Weekend - Friday 9 December 2016 to Sunday 11 December 2016 (3 days)
Table Mountain was all that Margaret promised it would be - wet, muddy and difficult with no views. Our team of five - Pieter, Ming, Catherine, Martin and Margaret were aided by local knowledge from Adrian and Foster (the Thames Tramping Club) and a thin fluoro string that guided us through the top - a blessing at times with a boggy tree fallen quagmire as our only outlook. We made good time up Moss Creek Track with one small blip that was embarrassingly amended by the ‘fit’ team and then on up to Mt Rowe, with a track well marked to Table Mountain.
We eagerly found ‘the string’ that initially followed old track, then ‘the string’ went off track. At times we were not so excited by ‘the string’ as it was hard going and often got tangled in our packs or boots. We were not so sure if ‘the string’ would have been better following the old track all the way? Hours later discovering ‘the now not so loved string’ was broken, Pieter stoically, compass in hand, bush-bashed us back onto the old track. By then too exhausted to care otherwise, we obediently followed behind, relieved when Martin spotted our ‘beloved string’ again. Somehow Ming managed to capture photos of the most delicate miniature orchids while the rest of us were focused on belly crawling in the mud under and over relentless fallen trees.
We stumbled upon a sodden logbook balanced incongruously on a pole in the middle of nowhere, telling us not much, but we added our names in the hope that someone might know we passed this way. The old track was now well marked, leading us to a long arduous slippery steep descent ending at the Waionora track - finally a real ‘walking track’. Sadly this didn’t last long, as we were soon off track again and onto the Waiwara trail that looked to have been marked and trimmed recently, allowing us to navigate with greater ease to an open grassy site where the Waiwawa Hut had once existed. It didn’t take much arm-twisting to be convinced to move on when Margaret informed us that wonderful hunters had created a makeshift shelter a little further on out of the corrugated iron and timber from the dismantled hut. Although not quite looking like the Ritz; dirt floor, rumpity beds, makeshift furniture and even a wooden stand for a portable toilet seat so you could precariously perch while on the job (no, we didn’t use it!!!) it still FELT like the Ritz - shelter from the mist that soon turned into rain, a spot to disrobe our sodden mud encrusted clothes, to cook our hot sumptuous meals and lick our wounds while retelling stories of the 11 hour battle just won.
Of course the next day was going to be a better day - Sunday and sunshine. We worked our way upwards again towards the strangely named Orange Peel corner on old Track 10 from Waiwawa for a 1.00 lunch. We later had to make a big executive decision at the final intersection - whether to head towards Big Blue or towards the slimmest of hopes of an ice cream at the Visitors Center. No choice really. Although us girls did manage to hitch a ride part of the way to hasten our chances, sadly the refreshment gods were not smiling at us on that day as we were confronted with the confounded "Closed " sign. A great challenging weekend.
Scribes Margaret Law and Catherine Doyle