About a week ago, a friend asked if I or anyone I know will be able to take some underprivileged school kids on a hike and as it planned for a Saturday, I could not assist (my kids have karate) so asked in my hiking club chat and Shaheen volunteered. Long story short, I could assist after all which worked out great as I could not hike today. I spent my morning in a mall and felt quite claustrophobic sigh.
Anyway, we meet at Kloof Corner and Shaheen briefs the kids about mountain etiquette and opted to sweep and asked me to lead the 29 kids from 2 different primary schools and the rest of the adults were in the middle. Only about a third of the kids have been on the mountain previously so felt pretty chuffed that we could do this for them 😀
Anyway we start around 8:30am but not before Shaheen checks us in with Mountain Safety and Tracking and make our way up Kloof Corner. I did not know how to pace these kids so started out slow. They were in hurry so upped our pace ^_^. It only occurred to me then that I have no idea what knowledge I could share with them! I can’t name the fauna or flora or the birds! But I can tell them about Lion’s head and some history behind it. I can tell them that Table Mountain (flat part) was formed under sea level hundreds of million years ago.
I am also annoyed by all the doggie poo piles but relieved to see no litter at all 😀 I can’t remember any anecdotes from the kids but they were quite amusing to listen to and I was surprised by their intelligence. We took several water breaks and to keep the group together but the kids weren’t really struggling so challenged them up the steep stretch to the contour path and then they were huffing and puffing and moaning away but they loved it! I tell them a bit about the routes up the 12 Apostles and point out where the Bos 400 is wrecked and they are loving the views!
We had a snack break on the contour path and took several photos of them with Lion’s head in the background but silly me didn’t take the posed photos with my own phone *rolling my eyes* I showed them other fancy pics and had to Bluetooth it to them 😀 After group photos, we now made our way to Platteklip and oh yes! I taught them ‘Mountain Side’ where hikers/runners pass, we make way for them with our backs to the mountain and I could teach them about ‘Hiker’s Friends’ and lucky for me, another friend informed me why exactly (besides the constant annoyance of being pricked) is that their roots grow to about 5m and quite strong to hold on to J And I told them that King Proteas can bloom to a size bigger than my head.
I show them the route up Kloof Corner Ridge and tell them about the chains and climbs, I tell them about India Venster and the staples and point out the steep climb up Devil’s Peak. I give them a chance to take photos and wave at the passing cable cars overhead and they are happy J We see different species of lizards and the kids are enchanted!
I see a Cairn and explain to them what it means and the teacher suggest that they build their own in memory or Uncle Cecil who passed away and previously took some of them on hikes. R.I.P Uncle Cecil. Then! One of the girls (she won 7 academic achievement awards last year) takes out a pizza! O_O I had to call Shaheen to come and check! She brings a pizza on every hike that they go on! Who does that?! I thought I was bad for bringing koesiesters on hikes but this kid outdo me with a pizza haha!
We then get to the section that is a waterfall in winter and was asked to take them on a Waterfalls hike 😀 I then cautiously climb down to get a bottle thrown in a bush and all along the way, they would pass their empty bottles and packets on to me that soon they would pick up any litter they see J
Passing hikers and trail runners were amused by the kids especially when they were shouting Mountain Side 😀 It was another break at Platteklip before heading down to Tafelberg road. Lotsa tourists asking for directions up to the Gorge and I show the kids how high up it is and the zig zag path.
Going down and them nearly falling on top of each other (not literally!) I tell them single file, no-one passes anyone as just one can fall and push everyone else in front of them down the mountain. I also had to tell them not to jump down the path as it shocks the ankles, twist it and I’m not carrying anyone down lol. (ok I would but I’m not encouraging these kids)
We reach Tafelberg Road just before 11am I think and part ways but not before the kids ‘sing-song’ out their thanks to Miss Shaheen and Miss Fatima for taking them on the hike. I burst out laughing, not because it was funny but because I haven’t heard it in years!
Their transport was only set to pick them up at 1pm and as Shaheen had another commitment with other kids at 1pm, we didn’t stay around and walked back to the car at Kloof Corner.
We very much loved taking the kids up and we are now wanting to do Outreach Hikes on a regular basis. In fact, we are hoping to take an orphanage on a hike next month 😀
Until my next hike, ciao for now and thank you for reading.