I didn’t hike last week as I made the sacrifice in order for my daughter to volunteer at the Aquarium so instead took a walk to Saunders Rock and even had a little jog back as well 😛 It was nice actually but I did miss my mountain.
A few weeks ago, I was invited to an ex colleague’s baby shower and knew I had to be home early from a hike and as I owed the Easy hike group a hike, I told them to save the date and asked them how would they feel about a Sunrise Lion’s Head hike, paying R45 to do Silvermine to Elephant’s eye and if no on both counts, then Rhodes to Newlands. They opted for the Sunrise Hike and I was pleased as I wanted to another one as I didn’t get that epic sunrise the last time I did it.
We are set to meet at 4:45, do morning prayers at the car park and then start at 5am to be on top before 6:15am when the sun is set to rise. Checking the weather during the week, it’s going to be partly cloudy and a max of 24’C and tell them to bring warm jacket, coffee and torches. Checking the weather last night, there’s 45% chance of rain at 7am. Well that sucks. This means once again no epic sunrise pics.
At 3:30am, I wake up to rain x_x which means overcast Lion’s Head but when we got to the car park, not a cloud on the peak but Table Mountain and Devil’s Peak is completely covered! It’s only Nashita and myself as others could not make it with only 2 other cars and I’m feeling a bit unsettled as Lion’s Head is a mugging hotspot and quite windy!
After pre-prayer pics, we perform our morning prayers and more cars pull up! Yay! I feel more comfortable now and tell Nashita as much. I check in with Mountain Safety and Tracking…2 pax, Lion’s Head, eta 8am…windy, not alone and will update them when we get to the top and let them know when we make our way down after sunrise.
We start at 5am and neither of us has our torches lol but my phone’s flashlight is quite bright so didn’t need Nashita’s phone as well. Took several more photos of the city lights, Camps Bay and Sea Point. Table Mountain’s cloud cover looked like some formidable storm was happening.
We chat nonstop as we make our way up and tell Nashita to be careful as the path is eroded and just this past Friday night, someone slipped, fell and sadly passed away. If the rocks are not dusty, its smooth from all the human traffic and I myself, being extra mindful with my 6 month old boots, slipped quite a few times.
Anyway, I hear birds along the path and look up to see that ‘newer’ discovered cave making the rounds and said yay! Found it without even looking for it haha and we will go up to it when we make our way down after sunrise.
We look down to the carpark and its now full considering that less than an hour ago, there was under 10 cars…it’s going to be yet another busy day. It’s now light enough that the flashlight is no longer required and greet passing hikers with friendly hellos. I notice quite a bit of litter as well and planned to pick it up on our way down. Mostly bottle tops, cigarette butts and empty water/energy bottles here and there but what annoyed me the most was the empty beer cans and broken glass. You can carry these up but you can’t carry it down?!
Nashita is fearful going up the chains but I guide her long and she did very well. The bark of the tree is so smooth and warn her not to step on them but find a rock instead it’s so windy that we can barely stand up straight with gusts threatening to throw us over.
We make to the top at 6:15am and let Mountain & Tracking know. We find a relatively secluded spot and watch the cloud theatre happening across the skies while having breakfast and chat away. As I mentioned before, no epic sunrise unfortunately.
With breakfast done, it was time to take the compulsory ‘dangerous’ rock Lion’s Head photo but couldn’t get the one I wanted as the wind was just too strong.
We make our way down and notice that someone already picked up the packet with the empty beer cans and broken bottle and another 1l water bottle hidden in a bush. Thank you. Nashita overhears hikers going up that they do not have any food so she stops and gives them all her leftovers. I wish people would take hiking more seriously and go prepared. Lack of nutrition and hydration will make you weak and chances of slipping and falling even greater. If something happened to them, they will sit on the mountain for a couple of hours before being rescued. The call will have to be made, the situation and patient need to be assessed, volunteers (from all over Cape Town doing whatever they are doing) will have to avail themselves. Check that all their equipment is in their bags and drive through and look for parking as the roads are full. Depending on conditions (weather included) the first option is always a carry down. These volunteer mountain rescuers will have to hike up to where you injured yourself and all the while, you don’t have anything to eat or drink, your body goes into shock which means that you are now shivering uncontrollably and don’t have extra clothing with you. AMS (helicopter) can only come in if our wind allows. Mountain rescues takes time!
Screenshot from Tim Lundy yesterday…sigh
Anyway, we get to the cave (I can’t recall the name now and too tired to google lol) and snap away. Nashita is a very friendly woman. She chats to anybody and everybody lol and in her friendly manner, she calls hikers to come up to the cave when they hear us and look up. I then tease her when 2 men do come up and tell her how can she invite 2 strange men to come up to the cave with us haha! As we were going down, they were coming up and the cave is only a couple of meters up from the path so we were safe with many passing hikers so it was all good in the hood.
It’s a slow process going down as there were lots of litter to pick up and see and smell several piles of dog poop. Starting to look like Constantia Nek and Cecelia Forest. Sanparks! I suggest your rangers check that owners have scoops and packets before hiking please! (Also, I haven’t actually seen a ranger patrolling trails in a quite a while)
We are nearly at the end when a man stops me and asks me if I’m Fatima and to which I said yes and how does he know, he then says that he belongs to Tracking as well. I then ask him what’s his name and he says Mark. Mark! OMG! You do that C graded hikes by yourself! I see you checking in with your route and think are you crazy?! Do Kloof Corner Ridge by yourself, traverse I forget where, over saddle up Devil’s Peak etc! I have to have a photo with you haha! (In hindsight, out of all the women on the mountain, how did he guess it was me though?)
We check out at 8:30am and wanting to throw our 2 packets of litter into the rubbish bin, it’s overflowing sigh so put it next to the bin.
PS…I did enjoy the hike yesterday, very much so but recalling the little irritations of peoples reckless behaviour annoyed me now…also I’m tired so cranky lol
Until my next hike,ciao for now and thank you for reading 😛