Silvermine/Elephant’s Eye/Hout Bay Lookout

We originally planned to do this hike during Sanparks free week but life is busy.  So busy that I was on leave that week (12th – 17th September) and couldn’t even take advantage of this 1 week a year opportunity.

Several went away for the weekend, others are nursing injuries, 1 was sick and another sent her apologies.  Fortunately, Nasheta and Zaida together with their clan did confirm or I would have had to do a solo (not that I mind) but this hike is for the beginners to see the views.  I haven’t been to Elephant’s Eye in over 3 years and was at Hout Bay Lookout in December 2014 (prior to the devastating March 2015 fires).  I’ve uploaded some before and after fire photos as comparisons (its much greener now since the fires though)

Anyway, prior to sending out the hike details, I go onto the Sanparks website to check the prices and gate times.  R45/adult and R25/child and gates open at 8am during off-peak season with on-peak starting in October when gates open at 7am.  Saturday night an Instagram follower asked me if I’m interested in doing this hike with him and meet at 7am and replied that I am actually taking beginners on the same hike but we going to the Look-out as well but the gates only open up at 8am (according to the website)

Get to the gates at 7:30am only to be told that on-peak season started on the 01st September and told them they need to update their website!  I message the group but there’s no signal and was only prepared to wait until 7:45am for anyone who didn’t confirm.  It’s cold at the gates but when we got to the parking area, it’s hot! @8am!

With iffy signal at best, I check in 4 Adults and 7 kids with an ETA of 12pm into Mountain Tracking and hope that my message goes through somewhere along the way.  The plan was to go to Hout Bay Look-out first but then decided to do Elephant’s Eye first (just in case I get complaints about doing something harder after doing something easy lolz)

I brief the group and go over Baboon rules.  I wasn’t aware that there are now baboons in the area as there weren’t any when I did my first rock-climb in January this year.  Nasheta was very concerned for the kids but I told her they wouldn’t be a problem (according to Shaheen who confirmed that as long as we obey the rules, it will be fine)

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Briefing and head count

My sweeper was a newbie hiker but I didn’t mind that I didn’t have a more experienced hiker as the route is pretty exposed so confident that I wouldn’t ‘lose’ anyone along the way.  We are finally off after group photos with our first stop at the ablution blocks.

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First break while legs are still fresh

I am so very chuffed to see all the greenery and flowers blooming after the fires which practically destroyed the area but also pleased to see a flower I have not seen before (or can’t recall as it was standing out from the fynbos – big bright and orange) and veer off the path to take a photo 😛

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Diana kindly commented with the following link….(Mountain Dahlia aka Liparia Splendens)

http://www.plantzafrica.com/plantklm/lipariasplend.htm

Conservation status
Liparia splendens ssp. splendens is classified as Vulnerable on the Interim Red Data List. The greatest threat is to the populations in lowland fynbos, as lowland fynbos is seriously threatened by urban development and agriculture. Liparia splendens is listed as Schedule 4 Protected Flora according to Western Cape Nature Conservation Laws Amendment Act, 2000.”

I decided to take the shortcut up the steps instead of the longer mountain bike track and make sure that my sweeper is always within eyesight.  If I don’t see him, I wait for them to catch-up.  Turn right towards the Eye and just before the trees (what was left) I see the troop of baboons. Oh crap.   Ok, tell the group to stick together, no loud noise and no sudden movements.  I don’t know the behaviour of the troop so gna stick to the rules as I have kids with me so veered off the path and slowly made our way alongside the baboons and of course watching them and taking photos.  The babies were so cute!!! I got my phone out too late to take a photo of one hanging from a branch but he fell off as I was taking the photo.

 

We watch groups further ahead who didn’t go off the path like we did and another veteran solo trail runner just shout ‘move move’ and the baboons moved!  They are more afraid of us than we are of them it seems.  Still, I wasn’t about to take any chances with kids in my care as we do have food which they could probably smell in our back-packs.

With the troop ahead of us, the group is at ease and we are still taking it slow and with one of the little girls by my side, a mommy baboon with her baby slowly came past us and quickly ran off.  My heart went out to these animals as their home was destroyed by the fires and now they are forced to share their space with ours.  How traumatic it must have been for them running away from the fires then.  They are not aggressive like the ones we encountered a while back at Crystal Pools.  That troop basically escorted us out the area but this troop is so timid.  I’m not saying that you should go out and pet them as baboons are temperamental and anything could trigger them.

It was amusing going up to the cave when I turned around to see Nasheta and Zaida taking photos of the view when I saw a baboon going right up to them and sitting on a rock.  Shouted to them that they shouldn’t turn around but they took the opportunity to take selfies with the baboon lol.

Up the zig-zag path we go and when we go to the straight path, I tell the group they can go ahead to the cave as I’m going to wait on my sweeper.  When he caught up to me, he tells me not to make any sudden moves as there was a baboon right on his tail lol.  I turn my back to the mountain to make space for the baboon to pass us but he was so afraid of us that he rather jumped around.  I could hear there was quite a few people in the cave and shouted to put their food away as a baboon was coming.  I then hear the screaming and commotion the baboon was causing and was told that one girl threw her smoothie just like that in her bag and another was too slow and the baboon grabbed something from her.  That group promptly left the cave but we stayed watching this baboon scavenge the cave and waited for it to come out before we went in.

After some photos, the group wasn’t prepared to snack there as the baboon was still at the bottom of the cave so made our way to Hout Bay Look-out and reassured them that it was a flat easy walk with no steps. Flat easy walk was torture in the heat!  The sun was really beating down and feel that I haven’t acclimatized to this weather yet and if I’m suffering, how must newbie hikers not be suffering!  I had on sun-screen but that didn’t deter the flies and other bugs from flying onto my neck or face.  Its walk walk walk, stop to regroup and walk some more and was looking forward to sitting on the benches enjoying the views until I got there and realised that the benches could have been burnt away from the fire and got to the Look-out to just that!  The benches are gone!  Oh well, we are there for the view after all.  BUT!  Oh gawd, the swarm of tiny flies was annoying that it eventually chased us away as you can only ignore it for so long.

It’s almost 12pm and with my ETA being 12pm and as we had signal there, I update Tracking to extend our ETA to 12:30pm BUT then Zaheer’s thighs went stiff!  He could not move and was in pain and we had to wait a while for his muscles to loosen up.  This was his very first hike after all and we are taking longer than expected.  It was a sloooooowww torturous walk back for him and tell the rest of the group they can go ahead and wait at various points as I’m sticking with him, his wife and my sweeper.

I took a packet with for litter but didn’t pick up along the way as I didn’t want to attract the baboons with a packet of litter hanging from my back-pack but I did pick up 2 cans as it was unsightly and with fire season approaching fast, just the right amount of heat at the right angle, could start a fire in the area (again). I wish litter bugs would realise this!

Side Note – Last Saturday was International Coastal Clean-up and joined the 2 Oceans Aquarium at Soetwater which is a cumulative coast.  Despite almost weekly clean-ups, there’s always litter washing up on this beach.   The staff has to free a Garnet that was trapped in fishing line which is one of the more harmful items to our marine life (including coastal birds)

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I won an eco-friendly straw…

http://www.streamstraws.com/

We eventually reach the cars at 13:05 and check out of tracking.  Was an enjoyable hike despite the heat and had an adventure with the baboons!

Until my next mountain adventure (whatever that is) ciao for now and thank you for reading.  (Even longer one today as had lots to write about haha)

PS – only published this blog a day later as….life is busy

 

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Silvermine/Elephant’s Eye/Hout Bay Lookout

Solo Trail Run – Kloof Corner to Silverstream

When I woke up 4:40am this morning, I actually didn’t feel like going to the mountain O_O  I was tired because…life.  Told myself: “Fatima, nothing a mug of Black Insomnia – the world’s strongest coffee, won’t fix’

Dropped my son off (he marshaled today’s ARD 10km race), came home, made morning prayers, sugared koesiesters and drank my coffee and I’m out the house at 6:30am to catch the sunrise at 7am.  Except you can’t see the sun rise from Kloof Corner car park haha.

Get out the car and its warm already and check in with Tracking at 7am, my route and ETA of 9am.  Up Kloof Corner I go and stop to take photos of flowers, run up the zig zag path and stop to take photos of sun that’s already risen and of course, Lion’s Head.  I am surprisingly alone on this route and as it’s not a mugging hot-spot (yet) I’m not concerned about my safety.  Also, I had my whistle around my neck.  Plus, the route is pretty exposed so don’t think it will become a hot-spot.

According to the time stamps on my phone, I went up the steep section in a minute haha.  I carefully run the narrow contour as there are lots of loose stones and protruding rocks so on high alert for these as I don’t want to twist my ankle, trip and fall down the mountain.  There’s also wet sections so walk for a while until my soles are dry.  Water and Sand = very slippery shoes.

I walk the more exposed sections with steps as one wrong move, I’m down that mountain and still no-ne in sight.  Not even passing trail runners.  Still not fearing my safety ^_^  but have to put my camera phone on time in order to take a selfie at the trickling waterfall but that was a fail hehe.

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I didn’t have to take breathers and drank water while walking and only stopped to take photos (of course) and answer the call of nature in the most sheltered spot I could find 😛  This time, I remembered my sunglasses as I’m facing the sun and bugs are flying about in the heat.  I also kept a lookout for snakes but some other rodent with a bushy tail ran across the path.  Initially thought it to be a Dassie but remembered Dassies do not have long bushy tails and Meerkats tails are long and thin.  After some Googling, it turns out that it could very well have been a Mongoose.

My intended route was until Platties and if I had enough time, I would go to Silverstream.  I get to Platties at 7:57am and as I spent a lot of time taking photos along the route, I went to Silverstream (passing hikers at Platties) and arrived at the Waterfall at 8:03.  Running is so much faster than hiking lol.

Lots more photos and attempted selfies on timer and only one runner ran past with her dog as I was posing lol.  Finally sat down to eat my koesiester and enjoy the quiet solitude and the views with only sounds of the birds and the streams.  Bliss!  Utter, utter bliss!  I didn’t want to move but alas, I had to return to reality.

More people on the mountain now and giving way to passing hikers and runners and their dogs.  More photos of flowers and was absolutely livid when I spotted a packet with a Styrofoam container.  I wasn’t going to pick it up (and run with a packet of trash and my water bottles in both hands) until I noticed the broken pieces and realized that one of the animal species on the mountain has eaten into it!  It hadn’t actually occurred to me before that our animals are eating your litter!  Styrofoam!  These are harmful to not only humans, our environment but also toxic to animals!

So I ran the rest of the way with this packet sigh and there’s no bins at Kloof Corner car park which means I have to take this dirt home with me sigh

I wanted to run down Kloof Corner but my knee promptly protested so walked the rest of the way but not before a dog came running up to me and I just knew that he was ‘aggressive’ and stood dead in my tracks as it barked at me.  The owners apologized and insisted that he was friendly and it was a friendly bark but I didn’t believe them.  I was thoroughly not impressed that I didn’t even respond or smile at their apology.

Anyway,  I get to the car park to this (below pic) and complained to the car guard to which he responded that I was the one who parked crappy and told him if he was actually there this morning, he would have known I was the only one there!

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Checked out of Tracking at 9am ^_^

Sigh…will not be doing any mountain adventures for the next 2 weeks because….Life sigh.

Until next time, thank you for reading and ciao for now.

 

 

Solo Trail Run – Kloof Corner to Silverstream

Trail Run – Constantia Nek to Skeleton Gorge

These annoying minor injuries come back to haunt you every so often and on Thursday my left knee niggle came back to taunt me.  I don’t even know how I originally injured my knee or shoulders but one day I need to have it checked out.  I’m just afraid that the physio will tell me that I can’t do any activities for a while and that will suck my soul from me.

I couldn’t do the intended B+ graded hike today which sucked as I haven’t done a hard hike in over a month! (The last time I did a B+ graded hike with a sore knee, I ended using crutches for a few days).

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Sooooo, what am I do to.  I can’t sleep in on a Sunday as I need to connect with nature and recharge my soul hehe.  I was in no mood for an easy hike as I did one last week so the next better option is trail running ^_^  Was in no mood for Lion’s Head circular contour as that mountain is just too busy, plus I did that trail twice already.

I know!  Constantia Nek contour to Skeleton Gorge and back! Nice and long and relatively flat!  So after extra prayers for my safety (as Constantia Nek is a mugging hotspot but not as much as Rhodes, Newlands forest or the Pipe Track I think) I checked in with Tracking at 7:25am with an ETA of 10am.  I didn’t want to start too early (sunrise) when hardly anyone is about as I loathe feeling unsafe. Also, I had my whistle around my neck just in case.  Who I was going to whistle for, I don’t know.  If I was thrown off the path somewhere, I could whistle for help can’t I?

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Anyway, I walk up the path from the car park and intended to start running from the start of the trail but there were dogs about so carried on walking until I thought it safe from dogs.  I run a little walk a little and I didn’t even reach the gate yet when my knee started to bother me.  I contemplated turning back but I didn’t drive this far to turn back.  I contemplated walking the route but I didn’t come for just a walk.  Sigh.  I carried on and hoped for the best. (Rolling my eyes at my own stubbornness)

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I run a little and walk a little and stop to take photos of the stunning views, drink water and blow my nose.  I also slow down when there are dogs about but I start to observe their behavior around their owners and passing trail runners.  I noticed that these dogs are not interested in runners.  Not even to sniff them.  I’m not afraid of dogs per se, I’m afraid of dogs biting me lol.  So I continue to run (when I’m not walking) and when walking the route, those minuscule gradual inclines is nothing but running them is another thing! Seriously!  It’s surprisingly hard and can only run a few metres when I have to walk them all and there’s surprisingly many along the route hehe.

I didn’t intend to take so many photos but I did.  44 on a trail run is quite a lot I think J  I stopped about 40 times to take photos lol.   This is besides the blowing-my-nose and water breaks.

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I’m surprisingly above the reservoir in Kirstenbosch Gardens around 8am and pretty chuffed with my time considering.  Nursery Ravine by 8:10 and I’m like whoa!  I’m not as unfit as I assumed hehe.  I reach Skeleton Gorge 5 minutes later and there’s another guy having a break there as well.  I asked him to take a photo of me and ignored his not too chuffed expression on his face \o/ I’m all smiles and thankful to him and didn’t get one smile in return from him 😀

I update Tracking that I’m at the Gorge and will leave at 8:30am.  I sit down and eat my koesiester and enjoy the solitude and quiet surrounding me. The only sound is the water flowing down the streams.  Ahhhh utter bliss!

After some photos, I reluctantly leave and the trail is getting slightly busier.  I didn’t intend to take more photos but I got distracted by some flowers and again the views from the other way haha!

I still run walk as I’m not fit enough to just run yet and have to walk every decline with steps which is the case from Skeleton Gorge to just passed Kirstenbosch.  I would have loved to run those steps but I didn’t want to land awkwardly on my knee.  By the time I got to the 400 year old tree, I was feeling the impact so concentrated on putting most of the pressure on my right knee.  Again the long gradual miniscule inclines are a killer!

With even more people about with even more dogs, I wasn’t the slightest bit worried so didn’t need to walk past them when I was running.  Until.  One big overly friendly dog jumped me!  I saw it coming though so could brace myself for the impact.  If I hadn’t, he would have gotten me to the ground lol.  His owner reprimanded him and apologised profusely just for overly friendly dog to jump me again!  I wasn’t the least bit annoyed J I have never seen so many breeds of dogs!  My favourites are the Huskies and German Sheppards.

At almost the last turn at Constantia Nek, strong cold winds suddenly started to blow.  Where did that come from?!

As I’m running the last bit, at the start of the route, I see this woman gesturing for her dog to stay, she walks on for a bit and then gives her dog permission to follow her J  she saw me smiling at that and smiled back and told her that was so cute!

Back at the car park and the path right next to Orangekloof, I see a pile of rubbish L  I didn’t have gloves or a packet or I would’ve picked it up.  I don’t pick up litter when I’m trail running L

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I check out of tracking at 9:14 and really chuffed with my time.  I actually estimated 2 hours but added extra 30 minutes for the just in case and I actually had no idea how long the trail would take me as I’ve only done the route with beginner hikers with several stops to regroup.

Due to time constraints over the next few weeks with Eid coming up and me moving into the separate entrance of our house, I won’t have the time to do hard hikes which will hopefully give the chance for my knee to heal again SIGH.

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I may do another trail run next week as my goal is to run the top of Table Mountain.  I’m thinking up Constantia Nek to Cable Station and back 😀  I need to buy me a Hydration Pack as running with 2 bottles of water is definitely not enough and not ideal but we make do with what we have for the moment J

Also need to get me trail running shoes AND rock-climbing shoes so I can do more of that.  Where will I find the time (and money) to enjoy all my mountain hobbies?  I don’t know SIGH

Until my next mountain adventure, thank you for reading and ciao for now.

PS.  Since around lunch time, I’ve been limping with a knee guard haha…..SIGH

 

 

 

Trail Run – Constantia Nek to Skeleton Gorge

Newlands Forest Carousel

On our last easy hike, we agreed that our next hike will be to the Carousel/Round Table but date and route to be decided later.  Cecelia Waterfall Down Rooikat

Starting route would be weather dependent.  From Rhodes Memorial, we will see city views and from Newlands Forest, we will be sheltered from the elements.  With today’s weather prediction of heavy downpours, definitely Newlands and with some concerned about the rain, I kept my eyes on 3 different weather sites lol.  Rain is only to come around 10-11am and we will mostly be in the forest so shouldn’t be too bad.

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Lilly

My sister in law also decided to join us today with my nephews but they were in no mood for a hike and the last time she joined me on a hike was in 2009!  Tarturas Cave really put her off lol and had to reassure her that today’s hike will be easy.  I only take this group on easy hikes.

In the week, I saw on Facebook that Hikers Network and Leave The Couch Together trail runners were doing the same route which meant the route is going to be full!  I asked the group if we should change the route but they said no.  We get to the car park and it’s full!  Had to go park in the other parking bay (for the first time!)

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I check 11 pax, Newlands Carousel ETA 12pm in the Whatsapp Tracking group but I expected us to be done by 11am.  I lead, Momeena swept and we merrily make our way up chatting up a storm.  Oh yes!  There was only 1 young male with us today.  Girls Rock!

As we were mostly newbie hikers, I take a little detour to the bridge for them to take photos and a photo shoot ensued.  The younger ones took photos/selfies every few metres lol.  They didn’t come for the hike but for photo opportunities 😀  As they were enjoying themselves, I leave them be but it did slow down our pace tremendously 🙂 I would not be surprised if they took 1000 photos combined ^_^

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I of course also take several photos but there’s not many flower species in Newlands Forest so took several pics of mushrooms.  After all this time, I still don’t know if its edible or not *rolling my eyes*  I do know that people do come to this forest to pick mushrooms but don’t know which ones haha

In fact, everyone was smiling, laughing and loving the hike, the scenery and each other’s company and I felt warm and fuzzy that I could do that for them and again remembered how far I’ve come as a hiker….in case you missed my Introductory Blog Introductory Blog Post – Hello World (which I only wrote on Saturday lolz)

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We eventually get to the Carousel which was occupied by some veteran hikers frying eggs lol.  In jest they said that they booked the 9:30am slot and I asked them if they take orders so the one woman said that the guy does take orders (for fried eggs) but not very good at it haha

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We chilled there for a while, chatting, laughing and eating and then Hikers Network arrived and made space for them (not all of them as they are a huge group).  I asked the one lady who is Pamela and this lady happens to be Shamima who hiked Jonkershoek with us.  I eventually introduced myself to Pamela (she’s a Facebook friend hehe)

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When it felt like drizzle, told the guys to pack up before it starts to pour and go down the Littlewort path (or one of them as I know all the paths meet up somewhere).  They were very appreciative when I told them it’s a shortcut ^_^

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Momeena says that it’s the first time she goes down the route and she’s loving it.  I looked at her expression and only saw contentment.  Oh the warm and fuzzies!  Everyone is still in high spirits.

I decided to take a fork I haven’t done before, all because it was there lol (and all paths meet up somewhere and I knew I wouldn’t get lost)

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When we got to the stream, the only guy in the group explored a bit and I decided to check it out as well and wanting to take a photo of the area, not looking where I was stepping, I slipped and as I am falling down onto my buttocks, in slow motion, I see my phone fly in the air and land in water!  I have a Sony Xperia M4 Aqua which was water resistant and could take photos underwater before I dropped it and the screen cracked.  I haven’t checked to see if it was still water resistant x_x  My phone was too slippery to check if the functions were working x_x

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I got to the group and told them what happened and the one asked if my phone is still wet.  (To save them the embarrassment, I shall refrain from mentioning names lol) but then another turned to me and dripping with molasses thick sarcasm, she replies ‘No, her phone fell in water and it’s drrryyyyyyyyyy’  We all burst out laughing at that tone!  (sorry, I had to retell it lol)

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Close to the end of the hike, it only then started to rain and to tell them to pick up the pace as we are all going to get wet.  Some went to the loo and I threw out all the litter I picked up along the path to take a photo as taking just a photo of the filled packet wouldn’t do the pic justice.  So much litter in Newlands forest which use to be a pristine route!!!! I even took a small packet thinking that I would not have picked up that much litter! GGGGGRRRRRR!!!!!!!

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Anyway we are done around 11:30am and then only did the rain seriously come down.  A few of us still stood around and chatted and in no hurry to leave until I started to get wet as I gave my rain-jacket to my sister in law.   I didn’t want to take out my poncho just to run to the car hehe.

Newbie hiker (Nasheta’s friend) regaled the tale of how she kitted herself out for the hike and cannot wait for the next one ^_^

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Checking out their stunning photos on Facebook and see again all the smiles in the photos (not posed ones) how much they enjoyed the hike and their thanks as they tagged me.

I want to thank each one of you for making the hike what it was.  It gave me so much pleasure to see the pleasure in your faces and chatter.  I only organise and lead the hikes but you guys make the hike 😀  Special thanks to Momeena for doing such a great job sweeping – the warm and fuzzies in full effect!

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Sisters in law O_O

Until my next mountain adventure, thank you for reading and ciao for now 😀

Newlands Forest Carousel

I Survived The World’s Strongest Coffee

I am currently high.  High on caffeine that is.  It’s been an hour since I had my first cup of #blackinsomnia.  (Current time 8:30am) The strongest coffee in the world!  Stronger than #Deathwish.  They even have lab results to prove it.

Lab Results

(Why am I using hashtags in my blog?)  Why am I blogging about this in my blog about hiking?  Well, this coffee has taken me to new heights!  \o/

I’ve stopped sweating.  Not sure if it was because of my brisk walk from Haas Collective in Buitenkant to Walter Sisulu (in under 15 minutes mind you) or elevated blood pressure from the caffeine kick (or both).  I may or may not get a migraine, only time will tell and my concentration levels are everywhere!

As I have work to attend to, I’m writing this blog between tasks and not everything is written in real time.

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When the 9gag meme was making the rounds about Death Wish Coffee, I had to have it!  I scoured the internet to find a place in Cape Town and discovered that Haas Collective sells it ^_^.  They also sell Kopi Luwak btw (not sure if it’s still in stock as Death Wish has been out of stock for a while now) I haven’t plucked up the courage to pay R90+ for a cup of coffee yet although I was planning to with my end of year bonus lol.  I paid R55 for a cup of Death Wish and posted the following on Instagram.

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As it was in the middle of summer, I wasn’t drinking that much coffee (about 3-4 cups a day) and disappointingly crashed by 1pm.  So much for not sleeping for 3 days ^_o and now being in middle of winter, I drink about 8 cups a day (I don’t actually keep count)

When Sean Kirstafor launched Black Insomnia, I could only follow his social media accounts with longing as it was only available online and I wasn’t prepared to purchase a bag without tasting it first.  Then he had a stall at the Watershed in the Watefront (it’s within walking distance from where I work but not enough time before work :/) Lunch was too late in the day O_O

Then Shift Espresso Bar in Green Point and that’s still too far T_T  UNTIL! Yesterday, I saw in social media that he’s stocking it at Haas!  ^_^  happy days!

I get to Haas about 7:20am and meet Sean outside setting up the Black Insomnia banner and in I go.  I must admit that I was a bit nervous as I remember what Death Wish did to me and here I’m about to have something even stronger.  Is it a good idea to have this on an empty stomach?  I shared these exact thoughts with the lady behind the counter over friendly banter J  R30 for an espresso which is so cheap considering that Death Wish was almost double the price but that is because it was imported.

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I was the first Black Insomnia customer and when she opened that first bag and we got to breath in that fresh coffee bean scent *shiver*!  We both sighed in delicious pleasure *dreamy face*

They offer Black Insomnia in Cappuccino and Espresso style.  At first I said Cappuccino but then thought ‘don’t be a wuss! You want the full experience!’ and change my order to Espresso and have a seat as I wait for my beans to be ground.

Am I ready she asks, ‘Not before I take a photo off course’ I reply 😀

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First sip and its surprisingly delicious!  I expected the flavours to be rather pungent considering the strength and all. It’s rich without being overpowering and smoky and tasty!  It was like eating my favourite dark Lindt Excellence slab.  I tried to savour the taste as long as possible and mentally congratulate Sean for creating this excellent coffee range which has now become my favourite coffee brand, kicking Truth Coffeecult to second place.  I gotsta get me a bag!

9:20am and I’m drinking boiled water (which is still better than tea).  Can’t chance having more coffee for the morning lol (I had my first cup before leaving home).  No longer buzzing so coming down from my initial high and thinking more clearly, typing slower and concentration levels normalising.  I am awake and feeling great!

9:49am and I just yawned O_O and been to the ladies twice already (caffeine is a diuretic after all)

9:58am and I yawned again.  Think I’m starting to crash now and I’m less alert.  9:59am and yawned again :/ another yawn and it’s still 9:59am. Yes I’m crashing x_x

By the time I finished writing this blog I haven’t yawned again and my crash wasn’t as dramatic as my experience with Death Wish which is the best as now I know I will be able to handle Black Insomnia without the crashing side effects 😀

Well done Sean and may Black Insomnia grow from strength to strength 😛

 

 

I Survived The World’s Strongest Coffee

A Woman’s Day Lions Head Sunrise and Mountain Clean Up

With a guilty conscience for not picking up the litter last Sunday on my Hike/Trail Run on Lion’s Head, I decided to return and asked Shaheen to join me.  Meet at the Car Park at 7:30am to drive up and down looking for space to park!  Sheesh, don’t people go to the malls or sleep in on holidays anymore???

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October 2015

Lion’s Head is probably the busiest mountain on this planet and with so many humans comes trash bags of litter unfortunately.  I only saw yesterday that a hockey club actually did a Clean Up on Sunday (today being Tuesday and a public holiday) so assumed there was not going to be much litter but what the hey, I get a hike in as well J

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No caption required

Anyway, I check in with Tracking only at 07:45 with an ETA of 10am as we were distracted by the sun rising and had to take a gazillion photos off course.

It’s slow going, keeping an eye out amongst the bushes and immediately pick up sweet wrappers, bottle tops, lollipop sticks, straws, a trillion cigarette butts and tissues, napkins, toilet paper (with gloves!  Shaheen was thoughtful enough to bring along as we don’t normally pick these up – you know, bodily fluids).  We go down at the benches and pick up several plastic water and energy bottles, beer bottles (even an imported beer) and other wine bottles and chips and sweet packets.  We take turns going down to get bottles that were thrown down from the path and we didn’t even reach the steps yet (still on the winding gravel path) when our bags were already filled and with the conundrum of carrying these full bags up the mountain.

As several people were thanking us for doing this, Shaheen suggested we ask someone to take the bags down for us.  One man was so jubilant in his gratitude, that he bellowed kisses and bear hugs for us 😀  Fortunately!  2 other ladies were doing the same and we asked them.  Not only that, they taught us a trick of removing the plastic bottle tops and crushing the bottles!  Viola!  More space in the bags \o/  They also got the idea from Shaheen to use gloves to pick up (gross) litter AND they had this nifty stick (trash grabbers) to pick up hard to reach places 😀

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Bad light picture quality sorry

At one spot, there were so many bottles down below, that both of us had to go down it.  What we noticed is when we see one bottle, there has to be at least one other hidden close by.  Seriously, each time we think there’s only one bottle, there is at least another one in the bush.

We were so focused on the dirt that we forgot the beauty surrounding us that we took some moments to appreciate.  So many flowers blooming!  Whites and yellows and orange and pinks.  Spring is a coming!  And let’s not forget the views!  The city, the ocean, the harbor, the sun and in the distance, mist still covering the suburbs in the North.

The jubilant guy is coming down with bottles he picked up and thanked us for the inspiration to do the same!  \o/ 😀 We are thoroughly chuffed!

There are queues going up and down the ladders and chains and have to wait our turn.  SIGH!  But I do thank everyone for the patience as I remember once an argument broke out when people became impatient lol

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Wait your turn guys

Shaheen goes down one spot and calls out that there is a discarded panty in the bush lol.  I said take a photo of it 😀

We eventually on reach the peak at 10:10 and update tracking and to extend our ETA to 11:30 and gratefully sit down to quench our thirst and eat koesiesters.  We have our compulsory photos on The Rock and look down to see trash lying about.  Go down to get it and walk around picking up so many cigarette butts that I told Shaheen I’m not picking it up any longer – there’s too many!

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Yay us!

It’s a bit of struggle going down with full heavy bags and as its peak hour human traffic, we opted to go down the longer route to even more traffic!  I find a black bag which had a hole but Shaheen made a knot and put her heavy breaking bag innit.

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So many people O_O

One guy gives a thunderous applause for our good work and another guy asked us if it was a group event and said no, we only decided to do this yesterday as individuals.  He has to look on the hiking groups on Facebook for Mountain Clean ups.

We were wrong thinking that there wouldn’t be any litter on our way down considering that we picked it all up on our way up but alas.  Said to Shaheen ‘didn’t we just clean there this morning?’

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Enjoying the view

Finally down at 12pm and get Sanpark Rangers Aslam and Fierdous with their crew about to patrol the mountain for wayward hikers J

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Shaheen went down

Photos cannot capture just how much trash we picked up and in these pics below, imagine the pile of bottles it would have been if we didn’t crush them.  And this is besides the 2 packets we emptied to give to those women to take down for us.

Tis sad that there has to be events for Mountain and Beach Clean Ups but alas, if we don’t have this, who will?  Not those who litter off course because they probably don’t even pick up after themselves at home – their mummies do that for them.  There were bottles we didn’t pick up at precarious places which weren’t worth risking our lives for.

I am not hiking on Sunday due to family commitments so until my next mountain adventure, thank you for reading and ciao for now J

 

 

A Woman’s Day Lions Head Sunrise and Mountain Clean Up

Solo Platteklip Gorge recovering from a Cold/Flu

After last week’s hike/trail run, I caught a cold with flu symptoms but I don’t think it was from Lion’s Head but from my cousins the Friday before as half of them are sick.  I wasn’t planning on doing a Solo hike but my lift to our club hike overslept (again) so had to make alternate plans with Platties being my goto hike.

Long story short, I only get to car park at 7:20 and get an old hiking buddy.  We chat for a bit and off I go to answer the call of nature and check in with Tracking at 7:25 with an ETA of 9:30.  It’s been a while that I start hiking Platties when it’s already light and the sky views of the sun rising was simply spectacular!   And so was the weather J  but still no Earthing today as I don’t want to catch Pneumonia or Bronchotis so keep my boots on \o/ (this time)

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Fareed and I are having a fat chat and I initially hike at his pace but eventually go ahead and only stop to take photos and blow my nose.  I’m going at an easy breathable pace as I don’t want to cough my lungs out nor give my heart that extra strain.  Excessive exercise while sick can give you a heart-attack.  Even my cousins warned me about hiking with the flu but I have hiked while sick before and felt way better afterward.  I know not to exert myself and besides, I’m pretty sure that breathing in the scent of fynbos has medicinal properties (don’t quote me on this!)

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New path to the thick bush

With the cable car closed for their annual maintenance, there are not that many hikers which means not that much litter.  I considered picking up the litter going up but that means carrying it up and down again so left it so long.  Shortly after the halfway mark (I assume it’s halfway)  I see another old hiking buddy sitting on the path \o/  I stop and chat with him for a bit while Fareed is catching up but I shortly leave both of them.

Now 2 other ladies and myself are ‘playing tag’ as we pass each other whenever we take breathers and I notice that the path higher up is quite eroded (or Sanparks is doing some maintenance) and also notice that people are making new paths towards bushes and a netted ‘sack’ of rocks which is going to fall should there be a significant downpour.  (Saeed, I forgot to notify you of this so please do your thing ^_^ )

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These rocks are going to fall soon’ish

I see a familiar couple who was also picking up litter on the route once but they were not picking up litter today.  Also saw the guy who always does Platties barefoot and before I thought him nuts but now I smile when I see people Earthing 🙂

The sun only made its appearance about ¾ of the way up and now I’m breathing heavily and mentally thank Shamiel for the extra tissues as I’ve used all mine up by now.  Hikers who passed me on the way up is already coming down and this still slightly annoys me (faster, stronger, fitter hikers lol) Well, they are more trail runners than hikers but still)

Finally peaked Platties at 8:40am and another lady and myself take photos of each other as she’s waiting on her buddy.  I’m hiking on my own so not waiting on anyone really but I do actually wait for Fareed and Shamiel to give them koesiesters.

Fareed is up first and gave the koesiesters to him with coffee.  Shamiel comes up shortly after and walks around like someone who lost his lungs somewhere hehe.  Fareed ate both the koesiesters so nothing for him unfortunately.  The other ladies wanted to go down the cable car as one of them is also sick but informed them that the cable car is closed for annual maintenance and there was a notice on the board at the start of the hike.

We ask another hiking acquaintance to take a group photo of us before I make my way down again at 8:55.  (Later than expected and knew I won’t make 9:30am ETA when I felt the kink in my knee again with the first step down!)

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Old hiking buddies!

Anyway, down I go down slow and pick up the little litter that there is but it does slow me down even more.  Another hiker asked me if I clean up Platties every Sunday and said only when I’m doing Platties.   I do still pick up litter but haven’t mentioned it as the routes I’ve done of late has been pristine (except Lion’s Head which looks like a rubbish dump in some areas but as I was trail-running that day, I wasn’t about to run with plastic bags and litter)  Maybe I do a Lion’s Head clean up tomorrow seeing as it’s a public holiday and sure to be even more litter as I read that there were so many people on Lion’s Head yesterday that one hiker said that he only went as far as Wally’s Cave.

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There are still many people coming up which slows me down even further as some do not give you way so have to wait on them to pass.  There was a large male group singing in baritones but that made me smile that they are so happy and boisterous cheering their slower hikers along.  Another hiker asked if I hiked from Constantia Nek to do be almost done so I said no, I’ve been up and coming down already because I started at 7:30am.  Similar Q&A to other hikers only just starting.

I’m nearly down when I picked up a broken glass bottle and picked up each shard.  The sun would just have to get that shard in the right light and start a mountain fire and then we blame it on arsonists.  Well litterbugs can be considered arsonists.

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Not even half the bag – I’ve filled 2 bags on this route already

Anyway, I check out of Tracking at 09:51 and there’s still groups only about to start – tourists haha

The Cable Car is back open today J

Until my next mountain adventure, ciao for now

PS – I do not endorse solo hikes especially after there was several mountain related crimes reported yesterday.  My solo hikes are at my own risk which I am well aware of despite having myself tracked via our Whatsapp Tracking group.

 

 

Solo Platteklip Gorge recovering from a Cold/Flu