© 2011 Linsen. All rights reserved. photo (1)

Arangieskop

I hiked the Arangieskop trail, near Robertson, a few weeks back. As the first overnight hike I’ve done in a while, and in particular the first since I decided to join my family on the Camino de Santiago later this year, it was for me both a great escape into the outdoors, and also a good opportunity to test out some new gear, and to see how light I could make my backpack without missing out on any essential items.

The hike itself, recommended for “experienced hikers”, was exceptional. The ascent on Saturday was strenuous, and the more than 1000m climb explained why a distance of 9.5km is billed at 7 hours of walking. In spite of the steep paths, the walk was beautiful, with many rest stops and watering points along the way.

The high point of the trail is without doubt the hut at the top. Built right against the rock of the mountain and constructed of stones and huge wooden beams, it has enough beds for 23 people, a fireplace inside, a braai spot outside, showers and an incredible view. The only downside was arriving at the same time as a tractor load of tourists (brought up the jeep tracks on the other side of the mountain), but fortunately they didn’t stay long, and soon we had the whole mountain to ourselves.

The second days hike begins with a further 200m climb to the summit of the mountain, where we were greeted with an incredible sea of clouds, far below us. From there we took a steep descent down off the peak, followed by a long hike around and down the mountain. Again there were plenty of places to enjoy some cool mountain water, fresh from one of the streams, and we reached the end of the day’s 11km route not long after lunch.

Image: Conrad Hofmeyr

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