Hiddingh Ascension

First off, I need to thank those who helped me up and down the mountain today after I injured myself stopping a rock with my hip.  Also, thank you for the many belly laughs which distracted me from the pain.  If it wasn’t for all your assistance and literally, helping hands (and rope) I would not have been able to complete today’s hike.

photo cred to Luke
photo cred to Luke

As I knew this hike is a long strenuous one which takes a lot of mental and physical strength, I took it slow and easy because the last time I did this route, my body was sore all over from over exertion.  This route is graded B+3 with 4 Ravines, a sheer drop ledge plus 5 exposed scrambles.

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I was not going to make the same mistake by tiring myself out today…”You know nothing John Snow” comes to mind.

14 of us braved this hike with absolutely stunning sunny weather at around 7:30 with an ETA of 14:30.

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We jovially make our way up Newlands Forest and turn left on the Contour path.  Straight up takes you to the Carousal and then up Newlands Ravine.  I had a bit of alone time along the contour path, listening to the forest and my boots trampling the underbrush.  Feeling the various textures of rocks, leaves and trees with my hands, I eventually meet up with the rest of the group waiting for us.

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You have to know the path to find the start of this route and the adventure begins immediately and lots of photos up the ravine, especially at the waterfall/stream. 20150607_084818

All is well as we turn off the Ravine and now make our way up to the aptly named Pulpit.  Half way up this route, we are distracted by a scorpion and of course I had to take a pic! 20150607_092515

Then!  I hear Anwar saying ‘watch out for the rocks!’  I look up, seeing this rock falling down towards me, I can’t move anywhere as I had someone to my side and behind me. If I gave way, the rock would’ve fallen on the person behind me so the only thing I could do was crouch and let my hip to stop the rock from falling down further.  EINA! It was the size of an adult head :/  It was sore but I could handle it and wasn’t too worried that I wouldn’t be able to complete the hike at this stage.  The more strain I’m putting on my hip on our way up, the more uncomfortable it becomes so rub on deep heat at our first break (on the pulpit).

The Pulpit
The Pulpit

Making our way up to the Gully, I found myself alone and shouted for anyone but didn’t get a response but followed a path and saw footprints so knew I was on the right path and reach the others and gratefully rested my hip as I was now limping slightly.

footprint
footprint

This Gully is the greenest patch on Table Mountain and it’s actually a thorny leaf species but it’s not so green in winter (obviously).

Green Gully
Green Gully
Steep Gully
Steep Gully

I rest my hip every so often and now it’s time for the first serious scramble and Anwar says we are actually making good time!  Until…The first real pressure I put on my hip, scrambling up and scream out as I feel a bolt of pain shoot down my leg into my toes :/  Now I’m worried as I have to cross over and every time I attempt to cross and put pressure on my leg, it buckles in pain.  I feel pins and needles in my leg right down to my toes and am struggling.  Fortunately, we have a great group of people for assistance and I’m eventually pulled across.  This is just the first scramble and we have 4 more to go.

John and Rashaad helping me
John and Rashaad helping me

At each scramble, I was assisted with a rope as to not put too much pressure on my hip and now leg.  Fortunately as well, Rashaad had pain meds which helped a lot as well. We have breakfast before going across Carrel’s Ledge as I must rest my hip/leg for a while and find some privacy for a generous deep heat rub.

Breakfast!
Breakfast!
ok you can just leave me here
ok you can just leave me here

Traversing Carrel’s Ledge we see the last of the faster hikers and take our (meaning my) time and this is also where my battery dies so couldn’t take more photos T_T.  Especially at the sheer drop :/ Anyway, it’s now time to make our way down to what Anne aptly named Hideous Descent (Ledges) last time as it really is a technically challenging scramble down.

Hideous Descent
Hideous Descent

I of course take advantage of every chance to rest my hip/leg as we wait on others and when we get to Hideous Descent, I need help with the rope which was a really sloooooowwwww process as I had no choice but to put pressure on my hip/leg and shout out in pain each and every time (much to the amusement of the rest as, apparently, it sounds more like pleasure than pain) and when Rashaad decided to mimic me, I knew why they were laughing.  Sigh.  lol At one particular descent, I was sitting on a rock, soaking up some sun rays, enjoying the views while waiting on the rest, a hilarious incident occurred (which I won’t repeat out of respect for my fellow hiker also the incident wasn’t as funny as the reactions) It was so funny that I was tearing with laughter attempting to eat an apple but coiling instead as I couldn’t chew.

In pain but can still smile for pics :P
In pain but can still smile for pics 😛

My tummy was getting so sore that I had to lay on my bag lol. Lucky I could take a few more pics before my phone refused to go on again and eventually reach the top of Newlands Ravine shortly before 3pm.

The end is near...
The end is near…

So much for making good time before the scramble started :/  I is sorry.  Holding my hip, we go down the Ravine which was not too bad as I was putting more pressure on my right leg than left leg and rested when I needed to.  I am also flippen starving as we of course hadn’t had lunch yet. We get to the Carousal around 3:30pm and still have another 30min to our cars and eventually get there at 16:12!

Despite my injury, I absolutely loved this hike!

THANK YOU again!

Until my next hike, ciao for now

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Hiddingh Ascension

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