I own no land, instead I have wheelestate. I’ve been a full time RVer since 1997. Working summers as a Park Ranger takes me to many beautiful places and playing during the winter takes me to many more. This blog is simply the story of my life's adventures.


Thank you for stopping by. Just to let you know, I'm still blogging but have moved to Geogypsytraveler. Hope you'll follow my adventures. Just click here.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Drakensberg hike to Brian Bush Camp - Day 1 of 2

01 Sunrise from Monks Cowl camp Drakensburg ZA (1024x768)

After two days of intermittent rain in the Bergs Joan and I woke up to clear skies above. And that’s where I’d be headed for my scheduled overnight hike lead by John from Vertical Horizons (son of Jo from memorable meanders).

02 Trailhead from Monks Cowl camp Drakensburg KwaZulu-Natal ZA (1024x767)

A good sign. ;) About 8.5 miles (14 km) to Brian Bush Camp. (Please correct me if I’m wrong about the distance. It felt like that far.)

03 Sandstone cliffs Drakensburg hike KwaZulu-Natal ZA pano (1024x459)

We initially walked up through a short stretch of indigenous forest, and then continued into bushveld, thick scrubby trees and bush in dense thickets, and eventually grassland.

 04 Crystal Falls Drakensburg hike KwaZulu-Natal ZA pano (559x1024)

I took a fall at Crystal Falls stepping onto a slippery rock to take a photo but was OK and saved the new camera from a soaking. Actually drank the stream water, delicious and no problems.

05 Champagne Castle, Cathkin Peak & the Sterkhorn Drakensburg hike KwaZulu-Natal ZA pano (1024x390)

Champagne Castle 3377m, Cathkin Peak 3148m & the Sterkhorn 2973m

A little further past the Sphinx the path winds steeply up the rest of the Little Berg and onto the plateau.

06 wildlife (1024x768)

Once on the plateau we stopped at Breakfast Stream for a snack and were entertained by a couple of sun lizards (top right).

07 Eye of the Needle Drakensburg hike KwaZulu-Natal ZA (1024x595)

The eye of the needle

The path lead us slightly uphill and down following the gentle contour of this lush plateau.

08 flowers (1024x768)

Even during fall there were a few flowers and we grazed along  the way on wild berries.

09 The Sphinx & valley view Drakensburg hike KwaZulu-Natal ZA (1024x768)

The mountains are capped by a layer of basalt approximately 1,400 meters thick, with sandstone lower down, resulting in a combination of steep-sided blocks and pinnacles.

10 Basalt with zeolites (1024x768)

Many of the primary minerals within the basalts have been altered to form zeolites, found in cavities in basalt. Looked like pale blue banded agate to me.

11 Gaelyn at Blind Man's Corner Drakensburg hike KwaZulu-Natal ZA (1024x768)

Day hiking is not recommended beyond Blinds man corner…

12 Drakensburg hike KwaZulu-Natal ZA (1024x768)

…a great place to stop for lunch and enjoy the views.

13 Dragons Teeth & Eye of the needle Drakensburg hike KwaZulu-Natal ZA pano (1024x449)

As we continued towards the Dragons Teeth it seemed the breath of the dragon began to roll in.

14 Stream Drakensburg hike KwaZulu-Natal ZA pano (839x1024) 

Suddenly a monster storm rolled over us with loud and energetic thunder and lightning dropping buckets of water until we were soaked.

15 Drakensburg hike KwaZulu-Natal ZA (1024x768)

Just as quickly, the storm moved on and the earth smelled freshly washed.

 16 Drakensburg hike KwaZulu-Natal ZA (1024x768)

Soon after the squall passed we turned a corner and saw Monks Cowl towering above Brian Bush Camp.

 17 Keith Bush Camp Drakensburg hike KwaZulu-Natal ZA (768x1024)

And in only a bit farther--seemed like forever at that point--John had camp set up and hot water on for tea and cocoa. He’s a great guy and guide. We basically dried fast after our drenching yet as the sun disappeared I was glad for dry poly and warm supper. John walked down to the stream and took a dip before retiring but not me. I like hot water down my back, which would happen the next day after our hike back.


Anonymous said...

I am in awe....with my mouth wide open. Feed me more Scenic Wonders.

Nina F said...

Nice post - Would love to get there some day. My Bucket List includes east African early man sites... there are so many to visit now I nearly don't know where to start!

Unknown said...

Great photos of a terrific hike. Boom & Gary of The Vermilon River, Canada.

Diane said...

Thanks for the memories. So glad you saved your camera when you fell or we may not have seen all these fantastic photos. Diane

Barb said...

So green there, Gaelyn, and you captured the magnitude well! I'm always a bit frightened when a storm blows in while i'm up high.

Arija said...

I am so glad you shared this magnificent country with us. A wonderful hike and I'm sure the shower refreshed you as well as the countryside. What an experience!

Tammie Lee said...

looks like and sounds like an amazing adventure. So happy for you to do these things. Much happiness to you as we roll into the winter solstice.

Pat said...

It's nice to see some green, and these photos are soooo tempting. Currently our ground is flowers....and no lizards.

You were brave to drink the stream water. I almost drank the perfectly clear water around Bishop in the Sierras, but was warned by my friend not to.

Betty Manousos said...

Thanks for sharing those phortos!!
They are all amazing!!

And thanks so much for your wonderful comments!

Betty Manousos said...

What an adventure! I'm jealous. lol!

Firefly the Travel Guy said...

In two weeks time we hit the Berg. My only concern are those little thunderstorms that tend to hit it in the afternoon.

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