Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Kranskloof with MCSA

Caron and I have decided to join the MCSA despite our experience that clubs in general tend to attract some pretty odd people. I met a guy almost 20 years ago on the top of the drakensberg who belonged to the MCSA and his behaviour managed to give me such a terrible impression of the kind of people that belong to the mountain club that it has taken me all this time to get over it. Now that we are joining, a whole host of people that we have known for years have admitted that they too actually belong to the MCSA so this impression that MCSA tends to attract some odd people runs deep. If it didn't, I am sure they would have told me before but now that we're in the same boat it seems that it is ok to come clean. So the truth is slowly coming out, the majority of members are just normal people but the small number of odd people stand out so much that it gives the overriding impression that it is entirely populated by them.

In order to join we have to go to four MCSA meets of which we did our first one with great trepidation on Sunday. We were not to be disappointed. We met the meet leader at the Engen garage at 07:40 and we were pleased that at least some people were on time. We were all standing around chatting and a woman pulled up in her car, got out and was walking towards the group when Caron told me in a whisper that she didn't like this woman. The poor girl hadn't even opened her mouth or done anything that I could even vaguely construe as obnoxious and she had already been cast into the 'odd' category. Granted she looked a bit strange due to the sun tan creme on her face which hadn't been rubbed in giving her a ghost like appearance but other than that I couldn't say.

I think someone should do some psychometric evaluations on the membership of the MCSA, I'm sure it will turn up some really fascinating things.

Kranskloof is obviously not often visited by people because the path in could barely be followed and this was the 'well' trodden path that everyone has to use. There were no other paths to be found which meant that the entire area is in about as pristine a condition as one can get. I tried taking photographs in the kloof but it was quite dark and my camera isn't so good in the gloom. The kloof is a very typical magaliesburg gorge which is between 30 and 100m in width and about the same in depth. The climbing looks absolutely great and at this stage is strictly traditional so most of the meeting tended to be a bit older. The younger climbers apparently tend to go more for the sport climbing.

The photographs to the right and below are very typical of what a magaliesburg kloof looks like. The bottom of the kloof is cliff to cliff trees and quite bouldery underfoot and as one ascends through the kloof there are steep sections followed by relatively flat sections. The constant hopping from boulder to boulder is quite strenuous on the 'ol legs and I think Caron was secretly quite happy when I admitted on tuesday that my legs were still a little sore from the bouldering.

Almost all the people at the meet were there to go climbing and it turned out that there were only three of us, piet, caron and myself who were keen on just going some walking. We set off up the kloof and after about 2 hours of walking popped out the top and walked over to the escarpment to have a look at the view. This is an exceptionally beautiful place, principally because it is virtually untouched and the air is clear and has the scent of baboon dung on it. Phewee! - maybe not so great to inhale deeply.

Piet wanted to walk over to the west some more but we decided to descend back down the way that we had come up and an hour later we were back at the climbing spot where we had a very welcome snack. The girl caron had taken a dislike to was still around so Caron was being all bristley and we decided that we had done enough for one day and walked out on our own. The path out was a bit of an experience because we kept on losing it and then walking in circles until we found something that looked vaguely like a path which we followed until we lost that one as well and so on.

Back in johannesburg we were washing our respective cars at the local car wash when Caron received an emergency call from Kim who had, unbeknown to us, spent the last 24 hours vomitting and was feeling very much the worse for wear and wanted to go to hospital. Caron looked after the children while I played ambulance driver. It turned out that it wasn't anything serious, just a case of dehydration brought on by the vomiting so we were back within an hour or two and it wasn't long thereafter that we retreated back to the peace and quiet of our own home.

The morning out with the MCSA turned out to be quite an enjoyable experience, made a little richer by the characters of some of the people that also attended the meeting. The world would be a truly boring place if everyone was 'normal'.

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