Snow Hunting and a Tough Hour at Lake Ringstead

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I recently took the family to the Drakensberg in search of snow. Sadly our adventure was less successful than planned. Although there was an abundance of snow, all of it fell high in the mountains meaning we needed to make our way up Sani Pass to get it. So far so good. The problem however arose as we began to make our way up the bottom reaches of the pass and quickly discovered just how dangerous the pass had become.

Our first clue should have been the various news reports we heard on the radio clearly stating that the top of the pass was closed. However we chose to ignore these in the hope that we could drive up the pass just far enough to get to the bottom of the snow.

Our second clue should have been the two days of solid rainfall. As soon as we drove off the tar road our car began sliding around on the new clay like surface. It was nerve wracking, but manageable, and so we continued. However as the road got steeper it got more and more dangerous, to the point where I eventually pulled over before a short, steep section with 2 tight switchbacks. Here we sat and watched multiple car slide off the road into ditches. A few made it up after multiple attempts, however the majority failed.

I eventually decided that with the family in the car it wasn’t worth the risk. We would just have to look at the snow from a distance, and enjoy the various other activities on offer in Underberg. The upside to all of this was that I had some free time to go fishing!

Sinister Pool under a snowy Drakensberg

I opted to fish Lake Ringstead as I hadn’t packed my float tube and wanted to fish off a boat. I got to the water just before 3pm and fished for an hour until around 4pm (so that I could shoot back to watch the Sharks game with a mate). It was overcast with a slight drizzle falling on and off, and very little wind. The air temperature was in the single digits, and the water was probably in the low teens. Fishing was slow and I didn’t manage so much as a bump on a water I know well.

The highlight of the hour’s fishing, I’m sad to say, was the chuckle I had when I got back to shore. After reeling in from my last cast of the day, at the far end of the dam, I started the long row back to my car. It was into a slight breeze and the going was tough. None the less I plugged on, turning every now and then in the hope that I was gaining speed. I wasn’t. Eventually I neared the bank and the boat came to a complete stop, just before beaching on the shore. Confused I stood up, only to discover I’d forgotten to lift the anchor and had dragged it the entire width of the dam. Fail! But humorous none the less.

Despite the poor fishing, it was great to be out and the views were spectacular in and around Underberg under the snowy peaks.

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