It was pouring with rain at 3.30am, but by 6.30am Cape Parrots could be heard and an enormous rainbow framed Inhlosane. Despite reports from further west of rain, we were pretty sure we’d be able to climb, as planned, to celebrate on top. The clouds smudged the peak, lifted, shifted, descended again…
Nothing would deter the enthusiastic group gathered in the Everglades car park. Besides, Brandon and Jethro had set out ahead of us carrying the Gin, lemons and mint cordial (all decanted into unbreakable bottles) and the biodegradable glasses (in case anyone left one behind). We simply had to get to the top!
There was a lot of chatting as we headed up through the plantations above the hotel.
We paused as we emerged into the grassland and saw the peak of the hill. It didn’t look that far away, but it certainly looked steep.
Soon unnecessary chatter stopped as we saved our breath and listened to the Blue Cranes calling overhead.
Up, up, ooh, aah. How lucky could we be? A beautiful, freshly washed day with just enough cloud to keep us from frazzling.
Pre-hike publicity had promised “cracking views” and they certainly were wonderful.
The kids in the Owen party skipped ahead and were the first to arrive.
The rest of us took things at a more leisurely pace.
Stopping often to admire the views and take photos,
to catch our breath,
to identify the plants – Senecio was flowering cheerfully. Peter decided it was Mountain Senecio (Senecio macrocephalus) Smooth edged leaves, hairy, leaves grasp the stem.
Brandon and Jethro welcomed us at the beacon with cocktails.
Lucinda mistook a bottle of Gin for water and tipped it into a bowl for Pluto to drink – he wasn’t impressed. He and Rupert did enjoy the views though.
Chris King (at 72 years old) was particularly impressive – arriving ahead of half the party!
The Beresford bunch were pleased with themselves.
John settled on a rock, like the dassies below,
We had been expecting about 30 Everglades guests to join us (and Everglades had packed their picnic lunches!) but they chickened out. One guest, Mandy, who was spending some time alone on the mountain, was surprised by the hordes of hikers but joined our party enthusiastically.
Mandy had found a Geo-Cache so we added our names and put it back. We unpacked our picnics.
Marashene Lewis, a newish resident said proudly “This weekend has been my rite of passage. Now I am truly entrenched in the Dargle.”
We gathered for a group photo – Thanks Ashley.
Gilly, Tammy and Wyndham arrived as others thought about heading back down.
Christie taught Mandy to crochet and then helped Nikki to yarn bomb the beacon. Mandy is our new best friend!
We bid farewell to the now brightly coloured beacon
Lucinda missed the Cairn on the way down and took a very long detour through Mount Park!
We met up with her on the lawns at Everglades where she shared flasks of hot tea and her adventures with us.
What a wonderful celebration of an ancient Dargle Icon. Photos by Ashley Crookes, Barry Downard, Nikki Brighton.