Part 2 of this series takes us to a trail called 'Firetrail' (aka 'Nationals' and '123') on the opposite side of the valley.
Once used as a national's course, this trail features very technical and tight single track and at some points during the climb, it seems easier to put your bike on your back and take a shortcut to avoid slowly snaking up the winding trail. This might not always be the best idea during summer though, as this is Cape Cobra country (among other snakes) and you can be sure you don't want to encounter one. From the bottom, the trail combines various terrain including smooth sections, rock gardens and loose, slippery pebbles and about half the climb is in the shade - always welcome during summer. At one specific point there is a very sharp hairpin bend, with a very high, (almost) sheer drop that could cause some serious damage if you get it wrong. This bend is really only dangerous when coming back down with a bit more speed though.
At the top, as with most tough climbs, you are rewarded with a breathtaking view up into the valley as you exit the forest. From here on the trail evens out and opens up nicely and you are able to get out of your granny gear and up the pace a bit. It is also a good vantage point to check out different paths leading further into the valley, pretty much all of which are accessible from this point. Carrying on with 'Firetrail' takes you to a green wooden cabin, built by the forestry department, which is by most people seen as the start of the trail - obviously depending on which side you start the trail from.
Thanks to the riders for joining me and special thanks to Hanco for his knowledge on the trails.
Check out part 1 here