Els Buttress is a B+3 little gem of a hike situated about ¾ of the way up Newlands Ravine. Since overcoming my phobia for heights just a few short years ago, I thrive on scramble routes and always marvel at the fact that I am now able to do these kinds of hikes. Fear holds one back and miss out on the adventures that life has to offer.
I had another adventure yesterday on our way to the Cape Town Carnival. I didn’t plan on going as I went to the first one and I was like ‘been there, done that, don’t have to do it again’ but I saw a post that the Firefighters and other disaster management personnel were to be honoured for their tireless efforts during one of the biggest wildfires in 15 years. I had to go. I was further motivated that they were going to be topless. Now, I’ve always had a thing for firemen in uniform and firemen topless are a whole other thing *swoon* Think Magic Mike swoon…
As the City of Cape Town was offering the Park & Ride Service, it was way cheaper taking the train than taking the car into town, hunting for parking and then to be stuck in traffic on our way home so we waited for a taxi to Wynberg around 5pm which took a bit too long so asked my brother for lift. We first go to Mcd’s for our free replacement milkshakes as the night before we ordered Salted Caramel and were given Vanilla instead. We then wait for the train while another woman attempted to have a fat chat with us but she did most of the talking and we just smiled and nodded. We were entertained by a very drunk mixed race couple attempting to dance without music. The ticket office was closed so intended to purchase tickets once we get to town…..we had no idea what was in store for us…
Off we go and stop at Mowbray train station and were ordered to get off the train and take the shuttle service not knowing that a scheduled maintenance was taking place this weekend (way to go City for not informing the public). There was a lot of confusion as another train pulled up hoping it was going to town but no, all trains go back from here. The masses crossing the bridge and we wait for the crowds to dissipate before leaving but then a smaller crowd crossed the railway line (out of harm’s way) but then others crossed as another train was pulling in and I screamed that the train was coming and a little girl was crying and everyone is in a panic. I assisted an older woman back onto the platform just in the nick of time! She was a bundle of nerves and understandably so and stayed with her until she calmed down. It was not her time to die. If I had to witness a fatality, I would be too traumatized to ever take the train again.
Off we go to the bus terminus and we are without tickets and ran back to the station to make the necessary purchases and ran back to the terminus to join the queue with my daughter and niece. Chatted a bit with the crowd and asked a man to mind his language as he is in the company of ladies and young children. Coloureds (especially drunk coloureds) can be exceptionally embarrassingly vulgar. The bus only went as far as Salt River station and then had to run for the train which was leaving ASAP. We eventually get to town around 7pm and make our way along the fan walk to Green Point – the carnival was to start at 5pm. Only read after that it only started at 7pm so didn’t miss much.
We see the firemen first and as I volunteered for them, I felt comfortable enough to go straight to the topless and proceeded to take pics. *giggle*I felt so flattered that they remembered me feeding them and making them fat and was promptly picked me up and photos ensued 😛
*more giggles* chatted to a few and made our way further up the fan walk. The place was packed! We couldn’t see any of the processions but eventually found a lucky front row spot on our way back down the fan walk. We waited for the Eoan Group (my daughter danced at this school for 4 years) and cheered loudly for them and then the firefighters arrived (oiled down, topless firefighters) *swoon* and cheered them, thanked them, followed by Metro and SPCA and thanked them. We make our way back down the fan walk until we realized that the procession is over and a bus advertising a free concert at the stadium so make our way back up the fan walk haha. We then get the firemen again and more pics were taken. I asked them to lift me up and the women went wild! My feet barely touched the ground when the ladies were pushing and wanting the firefighters to lift them too.
The queues were too long at the concert and decided to make our way back to the train station but not before making a detour to Truth Coffee Roasting for a Mocha 😀
We thanked the cleaners for cleaning up after us; we thanked the security for keeping us safe. We thanked metrorail staff for working late so that we can take a free train trip home again. We thanked the security on the train as well for keeping us safe and working overtime J
I was on a high and only fell asleep after 1am just to be up again at 4:30am J
Only 8 of us started this hike at 6:45 this morn as a few of the other regulars had other commitments and was pleased that new guy returned today and was not put off by last week’s 9 hours 😛 We had another new guy so gna call first new guy 3 month guy lolz (he started hiking 3 months ago)
Pushing myself, I lead the way and sweating buckets from the exertion and humidity. At our first water break 3 month guy asks my age when I said I felt like an old sleep deprived woman. He was shocked when I said that I’m 39 as he assumed I was 29! We women just love compliments like these 😀 We wait on the rest of the group and continue to lead the way up. We had another water break at the carousel and would love to know who chopped down the tree and why!
Thankfully no snack breaks today.
I stop at the Buttress turnoff as one by one the rest of the group joined us and dried myself a bit as the sweat was getting too much too bare. Dripping from my face and hair, soaking my buff and was grateful that we were heading into the mist which means cooler weather but little to no views. Don’t care, it was way too humid.
It boggled my mind that this path was so overgrown. We haven’t done this route in over 2 years but surely others have done it? Anyway, it was 3 month guy’s first serious scramble and would require guidance and assistance climbing up and let the others pass. For someone who has a fear of heights, he did extremely well so well done to him J
We climbed and we scrambled and we climbed some more.
Enjoying the views and the scenery when we could see it and notice that a lot of pine trees have been cut down and was told it’s because pine trees releases some kind of acidity which is harmful to fynbos.
We see lots and lots of king proteas again in various stages of bloom and took lots and lots of pics of them and with them J even saw a yellow protea.
We reach breakfast rock and had many many belly laughs here (I won’t go into detail or rather can’t go into detail) and I’m cold! I was reprimanded that I don’t want to put on a jacket but eventually pull on my (removable) sleeves and crouch for warmth lol. And pull down my sleeves again not even 15 minutes after making our way down.
The hike down Newlands Ravine was a slow one as another guy who hasn’t hiked in a while felt the impact in his knees (my knees, thankfully seem to have recovered so can return to my active lifestyle which I only started since being retrenched almost a year ago – when I’m not active I eat junk so hopefully back to healthy living as well)
We reach the cars around 12pm which feels strange as it’s been a while since we’ve done such a short hike. Even our 5-6 hour ‘short’ hikes are extended by exploration J I love exploring J
I thank my Maker for my health and my strength and the mental ability to do these hikes. For the fauna, the flora, the breathtaking views (when we can see them) and the challenges we overcome on these adventures. Most of the time we don’t even realize how dangerous they are but we are confident in our abilities and put our trust in our Maker to protect us along these routes. One slip can be fatal.
Until my next hike, ciao for now