Sunday, January 20, 2013

My personal peace of paradise (part one)

My personal peace of paradise is the mountains of Mpumalanga.  Now how does one condense hundreds of photo's and plenty of trips to my absolute favorite destination and adequately "paint a picture!"  I have to start somewhere...
Let me begin with a video I took with my Samsung Galaxy s2 mobile phone whilst going down the famous Robbers Pass.  Seeing as we don't own a helmet video camera, the mobile phone had to do!  It sure was tricky holding onto it tightly!

The feelings of exhilaration, excitement and freedom wasn't my initial experience on our first trip.  I have always had a fear of heights and on our way there along the Robbers Pass it started to rain whilst we were climbing.  I clung on for dear life, and have to admit even ended up literally crying in my helmet paralyzed with fear! And if that wasn't enough, coming back home was another test of my bravery, it was the first time we had ridden in thick heavy mist.  We never had any raincoats, so the lady at the resort we were staying in at the time, gave us some plastic black garbage bags which we cut a hole out of to put over our heads.

The one thing I learnt after that is the weather in the mountains is unpredictable!
Most of our stays were in the little town of Graskop, we made this our base station to explore the area around.  Graskop is situated in the panoramic route of Mpumalanga province.
We have stayed at the Panorama chalets, in a basic chalet with a breath taking view overlooking the Graskop gorge and beyond!

The other place we have stayed at is called Franka lodge, which doesn't have a view but is a very comfortable chalet. 

The panoramic route comprises many natural spectacular sites namely the;

...and I have left my most favorite spot for last, the Three Rondavels.  It is here that I am left speechless at the beauty and am profoundly touched by what I see! To do justice, I created a "movie" in Picasa to hopefully portray what it means to me: 

Mountains inspire awe in any human person who has a soul. They remind us of our frailty, our unimportance, of the briefness of our span upon this earth. They touch the heavens, and sail serenely at an altitude beyond even the imaginings of a mere mortal.
Elizabeth Aston

That wasn't the end of our exploration to the area, but I am going to leave that to another story...

Monday, January 7, 2013

"off the beaten track"

Our next adventure ended off the beaten track, it was here that John had to draw on his experience of off road biking.  I held on for dear life, as we climbed the mountainous gravel road.  This was the introduction to the many mountainous adventures that were to follow...

The route travelled was up the Maanharrand pass in the Magaliesberg Nature reserve.

                                                  Breedtsnek @ Ride by Schalk vd Linde

"Oct 2009"
Once again the Kawasaki KLR stood the test of time

At the bottom of the mountain, we turned right on the road to Buffelspoort...

This road led us to "Just Africa", where we fearlessly walked amongst the "wild animals"...

The curio store had lots to see...

...together with the spooky art of taxidermy

The trail had come to an end for the meantime but...