The 40 Series ~ 40 days ~ 40 hikes ~ Walking 4 Education.
Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn ~ Benjamin Franklin
Echo Cave is a shorter morning walk but it is often a hike that folk find quite tough! The hike to Echo Cave began with a brisk walk through the Fern Forest.
A little history: The first Europeans in this area were woodcutters and all the large yellowwood trees were chopped down in the early days. As you walk through the Fern Forest you will notice many pits where these large trees were sawed into planks before being transported out the forest. As a result there are only younger yellowwood trees.
Once we had left the forest the path head up the ridge. This is when the muscles get a very good warm-up and it’s a bit like step-training. We breathed hard, rested a bit and eventually headed through Rustler’s Gap to be rewarded with the most perfect view of our little mountain range and then the majestic Drakensberg main berg behind.
The next pull didn’t feel quite so hard and before we knew it we were walking along the cliff line and into the Echo Cave. Echo Cave is a massive overhang. It has the most gorgeous black stripes which run down the back and it is really quite spectacular. We rested for a time, you-you-ed to make a few echoes and then descended through the forest. This is a steep way down and many folk seem to miss the exit, heading too far down into the depths. It is near the end of the descent that you come across the “Old Man” of the forest. A huge, old yellowwood. This forest was too far and too inaccessible for the woodcutters and so the tree was spared.
The path then follows a lovely contour before descending a bit more through the old Quarry. This is rather rocky and quite steep. The sandstone that was used to build the Cavern’s lounge came from this area and it was quite interesting finding a piece of rock with holes from chiselling.
A great day out and looking forward to tomorrow.