So the message during the week from Uncle Shahmieg was ‘Come C the Wonders of the Almighty at work on this Sunday 11 Oct 2015 630am hike on what was the fire ravaged PECKS VALLEY MUIZENBERG PEAK ST JAMES PEAK – easy 4hrs – park Surfers corner Muizenberg Station off Muizenberg Civic Centre – all welcome…
It was also my hiking anniversary on the 11th October! My first real hike was up Tranquillity Cracks…before that I thought Lion’s Head was the only hike in Cape Town and explored trails in Newlands Forest with my kids not knowing that we were actually hiking and not just taking a walk J
Anyway, I really wanted to do the above hike but I haven’t hiked with my club in 3 weeks and I needed a hard hike and had every intention of doing Lions Head South East Arete which is a C graded hike and I’ve never done a C grade hike yet (edit- forgot at the time of writing this that Kloof Corner Ridge is a C grade hike!) BUT then the Almighty gave me the flu instead and as I wouldn’t have the strength for that I opted to hike with Ommiedraai instead. Nothing like fresh mountain air plus a bit of easy exercise to get rid of these horrid germs. Also, I assume that breathing in the scent of the fauna and flora has medicinal properties.
So covered with my buff over my face – ninja/niqaab style, I am at Surfer’s Corner just before 6:30am and the Ommies start arriving one by one and as it’s our custom to kiss the women when we greet, I back up and state that I have the flu. They think I’m crazy to hike with the flu
Anyway, we waited a long time for one of the ladies who went to the uhm ladies so I got to take some sunrise pics as well and 11 of us only started hiking at 6:50am and Uncle Shahmieg checks in with Mountain Safety and Tracking with an ETA of 12pm and we make our way up the ‘Steps of Doom’…well this what I call it as it’s the hardest part of the hike to Boyes Drive haha Group photos are taken at the Pecks Valley signboard quickly as there was a dead gopher like creature (maybe it was a gopher, I don’t know – it was too big to be a mole) laying in the gutter but fortunately I could not smell it…yet…as my nose was blocked ^_^
Finally it’s time to witness the post devastation regeneration of our mountains. I took over 200 photos and after deleting the blurry ones, I uploaded 197 photos onto Facebook…I am over-joyed to report that our mountains are healing quite well and it’s not as bad as it looks from a distance. Close up, there is contrast of colour between charred trees and colourful flowers in bloom. From the road it looks quite barren. There are no spiders, no cobwebs, no ants, no bugs and no lizards along the trail but higher up we start encountering ants J the tree where people normally hang out is almost unscathed but less shrubbery surrounding this spot.
Ascending the trail, I chat to one of the ladies and introduced myself to her and said that I am Nashita’s friend and she swore (not the profanity swear!) that before I even intro’d myself, I reminded her so much of Nashita 😀
(When I did Wally’s Cave with Nashita and Uncle Nazeem – he wrote in The Wrap and I quote ‘And is these two crazy and zany! Real birds of a feather; peas in a pod’) so we (Muneeeba and I) basically stuck together for the rest of the route 😀 and she took nearly as many photos as I did!
We then make our way through Pecks Valley over to Higher Steenberg Peak and the Jeep Track is already covered with grass and I’m looking out for Ground Zero and as I am no Forensic Pathologist, of course I won’t see it haha
From Higher Steenberg Peak, we can estimate just how big the fire was and another shout out to all the Firefighters risking their lives to save the mountain. At one stage I even expected a tortoise to walk through but alas, there is very little living creatures about but we did see some fresh dung (according to Uncle Shahmieg, it belongs to a Dassie and I’ll take his word for it)
This is also where we had our ‘first’ breakfast of various delicacies with Muneeba having a koesiestergasm ^_^ We chat and take photos enjoying the views we haven’t seen in months and just appreciated the beauty that the Almighty has provided us.
Going down this peak towards St James peak, Uncle Shahmieg sees another group photo opportunity and posing for this photo, I see that he is standing at a perfect spot with a huge boulder behind him so I take photos of him. We pose in front of this boulder for more pics and this is when Muneeba and myself decided to climb it ^_^ by the time we got to the top, the others were moving off already so no close up pics lol..
Needless to say, we were way behind the rest of the group as we chat and take photos and chat some more but I do keep an eye out that we are not toooooooo far behind. Uncle Shahmieg knows that I soema hike alone so he’s not too worried about us lagging behind but they do wait for us and by the time we catch up, Muneeba hears the call of nature and takes that call so we way behind once again haha.
I see Rashied and his friend sitting on a boulder and I thought back to when we were on Blinkwater waiting for the helicopter, Rashied and the very same friend was going up Blinkwater. Yes, they went up safely a few hours after the rock fall…
Anyway, we catch up with the group at St James Peak with lots more photos and chatting and snacks (what’s left of it) and it’s time to go down. Was actually my first time on this particular trail so another new experience for me J
I am saddened to see the fields of charred protea bushes but my heart lifts when I see the green shrubs and various flowers blooming. We then make our way to the trail that I know and as they are making their way down, I run up a bit to see if tree we normally take photos as is still there and it was! My heart soared! With the devastation all about, some areas are left intact 😀
We are on the contour path now and see a flower surrounded by rocks. Someone built a little wall to protect this flower \o/
Finally reach Boyes drive and I can smell the dead creature now so run across the road and reach Surfer’s Corner by 12pm! How is that for timing. We could have been done sooner but Muneeba and myself held up the group with all our chatting and photos 😀
Thank you so much for allowing me to join your hike on Sunday. I had a positively wonderful experience and will join Ommiedraai Hiking Friends again sometime.
Until my next hike, ciao for now J