Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Finding sanctuary

For so many years I have been wanting to go to Mountain Sanctuary Park. Friends that went and raved about it have divorced while I am still getting my shit together to book and go. It's not even that far, I don't understand what the delay was other than procrastination.

Of course as soon as we check in and they say: It's a bit of a steep climb I know that I have been dazzled with pictures of water pools and streams and failed to realise it was in the mountains, despite the name Mountain Sanctuary Park, duh! Pay attention, sweet thing. 
They also tell us that because there has been the drought there is no water in the pools. What? We just passed the Buffelspoort Dam and it sure was full. Okay, so I am not going to see any of those amazing sights you have on your website, hmmm. I don't really care. The quiet is so wonderful - die stilte. 

As soon as our things are in the cabin we take the hike to the rapids, it's just after noon and it is very hot, I am grateful I brought a hat. The only sound I hear are my shoes dislodging the stones on the gravel as I walk. When we stop I can hear the birds, insects, baboons calling and my stomach rumbling. We don't see another person. Even when we go to the West Pool there is no one. We only see the soles their shoes imprinted in the sand. We sit in the shade on a rock and enjoy where we are. A deep breath and a prayer of thanks.

The baboons are getting closer and their grunts are intimidating enough to make me want to move on. We go across the rocks, up above the pool and on the way back we see the baboons in the tree we had been sitting under. Yes, your territory, I understand. 

The swimming pool at Mountain Sanctuary Park is an oasis, a beautiful spot and with the sun going down it is a remarkably romantic setting. 

Although there is electricity in the cabin we don't switch on any lights. We sit outside and watch as more and more stars are revealed in the darkness. Wonderful. I cannot imagine the sky able to support the weight of all those stars. It takes one's breath away. 

Next morning we are up early, we had planned on being out before the sun crept over the mountain but really what's the rush? So then to the pools (with no water) in the east. Yes, one can imagine how magnificent it must be when each hollow is filled with water. Imagine how the river splashes from pool to pool, the water clean, clear, cool and refreshing. Exactly as per the photographs on the website. Sigh.

After that, past the reservoir and climbing, climbing (not that steep really). I keep thinking I can't go any further, it's too hot and we still have to go back but I want to see want is beyond that ledge, and the next and the next. Until we peer over one and discover water. Not like the discover of water, duh. The grotto, the water source, that has trickled down the narrow crack between the rocks and cut itself a groove across the stones, that followed the easiest path down the hill. Refreshing. Sat here for awhile, and ate our breakfast. Cheese, biltong and nuts. 

On the way back, we didn't want to rush it, so we climbed up onto a rock and wondered why we were alone, where is everyone? The sun on your face and clean air, really, who needs anything else.

But back we must go, and back home too.

Met a couple going up as we were going down, the girl looked happy, the guy looked grumpy, and sunburnt.

Baboons never the camp, gosh, but they are big. Apparently there are two groups that often have a territorial fight, tearing trees down and scaring the campers.

Ai, on the dirt road driving out thinking we should have booked for longer. So lucky to have these moments and experiences. 

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