100 miler | +7500 m

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The quaint old gold mining town of Pilgrim’s Rest is the starting point of your epic journey.. The history of gold mining operations in the Pilgrim’s Rest area goes back more than 160 years to the 1840’s. The gold rush began in 1873 when the Lydenburg magistrate advised the Transvaal Volksraad that gold had been discovered in the streams. Hundreds of diggers from as far afield as Australia, America, England and France flocked to the gold-fields to make their fortune. The trail passes many relics from these early days of mining as one climbs away from the start of the trail.

UTMB Qualifier – 6 points

 

100Miler

Quick Facts:

 

 

100Mile

Trail Section 1.

Pilgrims to Mac Mac Hut

 

Discription:

Gold  was  discovered  in  1872,  six  hours  by  horse  from  Lydenburg,  by  Thomas  Mclachlan  and  partners.    This  triggered  the  first  gold rush  in  South  Africa  and  diggers  from  all  over  started  to  flock  to  what  later  became  Mac-Mac.    Alex  “wheelbarrow”  Patterson  left  Mac-Mac to prospect and in September1873 discovered the rich gold deposits in the Pilgrim’s Creek

The quaint old gold mining town of Pilgrim’s Rest is the starting point of your epic journey.. The history of gold mining operations in the Pilgrim’s Rest area goes back more than 160 years to the 1840’s. The gold rush began in 1873 when the Lydenburg magistrate advised the Transvaal Volksraad that gold had been discovered in the streams. Hundreds of diggers from as far afield as Australia, America, England and France flocked to the gold-fields to make their fortune. The trail passes many relics from these early days of mining as one climbs away from the start of the trail.

Distance:

68km

Ascent:

3300m

Descent:

2970m

Technicality:

Moderately steep climb at start, from there on, rolling hills to the finish. Open grassland escarpment running over boulder fields, as well as some forest sections with beautiful soft undergrowth. Some Rocky single track trail.

Scenery:

Lush indigenous Forest down below and Boulder fields on the escarpment with Clivia forests at lower altitudes. Beautiful views looking down the escarpment over the Lush Lowveld.  Breathtaking views of the Crystal Springs Nature Reserve.

Fauna And Flaura:

 Massive Indigenous trees.  Endangered High altitude Grassland. Wild flowers with indigenous ferns and clivias. Wildlife such as Bushbuck , Duiker , Reedbuck, warthog, bush pig and Baboons. Keep your eyes open for the beautiful birdlife that can be spotted in the lush forests. The Purple Crested Turaco is a bird that should not be overlooked, as it’s colours are as vibrant as the Lowveld itself! With a bit of luck Fish Eagle spotting’s can also occur now and then.

 Pilgrimsrest to Morgenzon Forest Station:

From our start at The Vine restaurant and pub we cross the Blyde River and your ascent starts to grassland hills, Protea trees and small valleys with indigenous forest joining a trench that supplied water to the Columbia Mine that brings you to the edge of your first plantation passing Morgenzon hut on to Morgenzon Forest Station for the first time. This is your first checkpoint and also a spectators point.

Distance:

8.7km

Ascent:

690m

Descent:

310m

Morgenzon Forest Station:

Spector Point:

Yes – Morgenzon Forset Station

Cut off:

No

Drop bag:

No

Morgenzon Forest Station to Blackhill Hut:

From Morgenzon forest station runner first cross Clewer stream joining the old Robbers Pass, an old trade route to Pilgrim’s Rest from Lydenburg. Descending to Clewer Falls before a steep climb in a beautiful indigenous forest with a crystal clear stream, lots of Clivias and Ferns , until it joins up with the old wagon path. Another decent into the valley before climbing past some waterfalls and opening up into a fynbos area before reaching Blackhill Checkpoint.

Distance:

8km

Ascent:

850m

Descent:

470m

Blackhill Hut:

Spector Point:

No

Cut off:

No

Drop bag:

No

Blackhill Hut to Exelsior Hut:

Good news: No big climbs for a while. Most runners will reach this section at dusk for a spectacular first sunset. The section starts with a small climb to the Blackhill viewpoint reaching an altitude of close to 2100m. Running on a rocky escarpment you start descending slowly into a valley reaching some Pine plantations. Small climb to a lookout, if you reach it in daylight, you will be overlooking Chrystal Springs and the Themeda Hills. The trail descends again and eventually arrives at a large stream with waterfalls and pools. The trail then ascends to a viewpoint overlooking the Origstad Valley and then crosses grassland until Excelsior Hut is reached.

Distance:

10.3km

Ascent:

340m

Descent:

510m

Excelsior Hut

Spector Point:

No

Cut off:

No

Drop bag:

No

Excelsior Hut to Morgenzon Forest Station:

Another climb, another viewpoint before going through a Pine plantation filled with night life staring you down. Also be on the lookout for wild horses roaming the area.  You will undulate through grassland and Pines before eventually descending into the beautiful Clivia Forset . The trail then descends into a valley to a small stream and a historical wagon track. The path then passes the Jock of the Bushveld plaque and the Robbers Pass plaque before reaching Morgenzon Forest Station for a second time.

Distance:

13.6km

Ascent:

410m

Descent:

620m

Morgenzon Forest Station

Spector Point:

Yes – Morgenzon Forest Station

 Cut off:

Yes 24h00 Friday

Drop bag:

No

Morgenzon Forest Station to Pilgrims The Vine

Next part of the trial is fairly easy and short, allowing for a further opportunity to visit the beautiful little town of Pilgrim’s Rest. The trail descends past a couple of old mine shaft  to the Blyde River. Following an old railway line into Peace Tree Creek and into town for the second visit to The Vine Pub. Just in time for a pint with the boys before closing time.

Distance:

11km

 

Ascent:

390m

Descent:

770m

Pilgrims  The Vine

Spector Point:

Yes – The Vine Pilgrims Rest

Cut off:

Yes 02h00 Saturday Morning

Drop bag:

No

Pilgrims Rest The Vine to Mac Mac Hut

Leaving Pilgrims you will pass the old Mine refinery. This section connects the Prospectors trail with the Fanie Botha Trail and is a nice flowing forestry road connecting us with Mac Mac Hut for the first time. Although it is runnable road the steady climb hampers running a fast pace.

Distance:

16.4km

Ascent:

620m

Descent:

290m

Mac Mac Hut

Spector Point:

No

Cut off:

No

Drop bag:

Yes – First Time

*** IMPORTANT NOTICE ***
Please take note that it is strictly prohibited to run on the Mac Mac route without the permission of the land owners and the relevant permits. If you do so you jeopardise the entire event.

Compulsory Equipment