Friday, 6 July 2007

Day 18 - Up the Ladder

67km in 8 hours 1800m of climbing.
Die Hel is situated in the remotest of valleys. From what I can gather 2 trekboer families somehow made their way into the valley and stayed. A tiny community then established itself. We stayed in a refurbished cottage that was the first house in the valley to have a black wood-fired stove and that was around 1954. It seems that provisions and goods could be transported to the edge of the valley and then dismantled and carried down in pieces, as was the stove. The track down is called "die leer" or in english "the ladder". Until a road was pushed through in 1962 from the opposite end of the valley the ladder was the way in and out. We climbed out via "the ladder" this morning. The 1km climb took me about 90 minutes and it was physically demanding. You need to carry your bike or manhandle it over the big obstructions. My legs and shoulders were shot. We were hoping to do 2 stages today but I hit a serious flat spot coming into Rouxpos (Vleiland support station) and we (Rohan, Adam and me) decided that pushing on was going to make the day far too demanding. I had a shower, bite to eat and then fell asleep for a few hours before dinner. Am expecting Andre, Andy and Earle to come in soon. Now 21h15 and no sign of them yet. Wind is a little into them so perhaps made the going a bit slow. Hope to see them at breakfast.
They have just arrived at 21h20. Looking a bit tired but they have done a good days ride.

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