Day 16 – The Big 5 – The practice round

40 days ~ 40 hikes ~ Walking 4 Education

Education, then, beyond all other devices of human origin, is the great equalizer of the conditions of man. ~ Horace Mann

The Big 5 is a hike that goes along the skyline of the mountains surrounding the Cavern Farm, to the top of 5 peaks. It is only about 18kms but the ups and the downs certainly add to the challenge and gives the body a real work-out. We started off with a group of about 16 and one hound, Moya.

The first section is a 2-hour climb to the top of Hlolela through Scillia Gulley. Thankfully a little ladder was added to the Gulley which makes it a lot easier for a human being to get through but our dear Moya battled! Eventually a rope was tied around her and we managed to hoist her up. Of course the adventure with the hound continued on the nose of Hlolela and again in Cavern Gap and we made a pact that we would never bring another dog along!

We walked along Hlolela and on to Battleship which is number 2. We descended to Venus Bath for the most wonderful cup of tea and a tasty crunchie. We did have a very good stop here and basking on the rocks in the Autumn sun made getting up and continuing rather hard! In our party we had 4 guests that were meant to be out for the morning walk but after having joined us on 2 of the 5 peaks they just couldn’t leave! What a great bunch to hike with. Lovely folk, lots of chattering and much encouragement from all.

Sugar Loaf is a steep climb and we all lazed around on top of the pimple which is number 3. The path heads along the back of Cold Hill and there is just the most marvellous view of the Amphitheatre. Noah & I waited while the others hiked to the highest point of Cold Hill, number 4, and we then all headed to the long downhill which is the the Devil’s Staircase. This section is steep but slowly, one foot in front of the other, leads you to the top of Cavern Gap. Cavern Gap has always been a rather scary spot for me. The best way is sitting down, lowering from one rock to the next. There are a couple of quite big drops but with a little help it can be done.

We had a good break in Cannibal Cavern and a rather late lunch. With our expanded party we shared our sandwiches but all had plenty to eat. We left the Cave, headed along Surprise Ridge to Camels Hump, number 5. After resting over lunch and having a lovely long flat walk the uphill to the top of the Camel really requires a lot of effort.

From the Camel it is a quick descent to the Stables. We decided the Big 6 was walking from the stables back to the front lawn!

An excellent walk – much harder than I remember – but that may have something to do with weary legs! Special thanks to all those that joined – what fantastic company! Here’s to our Fundraiser Big 5 on Monday the 19th May.

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A summary of the progress so far…

DayDestinationDistance KMGain M
2Cannibal Cavern7.75475
3Natural Pool2.7287
4Echo Cave5.63321
7Mahai Valley11.76143
8Back to Cavern14.96477
9Jackal Hill7.28206
10Top Dams3.07106
11Sungubala Challenge14.21809
13Park Grotto19.27853
14Camels Hump8.11374
15Policemans Helmet12.34511
16Big Five16.81933
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