Golden Gate - The tenth step ... SISA Episode II - CycleBlaze

April 7, 2021

Golden Gate

Late last night we had a heavy thunderstorm with lots of rain and the roadsides were still pretty wet this morning and the sky was mostly hidden behind the remnant thunder clouds.  Our target today was the stated objective for this trip, namely Golden Gate, a pass through the Draakensberg/Maloti mountains towards Kwazulu-Natal in the east.  Tomorrow we start heading back to the Eastern Cape but using a route that will first take us northwards and then westwards with our target for tomorrow being Bethlehem.  Remarkably, this is the first time ever that we had adhered to out original "plan" for a cycle tour.  All the towns we passed through and all the roads we used were the ones we had identified as the most likely route before we started.  We must be getting old and boring.

A small Rhombic Skaapsteker (Psammophylax rhombeatus ) on the side of the road. The name means sheep stabber but these placid little snake's neurotoxic venom is harmless for anything larger than a small frog or rodent. They are also incredibly reluctant to bite when handled so they are nice snakes to introduce children to herpetology.
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I remember thinking on our first trip to Patagonia that the countryside south of Coyhaique reminds me of the eastern Free State. The converse also holds true.,
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Nguni cattle, probably the most attractive of South Africa's indigenous breeds.
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There were a few stiff climbs today.
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Golden Gate. It is best viewed at sunset when the sandstone cliffs glow in the warm light. Today's cloud cover did nothing to bring out the colour of the rocks.
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Back in Clarens the thunderstorm was trying to revive itself and so we are spending the rest of the day relaxing at out very nice cottage.

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Today's ride: 38 km (24 miles)
Total: 1,130 km (702 miles)

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