Another beautiful run in a winter wonderland.
After a promising weather forecast predicting more snowfalls on the Boland mountains we set off again in search of the white stuff. My company this time, the legendary ultra trail champ Linda recovering from a 3 month injury-rehab session which meant I finally stood a chance of keeping up with her.
Another 5am start and clearly underestimating a predicted 13C temp (more like 3C out there), we set off along the same route as last week. What we hadn’t counted on was it actually snowing while we were there. The two river crossings were noticeably more swollen than previously, and the water, well… definitely a bit more chilled – clearly coming straight off those snow-capped mountain tops! Much to our disappointment the skies didn’t clear as we’d hoped but rather got worse, the weather closed in and before long it was spitting, then drizzling, and we were slowly getting colder and wetter and more soaked. Nearing the top of ‘the corkscrew’ and now in thickening mist we both stopped and commented on how the drops seemed to be bigger, but not falling heavier, they were just gently falling and being whisked around by the breeze. Part of me assumed the cloud would just dump its soggy load on us before pushing off to Grabouw, but part of me was hoping, with all my childhood might, that it might just start snowing. It took me back to those years, and to how I felt sitting inside, staring out at the garden waiting, hoping, that it would start snowing. Some of those years were filled with deep disappointment as the winter days passed without a single snowflake touching down, others with sheer delight at watching the world turn white, and the joy in rolling up the back garden into a giant snowman.
We put our heads down and carried on upwards into the clouds. The big drops gradually turned to small snowflakes, then bigger fluffy white snowflakes that landed around us and on us and in our faces. Sometimes it would stop and clear briefly allowing us to take in a gloomy grey valley below, and then as quickly as it had cleared, it would close back in on us, leaving us in a world of silence, of absolute quiet, as the snow would continue to transform our world around us.
By now our feet were absolutely frozen and numb, with Linda mentioning casually to me ‘did you know you just stubbed your toe against a rock back there’. I had felt nothing. Frightening stuff! On with all the layers we had – and a failed attempt to melt snow and brew some coffee as the gas ran out that only resulted in us standing around in the falling snow with our temperatures plummeting further. Linda at her funniest worst, shivering uncontrollably and mumbling about not even being able to grip the glove to put it back on.
Back on the path, down to the saddle and the gradual descent along the cliffs down to the car, that saw us finish in a brief moment of bright sunlight wondering what all the frozen fuss was about back there.
Driving away with a steaming hot chocolate in hand and the heater on our feet we smiled at watching the clouds come in again and the valley behind us disappearing in the rain, and knowing we hadn’t been imagining it.