Two trips onto the Hidden Valley Plateau

09 Mar 2021 16:29 - 09 Mar 2021 16:36 #76589 by Serious tribe
In summer 2015 a friend of mine showed me some images from a trip he had done to the plateau above Hidden Valley.  What was intrigueing was the fact that there were some tarns and a wf coming down from the summit of Mzimude peak which emptied out into Secret Valley.  This was a new area to me, and I thought I had to get there some time.  Of course that didnt happen, though I did get to explore the Hidden Valley below.  Then recently Richard Hunt also did a trip to the area, and I thought I really do need to go an explore here.  This finally happend this year in Jan, with Chris aka 'Wildingo' and then I did a four day solo trip in Feb.  Of interest was the amount of water in the area this year, not enough to mae rivers impassable, but enough to make for interesting photography.  In the Jan trip, we hiked from Sherry Cave old, and were able to access the plateau by using an Eland track, then in Feb climbing out of Sleeping Beauty Valley, there were also parts where I used an Eland track. Quite clever these Eland, they make it a lot easy to navigate areas where there are no human paths.

Images from our Jan trip.  We had the typical summer weather with the entire second day being mist bound near Sherry Cave, and wondering if it was going to break, which it did, allowing us one day near the tarns.  I had a brief look at the wf and valley below it but decided to concentrate on the tarns with the idea of returning at some stage.  Was very hot up there, with no shade, and tons of bugs, more than I have ever experienced up in the berg.  A great trip to a new and interesting area.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Last edit: 09 Mar 2021 16:36 by Serious tribe.

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10 Mar 2021 12:38 - 10 Mar 2021 12:56 #76591 by Serious tribe
Hidden Valley II - February trip

As I mentioned in my previous post, the wf running into secret valley was on the agenda for a trip which I managed to do in February as a solo 4 day hike.  The night before I arrived, the area had an absolute deluge, which was somwhat worrying as I knew there were a few streams to cross while walking up through Sleeping Beauty valley.  Fortunately, the mountains being the mountains, streams rise and fall very quickly and the crossings with poles and tip toeing on the small tops of rocks meant i didnt have to take the boots off, hate taking my boots off before I camp for the night!

There were a lot of different flowers in the valley, most I had not seen, even though I have walked this stretch many times over the last few decades, also as usual, stiffling hot.  Thus the idea of getting to the Mzimude wf in one day was scotched by the heat and the time spent taking images.  I decided that it didnt really matter given the weather wasnt going to be great that eveing and decided to have a early day and slept in Waterfall Cave.  Proved to be the wise decision as the weather was not good for shooting.  The cave had a good supply of water running over the top, so I could bath up there and get water, always good when u dont feel like fetching from too far.   

 
 
 

The following morning I was up early got the shot in the bag and was off by 7:30.  Once I had climbed out SBV, there was a lovely ridge climb and traverse through Secret Valley and then dropped down into the Mzimude wf valley.  A warning, this little valley cooks even more than SBV.  I decided after first pitching the tent that i didnt like the look off the cliffs above me, a bit parranoid about getting a rock on my head while sleeping.  I think that when I am solo hiking, I tend to be very safety conscious, perhaps even a bit parranoid, anyway that is just the way it is.  So I packed the tent away again, and climbed out onto the north cliff line, which worked out to be a better idea for the following morning photo shoot anyway.  Though it did mean climbing in and out of the valley about 4 return trips to get the shots I wanted, but a good work-out for the legs. 

  
 

 

Following morning, shoot done, pushed off back the way I had come and spent the alst night back in Waterfall Cave, accompanied by the screams of two different baboon troops that were challenging each other.  Called them the Sleeping Beauty north and south side troops.  The south side troop, about 20 individuals groomed themselves about 30 m from where I was sitting, and we just sat and interacted.  Of course by this stage, after 4 days of not seeing anyone else, they were quite good company, albeit a bit noisy.

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  In all I saw 5 eland, 20 circling vultures and about 40 baboons. 

Walking out.  Always loved this little glade.

 
 

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Last edit: 10 Mar 2021 12:56 by Serious tribe.

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10 Mar 2021 16:07 #76592 by ASL
Wow, absolutely stunning photos!!

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11 Mar 2021 10:04 #76596 by Serious tribe
Thanks ASL.

Glad you like them, and hpefully lifts the heart.  It was also great to see new vistas, as I have done a number of trips into Hidden Valley over the past three years.

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