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Arangieskop Trail – 22-23 November 2014

Arangieskop Two Day Trail – 22-23 November 2014

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This 2 day hike up and down the Langeberg mountains north of Robertson in the Dassieshoek Nature Reserve is a 9km 1200m climb on day 1 and a further 11km, 200m climb and 1500m descent on day 2.

 

Day 1:

The trail passed through Fynbos and  Protea fields on the upper reaches until a lovely hut is reached, carved into the mountain-side with stunning views overlooking the Koo Valley. We pitched or tent on the grass patch as we wanted to practice hiking with a tent and sleeping in it.

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Day 2:

This day we summited Arangieskop Peak itself at 1700m above sea level. The peak was clear, and overlooked a sea of clouds below us. The decent was steep and radical, taking us 2 hours to do 2 kms! This is probably not the preferred route down as it was quite overgrown, but because it was Trailblazing at its best, it was our preferred route down :) (some hikers opt to descend the same route they came up on day 1)! This included some serious climbing out of one of the gorges.

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We noticed spiders spinning their webs between the Proteas which only occurred at a certain height above sea level.

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Finally, hungry and tired, we stopped at the last water point for lunch. No sooner had we unpacked our lunch, when we were attacked by a swarm of bees. What followed was a scurry up the hill, frantically trying to wave the bees away. The result – a sting in the behind for Lisa and one to the eye for Joseph! The last 5kms of the descent winds its way down the foothills of the mountain and past the Dassieshoek Dam.

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Trail du Mont Rochelle Trail Run – 31 August 2014

This 13km version of this inaugural trail run in Franschhoek was a circular up and down route on the mountainside above the town. The relentless lung busting uphill set me up for a lovely downhill that puts technical single track trail running on another level – pure excitement!

Google Earth

Mobii layer map

 

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On the way to the summit – snow in the distance on the Hottentots mountains!

 

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As one summits, so the view through the Hottentots-Holland mountain range of Table Mountain comes into view.

 

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At the summit of the Du Toitskop Peak, one feels like one is at the top of the world…!

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Montagu Mountain Mania Trail Run – 31 May 2014

Montagu Mountain Mania Trail Run – 31 May 2014

This somewhat annual trail run of ours takes place in the picturesque mountains of Montagu and Robertson. It was a 22km circular race that consisted of technical sandy and rocky mountain trail running amongst fine fynbos. This journey depicts the climb to the summit of the mountain range.

Mobii layer

Capture

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On the 9km 800m elevation climb that takes us to that saddle and up to the right.

 

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On the saddle heading up towards the 1196m summit we had our first view of the Robertson Wine Valley on the right and to the left the Langeberg Oos mountain range that divides Montagu from the valley – lovely single track!

 

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Looking down into Montagu itself on the way to the summit

 

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The ruggedness of the mountain is awesome!

 

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The complete picture on the summit at 1196m

 

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…without it, what we do means nothing!

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Whale of Trail Run – 10 May 2014

 

Whale of Trail Run – 10 May 2014

 

The inaugural Whale of Trail Run took place in Cape Nature’s De Hoop Nature Reserve. It was a 51.3 km race that consisted of mountain fynbos trail running as well as a technical coastal section where land met sea.

 

Whale Trail Run 2

 

Whale Trail Run 1

 

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Sun setting on the eve of the race

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The vlei and surrounds where the accommodation and race briefing took place.

 

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Coastal sand running here we come!

 

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Abundance of wildlife in the reserve.

 

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Race briefing and eating tent

 

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Would the run prove to be as much a load as this famous wild fig tree?

 

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Lacing up and getting the new full shoe gaitors in place – much needed for the sandy sections!

 

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Ready to go!

 

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A local primary school singing our National Anthem before we start

 

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Off we go!

 

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Down this climb…

 

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…and up the next!

 

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The mountain Fynbos section proved to be technical but was awesome!

 

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The start of the coastal section at about 22kms.

 

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The sandy sections were long and arduous

 

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Beautiful coast, single track and rock formations

 

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The trail was incredible

 

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A view to the finish for spectators – Koppie Alleen.

 

De Hoop’s beauty

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The finish is near!

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That’s it – what a run – 8:19:54

 

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A great place to rest weary legs – Melkkamer Vlei Cottage (De Hoop Collection)!

 

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A fine sunset to a fine day!

 

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Didn’t see any whales, except had a whale of a time, thanks to Cape Nature and MERRELL!

 

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What you looking at?

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Tsitsikamma Hiking Trail – April 2014

Tsitsikamma Hiking Trail: 27 April – 2 May 2014

 

This 6 day journey took us over and through 65km of pristine hiking trail from Natures Valley to Storms River Village!

trailmap

 

Day 1: Natures Valley DeVasselot Camp Site to Kalender Hut, 4.4 kms

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A daily selfie - you will see!

A daily selfie – you will see!

 

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The beautiful Natures Valley beach – the end of the Otter hiking trail and African Otter Trail Run and beginning of the Retto Trail Run which Lisa did in 2012,…and a place to play great Frisbee!

Selfie, no a footsie - our Frisbee goes wherever we go...probably the most travelled Frisbee ever!

Footsie, not a Selfie – our Frisbee goes wherever we go…probably the most travelled Frisbee ever!

 

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Settling down to a great cuppa – our Frisbee’s new traveling companion AeroPress coffee maker and accessories – goes wherever we go!

 

Day 2: Kalender Hut to Blaauwkrantz Hut,  16.6 kms

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These hikes always start off with a climb! Looking down to and leaving Natures Valley beach and Kalender Hut from Pig’s Head.

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Water was plentiful

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Bloukrans Bridge

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Heading into the Tisitiskamma mountains – magnificent!

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Taking stock of the day gone past and taking our breath for the day to come!

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What a view!!

 

Day 3: Blaauwkrantz Hut to Keurbos Hut,  13.2 km

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Traversing through the valley…

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…crossing rivers

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Amazing single track.

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Eerie forests

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Keurbos Hut. Each hut was pretty much the same, just situated in varying locations each night.

 

Day 4: Keurbos Hut to Heuningbos Hut, 12.8 km

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Conquering the Lottering River (Joseph’s personal vendetta against this river for various reasons)

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Probably one of the most technical, yet beautiful sections of the hike – from the widest vistas to the…

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…smallest detail

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A daily airing of our hardware!

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The lapa looked over an…

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…amazing view.

 

Day 5: Heuningbos Hut to Sleepkloof Hut, 14.3 km

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What can we say? :)

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Proteas

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Looking back from the highest point of the hike

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Rewarded with incredible Giant Proteas

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Looking down towards Storms River

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Great lapa view on our last night.

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Moon set

 

Day 6: Sleepkloof Hut to Storms River Village, 5.5 km

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Crazy or not crazy, we must’ve been because we didn’t plan to wear the same t-shirts on the final day :)

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Crossing the N2 – baboons

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Smiles all around as we finish an amazing journey

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Now…

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Coffee Journeying

Yes, that’s the title; it’s as simple as that – the journey in finding the best, most simplistic, compact and somewhat lightest travelling coffee brewing kit for my journeying on the trails. Oh, yes, let’s not forget, the coffee travelling kit that produces the best cup on even the remotest trail; brewing coffee in often the remotest places on earth (that is defined by where there’s no cell phone reception and that takes one up to eight hours to be evacuated only over land in an emergency!). After months of research, here goes, testing (most important!) and reviewing…it’s a work in progress and there more to improve on.

On our latest speed hiking (http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Speed+Hiking) trip on the 7 night and 7 day 108km Outeniqua Hiking Trail (6 – 13 December): IMG_1529

The complete kit so far, from L-R: AeroPress (www.strictlycoffee.co.za) which contains Porlex Mini Hand Coffee Grinder, 2 x Able Stainless Steel DISK Aeropress Filters, Able Aeropress Travel Cap & Brewing Grip; Coffee Beans (www.beanthere.co.za); Jet Boil 230ml Gas Canister (www.orca-industries.co.za); Kovea Titanium Stove; Kovea Solo 2 Cookset (both www.campandclimb.co.za); long life milk (Pick n Pay/elsewhere); GSI Outdoors Cup (www.orca-industries.co.za); sugar (Pick n Pay/elsewhere) and AeroPress coffee scoop (comes with AeroPress).

 

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Dissembling the packaged AeroPress with Porlex Mini Hand Coffee Grinder (www.yuppiechef.co.za): remove the Able Aeropress Travel Cap & Brewing Grip (www.capecoffeebeans.co.za) from the top of the plunger part of the AeroPress and remove the cap of the Porlex from the underside of the handgrinder itself which is inserted into the back of the plunger upside down:

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The rubber sleeve that comes from and with the Porlex grinder is placed around the main section of the AeroPress to carry and hold the grinder handle. Remove the two Able Stainless Steel DISK Aeropress Filters (www.capecoffeebeans.co.za) from the filter basket and choose the normal (right) or FINE (left) filter depending on taste preferences and/or grind size:

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Use the AeroPress Coffee scoop to add the desired amount of beans into the grinder. Grind the coffee – what a great sound and smell!

 

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Ready for brewing…

 

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Patiently waiting…

 

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…brewing and steeping. Use the handle of the AreoPress scoop to stir the brew.

 

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Extracting…

 

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Milk and sugar according to taste?

 

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What a delight!

 

Review: With the aim in mind above of portable, compact, best, most simplistic and somewhat lightest travelling coffee brewing kit for my journeying on the trails, this set up certainly does tick a lot of the boxes. Here’s how:

  • The compactness and fitting of the Porlex into the AreoPress does well.
  • Both are excellent tools that produce excellent brews portably, literally anywhere.
  • These two tools need to be used together with the Able Aeropress Travel Cap & Brewing Grip, and work brilliantly together.
  • Two variable coffee disk filters prevent having to travel with paper filters, save space when packed and produce a range of taste notes that easily match any paper filters.
  • The cooker and pot is great and heats the water to a desired brew temperature fast and efficiently. The self-starter Kovea Titanium Stove folds up and fits well into the pot for compact travelling and the gas canister can also fit into one’s bag easily in small spaces. No need for matches or a lighter to get the water heated.
  • The AeroPress scoop being used for measuring the desired amount of beans (a flat scoop of beans allows for approx. 16g of coffee) and used as a stirrer saves space and weight.

As with anything there is always room for improvement. These include:

  • The Cup – has a permeated coffee smell so any other beverage gets coffee whiff, and the cup loses the coffees’ temperature quickly.
  • Bag – a large Ziplock bag does not keep all items packaged nice and snug together while travelling.
  • Frother – for that Cappuccino! A device is being tested at present…

Version two of this article coming soon…now, where’s that coffee?