Recce to the Source

Penny Rees and John Fourie went to check out where the Lion’s River begins this week. This is Penny’s account of the day.

The 4 x 4 ground its way up the hillside, winding ever upwards.  The recently burned hillsides were black, a ribbon of green along a stream bed the only colour.Source reccee (51)

John and I were on our way to find the source of the Elands River which later becomes the Lions River. We were also looking for a spot to camp on Sunday night near the source so that the walking team (down to three now as Sandile pulled out of the team yesterday) can get an early start on Monday.

Cresting a saddle in the hills,

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a vast wetland lay before us surrounded by even more hills, grasslands and a grove of ancient wattle trees on one side. We climbed up onto a hill for a look down on the wetland Source reccee (12)

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and then we headed for the wattle grove and found the perfect site to pitch camp, shady, sheltered from the wind that so often blows in the high hills.

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To our surprise, there is no spot where the water runs out of the wetland – the saddle blocks the waters exit, being higher than the wetland

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The far side of the saddle revealed where perhaps some time in the distant past, a stream had run out of the wetland.

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The water in the wetland must soak down very deep, until hitting impermeable rock, then moving along sideways until it emerges from the side of the hill down there somewhere.

Sitting atop the hill, we had a view over the Elands valley that we will be walking on Monday. A view of a river with vast wetlands either adjacent to the river, or running down to the river at right angles to it. A good spot to plan where to cross the river, which side to walk…

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Descending from the high hills

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I was satisfied that we knew where we would be going on Sunday. I just didn’t take the weather into account! My new motto is “Go with the Flow”  fairly appropriate for a river walker – be it the flow of the river, the flow of the predicted rain on Sunday, or any other flows that envelope us. Perhaps we will camp on the mountain or perhaps plans will change and we will only head up there on Monday? Time (and the weather) will tell – watch this space on Tuesday and you will have the answer.


About Nikki Brighton

I live in Howick, between the river and the hills. I enjoy pre-dawn walks in the streets with my dog, sitting on the veranda with crochet and tea, and harvesting vegetables outside the kitchen door.
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