key with him and we would have to stop for our lunch and coffee somewhere else. We chose a section that was still quite high up and we settled there for a bite to eat, some nice hot coffee and for some a sip of whiskey! The clouds were slowly lifting higher, offering us a partial beautiful view of the valley below and the higher snow-capped mountains with magnificent waterfalls cascading down the slopes.

As we made our way back down to the lower slopes, the snow began to thin out again.

As we made our way back down to the lower slopes, the snow began to thin out again.

Heading back down.

Heading back down.

Some hot coffee and lunch somewhere high up in the mountain.

Some hot coffee and lunch somewhere high up in the mountain.

A little sip of whiskey never hurt anyone and was sure to warm you up from the inside out!

A little sip of whiskey never hurt anyone and was sure to warm you up from the inside out!

The mist clearing slightly to show parts of where we had just come from.

The mist clearing slightly to show parts of where we had just come from.

Views across the valley as the cloud cover began to lift slightly.

Views across the valley as the cloud cover began to lift slightly.

With the clouds drawing back, we got to see a little bit of the mountainside.

With the clouds drawing back, we got to see a little bit of the mountainside.

The beautiful snow-capped peaks across the valley making an appearance as the clouds began to lift.

The beautiful snow-capped peaks across the valley making an appearance as the clouds began to lift.

The beauty behind the clouds and the magnificent waterfalls cascading down the mountain slopes across the valley.

The beauty behind the clouds and the magnificent waterfalls cascading down the mountain slopes across the valley.

Lunch replenished our bodies and feeling energised all over again, we tackled the last bit of the climb down. As we neared the car there were still little bits of snow patches and needless to say the boys were being boys and the snowballs were flying once again every time a patch of snow came into sight.

Making our way back down we got to see some views across the valley.

Making our way back down we got to see some views across the valley.

Passing by the Paarl Mountain Hut again as we made our way back to the cars.

Passing by the Paarl Mountain Hut again as we made our way back to the cars.

Alan, about to pick up a mound of snow for the next snowball ~ caught in action and you thought we never saw!

Alan, about to pick up a mound of snow for the next snowball ~ caught in action and you thought we never saw!

So I made Simon go first! Aim and shoot!

So I made Simon go first! Aim and shoot!

Time for payback but man that's cold!!

Time for payback but man that’s cold!!

Even back at the car, the boys were still being boys!

Even back at the car, the boys were still being boys!

It had been an amazing weekend of hiking in the snow but arriving back at our “camp” site it was time to pack up and make the journey back home but it seemed the adventure wasn’t over just yet.

About an hour later Avril came to collect us to transfer us back to our car waiting on the neighbouring farm.  As we made our way we came across a piece of road that was all churned up and very muddy. As we drove she questioned aloud which way she should go. Next minute we are stuck in the mud!  A call was made to her husband, Bruce, who was just settling down out of his wet hiking clothes and eating something, to come and rescue us!

While we waited we took some photos ~ This is us stuck in the mud.

While we waited we took some photos ~ This is us stuck in the mud.

I was about to take a photo when Simon walked into my view finder. When I asked him to please move this was his answer.

I was about to take a photo when Simon walked into my view finder. When I asked him to please move this was his answer.

Then Alan decided to move in too....

Then Alan decided to move in too….

I swear it's like having your brothers along for the trip!

I swear it’s like having your brothers along for the trip!

Finally, I got my picture!

Finally, I got my picture but only probably because Bruce drove up to rescue us!

It wasn’t before long we were pulled out of the mud and on our way again to our car on the neighbouring farm. With our car loaded we said our farewells and headed back to Cape Town. Tiredness enveloped me as I sat in the back listening to the boys chat, every now and again closing my eyes thinking back over another amazing weekend.

On route, we stopped off to get some petrol and decided to get some hot coffee for take-away but then someone suggested let’s go in and have the coffee. Which we did, and would you believe it was the perfect opportunity for us to have one last game of conniving, underhanded Monopoly and this was almost my best game yet, but then Simon went and spoilt it all. Over the weekend we had come to learn that when Alan shuffles and deals the cards are normally terrible for some reason. I mean really terrible and now it was Alan’s turn to deal again. The hand was shocking to say the least but as I took my first turn and picked up my first two cards, suddenly everything was playing into my hands. Eventually the boys started laying out some cards and it was time for me to strike! I wiped them clean and in the next round I lay out some really good properties and then demanded exorbitant rent, wiping them out again. I was loving this!  One more round and I would win the game. But Simon was having none of it. He was up next and before I knew it he was stealing my prized properties. I wouldn’t let this happen, I had a “Just Say No” card, I slapped it down giving him a look that said ‘take that’ only to have him slap down his own of the very same card and leaning over to steal my properties. Seriously, what were the chances?! I could have cried. He went on to win the game in true style, and now I can’t wait for our next rematch!

Simon about to steal my prized properties just as I had wiped the boys clean twice! How could this happen!

Simon about to steal my prized properties just as I had wiped the boys clean twice! How could this happen!

Our last game done for the weekend, we headed out to the car just as the clouds were lifting off the mountains we had just come from and the setting sun turning the beautiful mountain capped peaks in a gentle glow of pink.

It was time to head home.

As we left the sun was getting ready to set on Sunday.

As we left the sun was getting ready to set on Sunday.

As the sun set, she lit up the snow covered peaks where we had just come from, painting her slopes in a soft pink. The weekend was over and it was time to head home.

As the sun set, she lit up the snow covered peaks where we had just come from, painting her slopes in a soft pink. The weekend was over and it was time to head home.

~ Special thanks must be said to Bruce and Avril for an amazing weekend spent on their farm. Thank you both for your amazing hospitality and to Bruce, thank you for going out in that extreme cold weather to take us hiking to new heights, I had a ball!  ~

~ And special thanks for my two team mates, you’ve got my back, you showed me that this weekend in more ways than one and for that I’m grateful ~

~ All Photos By Me ~

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A Weekend of Extremes – Part 1

Many were wondering what on earth we were doing and a few asked if I was crazy.   I recall vividly a post I wrote on crazy before my Kilimanjaro climb. Yes, as things are hotting up for my next trip, things are beginning to feel like déjà vu!

For the past week Cape Town has been experiencing stormy weather again and over the last 24 hours it had started snowing on all the mountains, even on top of our beloved Table Mountain!  An early morning message from one of my team mates confirmed the Paarl mountains were covered in snow, something I got to see as I drove to work that morning and it was looking so pretty.

For the next two days myself and my two Aggie team members were spending our time in the mountains. We would be based on a beautiful Olive farm in the Paarl mountains, which would be our base for some hiking in the mountains over the weekend. With the prospect of snow on the mountains, this weekend was turning out to be a perfect weekend for some cold and snowy weather training, something that we really don’t get to see and do in Cape Town very often, if at all.

With a biting to the bone nip in the air on Friday evening the Alan, Simon and I headed out.

We arrived in the dark and rain to the news that the farm roads had been washed away and we would have to leave our car on a neighbouring farm, transfer all our stuff and get a ride across in the 4 x 4 bakkie. We had only arrived and the adventure had just begun.

As we pulled up to our camping site the rain began to fall again and a cold, icy wind blew off the snow-covered mountains that lay beyond the darkness. Avril, the farmer’s wife, offered us shelter in the recreational room which is a three walled area with the un-walled part of it covered in canvas sheeting, a pantry room on the side, a traditional pizza oven and a nice big fire-place next to it. Avril said we were the only hikers out in this extreme Cape weather and we had the place to ourselves if we wanted it. Call us crazy, but we still considered putting up the tent but with a nice fire already going and Avril’s persuasion we decided to set up “camp” inside the three walls! Avril bid us farewell for the night after arrangements were made for times to head up the mountains to the snow tomorrow morning. As we had arrived in the dark we could see nothing of the mountains and I for one was excited to get out there in the morning.

We had a cozy Friday night sitting in front of the fire, after filling our bellies on delicious South African braai vleis (bbq meat). The noise from outside was almost deafening at times, the hard rain on the corrugated roof above us and the gushing of the Berg River outside, at times unable to tell the difference as to whether it was the rain or the river making the noise or a combination of both. It was as if the river and the rain were competing with each other to see who could be louder. We sat around chatting and then Alan pulled out a pile of card games. With a wide choice, we settled for Monopoly Deal Card Game.  Little did we know as one began to shuffle the cards and deal our first hand that this would become our latest addiction!

The game that made time disappear!

The most addictive game ever and the game that made time disappear!

The game, to say the least, is addictive and over the weekend that was to follow, when we weren’t out in the snow hiking, we were playing Monopoly! One thing is for sure and we have all agreed on it, this game is going with us up onto the slopes of Aconcagua and who knows if we are energetic enough we may just get a game in on the summit itself!

Thinking it was still early, we just kept on playing...

Thinking it was still early, we just kept on playing…

We played, we got creative, we bankrupted each other, we hit one person again and again, evils laughs, poker faces, eying your opponent and plenty of laughter. We kept adding logs to the roaring fire and I sat with an extra blanket I had brought along, wrapped around my legs for extra warmth. Occasionally, someone would yawn only to be forgotten at the next devious move someone was playing. Occasionally, we would all feel as if the temperature was dipping, none of us aware of why! With the end of each game, more logs were thrown onto the fire, eventually red wine and whiskey turned to tea and coffee and we kept dealing another round. Eventually, Alan got up and it was while he was up he checked the time. Thinking it was around 11pm and that we could still get a few more games in before hitting our sleeping bags, Alan’s voice filled the air, “you guys are not going to believe what the time is!” All thinking it was still relatively early, we gasped when Alan announced it was 2:40am! Wow, this game was just that good if we were still going strong at that time but no wonder we had all started to feel the temperature dip, it was the middle of the bloody morning! True new diehard fans of this game, we decided we had to have just one more game before finally heading off to bed. It was a great last game full of conniving, underhanded, complete blindsiding fun! It was hard to put the cards down and go to bed but now somewhere over 3am and some snow hiking tomorrow it was best we got some sleep.

We awoke on Saturday morning to lots more rain and cold mountain air. A call from Bruce, the husband of Avril, to confirm they were going to take a drive to see what the snow was like and they’ll confirm it’s good to go out. We were due to head out about 10am. While we waited Alan cooked up a yummy breakfast of eggs and bacon and once again with full tummies, we sneaked in a few more games of Monopoly. Finally the call came in, the snow was good, some sleet and wind, temperatures were cold but we were good to go!

We awoke to a cold and wet Saturday morning.

We awoke to a cold and wet Saturday morning.

The view from the balcony overlooking the Berg River.

The view from the balcony overlooking the Berg River.

Layers on, I felt warm and snug and I was ready to head out into the cold morning. We drove with Avril to one point, where she would wait for us with hot chocolate for us upon our return (this woman was truly amazing!) We switched over to Bruce’s 4×4 bakkie as the snow began to cover the ground and we hopped on the back. The wind was icy cold and I pulled my beanie down lower over my ears and pulled my hood on and zipped up my three outer layers of tops, blocking the wind.  The snow was turning thick to a point that we could no longer drive higher. We pulled over and everyone jumped out.

We walked along a winding road leading high up into the mountain, the first part the snow was thin and compacted from people walking on it, making it very icy. From the moment we had jumped off and started walking, the snow balls were flying around and for some reason I seemed to be a good target practice for the boys!

Quite a few of us headed out but as we climbed higher and the snow grew thicker making it harder to walk, the people with us started dropping back and turning around again until it was just the four of us heading up. Soon we were walking on virgin snow, untouched by anyone. The crunch beneath my feet of fresh snow was music to my ears but as beautiful as this was, it made it so much harder to walk in. Leaving your own footprints as your feet sink deeper and deeper into the snow, with each step bringing fresher, untouched snow that just gobbled your feet up. As we rounded some corners the wind would begin to howl and the sleet would begin to fall again. Still I couldn’t stop smiling. I was loving every minute of this!

Heading out the snow was still thin and easy to walk on.

Alan and Bruce up ahead, the snow was still thin and easy to walk on.

But that wasn't too last long, as we walked higher the snow began to cover everything and it began to get deeper and hard to walk in.

But that wasn’t too last long, as we walked higher the snow began to cover everything and it began to get deeper and harder to walk in.

Someone before us had stopped to make this cute snowman!

Someone before us had stopped to make this cute snowman!

The climb up was a little tough for me and I was definitely feeling the lack of fitness that had crept back in over the month of August when I had fallen ill. This was my first bit of exercise since having fallen ill and it always amazes me how fit you can be but how quickly you can lose it again once you stop. As the sleet came down and the boys started pulling a little ahead of me staying a steady 15 paces up front, I reminded myself just one step at a time and I kept saying Aconcagua over and over again in my mind and with each step the smile on my face was still unmistakable! I did wish I had brought along my trekking poles, in my excitement to leave earlier that morning I had completely forgotten I had them and had left without them. This was turning out to be a really good first workout!

Despite the dropping temperatures biting cold, as we climbed up I was overheating! Despite the falling sleet I removed my hood of my shell jacket and had to unzip my two top layers just to let some cooler air in. The feeling of having too much over my mouth and neck reminded me again of summit night on Kili. That feeling of claustrophobia and needing to get more air into my lungs. The minute I feel that cool air rush around me again, I found the energy again to keep pushing on. As the snow grew deeper I tried to walk in Alan and Bruce’s footsteps but even though I have long legs, the guys up ahead were both taking such large steps that were just too much for my long legs to reach.  I was grateful when their footsteps were closer together allowing me to walk in their foot prints in the snow, giving my legs a tiny break from carving my own path in the fresh snow.  There was thick mist all around us, not offering any views of the surrounding mountains, all we could see was the snow-covered path ahead of us before it disappeared in to the mist in front of us.

No view to be seen, just white everywhere!

No view to be seen, just white everywhere!

Reaching the top, it was eerily beautiful, silent except for the wind. I was so tempted to fall down in the untouched snow and make a snow angel, however the outside of my clothes were already dripping wet and we still had to walk back down again and I wasn’t up to getting wet on the inside too as that would just make anyone plain miserable.

Simon, Bruce and Alan at the top!

Simon, Bruce and Alan at the top! Very cold but all still smiles!

Bruce, me and Alan ~ I'm such a snow baby!!

Bruce, me and Alan ~ I’m such a snow baby!! See all that beautiful untouched snow behind me, I so badly wanted to go and snow-angel it!

At the top this is literally as good as our view got!

At the top this is literally as good as our view got!

We didn’t stay up at the top for too long as it was cold and with the low misty cloud cover we couldn’t see views of anything anyway!

We started to make our way back down again, taking a few pics but careful to keep our camera’s dry. Simon stopped to make a small snowman too.  Coming back down was the most fun as we could ski down instead of having to trudge through the snow and my tired legs were loving this! Again, it reminded me of how we skied down from the summit of Kili, except that was scree and this was snow. With each step I dreamed some more of Aconcagua and so too my smile just kept growing.

Making our way down with the most beautiful winter-wonderland views.

Making our way down with the most beautiful winter-wonderland views.

As we made our way down only our footprints were to be found in the snow.

As we made our way down only our footprints were to be found in the snow.

This was me trying to take a photo to show how deep our feet were sinking in the untouched snow. White on white is never a good comparison!

This was me trying to take a photo to show how deep our feet were sinking in the untouched snow. White on white is never a good comparison!

Walking in a blizzard, naturally!!!

Walking in a blizzard, naturally!!!

Mountains and snow ~ what more could a girl ask for?!

Mountains and snow ~ what more could a girl ask for?!

Not even cold and snow could get the smile off my face ~ in fact it was exactly that that put it there in the first place!

Not even cold and snow could get the smile off my face ~ in fact it was exactly that that put it there in the first place!

A quick faceless snowman built by Simon.

A quick faceless snowman built by Simon.

Back at the cars, we took off our wet outer layers and hopped in the car where Avril had some nice hot chocolate waiting for us in a basket on the back seat. It tasted as good as it smelled and warmed us up from the inside out.

Back at our “camp site” we hung out our clothes to dry, each of them dripping puddles on the floor. Socks and gloves lined the fire-place in hope they would get dry. We once again got comfy for the rest of the afternoon  in front of the fire, playing Monopoly of course! It was definitely time for a few rematches and some payback too!

Later Alan began to make our pizza dough and Simon and I got the pizza toppings ready. When done the last of the sun rays were finally breaking through clouds and I took a nice wander around outside before night fell.

Alan busy with our pizza dough and our little table in front of the fire place with our Monopoly game on it. Aah yes, a home away from home.

Alan busy with our pizza dough and our little table in front of the fire-place with our Monopoly game on it. Aah yes, a home away from home.

The no walls part of where we camped for the weekend.

The no walls part of where we camped for the weekend.

In the late afternoon a tiny patch of sun came out and we moved all our clothes outside in hope the wind and sunshine might just dry them out a little bit before tomorrow's hike.

In the late afternoon a tiny patch of sun came out and we moved all our clothes outside in hope the wind and sunshine might just dry them out a little bit before tomorrow’s hike.

Glorious sunshine outside and even a bit of a view of some of the mountains around us.

Glorious sunshine outside and even a bit of a view of some of the mountains around us.

The Berg River that was rumbling very loudly past where we were staying. The camping spot where we were going to pitch our tent was right next to this river.

The Berg River that was rumbling very loudly past where we were staying. The camping spot where we were going to pitch our tent was right next to this river.

The front section of the communal room where we were staying looking over the river and aptly name The River House.

The front section of the communal room where we were staying looking over the river and aptly name The River House.

Captured this as I walked back to our "camp" site, the smoke from the pizza oven and the smoke from the roaring fire inside.

Captured this as I walked back to our “camp” site, the smoke from the pizza oven and the smoke from the roaring fire inside.

That night the three of us dined on the most delicious homemade pizza’s and Avril and Bruce joined us too but they would be braai’ing. We drank wine, burnt some gloves and sat around chatting in front of the roaring fire. Yes, would you believe as much as Simon loves his fingers he decided he no longer needed finger tips on his gloves and so proceeded to burn them right off!

Simon's new look gloves ~ who needs the fingertips anyway!

Simon’s new look gloves ~ who needs the fingertips anyway!

After hours of chatting, no sooner than Bruce and Avril departed, the Monopoly cards came out and even thought it was already late, the three of us just had to get in some more rounds of our game. That game is seriously addictive!

Game # 139!!

Game # 139!!

We headed off to bed somewhere half way between midnight and 1am.  Snug in a nice warm sleeping bag with the fire cracking on the side, I drifted off to sleep quickly, once again excited for what lay ahead tomorrow….

~ All Photos By Me, Part 2 to follow tomorrow ~

~ Unfortunately I didn’t realise the pics had the date and time stamp on until early Sunday morning so I’ve cropped it out on some of the photos where I could but others I’ve had to leave it on ~

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