Tugela River Lodge Trail Run

Our trail grading: BROWN 10A
Distance: 12km
Extremeness: The morning after a torrential downpour, with wading through sticky mud
Location: Tugela River Lodge, Spioenkop, KZN, South Africa
Joggers: Heloise Hunter & Claire Fuller (Claire on MTB, or pushing it)
Post author: Heloise Hunter

In my week off I finally took the opportunity to stay at Claire and Lee Fuller's Tugela River Lodge. When I could tear myself away from paddling the Tugela, I managed to get a bit of extreme jogging in.

On Tuesday we went for a 10km out-and-back on riverside singletrack (my favourite). Claire spotted birds everywhere: a gymnogene, two eagle owls, paradise flycatchers, an oriole (this is birder bliss). There was water mongoose, porcupine, and jackal spoor. The run was cut short by pelting rain and rumbling thunder. Once we'd resigned ourselves to getting wet, it was so exhilarating! We were soaked through by the end, and the sun peeked out for a sunset wave before the rain started up again.
The next morning (after a great night's sleep in my cozy cabin) Claire and I tackled a longer expedition into the game farm across the road. My sea-level lungs felt the burn as we climbed one of Spioenkop's neighbouring peaks.

The trail took us over streams, through acacia thickets, past brown dams, and up up up to get the best view. The highlight was from the top of the koppie. The veld rolled out for kilometres, Drakensberg peaks visible on the horizon.

Claire's game ID skills are excellent! The animal sighting highlight was the herd of 12 giraffe we ran within a few hundred metres of, as they languidly browsed the acacia.

The running highlight was the quick and technical descent: rocks, thorn bushes, and soft clinging mud. I was so pleased with myself for not falling, only to take a slide in the mud in the last couple kays home, back on the banks of the Tugela.

I had wet shoes the entire time, and still no blisters (thanks Injinji!)

Poplar grove along the Tugela, with Trigger the Ridgeador leading the way.

Post-downpour selfie with Claire!

Worth it for the golden light over Spioenkop

Ta-dah! Paradise awaits...

Map

Altitude, pace & distance

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