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Monday, February 15, 2010

Alexandria Trail

Start of the Alexandria trail is at Langebos Hut. A stone hut with basic amenities. Sleeps 12 people in 2 rooms each with 3 double bunks. There are mens and ladies showers (cold water only) and flush loos. Braai area is a bit of a mess. No grill for braaing. Parks Board chappie came around and classed us all in general ( footprinters) as "Oh that bunch
!"---booking story I presume. You can leave your cars overnight at Langebos hut but they must be moved in the morning to the office area where there is a watchman. Not too far from the start which is at the hut.

Left at 7.20am. Lovely walk through Afro-Montane forest. Forest giants dripping with 'old man's beard' Saw 3 pairs of Knysna Loeries, also vervet monkeys near the 'Waterboom'. Easy walking. Lots of ducking in Spider Alley. (Golden Orbs- BIG ONES). Poor Rob copped them first. Saw a glimpse of a grey bushbuck. About 3 hours walking to the edge of the forest then 10-15 min's through paddocks and onto the road. This takes you past Woody Cape Resort. Here you take a side path to the right then left along the fence then onto a wooden boardwalk which brings you out on the beach. It was a lovely, lovely day! No wind.
Saw a dead Dolphin on the beach and blue bottles being eaten by snail looking things. We reached the beach at about 11.15. The dunes are spectacular and we saw a fish eagle perched on top of one of them. Had lunch on the beach, lovely. Just past our lunch spot we found 2 freshwater springs on the beach. Reached the rope ladder at about 13.30. Wow Aileen, I wouldn't try this one if I was you. VERY scary! 2 of the rungs were broken making the ascent even harder. If the wind was blowing it must be a nightmare. Bit of dune walking on the top of the sand cliffs.

This eventually becomes coastal bush and you continue along here on a bit of a loop and thence to the hut. Trail is fairly well marked. Reached the hut at about 15.00.Very nice hut. Also sleeps 12. Most mattresses have no covers but the hut is clean and has a broom. The verandah is a threat to life and limb (floorboards rotting but to be replaced April 2004.) Lots of bird life at hut, also saw a whale and plenty of dolphins. Lovely view from verandah of the 3 islands, one of which has a lighthouse. Tried to find the path to the wreck but it was so overgrown we gave up.
Knock first so spiders do not get a fright when you open the door. Allow spiders time to exit, flick up lid and step back quickly! If nothing with more than 2 eyes looks back at you it's safe to sit!

Left at 6.30. Easy walking through coastal scrub (more spiders). Huge climb out of bush and up face of first dune. Dunefields absolutely magnificent! Quite hard walking but exhilarating to be amidst such beauty. Hard on the heels and calves and very hot. Trail is fairly well marked. Sometimes there are no poles so you have to look for the tyres they used to anchor the poles. Reached the end of the dunefields at about 10.30 then through more coastal bush.
Hit the track in the farmlands at 11.00. Hundreds of tiny snails clinging to the grass about the size of this (@). Very long stretch and very hot. Stopped at old farmhouse and chicory oven. Topped up water bottles from tank on roof. Turned left off track onto trail, again through indigenous bush.Saw 6 more Loeries and Rob found a red feather. Also more Bushbuck. Eventually came out onto another road and followed this to the new huts they are building for hikers. Very nice too.

Reached the office about 13.45, piled into our cars and headed off to Hogsback for the Amatola trail the next day. Next time this is booked must make sure there is a day inbetween to catch your breath. Beautiful trail! Well worth doing.
Heather Cunningham