it seems that we could walk for days (well we have been walking for days, but you know what I mean). We hit bramble as soon as we leave the bridge where our steadfast support crew dropped us this morning.
By the river’s edge we approach two ominous signs, a dead skinned reedbuck and a goat with its throat slit. The blood stains the land and the river runs brown. The water has risen since yesterday, the water from Mearns weir on the Mooi is being pumped into the Lions. The river flows fast and deep, too fast for us to conduct a river health test and too deep too cross the banks at will. So we keep to the right bank this morning, trying to bypass the thick bramble that smothers the flood plain and the river bank.
No such luck – we soon hit impenetrable bramble. This is the thickest we have seen the bramble since the walk began. Firebreaks have burnt some of the bramble
but it still everywhere and this is the first day when I have forgotten my slasher. So with a dugu in my hand I proceed to hack a path through for us. Wow, I have never had so much fun and its better than any computer game I have ever played, although soon I’m hungry (it’s only been an hour since I ate) and after 10 minutes I’m still not even half way through. A peach tree in bloom stands alone in the middle of this.
Penny says that she will never look at peach tree again without thinking of this bramble thicket. I say that the prettiest things are normally covered in thorns and they will hurt you if you get too close.
The plantations normally keep clear of the buffer zones of the river for which we are grateful. We follow the rivers course from high up keeping her in our sight. We stop for a short break just as we see the N3 highway and we take a few minutes to take in these beautiful surroundings before we hit the unreal world of cars, trucks and tar roads
Most of the causeways have been flooded so we cannot even get to the other side.
In this cool weather we cover a lot of ground. Usually we will be sweating and drinking all our water too soon, but we are already more than halfway along our route for today. So we take a break against the river edge,
eating our lunch (which has been the same everyday for the last seven days, not sure if I can eat another peanut butter sandwich).
and we stay on the left hand side which quickly becomes infested with bramble, and here even bugweed has come to join the alien invaders party. We keep higher trying to evade them and soon we are at The Lions River Trading Post. It is now nearly 1pm and John and Brendan have met us on the road to give us a hearty cup of soup. Now this is the life.
Since its early afternoon and we have already bypassed our stopping point for today we decide to push ahead. Our support crew checks the maps to see if we can be extracted if we continue our journey to the confluence with the uMngeni.
We head onwards hoping to cover more ground. We pass the picturesque Lions River Country Cottages and other households along the Lions and skirt around the plantations. We also encounter Umgeni Water’s gauging wier. But sooner than you can say Long John Silver or Brambelina we are faced with more brambles that smother everything everywhere. This is why it is a problem plant and an invasive; it deters many creatures (not only us) from accessing the river or the ground.
With the rain coming down hard and faced with more hacking and tramping through brambles we decide to call it a day and phone through to John and B to pick us up. This is only so that we can have an early start tomorrow morning facing the brambles, hopefully with some hot breakfast to help us battle through. So this is the end of Day 7 one more day to go and we are done walking the Lions. Its been a long week but time does fly when you hacking and data collecting and having fun.
Fence count: 13. Kilometres: 15. Two happy river walkers: check