Our group spread out on the way to the Cascades
Link to detailed route page and map click on route title.
- Distance 5.66 km
- Time 1 h 24 min
- Speed 4.0 km/h
- Min altitude 990 m
- Peak 1115 m
- Climb 255 m
- Descent 0 m
A special aspect of hiking in the Western Cape is being able to swim in the rivers up in the mountains, so when Suzanne in the MCSA offered a hike up to the Cascades with the offer of a couple of mountain river dips I was all for it.
The hike was postponed a couple of times due to unseasonal rain, but the Sunday before Xmas looked good so 13 (lucky) hikers assembled by the access road at the top of Du Toitskloof Pass for 8.00. Good mixed group of people, some of whom I already knew (Lucille and Richard – who I walked down Lions Head with a few weeks back) and others (Paul and Rosemary) who hopefully we will get to know better.
Access to the trailhead for this hike is restricted as one has to drive about 3km up a private road which is secured by a locked gate. Fortunately the MCSA has access rights and Suzanne had gone to the trouble of getting the relevant permissions and access codes for us.
From the trail head we have an easy 2km hike down to the MCSA Krom River hut skirting round the base of New Year Peak. Had our tea stop here and then made our way gently upwards through the ‘rock gardens’ on a plateau at the base of Krom River Dome which we hiked up many years back with Freddie and Katrin.
Unfortunately one of our party Doreen, was not able to continue the hike as she was recovering from a recent bout of pneumonia, so Mike and I went with he back to the hut and then turned round to catch the group back up again. Took a fairly fast klip which on reflection did no favours for Mikes recovering Achilles. Oh well, what’s done is done. As it was am glad we saw the group just before needing to take a right hand fork in the trail (marked by a large cairn) to get to the Cascades.
The Cascades are so named because they mark where the (unnamed) river drops 600m down a very steep kloof through a series of waterfalls dropping into large pools down to the Molenars River Valley below – our route to Worcester. It was lovely to stand on the cliffs and take in the views. Not a great swimming spot, so after jumping across the river and admiring some disas on the banks we then headed slightly up river to a couple of swimming holes.
The water was freezing and only a couple of us were brave, or foolhardy, enough to go for a dip. One highlight however was a patch of New Year Lilies on the far slope of the pool which one could only get a close up view of from the water. A great lunch spot and Mike took some good photos. As he is recovering from the flu he didn’t go swimming, but am sure will want to go back there another time.
Retraced our footsteps back to the hut and then had a second lunch stop and dip at the pool just upriver of the hut. This was a great pool, warmer, deep enough to jump / dive into and great rock shelves round about to lounge on. Very evocative swimming in a pool in the headwaters of the Krom river, which I have then hiked along far below to get to other pools and waterfalls. Magic. Could have spent much longer there but alas the group needed to head back. What a perfect day.