Hoot, hoot, hoot … It was after 12am and the bakkie’s alarm was screeching. Flying out the tent and groping for the keys, we were all awake in an instant. Subduing the screaming vehicle, we didn’t find anything out of the ordinary. In the whole process, Suzann (while looking for a headlamp in her washbag) ended up slicing her finger open on a razor. Then it was first-aid, trauma, in the middle of the night. Diving into the first-aid kit, I produced disinfectant, antibiotic ointment, gauze and micropore tape. Off to the ablutions, we soon fixed the finger and she was left with the afterburn … and a less than functional finger.
Off to dreamland again, we woke to the horrifying sound of raindrops on the tent roof at about 5am. Turning over and hoping that it would clear up before we had to get up, we tried to get a little more sleep. But alas, at 7:30 it was still dripping. Unable to delay any longer, we decided to ‘just get up’. The rain did let up a bit … enough to allow us to boil some water for coffee, cereal and marie biscuits (ideal for a fragile constitution).
We had packed up and dressed warmly … ready to take on the Outeniqua Pass. We were to load the bikes and drive to the bottom of the pass to effectively, take up the road where we’d left off. Everything went according to plan … until we neared the mountain. It started to rain a spit and a spot, and it looked as if the mist was lying low on the top of the pass. Thus we opted to drive on. But cresting the pass conditions appeared better on the George side, and we promptly turned back to the take on the pass proper … on the bikes.
Bikes off the rack, we stood shaking and chattering while changing our shoes and finding our rain jackets. Just as soon as we were on the bikes, the rain set in proper. The drops pelted us, needle-like, and the wind cut right through to our bones. A steady stream of water ran from the peak of our helmets, the vapour stood a cloud over our handlebars as we breathed out in the cold … and breathing in was no joke either as all you’d get was a mouthful of water. Our eyes were slits against the rain and our rain-jackets clung to us, heavy with water. From behind a jet of water stood up under our rear tyres and as soon as we crested the pass and picked up speed, the front tyre created a ‘hose-pipe on your face’ effect, blinding you in the process. Now the wind started to gust and the bikes were running loose on the road that had become a river in a matter of minutes. With rain running rivulets down our necks and into the back of our pants, I decided to call it at the second viewpoint along the pass. Conditions had just become too dangerous … low visibility, torrential rain and gusting winds didn’t make for a safe ride. We figured, rather live to ride another day …
Abandoning the day’s riding we loaded the bikes and our sodden selves into the support vehicle and made for the warmth and dryness of a chalet at the Ebb’nFlow rest camp in the Garden Route National Park in a very wet Wilderness.