Expedition Africa 2018: Part IV – A Commune with Cedars

Gut-thumpingly craggy, with jagged peaks and stone-chocked gulleys … Golden grasslands a-wave along the Jan Dissels River run-off … Gnarled and contorted mountain cedars, locked in life or death struggles upon high, serrated ridge lines … And heathers, proteas, lilaceas and restios in utter profusion …

At first glance the #Cederberg ranges comes across as something out of a Cormack McCarthy novel, with nuances of the opening scenes from ‘No Country for Old Men’. But amidst this hard rock grandeur, a multitude of tiny pinpoints of beauty bloom and blossom and sprout in counterpoint to the freeze-frame eruption of those imposing sandstone crags.

Most impressive to me are the indigenous cederbergensis trees, like wisened Ents from the pages of the Tolkien Trilogy. You somehow expect these gnarled shapes to come to life, and stomp like Fangorn and Bregalad and Fimbrethil through this gargantuan boulder Lego Land sprawling here at the foot of Sneeukop.

Last night, GRIT Nyamezela Adventure Racing Team spent the witching hours embedded within the very heart of these #cederberg ranges, having somehow reaped some recovery after their monster #mtb leg into the time-warp that is #wupperthal. I trekked from the #Algeria side into the peaks on a wing and a prayer, hoping to find the team on Sneeukop, or to at least intersect their path somewhere along the way.

Happiness, as this finally meant a proper day of adventure for #DieOom in what surely rates as one of South Africa’s blue-chip adventure playgrounds. The mountain gods smile on me, and it is postcard-perfect light when I spot the team just of the #Sneeukop descent. It’s been a long day out for Peter Van KetsKim van KetsMisty Weyer and Dylan James Weyer, but it’ s obvious that #GRITnyamezela is still loving every moment of their Kinetic Events Africa #ExpeditionAfrica.

On the hike in, I had time to grab some #macro imagery of the miniscule beauty one can so easily miss while you’re missioning through the mountains … minute flowers, lichen on the rocks, heather petals, grass seeds in the wind … just another special space within this breathtaking Namaqua West Coast region. Thank you for letting us experience this, Stephan and Heidi Muller, and Monika De Jager, and for the #SpotAfrica unit to keep me safe, Deborah Matthews Fourie.

There was precious little rest for the foursome as they came off the mountain, as another massive bike leg loomed to #Zandvlakte Private Nature Reserve, and they set off into the night a few hours later, with the #Sleepmonster snapping at their heels …

Massive shout-out also to #gritgroup#RacePace#extremelights#giantbikes#DunloptyresSA#DripDropSA#FrontRunnerZa and all the sponsors who’ve made this #ARjourney possible – it is hugely appreciated.

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