The next few hours may not be to the taste of our friends who have to shovel snow and deal with icy winters – but for a Saffie who experiences snow less often than spotting a leopard – this was the ultimate best and snow - a bonus for a winter trip!
The first few kilometers the corrugations had taken over from the slipping and sliding of the previous days. Imagine - people pay a fortune to be vibrated and shaken around like this at slimming salons and I was getting it free of charge!
On our way to the Gannaga Pass we decided we may as well put petrol in to save us stopping on our way our back to Karoo NP. We had two options – Middlepos or Sutherland – enough about unimportant details – for now.
We wended our way higher and higher. Each turn and curve in the road was a revelation. The flowers, the shrubs the panoramic views, what more could we ask for?
Slowly the evidence of the cold was making itself known.
A small branch lay glued in the ice. The trees were covered in white blossoms of snow.
The tracks in the snow were becoming more and more slippery. Neither of us was saying much as Hubby was concentrating on keeping the car on the road and I was oohing and aaahing at the magnificent landscapes nature had created.
We reached a look out and someone had built a little snow animal on the signboard wall. I hopped out the car to take some pics – and hopped back in very quickly. The warmth of the car seeped into my chilled bones. I attempted to wrap my scarf round my neck and woe was me – I had slammed it in the door and it was now covered in ice, slush and mud..
Finally the winter wonderland was revealed to us in all her glory. The white landscape marred only by the car tracks in front of us and the disgruntled baboons. Poor things – they looked like prehistoric men as they muttered their way across the fields to the more welcoming side of the mountain.
As we were so close to Middlepos we decided to fill up. The road took every ounce of concentration hubby had. A couple of times we slipped out of the tracks we were trying to drive in and did a beautiful sideways glide before regaining our footing.
We passed beyond the Tankwa border – and glided our way through the mud towards town. Finally signs of life not much – but life. Two lonely petrol pumps stood proudly on the side of the road without human companions.
At the hotel we found a friendly young man who could assist. He accompanied us back to the petrol pumps – Slapping his hand against his head – he shrugged and said “no electricity – sorry I forgot’
No electricity - no means of getting petrol. No hand pump – probably just as well as between the two tanks 150 litres can be carried. The last time we ‘hand filled’ her was in KTP – and then we only put in a few litres to get to a place with electricity. Not being too concerned as we still had half a tank we decided not to travel to Sutherland. Wise move!!
Back we went over the mountain. The little snow animal had lost its head – so boys being boys – hubby decided to give it a new identity – I think it looked just like Alf/Elf (here I go with my A’s and E’s again) – the TV space creature that caused havoc in the family home. Did he live in the garage or basement –can’t remember.
Heading back to the chalet we detoured passed reception to ask about electricity in Calvinia. This is when we discovered if we had decided to carry on to Sutherland we would have had something like a 300 k detour. All the passes were closed due to the snow. Pheeeew – so glad we made the choice we did.
Then one wheel started emulated a teeny weensy vuvuzela! It was rather annoying. The sound would come and go in time to the revolution of the wheels. There was so much mud and muck stuck all over the car – including the wheels we hoped it was nothing serious and would work itself out.
The little puff ball birds were very excited to see us when we arrived ‘home’– even if they did chirp the odds that we hadn’t left them any food! The Chinese lantern birds still tormented me by not sitting still long enough for me to attempt a picture.
As night closed in day pulled her beautiful pink curtains across her mountains as she started fading away.
Another roaring fire – another wonderful hot shower - another good meal – another few glasses of Obies – another wonderful night ensconced in my new lovers embrace.