Hike Marloth Nature Reserve


Open trail is all I can see from where I stand to where the trail slips over the horizon of the mountain. Slender and soft compared to the large mountains and sharp protea bushes, the trail crosses the mountain range with ease. I walk alone, but I feel like I hike Marloth Nature Reserve with a friend.

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It was a quiet morning when I started walking, just after six. Small stones punctuated the footpath, grasses grew stunted from hikers’ trampling, and there were frequent streams to cross and drink from. Gentle sounds of birds floated in the air. This day was a reprieve after the previous days of strenuous climbs, foul weather, and thick protea bushes.

Walking was easy and I frequently found myself in conversation in my mind. The trail was my companion proving space for me to think and talk through questions I’ve held since the start of my walk — namely, “Why am I here?”

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I’d walk and walk without pause, only stopping on crests of the mountains — points for a last look back where I’d come from and a first look at what lies ahead.

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^ Looking Back / Looking Forward  ⌵

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^ Looking Back / Looking Forward  ⌵

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^ Looking Back / Looking Forward  ⌵

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After this ridge the trail drops to the foothills north of the reserve.

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Here you can easily see the trail, apparently it acted as a fire-break during a recent fire. Incredible to see my small trail, my walking friend, have that dramatic of an impact on the land.

It was bizarre walking the dividing line, with one side of the trail in healthy condition and the opposite side bare and struggling with erosion. At some points the trail did its fair share of dramatic erosion, almost like an infection on the mountain slope. I couldn’t decide if the mountainside was better for the trail or not. I did know, however, that I was better (happier) for this trail, and kept a quick pace to enjoy it.