The life and times of a home schooling mom of se7en + 1.

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Se7en + 1 Head Up Table Mountain…

May 6th, 2015 · 29 Comments

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…

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The Route

Up Skeleton Gorge, a picnic lunch at the top and then down Newland’s Ravine.

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The Tricks

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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.

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Otherwise, leave plenty of time so that you can take all the rest you need.

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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.

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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.

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You know you are almost at the top when the moss gives way to ferns and then almost immediately blue skies.

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Lunch at the Reservoirs

At this time of year before the winter rains this reservoir is empty and looks like a vast lunar-scape…

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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.

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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.

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These girls are such a formidable team of hikers… gotta love them.

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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.

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And a great view of the Boomslang Walkway…

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And one of us loved every second of it and might have done it about ten times, scurrying up and down between us.

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The Gallery

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Tags: Hiking · Outings · Saturday Spot

29 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Zayaan Schroeder // May 6, 2015 at 6:28 am

    Looks awesome!
    Zayaan Schroeder´s last blog post ..Ramadaan is coming

  • 2 cat@jugglingact // May 6, 2015 at 9:53 am

    Oh gosh, that looks wonderful. We have decided to put it on our to do list when we manage to get to Cape Town again

  • 3 aunty muffin // May 6, 2015 at 9:54 am

    Well done, all of you! A formidable undertaking!

  • 4 Irene // May 6, 2015 at 10:24 am

    Those photos are just awesome!

  • 5 Maz // May 6, 2015 at 11:17 am

    I love following your adventures! How you do it I don’t know, just taking Mikayla and Knox to the forest makes me want to lie in the bath and repent for an hour! I suppose it is easier when they are older.
    What I actually wanted to say is that I love the fact that you are raising your kids to be in touch and surrounded by nature ♥

  • 6 Cindy // May 6, 2015 at 11:43 am

    How old was your youngest when you started taking them up the mountain? I’ve been wanting to hike (well, let’s be honest – walk) with our kids, but not sure if they are too little still?
    Cindy´s last blog post ..Who You Will Be Rubbing Shoulders With At The #CTMeetUp

  • 7 Cheryl // May 6, 2015 at 2:56 pm

    Your photos are fabulous! Hats off to you all. Bit concerned that the Father person was in the during photo, but not the after. Is he still up there? What a great hike and a wonderful place to go.
    Cheryl´s last blog post ..AlphabetPhoto: Q is for quilting

  • 8 Wendy Young // May 6, 2015 at 9:04 pm

    Stunning pictures! And well done! I have never hiked up but 24+ yrs ago soon to be hubby and I ended a romantic evening up the mountain with the knowledge of having missed the last cable car down…so because we didn’t want to sleep up there we walked down Platteklip in slops and with half a bottle of red wine. We lived to tell the tale. Your way sounds much nicer 🙂

  • 9 se7en // May 7, 2015 at 12:49 am

    Hay Zayaan… The things we do for our kids that turn out to be really fun for us too… exciting times!!! Have a fabulous week!!!

  • 10 se7en // May 7, 2015 at 12:54 am

    Hay Cat, Brilliant, your guys will love it… but they will need to train for it. We have come a long way from our first few faulty starts and mini adventures. Luckily you will find there are many ways to climb Table Mountain, ranging from manageable to just extreme madness… so many choices and you can pick your route according to your team’s ability. Hope you guys have a great week!!!

  • 11 se7en // May 7, 2015 at 12:55 am

    Thanks Aunty Muffin, Formidable just about describes it completely… talk about knowing your strengths!!! It was a great day out for all of us and well worth all the effort that went into it. Lots of love from the gang!!!

  • 12 se7en // May 7, 2015 at 12:57 am

    Thanks Irene, we couldn’t have chosen a more perfect day amidst all the mostly misty days we have been having. Hope you are having a great week!!!

  • 13 se7en // May 7, 2015 at 1:05 am

    Awe thanks Maz, I feel your pain, and there are many days when repenting for an hour has been the least of my reactions. There have been many failed attempts, many squabbles as they figure out who goes ahead and who walks behind… The fact that I have had to get fit and concentrate on being able to get up and down mountains myself means that I have less energy to endure all the shenanigans. They have had to work as a team to enjoy it, they have to work together to have fun… it takes time and lots of practice. Meanwhile you are off to a great start by just getting out there… it will come, just give them time!!!

  • 14 se7en // May 7, 2015 at 1:14 am

    Hay Cindy quite a few folk have asked this – I should definitely blog hiking with “littlies” for you. When you have eight kids you are always looking for free things to do with them… so reading (the library is our friend), the beach and hiking are our our outings. Our kids won’t remember a time when they didn’t go walking and hiking… when they were teeny tiny I walked with them in a sling, eventually they progressed to a backpack, but by the time they were two they pretty much all walked everywhere: the beach, the library, up the mountain. We just had to walk really slowly. and you have no idea how thankful I am about that. I don’t think your guys are too little at all… you just have to pick your walks wisely – Tokai forest, round the dam at Silvermine (when it re-opens), the boardwalk at SlangKop lighthouse and Newland’s forest are all easy options for walks that feel more like hikes than just your regular walk through the neighborhood. I will definitely put beginning hiking into a post for you soon… have a great week. So looking forward to Saturday.

  • 15 se7en // May 7, 2015 at 1:16 am

    Thanks Cheryl, it is quite an achievement and yes, the father person made it through… all the way to the end, and still got us home afterwards. It is a great hike, and I am so glad to have shared it with our kids… who are already planning their route for next year!!! Hope you are all having a great week.

  • 16 se7en // May 7, 2015 at 1:19 am

    Oh Wendy, that sounds like quite an adventure!!! I must say last year we made a spot decision on the mountain top, to totally break the budget, rather than stumble down Platteklip in the dark with eight tired kids, not to mention their tired mother person. It was a good call, but I am kind of glad that we made it up and down this year… we are definitely getting better at it!!! Hope you have a fabulous week!!!

  • 17 tami // May 7, 2015 at 11:38 am

    You tried to make me walk up Table Mountain but I said No, no no… ;). You are so much braver than me. I thought we’d never get to Maclear’s Beacon and that was after we took the cable car to the top. I’m such a big chicken. Well done you! xx

  • 18 se7en // May 7, 2015 at 12:22 pm

    Hay Tami, It is one step at a time… and I do walk throughout the year, I just can’t say no to a challenge. Now bootcamp, and you did that… would leave me absolutely terrified for about… well, forever!!! Hope you have a great week!!!

  • 19 Corli // May 7, 2015 at 5:24 pm

    Wow, up and down! So awesome!
    Loved the beautiful pictures. And especially the gallery!
    Corli´s last blog post and gladness ⎮ 6 months

  • 20 Marcia (123 blog) // May 7, 2015 at 7:38 pm

    Ah, I love seeing your hiking pics! And especially seeing a pic of YOU there 🙂
    Marcia (123 blog)´s last blog post ..Vulnerability hangover

  • 21 Margie // May 7, 2015 at 9:18 pm

    Just got to love that mountain! Great pics! We have enjoyed overnight trips to the scout hut near the dams. It sleeps 18 and costs very little for a church or school group. Check it out; your family might enjoy it and it won’t break the budget.

  • 22 se7en // May 9, 2015 at 3:42 am

    Hay Corli… Up and Down indeed… the up was fine but the down was truly something else. Hope you have a fun weekend!!!

  • 23 se7en // May 9, 2015 at 3:44 am

    Aaahh MArcia, I am so glad you liked that… because it was taken with you in mind. Here’s my thinking, “Marcia would say take a photo of your time together,” so we did. That was it, easy enough!!! Hope you all have a fun weekend!!!

  • 24 se7en // May 9, 2015 at 3:45 am

    Oh Margie, thank you that is a great tip. I remember doing that as a student but hadn’t thought of it with the gang. Hope you have a good weekend and thanks so much for stopping by!!!

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