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Fynbos Trail Day 3

Fynbos Trail Day 3

We awoke with a spring in our step, but some trepidation in our hearts! The websites were predicting significant rain for the morning and my wife forgot her rain jacket at home... eish! 

But first it was time for breakfast and as per normal we were treated like royalty...

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With Cereals and muesli...

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Eggs and mushrooms...

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Fruit Salad...

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And Michelle's delicious bread + preserves.

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There weren't a lot of clouds in the sky, so we were optimistic that the rain might have come and gone while we were sleeping. Anyway, what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger!

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So we set off. The first part of the day's hike overlapped with the waterfall trial, a day hike from Fynbos Retreat.

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With the sun out, we were treated to a beautiful flower display...

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Soon we saw the forest. It was once much larger but was virtually completely destroyed by woodcutters. The only parts that remain are deep in the kloof, which was to difficult for the woodcutters to harvest economically.

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It was a steep descent into the kloof, but luckily there were wooden stairs to help us down.

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At the bottom we reached a beautiful forested valley with a river running through it.

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And soon the enchanting waterfall...

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Another perfect Kodak moment :-)

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It was also the perfect place for morning tea :-)

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But soon we were underway again...

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And having left the shadowy comfort of the forest behind we started a steep climb out of the valley...

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Luckily we could take a breather every now and again :-)

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Soon we reached somewhat of a plato, but still the gradient was up!

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We were on our way to the summit of Grootberg Peak, at 409m the highest point on the trail...

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And before we knew it we were on the top of the world. Tired and out of breath, but still in one piece...

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But luckily the views made every drop of sweat worthwhile!

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The weather had suddenly taken a turn for the worse. A bank of ominous clouds were approaching rapidly. We could therefore not linger to long on the mountain and started the trek down, hoping to reach the lunch spot before the rain...

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After an initial slightly steep descent we reached a gradual jeep track that meandered down through the Flower Valley farm. 

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Flower Valley Conservation Trust was established in 1999 when Carol Blumenthal approached Fauna & Flora international for support to buy the Flower Valley farm (saving it from possibly being converted to vineyards). Subsequently the Trust has been doing sterling work in alien clearing, early childhood development, sustainable harvesting and promoting ethical trade and responsible tourism on Flower Valley Farm and across the Agulhas plain.

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By the time we reached our lunch spot at Stinkhoutsbos Forest, the threat of rain had all but subsided. 

Lunch was in a small clearing in the forest. It was a beautiful setting.

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With Michelle's delicious homemade bread...

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Cole salad (Happy wife, happy life!)...

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Homemade pies...

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A  Barley and mushroom dish...

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And last but not least, Delicious ice cold homemade ginger beer... Stephanie was really looking forward to that all hike long :-)

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After lunch we did a short hike through the forest. It has also been greatly affected by deforestation. Only one third of the original forest remains.

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During the Second World War, Italian prisoners of war cut out many of the mature black stinkwood trees from the forest. This disturbed the balance of the forest allowing more light to penetrate the canopy, resulting in the growth of less fire resistant plants. This made the forest more prone to fires. The 2006 fire particularly inflicted a lot of damage.

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The forest is home to Cape Leopards. This tree is one of their favourite scratching places. Local researcher (and Fynbos trail logistic coordinator!) Mike Fabricius has used motion detection cameras to film these magnificent creatures moving about in the forest.

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After the tour of the forest, it was time to tackle the last stretch to Witkrans Farm.

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Soon we saw the happy sign again :-)

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We were welcomed with another buchu cordial.

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The farm has two hiker cabins. The one we stayed in had three bed rooms, each with a double bed. Our fellow hikers were gracious enough to allow us to sleep in the one with the en-suite bathroom... #extremely grateful!

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But most importantly, it also had a wood fired jacuzi, nice!

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That evening we met up with Sean again. He was back from Johannesburg with the great news that the Grootbos foundation won a respectable third place in the 2017 Jack Cheetham memorial award!

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Sean presented a wine tasting, showcasing the wines from the nearby Lomond wine farm.

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It was time for dinner. Michelle prepared a delicious potjie (A South African stew prepared in a very specific black pot)... yum yum!

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With Salad, of course  :-)

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Desert was chocolate pudding (the Privett family's top secret recipe :-)

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After socialising and solving most of the world's pressing problems, we retired to our cabins, content after another special day of hiking in the Gansbay mountains. 

Fynbos Trail Day 2

Fynbos Trail Day 2

Fynbos Trail Day 4

Fynbos Trail Day 4