Share Your Memorable Hiking Story

I thought it would be fun to hear each others most memorable hiking moments. Perhaps add a picture if you have one (and avoid tl;dr).

I’ll start: Recently losing a layer of skin while being absolutely PELTED by beach sand, because of some hectic wind at the start of the Shipwreck trail - While we had to wait for a late buddy.
As we sat there we witnessed a group drag some goats onto the beach to perform a sacrifice ritual… Thankfully the sand was too much for them and little billy lived to see another day.

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Great idea Julian!

We did a multi-day hike in the Cederberg a few years ago, during winter. We knew there was some rain predicted and we were well equipped for it. However, that “predicted rain” escalated into a full-blown winter storm, with freezing temperatures and winds measuring at 108km/h down in the valley - it ripped the roof of the admin building at Algeria campsite.

Fortunately we had made it to Welbedacht Cave the day before as the storm was building. The cave faces roughly north-east, and with the storm coming in from the north-west, we sat and watched this spectacular show of hurricane-strength winds, horizontal rain and hail, while completely dry and out of the teeth of the wind.

We brewed multiple cups of tea over two nights until the storm finally broke. We had to cover two days’ worth of walking in one day to get back to our cars, but it was totally worth it - it’s an experience that will stay with me for a long time…

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@Gerrienel I think you have an epic story about baboons and rocks in Duiwelskloof :wink:

And for a slightly longer read, @WillemB has an epic account of his Drakensberg Grand Traverse experience on the website: https://www.hikingsouthafrica.co.za/the-drakensberg-grand-traverse-part-1/

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We had a serious mouse problem while doing the 1st Traverse of the Rim of Africa. By day 3 we were so fed up with them climbing into our backpacks to eat our food and nibbling at our tents, (and keeping us awake) that one of the man decided to build a make-shift mouse trap with a string tied to a rock and peanut butter as bate. Those mice are just too clever to be caught. We had lots of laughs and the story gets told almost every time we do a long hike and someone must do mouse- watch duty.

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Wow what an experience!

And @WillemB 's account of the DGT was such a great read.

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To isolate the most memorable hike would be hard, but my 3 most memorable day hikes would be:

  1. Up Cockade Pass down Bell Traverse https://www.vertical-endeavour.com/forum/drakensberg-trips/55940-didima-day-hike-c-is-for-cockade.html
  2. Cathkin in a day https://jonathantheghaznavid.wordpress.com/2019/08/05/cathkin-peak/
  3. Mbundini Abbey Spire in a day https://jonathantheghaznavid.wordpress.com/2020/02/02/mbundini-abbey-spire-in-a-day/

Most memorable multi day hike - has to be the Double Drakensberg Grand Traverse https://www.summitpost.org/double-crossing-the-dragon-the-tale-of-a-back-to-back-drakensberg-grand-traverse/1014346

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As requested by Arno, I will try and recount my rockfall story here (its a bit of a long story but I need the word count for context). Me and two friends went hiking up Duiwelskloof in Banhoek area, Stellenbosch. It is a very deep, narrow gorge with steep walls. Big parts of it actually qualifies as a “slot canyon”. We set up camp in a spot where the walls are about 600m high and the canyon is only about 50m wide. There was a troop of baboons ahead, and our moving up the kloof forced them up the steep canyon walls. About 30 minutes after camp was pitched, we heard the first rockfall. Within 100m from us. We laughed it off.

Then we heard another rockfall. And another one. And another one. And yet another. Our laughs became more nervous, but we still remained calm. All of a sudden, a rockfall right above us. You could hear the rocks dislodge high above, followed by 2 seconds of silence, then a loud crack as the rock hits something on the way down, followed by a demonic “vrrrrr” sound as the rocks accelerate down towards us. Then they would hit something in our close vicinity, and it would rain pieces of rock everywhere. Vertical, diagonal, horizontal, ricocheting against trees and the canyon walls. The closest rock landed 2m from me. One rock fell on my friend’s bed. It sounded like Afghanistan. We realised we are in grave danger.

We ended up abandoning our camp, running upstream to go hide behind a big tree. We sat there for a good hour, waiting for the rockfalls to stop. It was getting dark, and we thought the baboons had likely dislodged the rocks and they will settle as soon as it gets dark. But it didnt stop. We would hear the “vrrrr” sound, then duck and cover, and then rocks would just splatter everywhere. We eventually ran back to camp, just before dark. Decided our camp location is too dangerous. Even more rockfalls as we hastily packed up our camp to evacuate.

And now, to evacuate. If we moved down the canyon, we would have had to down-scramble a dangerous section in the dark and then move down a scree slope for about an hour before finding anything that resembles a campsite. And upstream was the great unknown. My friend only had his tested sunglasses, not his real glasses, so he was essentially blind. And afraid of heights. We decided to go upstream, and by the grace of God we found a safe-enough campsite just as complete darkness ascended, after about 30 minutes of walking.

Notes to self: (1) baboons can dislodge rocks (both intentionally and unintentionally)
(2) Never camp close to steep canyon walls
(3) When you hear a rockfall, however far away it sounds, duck and cover. It took the rocks up to 5 seconds to reach us, and they came in at all angles from all directions.
(4) They dont just fall straight down, they mostly hit another rock and splatter horizontally in all directions.

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That is insane!! Sounds like the plot line of Dawn of the Apes or something…

Thanks for sharing!

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