Date: June 2002
Weather: Cold during the day making for a lovely hike but very chilly in the evening.
Boy oh boy. This is a hike of note. Before anybody intends doing the Naukluft this is a good one to do, to prepare themselves. When leaving base camp you immediately start climbing. First gradually and then it becomes pretty steep.
The trail then takes you along the contour path, just below the craggy rocks, through indigenous forests, down gulleys, up ravines for quite a distance. Doesn't sound like much but all those up's and down's are quite exhausting. You pass windy corner, which is very aptly named, so be careful, very, very careful. (One of our party - I won't mention names - tried to take a header downhill.)
You continue further along before heading down the mountain at a moderate angle, across the valley and through the Black Wattle Forest. It is at this point that you must decide whether you are going to drag a branch with you all the way to the cave for a fire or drop off your back pack and return when you have energized yourself. (If you are lucky, the group ahead of you, took enough firewood to last the evening) .
From there you start climbing quite steeply for a short distance before it peters out to a gradual climb until finally, eventually and at long last you reach the overnight cave.
The trail back wasn't very well marked, so the various groups all went their own way. You started off with a relatively steep descent and from there the path undulated for quite a distance, past some huge and beautiful rock formations, before heading down to base camp.
Although a very looooooong and strenuous hike, it was absolutely great, with lots of variety. The steep climbs, the beautiful forests, the slippery downhills, the magnificent rocks and of course, windy corner. Even walking across the grassland from one mountain to another was a welcome relief from all the ups and downs. And we musn't forget about carrying your fire wood with you the last 3km's. A really superb hike and one I will hopefully be able to do again, although this time I think I will give the firewood a miss.(Firewood? If memory serves me correctly, I think I managed to carry a twig.)