Shaheen is very involved with Vision and asked me to assist her with taking them on a hike and I immediately agreed. When she graciously invited us to break our fast at her place during the month of Ramadan, we agreed on a date which won’t interfere with my daughter’s karate class with route to be confirmed later.
Finally decided on Rhodes Memorial to Woodstock cave as its large enough to accommodate a big group and its shelter against the elements, plus its scenic and the planning began. In one day, we received donations for bottled water, fruit and chips from Woolworths; Party packets; Hot Dogs from Shada and in the week, peak caps from Transnet ^_^ (that I know of)
The only downer was the weather forecast for Saturday which we watched closely from various sites and on Thursday we would make the call whether or not to postpone the hike. The forecast was mostly sunny with scattered showers and hoping the rain would be done before we started hiking as Cape Town weather goes.
After first dropping my son off at the station then dropping my daughter off at the Aquarium, I made my way to Rhodes memorial and it started raining L and Shaheen and Rashaad is there already. Shortly after, 2 vans pulled up with the kids. 27 of them. We are concerned about the rain but these kids decided to play rugby while we were waiting on the skies to clear. Shada and others arrived shortly and after a short briefing by Shaheen, 41 of us started up Rhodes at 8:50am with an ETA of 13:00.
I’m leading and hear some kids groaning and tell them what a bunch of drama queens lol and tell them to pace themselves. They don’t have to keep up with me (and I’m going at an easy pace) and to go at their own and enjoy themselves.
We regroup at each fork and the sun is coming out and I’m happy. The kids cheer all the trail-runners and mountain bikers passing and they merrily greet the kids back ^_^ I’m so chuffed as not everyone appreciates these gestures ^_o
I got to show them the pine cones and pine kernels and chopping it open with a rock to show them the nuts inside which is edible and quite expensive in the shops. One girl decided to stick with me throughout the hike and held my hand almost the entire route.
When we got to the contour path though, one little girl got sick so one adult and 2 kids turned back to the cars so that left us at 39 pax.
We had several breaks to regroup and a longer one at the cannon and blockhouse for the kids to explore and to take group photos. Questions such as ‘Why is it called Lion’s Head’ were asked and answered and I felt like I was on repeat for the other kids to hear it as well lol… I got to impart some knowledge which I researched the day before 😛 Ok I knew about the 3 planes crashing into Devil’s Peak in 1971 and told them the history about King’s Blockhouse built in the 1700s and why. How Table Mountain was formed under water hundreds of years ago and that the ocean came up to the Castle etc.
After the call on nature, Rashaad was now leading and as the path was the path was quite narrow, my other limb (the girl who stuck with me throughout the hike) was afraid of falling so the pace was quite slow with the group far ahead but within eyesight. I reassured her constantly to have positive thoughts. Shaheen, Rayhan and Fazlin were sweeping and chatting away at their own pace 😀
The rest of the group were waiting on us the Cave turn-off and picked up a pace a bit. On the way up the zig-zag path, one of the girls slipped and fell and was in shock more than anything else (not one of the vision kids) and her mother was in a state as she was crying and didn’t want to move, I asked my other limb if I could let go to help and went to the girl to calm her down, first letting her cry it out while holding her and telling her that I promise her that I won’t let anything happen to her and that I will protect her. The others went ahead and when I asked her if she trusted me and when she said yes, I took her hand and we eventually caught up with the group at the cave. The kids are all in high spirits exploring the smelly cave and taking photos of each other and the sublime views of the city. I lit up incense sticks to block the smell of old urine eurgh!
It then started to rain so we had to wait it out and it’s getting cold so put my rain-jacket on and concerned for the kids as they didn’t have rain-jackets. If we knew, we could have organized ponchos for them at least. When the rain cleared and another briefing by Shaheen and group photos, we made our way down and had to go through a waterfall hehe. There was a slight drizzle but nothing major and Shaheen extended our ETA to 2pm.
We regrouped a few times and these kids are not shy to go up to strangers and have fat chats with them lol and chuffed that these strangers were friendly with talkative kids. Shada was now coming down the mountain with his sleeping toddler in his arms ^_^ I’ve carried kids on my back and shoulders down the mountain but have never carried a sleeping one down hehe.
With the drizzle turning into rain, going down from the mountain-bike path, I told kids who were with me that we not waiting on the others but rather to go ahead as we (they) were going to get wet and the vans were waiting on them already.
Most got into the van before it really started to downpour but they didn’t mind the rain one bit. Enjoyed it actually! When the final persons came down, it was raining buckets with only Shaheen, Rashaad and me and we were happy! Shaheen checked out of Tracking at 14:05.
Thank you Vision Child Care and Youth Care Centre for affording Hikers Paradise Outreach and Guided Hikes the opportunity to share what we so dearly love and hope to do it again quite soon. Thank you to our sponsors as well. Much love. Hugs to Naseefa and Suleiman for me J
Until my next hike (today actually :P) ciao for now and thank you for reading.
PS – photo cred to those who uploaded their pics to the Facebook album