It is our tradition to climb Table Mountain on the 1 May every year… it all began, a couple of years back, in a heap of extreme unfitness and the father person saying yes to a group of friends chatting about having a May Day picnic breakfast at the top of the mountain. Needless to say there was a day of literally crawling up the mountain, in which I made it but only just… and then to discover that “said friends” never made it beyond the idea, or the cofee shop. Then and there we decided that things could only get better and after a year of ambling we had a good hike up to the very top, Maclear’s Beacon. Anyway after another year and hike or three tossed into every month we managed launched ourselves at Table Mountain this past Friday with heaps of enthusiasm…
Up Skeleton Gorge, a picnic lunch at the top and then down Newland’s Ravine.
Start early, nothing spells adventure like a pre-dawn departure… it does mean getting everything ready the night before and getting to bed at a reasonable hour… a great achievement over here (!!!) but so worth it.
Otherwise, leave plenty of time so that you can take all the rest you need.
Some of us are slightly more eager to launch than others… In fact, one of us was unstoppable. In their packs are: two water bottles, one warm top, a hat, their sandwiches and an emergency whistle. Yes, we are the parents with eight kids that bought them all whistles for Christmas. Actually, they treat their whistles with great respect and would only blow them in case of an emergency.
Up Skeleton Gorge
If you think of Skeleton Gorge as a long flight of stairs, through a wonderfully wild and overgrown forest… with a damp, slippery river thrown in for good measure. This was my stomping ground as a kid and I was thrilled to take my kids there and show them the ins and outs.
You know you are almost at the top when the moss gives way to ferns and then almost immediately blue skies.
Lunch at the Reservoirs
At this time of year before the winter rains this reservoir is empty and looks like a vast lunar-scape…
Signs of Life
While you are unlikely to bump into any large animals, there are plenty of tiny ones… not to mention incredible plant life.
Up on Top…
The view from up on top is unprecedented, just beautiful as far as the eye can see. The idea that Table Mountain is flat on top is a little bit obscure when you are up there… though there are definitely spots where you can literally see forever.
These girls are such a formidable team of hikers… gotta love them.
Down Newland’s Ravine
Newland’s Ravine is the route that takes you down the left hand side of that buttress, it looks like a zig-zag path down the mountain side into Kirstenbosch Gardens… it is. But a lot harder than a path, it wasn’t just me that found it hard, the endless steep and rocky steps were relentless. No chance to stop concentrating for a second because the slope is very steep and the steps just too wide for you to get into your stride… unless of course you are ten and totally fearless, in which case you just fly down the mountainside. It was somewhat terminal but we all came out of it smiling – so totally doable.
And a great view of the Boomslang Walkway…
And one of us loved every second of it and might have done it about ten times, scurrying up and down between us.