Friday, June 27, 2014

RASA Day 15

RASA Day 15
We left Bucklands at 06:38 and had a very pleasant ride over farm roads for about 12 km after which we joined up with the district road which would take us through Hottentotspoort and onto the beginning of the Osseberg Pass. Along the way we stopped for coffee and "beskuit" at Hadlee. I also managed to book an entry for the 2015 Attakwas, which opened at the beginning of the week and was filling rapidly.

We road from Hadlee to the Grootriver currently is a bit of a construction site as they are busy laying a water pipe from the valley floor to Streylerville. We encountered lots of construction vehicles and in places the road turned into a powdery dust. Generally the surface was good and we had a good journey into the awesome Grootriver valley.
The scenes from the road made one aware of the might power of the Lord in creating this beautiful world. The ascent on the other side is mostly unridable for mere mortals like we and we pushed our bike up the hill. The work George did on his rear wheel at Bucklands was holding up well and he did not have to pump it again.

We stopped at a Nature Reserve dwelling just before the top of the watershed for some fresh water, but could not find any outside taps and the building was locked with no one at home. I managed to get water here when I recci-ed the route from Kleinpoort to Montague in 2010.

We reached the entrance to the Osseberg at 14:00 and had a little refreshment stop after we crossed the "No Entry" sign, which the beginning. The first couple of hundred meters was completely unridable, but as we moved along we encountered more and more ridable sections. We also had some scary down hills and George managed to "loose it" on one of these, fortunately with more injury to his pride than to the body!
It took us 3:00:53 to cover the 21.86 km to the old neglected camp site, which signaled the beginning off our river crossings.

From here the trail became a "hit and miss" affair with some of the trail clearly visible and the next it just disappears! We took off our riding shoes and put on shoe brought specially for this. I had my doubts about my R79,99 Pep Stores slip-ons and really cursed myself for mot opting for shoes with laces. The shoes did the job, but I had to retrieve them a number of times when they got stuck and my foot slipped out! The going was very difficult, but we were moving along reasonably well. Every now and then we picked up, what obviously was the right track just to come to a dead end again after a while. Nightfall was busy catching us, but we regularly picked up other cycle tracks and obvious thorough fares through the reeds. By about 20:00 we picked up a nice track, which was correct and made good progress again until we came to some reeds again. I went ahead and scouted the route and found what I thought was the correct path. At this point we were under the impression that we were further along the route than where actually were. This resulted in lots of discussions and more scoutings. After a long while, we agreed that we should go through the reeds, but this time I could not find the path I did previously! Back to the entry again! We had more discussions and more  scouts until we decided to call it a day and spend the night at the foot of the Osseberg. In the meantime a light drizzle started. We looked for some reasonable cover, got our space blankets out and settled in for the night. There were no cell phone reception so we could not let anybody know where we were. By now we realised that we were quite a bit further back in the trail than what we thought originally. We got to rest at 23:05. The weather was pleasant with the drizzle falling, but our space blankets was keeping us dry.

Total distance: 83.52 km; total time: 14:51:46; total ascent: 2,072 meters; total descent: 2,244 meters.

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