Hiking the Dolphin Trail

 

We enjoyed a bit of a sleep in  after our very early mornings on safari. Breakfast was at the restaurant with the awesome view & we joined the other two gentlemen and guide then commenced our walk at 9.

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Our bags were taken to our next night’s accommodation for us so we only had day packs. The morning was brisk but the boys all wore shorts. A wise choice as the day’s temperature increased markedly.

The start of the walk saw us meandering through the lush evergreen forest then crossing the 3 suspension bridges across the mouth of the Storms River. We passed people in kayaks heading up river & I think if we had more time that would have been a great activity.

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It was then a very long steep climb and we took it slowly. Whilst it was challenging , the views from the top back over the river mouth and pine forests that surround the National Park were worth it. In fact when we got to the top & were catching our breath, a couple of mountain bikers appeared out of nowhere. They asked if they could ride down. We just stared at them. Absolutely no way. They looked at us dubiously so we suggested they talk to our guide. He reiterated what we had said so they did an about turn!

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Our previous night’s accomodation from the heights
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Views over the pine forests

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After an enjoyable walk through the fynbos & learning about the local vegetation from Minando we enjoyed morning tea of coffee, tea, cold drinks and chocolate brownies that was brought in by the staff of ‘Misty Mountain’ where we were staying the night.

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Following another steep climb, we rested at the top and took in the amazing views. Rod was starting to look through his bag & when quizzed what he was looking for, it turned out to be the car keys for the hire car. We turned the bag inside & out, as with his pockets , and ….nothing! Our lovely guide rang the restaurant where we had breakfast to see if anything had been handed in, which it hadn’t! We started to panic and the guide was about to call Avis for us when I said to Josh & Andrew “can you please check your backpacks too just in case”… & low & behold , the keys were in Josh’s backpack. “Oh that’s right” says Rod “now I remember where I put them”!!!! We all were in hysterics including the guide and the other two gentlemen!!

It was then a lovely walk to our lunch spot. BUT! What goes up must come down then up then down. So let’s say my knees were feeling it at the end.

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When we arrived at the lunch spot, Minando our guide welcomed us to his ‘restaurant’. Lunch consisted of some delicious sandwiches, juice & muesli bars.

Rod & Andrew went for a swim in a beautiful tidal pool. The water was indescribably clear. Minando provided goggles for them which they enjoyed to see the anemones and starfish. They had a great swim but said the water was very brisk! The South African gentlemen with us were very impressed with Rod’s fitness!

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Josh kept himself busy building a rock cairn!

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Following our lovely rest we were off walking again & we only had one more climb but the views were amazing… we saw more tidal pools.

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On the last leg of our walk we were treated by seeing vervet monkeys in the trees & on the other side of the gorge, baboons. I was amazed by how big they were. Minando told us a story that if you come across a baboon on your path & you only have 1 km to go but 15 to go back, you go back! You don’t muck around with baboons! Luckily they didn’t come between us & our destination.

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We arrived at ‘Misty Mountain Reserve’ at about 3. We changed into our costumes when we saw the pool but the water was way too cold to swim so we took our laptops, cameras etc and sat around the table on the verandah overlooking the ocean and “chilled” before dinner.

The resort (Misty Mountain) is divine. It’s situated at the clifftop and has lovely views over the ocean. They also have quite a brood of peahens and peacocks. Whilst they look lovely they are a bit smelly. Rod made us all laugh as he went into Andrew’s room to ask him if he could work out why the camera wouldn’t work when he was trying to take a photo of the sunset. Andrew calmly explained that the lens cap was still on!

 

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Some gorgeous artwork inside the restaurant

Our 3 course dinner was awesome as were the drinks then it was off to bed.

We were up at 7 the next morning. We left our bags packed in our room and headed for the dining room for breakfast. The bags were picked up for us and taken to ‘The Fernery’ for the next night. After a great breakfast including the usual suspects of cereals & fruit, & eggs to order, we were off walking at 9 led by Minando.  After a steep descent we found ourselves at the ocean once again. We climbed along some rocks (literally) and found ourselves at a pebbly  beach where there was a pool. The rocks actually weren’t that hard to climb. The rock structure is on a slant & actually form reasonable steps. The boys spent some time skipping stones in a salt water pool. We learnt how to ‘read’ otter poo but unfortunately found no actual otters. We did see however, Oyster Catchers (birds), herons and gulls.

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The rest of the morning was pretty much spent at the lower scenic level. At one stage we would be walking along the side of the ocean, sometimes over rocks and sometimes along a grassy side.

 

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It was a more picturesque day than yesterday. Our last steep climb of the walk was just before lunch but it wasn’t as bad as the first day. Once at the top it was time for lunch at a lovely picnic spot nestled in a forest with a bubbling brook running nearby. We enjoyed looking at the frogs & looking (unsuccessfully) for turtles. Lunch was provided by ‘The Fernery’ which is where we are staying tonight. We had a spectacular ratatouille quiche, some lovely chicken wings & some fruit & yoghurt. This is great living!  

After lunch we walked through some lovely forested  landscape for another couple of hours to reach ‘The Fernery’. Unfortunately we were on our last leg when Ross had a terrific fall. He head butted the earth so I was quite concerned for him (they are aged about 70). But he soldiered on.

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We were met at the ‘Fernery’ with an amazing vista & a glass or two of bubbly. The reception, bar and restaurant area is like a ‘giant treehouse’ as the boys put it. The resort is perched on the precipice of a beautiful gorge which has a river running through it with lovely waterfalls & runs down to the ocean. It was certainly a lovely way to end the day.

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We then went to our rooms, popped on our cossies and immediately headed to the outdoor jacuzzi. This was great for the muscles! Afterwards, a warm shower and it was down to the reception area to sit by the fire and look at all our social media stuff with the wi-fi. Dinner followed soon after which was excellent then it was into bed to rest the muscles!

 

 

 

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