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We rise early, catching the magnificent Johannesburg sunrise to have an early start at the feisty Rustig Hiking Trails, Magaliesburg. They have different times for the winter season, so we had to wait at the entrance for them to open at 08h00.
We saw two Hot Air Balloons in flight on the way to Rustig. Stunning.
Rustig offers 4 trails, 5km, 9km, 13km and the 18km.
The Erie Mid Leather Waterproof hiking boots work like a charm.
There was a long queue of eager hikers waiting in their cars. Some did catch a cat nap while others chose to have conversations in the crisp morning air. We have several hikers who are training for the Otter trail coming up in September and in 2024. We chose the Rustig Hiking Trail as this will prepare them.
A short walk and then a climb over a ladder making your way through the forest for the first km. You are approaching the ascent to reach the top of the mountain where you will be faced with the suspension bridge. Thereafter the descent toward the escape route where you can either leave the trail or continue to the 9km and 13km. The 18km starts at a different place.
Our group did the 9km, 13km and our three new hiking friends, completed the 18km.
The cost varies R80-R95 depending on the trail you select. An indemnity form must be completed by each hiker.
The trail is moderate to difficult. A very technical trail.
Hiking gear is essential for a trail of this nature. A good pair of hiking socks to protect your feet and a solid pair of hiking boots is a must. Our Merrell footwear was a win for the rocky terrain. We could focus on the trail and not be concerned about our feet. The Erie Mid Leather Waterproof hiking boots work like a charm. It is soft and works well for my broad feet. I have collapsed arches and this boot ensures that I do not have any pain after a tough hike.
Merrell footwear can be purchased online at www.merrell.co.za.
A hiking stick is recommended for balance and support on parts of the uneven terrain.
You must ensure that you have sufficient hydration for this trail. Water and Isotonic is of utmost importance.
This trail, no matter which distance you choose, tests your strength to climb and reach the top of the mountain. You will feel the change in your legs from the 2nd km as the incline creeps up on you. It is a constant climb until you reach the suspension bridge. This is where you will either choose to conquer your fear of heights or rather turn back. We had two hikers who made their hearts strong and conquered their deepest fear. The ascent is monstrous but the view as you pause to catch your breath is priceless.
At the top after a gruelling climb, you take a moment to reflect on the achievement from where you started. We can see the red roof of the venue and realise how much “talking to yourself” you had to do. But you are at the top and you are feeling exhilarated. You did this, you conquered the climb, you conquered the bridge. You are halfway there.
It is time to pause, appreciate and of course, have a snack.
The descent begins towards the split and that is not for the faint-hearted. The climb out of the trail to the top of the other side was feisty. A hiking stick, a strong mind, a determined spirit is required for this one. You can have a moment, that is okay, but one thing is for sure, you are the only person getting yourself out of this trail and you will. Everyone will encourage you on the way, hand you a tissue or another snack or perhaps just take a photo memory of the view before you continue.
Rustig, is a trail that I will always go back to. Despite its technical terrain, the feeling of accomplishment is indescribable. The views from the top and even throughout the trail are truly spectacular. Everyone should experience it.
The sight of finishing strong at the end, where the pool is, you reflect with your hiking buddies what each one has achieved and reward yourself over a meal at the restaurant.