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The other day I was looking for a blog post of a hike that I haven’t done in a while and saw that I haven’t actually written my ‘Hello World’ blog. – 20th August 2016
(04/10/2016 – My new site: Fat’s Mountain Adventures)
(06/07/2017 – yet another new site: Fats On A Mountain
I had quite an eventful weekend the 14th/15th February 2015 and as a Facebook status wasn’t enough to describe my Helicopter ride and experience at an Ethiopian Wedding I attended on the same day, I wrote it as a Note. 1 or 3 people enjoyed it and suggested that I start a blog. My response was that I have nothing else to write about and they said I could write about hiking. I replied ‘Well, that I can do’
For as long as I can remember, I have always loved nature. I loved the beach. We grew up going camping every long weekend and holiday and I would go off on my own and explore. Every morning, while everyone would go back to bed, I would be up with a cup of coffee and a book and go watch the sunrise on the beach. To this day, whenever we go camping/holiday, I stay up to watch the sunrise 🙂
I got married, had kids and only later I started doing big walks. I got divorced and as I was always looking for activities to do with my kids (as my father did with us) I decided to take them for a walk in Newlands forest. This was 11 years ago. The PC with these pics crashed unfortunately sigh. I took my kids up the cable car and explored the top of Table Mountain as far as Mc Clears Beacon and passing Platteklip Gorge, I thought it madness to hike that far up the mountain and not something I would ever do. Few months later, we started doing Lions Head with friends but that didn’t last long.
When I started doing the 30km Big Walk, I wanted to improve my time and fitness levels and when another friend invited us to join her on a hike, I jumped at the chance.
My passion for hiking started on the 11th October 2009 when I did my first hike (in takkies mind you) with the then known, Muslim Assembly Hiking Club. We did Tranquillity Cracks and I complained all the way up! There was nothing tranquil about this hike! But these people whose names I was yet to memorise were so very patient! THANK YOU! When we got to the peak and I saw the views! OMG the views! The pain going up was forgotten (like childbirth…yes, I compared my first hike to post childbirth and I can because I gave birth to two children so I know what I’m talking about). I was hooked.
Going down however was another story. In takkies remember, I got blisters. I had to take off my shoes and each step was painful! (Haha, I was earthing then already ^_^) Mr Jaffer stayed by my side all the way down (side note. Mr Jaffer turned 60 that year and beat luekemia by eating clean and basically living a healthy lifestyle). I will never forget the lessons I learned with this club. As my kids were still small back then, I could only hike every second weekend and 10th January 2010 (which felt like the hottest day of the year), the club did Platteklip Gorge and got the meeting points wrong (I was new to this so didn’t know all the landmarks yet) and as I didn’t have anyone’s phone number and the friend who introduced me to the club, wasn’t answering her phone, I joined another family from Hanover Park. Yes, I hiked with people have I just met lol. Checking out the few photos I took that day, we actually went up Porcupine Ravine (or Diagonal) but definitely up that fork. It was a big family of friends of younger and older hikers and I ended up with the younger hikers and as it was quite misty, we were separated from the older (slower group) and because they had the one guy’s water, I gave my water to him and instead of going to the Cable Station, unbeknownst to us, he went down Platteklip.
By 12pm, I couldn’t wait on the rest of the group so decided to go down Platties by myself. My first solo happened to be when I started out hiking haha. It may be haha now but I was in agony going down in takkies with my toes getting sore. I had to take off my shoes as I had blisters and the rocks were burning my hands. At this stage, I was sliding down on my buttocks. Other hikers saw my pain and offered me water and a banana as my water was with someone else and it was probably about 40 degrees Celsius by then. Not knowing that I wasn’t far from the road, I decided to take the contour path back to Kloof Nek car park and I was only done by 3pm. It was torture all the way down Platties then along the contour path in the afternoon heat. I’m a newbie hiker to experience something like that that I avoided Platties whenever I could. As a more experienced hiker now, I love Platties!
As my kids got older, I started hiking every Sunday. Initially, when I woke up to rain, I wouldn’t hike but then the skies would clear and I would mentally kick myself. Now I hike regardless of the weather and I love hiking in the rain.
I eventually got to know the routes and become the club hike leader and I overcame my very real phobia for heights; hiking took a whole new adventurous turn for me. As we stuck to what I knew, I became bored with the same ‘o same ‘o routes and joined another club offering exactly what I have been yearning for. New routes and new challenges that I thought I would never be able to do.
Through hiking, I got to overcome my real phobia for cockroaches as well lol. We were in the Outeniqua mountains hiking for about 10 hours in the middle of summer with very little shade and when it was eventually my turn to shower, there was a cockroach in the stall. At that stage, I could not have cared less. The shower was more important than my fear. If that happened anywhere else, I would not have showered at all haha.
Later I started taking my brothers and nephew on beginner hikes and later others asked me to take them and now I take a group once a month on easy hikes. I would love if my kids would hike with me often but alas, they have their own interests. (Like sleeping in on a Sunday morning)
I’ve assisted on mountain rescues, I have even been involved with a mountain rescue myself and I keep all the lessons learnt over the years with me. I will always remember and appreciate my first hiking club as they were the building blocks for the hiker I am today and I thank them and my mentor for my leadership skills.
Hiking has never and will never be about fitness for me. I hike for the love of the mountain; The sights, scents and sense of accomplishment; The view sumiting a peak after a particularly challenging scramble; Adrenalin coursing through my veins inducing endorphin; The quiet time connecting with my self; Connecting with like-minded mountain lovers and sharing our joy. It’s my tranquility away from normal every day city life.
At the age of 40, I started rock-climbing and trail-running although this is still at the beginning stages. Through all my years as a hiker, I was never interested in these activities until I tried it. Rock-climbing is all strength and Trail running is all cardio and concentration whereas hiking is a combination.
If you have read all this, and some of my posts, you will realise that my blog is not a technical one. I am not Siri giving directions on a particular route but share my experiences. I should actually change the name to My Hiking Diary haha
So when people deface my mountain with litter, it annoys me to no end! GRRRR