Catherine’s Peak

  • At Catherine's Peak, Blue Mountains
    Trig, Catherine's Peak, Blue Mountains
Recently, we’ve had a few set backs on our Blue Mountain hikes. We dug out maps, routed a handful of trails we would then GPS on foot. The first few attempts were aborted as the trails simply stopped mid walk. Whether overgrown or deliberately blocked off it’s hard to say. We tried to reach Mount Horeb – which according to the map is accessible but a couple of locals told us ganja fields are grown up there now and  the farmers have blocked off the trails. I called up a local guide I know, hopeful he’d suggest taking us up there. Not possible he told me. Feeling frustrated by ganja my husband and I suddenly look to Catherine’s Peak in the distance.

By the time we’d wandered over to Newcastle it’s just after 2pm and the rain is torrential. I corner a soldier – Major Rambrandt who initially refuses to let us into the army camp (behind the Newcastle parade space is the actual trail you need to take). After some pleading (and him I think noticing the government plates on our car) he kindly lets us into the camp. We sign in, he shares his cell number in case of any problems and also a temporary visitor pass to present if any of the soldiers stopped us. Nobody did. 

It’s not a high peak by any means standing at just 4,430 ft / 1,350 m but it felt good to get out and stretch our legs.  It’s a straightforward hike, simply follow the trail and don’t deviate off into the coffee farm. We reached the peak in less than 45 minutes. Unfortunately the weather was beyond miserable and it was FREEZING. Man, living in the tropics is great, but when it rains in the mountains it’s rough. The trail was slippy and the steep rocky slope just before you reach the peak was covered in wet vegetation.

From the top the view was thick cloud mixed with torrential rain. To this day I still didn’t think it was possible for my running leggings to EVER chafe so bad. It felt like I had sheets of heavy duty sandpaper attached to the inside of my thighs and that’s something no girl ever wants to experience.

 

Directions

From Papine, drive towards Holywell National Park. Entrance located behind the JDF camp at Newcastle (couple of miles before Holywell entrance). You will need to speak to one of the officers to request access before entering the JDF base.  For more detailed instructions, check out the route at Summit Post.

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