Silvermine/Elephant’s Eye/Hout Bay Lookout

We originally planned to do this hike during Sanparks free week but life is busy.  So busy that I was on leave that week (12th – 17th September) and couldn’t even take advantage of this 1 week a year opportunity.

Several went away for the weekend, others are nursing injuries, 1 was sick and another sent her apologies.  Fortunately, Nasheta and Zaida together with their clan did confirm or I would have had to do a solo (not that I mind) but this hike is for the beginners to see the views.  I haven’t been to Elephant’s Eye in over 3 years and was at Hout Bay Lookout in December 2014 (prior to the devastating March 2015 fires).  I’ve uploaded some before and after fire photos as comparisons (its much greener now since the fires though)

Anyway, prior to sending out the hike details, I go onto the Sanparks website to check the prices and gate times.  R45/adult and R25/child and gates open at 8am during off-peak season with on-peak starting in October when gates open at 7am.  Saturday night an Instagram follower asked me if I’m interested in doing this hike with him and meet at 7am and replied that I am actually taking beginners on the same hike but we going to the Look-out as well but the gates only open up at 8am (according to the website)

Get to the gates at 7:30am only to be told that on-peak season started on the 01st September and told them they need to update their website!  I message the group but there’s no signal and was only prepared to wait until 7:45am for anyone who didn’t confirm.  It’s cold at the gates but when we got to the parking area, it’s hot! @8am!

With iffy signal at best, I check in 4 Adults and 7 kids with an ETA of 12pm into Mountain Tracking and hope that my message goes through somewhere along the way.  The plan was to go to Hout Bay Look-out first but then decided to do Elephant’s Eye first (just in case I get complaints about doing something harder after doing something easy lolz)

I brief the group and go over Baboon rules.  I wasn’t aware that there are now baboons in the area as there weren’t any when I did my first rock-climb in January this year.  Nasheta was very concerned for the kids but I told her they wouldn’t be a problem (according to Shaheen who confirmed that as long as we obey the rules, it will be fine)

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Briefing and head count

My sweeper was a newbie hiker but I didn’t mind that I didn’t have a more experienced hiker as the route is pretty exposed so confident that I wouldn’t ‘lose’ anyone along the way.  We are finally off after group photos with our first stop at the ablution blocks.

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First break while legs are still fresh

I am so very chuffed to see all the greenery and flowers blooming after the fires which practically destroyed the area but also pleased to see a flower I have not seen before (or can’t recall as it was standing out from the fynbos – big bright and orange) and veer off the path to take a photo 😛

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Diana kindly commented with the following link….(Mountain Dahlia aka Liparia Splendens)

http://www.plantzafrica.com/plantklm/lipariasplend.htm

Conservation status
Liparia splendens ssp. splendens is classified as Vulnerable on the Interim Red Data List. The greatest threat is to the populations in lowland fynbos, as lowland fynbos is seriously threatened by urban development and agriculture. Liparia splendens is listed as Schedule 4 Protected Flora according to Western Cape Nature Conservation Laws Amendment Act, 2000.”

I decided to take the shortcut up the steps instead of the longer mountain bike track and make sure that my sweeper is always within eyesight.  If I don’t see him, I wait for them to catch-up.  Turn right towards the Eye and just before the trees (what was left) I see the troop of baboons. Oh crap.   Ok, tell the group to stick together, no loud noise and no sudden movements.  I don’t know the behaviour of the troop so gna stick to the rules as I have kids with me so veered off the path and slowly made our way alongside the baboons and of course watching them and taking photos.  The babies were so cute!!! I got my phone out too late to take a photo of one hanging from a branch but he fell off as I was taking the photo.

 

We watch groups further ahead who didn’t go off the path like we did and another veteran solo trail runner just shout ‘move move’ and the baboons moved!  They are more afraid of us than we are of them it seems.  Still, I wasn’t about to take any chances with kids in my care as we do have food which they could probably smell in our back-packs.

With the troop ahead of us, the group is at ease and we are still taking it slow and with one of the little girls by my side, a mommy baboon with her baby slowly came past us and quickly ran off.  My heart went out to these animals as their home was destroyed by the fires and now they are forced to share their space with ours.  How traumatic it must have been for them running away from the fires then.  They are not aggressive like the ones we encountered a while back at Crystal Pools.  That troop basically escorted us out the area but this troop is so timid.  I’m not saying that you should go out and pet them as baboons are temperamental and anything could trigger them.

It was amusing going up to the cave when I turned around to see Nasheta and Zaida taking photos of the view when I saw a baboon going right up to them and sitting on a rock.  Shouted to them that they shouldn’t turn around but they took the opportunity to take selfies with the baboon lol.

Up the zig-zag path we go and when we go to the straight path, I tell the group they can go ahead to the cave as I’m going to wait on my sweeper.  When he caught up to me, he tells me not to make any sudden moves as there was a baboon right on his tail lol.  I turn my back to the mountain to make space for the baboon to pass us but he was so afraid of us that he rather jumped around.  I could hear there was quite a few people in the cave and shouted to put their food away as a baboon was coming.  I then hear the screaming and commotion the baboon was causing and was told that one girl threw her smoothie just like that in her bag and another was too slow and the baboon grabbed something from her.  That group promptly left the cave but we stayed watching this baboon scavenge the cave and waited for it to come out before we went in.

After some photos, the group wasn’t prepared to snack there as the baboon was still at the bottom of the cave so made our way to Hout Bay Look-out and reassured them that it was a flat easy walk with no steps. Flat easy walk was torture in the heat!  The sun was really beating down and feel that I haven’t acclimatized to this weather yet and if I’m suffering, how must newbie hikers not be suffering!  I had on sun-screen but that didn’t deter the flies and other bugs from flying onto my neck or face.  Its walk walk walk, stop to regroup and walk some more and was looking forward to sitting on the benches enjoying the views until I got there and realised that the benches could have been burnt away from the fire and got to the Look-out to just that!  The benches are gone!  Oh well, we are there for the view after all.  BUT!  Oh gawd, the swarm of tiny flies was annoying that it eventually chased us away as you can only ignore it for so long.

It’s almost 12pm and with my ETA being 12pm and as we had signal there, I update Tracking to extend our ETA to 12:30pm BUT then Zaheer’s thighs went stiff!  He could not move and was in pain and we had to wait a while for his muscles to loosen up.  This was his very first hike after all and we are taking longer than expected.  It was a sloooooowww torturous walk back for him and tell the rest of the group they can go ahead and wait at various points as I’m sticking with him, his wife and my sweeper.

I took a packet with for litter but didn’t pick up along the way as I didn’t want to attract the baboons with a packet of litter hanging from my back-pack but I did pick up 2 cans as it was unsightly and with fire season approaching fast, just the right amount of heat at the right angle, could start a fire in the area (again). I wish litter bugs would realise this!

Side Note – Last Saturday was International Coastal Clean-up and joined the 2 Oceans Aquarium at Soetwater which is a cumulative coast.  Despite almost weekly clean-ups, there’s always litter washing up on this beach.   The staff has to free a Garnet that was trapped in fishing line which is one of the more harmful items to our marine life (including coastal birds)

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I won an eco-friendly straw…

http://www.streamstraws.com/

We eventually reach the cars at 13:05 and check out of tracking.  Was an enjoyable hike despite the heat and had an adventure with the baboons!

Until my next mountain adventure (whatever that is) ciao for now and thank you for reading.  (Even longer one today as had lots to write about haha)

PS – only published this blog a day later as….life is busy

 

Silvermine/Elephant’s Eye/Hout Bay Lookout

I Survived The World’s Strongest Coffee

I am currently high.  High on caffeine that is.  It’s been an hour since I had my first cup of #blackinsomnia.  (Current time 8:30am) The strongest coffee in the world!  Stronger than #Deathwish.  They even have lab results to prove it.

Lab Results

(Why am I using hashtags in my blog?)  Why am I blogging about this in my blog about hiking?  Well, this coffee has taken me to new heights!  \o/

I’ve stopped sweating.  Not sure if it was because of my brisk walk from Haas Collective in Buitenkant to Walter Sisulu (in under 15 minutes mind you) or elevated blood pressure from the caffeine kick (or both).  I may or may not get a migraine, only time will tell and my concentration levels are everywhere!

As I have work to attend to, I’m writing this blog between tasks and not everything is written in real time.

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When the 9gag meme was making the rounds about Death Wish Coffee, I had to have it!  I scoured the internet to find a place in Cape Town and discovered that Haas Collective sells it ^_^.  They also sell Kopi Luwak btw (not sure if it’s still in stock as Death Wish has been out of stock for a while now) I haven’t plucked up the courage to pay R90+ for a cup of coffee yet although I was planning to with my end of year bonus lol.  I paid R55 for a cup of Death Wish and posted the following on Instagram.

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As it was in the middle of summer, I wasn’t drinking that much coffee (about 3-4 cups a day) and disappointingly crashed by 1pm.  So much for not sleeping for 3 days ^_o and now being in middle of winter, I drink about 8 cups a day (I don’t actually keep count)

When Sean Kirstafor launched Black Insomnia, I could only follow his social media accounts with longing as it was only available online and I wasn’t prepared to purchase a bag without tasting it first.  Then he had a stall at the Watershed in the Watefront (it’s within walking distance from where I work but not enough time before work :/) Lunch was too late in the day O_O

Then Shift Espresso Bar in Green Point and that’s still too far T_T  UNTIL! Yesterday, I saw in social media that he’s stocking it at Haas!  ^_^  happy days!

I get to Haas about 7:20am and meet Sean outside setting up the Black Insomnia banner and in I go.  I must admit that I was a bit nervous as I remember what Death Wish did to me and here I’m about to have something even stronger.  Is it a good idea to have this on an empty stomach?  I shared these exact thoughts with the lady behind the counter over friendly banter J  R30 for an espresso which is so cheap considering that Death Wish was almost double the price but that is because it was imported.

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I was the first Black Insomnia customer and when she opened that first bag and we got to breath in that fresh coffee bean scent *shiver*!  We both sighed in delicious pleasure *dreamy face*

They offer Black Insomnia in Cappuccino and Espresso style.  At first I said Cappuccino but then thought ‘don’t be a wuss! You want the full experience!’ and change my order to Espresso and have a seat as I wait for my beans to be ground.

Am I ready she asks, ‘Not before I take a photo off course’ I reply 😀

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First sip and its surprisingly delicious!  I expected the flavours to be rather pungent considering the strength and all. It’s rich without being overpowering and smoky and tasty!  It was like eating my favourite dark Lindt Excellence slab.  I tried to savour the taste as long as possible and mentally congratulate Sean for creating this excellent coffee range which has now become my favourite coffee brand, kicking Truth Coffeecult to second place.  I gotsta get me a bag!

9:20am and I’m drinking boiled water (which is still better than tea).  Can’t chance having more coffee for the morning lol (I had my first cup before leaving home).  No longer buzzing so coming down from my initial high and thinking more clearly, typing slower and concentration levels normalising.  I am awake and feeling great!

9:49am and I just yawned O_O and been to the ladies twice already (caffeine is a diuretic after all)

9:58am and I yawned again.  Think I’m starting to crash now and I’m less alert.  9:59am and yawned again :/ another yawn and it’s still 9:59am. Yes I’m crashing x_x

By the time I finished writing this blog I haven’t yawned again and my crash wasn’t as dramatic as my experience with Death Wish which is the best as now I know I will be able to handle Black Insomnia without the crashing side effects 😀

Well done Sean and may Black Insomnia grow from strength to strength 😛

 

 

I Survived The World’s Strongest Coffee

A Woman’s Day Lions Head Sunrise and Mountain Clean Up

With a guilty conscience for not picking up the litter last Sunday on my Hike/Trail Run on Lion’s Head, I decided to return and asked Shaheen to join me.  Meet at the Car Park at 7:30am to drive up and down looking for space to park!  Sheesh, don’t people go to the malls or sleep in on holidays anymore???

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October 2015

Lion’s Head is probably the busiest mountain on this planet and with so many humans comes trash bags of litter unfortunately.  I only saw yesterday that a hockey club actually did a Clean Up on Sunday (today being Tuesday and a public holiday) so assumed there was not going to be much litter but what the hey, I get a hike in as well J

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No caption required

Anyway, I check in with Tracking only at 07:45 with an ETA of 10am as we were distracted by the sun rising and had to take a gazillion photos off course.

It’s slow going, keeping an eye out amongst the bushes and immediately pick up sweet wrappers, bottle tops, lollipop sticks, straws, a trillion cigarette butts and tissues, napkins, toilet paper (with gloves!  Shaheen was thoughtful enough to bring along as we don’t normally pick these up – you know, bodily fluids).  We go down at the benches and pick up several plastic water and energy bottles, beer bottles (even an imported beer) and other wine bottles and chips and sweet packets.  We take turns going down to get bottles that were thrown down from the path and we didn’t even reach the steps yet (still on the winding gravel path) when our bags were already filled and with the conundrum of carrying these full bags up the mountain.

As several people were thanking us for doing this, Shaheen suggested we ask someone to take the bags down for us.  One man was so jubilant in his gratitude, that he bellowed kisses and bear hugs for us 😀  Fortunately!  2 other ladies were doing the same and we asked them.  Not only that, they taught us a trick of removing the plastic bottle tops and crushing the bottles!  Viola!  More space in the bags \o/  They also got the idea from Shaheen to use gloves to pick up (gross) litter AND they had this nifty stick (trash grabbers) to pick up hard to reach places 😀

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Bad light picture quality sorry

At one spot, there were so many bottles down below, that both of us had to go down it.  What we noticed is when we see one bottle, there has to be at least one other hidden close by.  Seriously, each time we think there’s only one bottle, there is at least another one in the bush.

We were so focused on the dirt that we forgot the beauty surrounding us that we took some moments to appreciate.  So many flowers blooming!  Whites and yellows and orange and pinks.  Spring is a coming!  And let’s not forget the views!  The city, the ocean, the harbor, the sun and in the distance, mist still covering the suburbs in the North.

The jubilant guy is coming down with bottles he picked up and thanked us for the inspiration to do the same!  \o/ 😀 We are thoroughly chuffed!

There are queues going up and down the ladders and chains and have to wait our turn.  SIGH!  But I do thank everyone for the patience as I remember once an argument broke out when people became impatient lol

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Wait your turn guys

Shaheen goes down one spot and calls out that there is a discarded panty in the bush lol.  I said take a photo of it 😀

We eventually on reach the peak at 10:10 and update tracking and to extend our ETA to 11:30 and gratefully sit down to quench our thirst and eat koesiesters.  We have our compulsory photos on The Rock and look down to see trash lying about.  Go down to get it and walk around picking up so many cigarette butts that I told Shaheen I’m not picking it up any longer – there’s too many!

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Yay us!

It’s a bit of struggle going down with full heavy bags and as its peak hour human traffic, we opted to go down the longer route to even more traffic!  I find a black bag which had a hole but Shaheen made a knot and put her heavy breaking bag innit.

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So many people O_O

One guy gives a thunderous applause for our good work and another guy asked us if it was a group event and said no, we only decided to do this yesterday as individuals.  He has to look on the hiking groups on Facebook for Mountain Clean ups.

We were wrong thinking that there wouldn’t be any litter on our way down considering that we picked it all up on our way up but alas.  Said to Shaheen ‘didn’t we just clean there this morning?’

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Enjoying the view

Finally down at 12pm and get Sanpark Rangers Aslam and Fierdous with their crew about to patrol the mountain for wayward hikers J

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Shaheen went down

Photos cannot capture just how much trash we picked up and in these pics below, imagine the pile of bottles it would have been if we didn’t crush them.  And this is besides the 2 packets we emptied to give to those women to take down for us.

Tis sad that there has to be events for Mountain and Beach Clean Ups but alas, if we don’t have this, who will?  Not those who litter off course because they probably don’t even pick up after themselves at home – their mummies do that for them.  There were bottles we didn’t pick up at precarious places which weren’t worth risking our lives for.

I am not hiking on Sunday due to family commitments so until my next mountain adventure, thank you for reading and ciao for now J

 

 

A Woman’s Day Lions Head Sunrise and Mountain Clean Up

Hiddingh Ascension: The Sequel

Not that I’ve hiked all the routes in Cape Town but I still say that Hiddingh Ascension is the hardest hike with a B+3 grading.  The 5 scrambles, 4 ravines and ledges (sheer drops) plus the length of the hike (7+ hours) is definitely for the fit and definitely not for the faint-hearted.  A Why-Do-I-Do-This-To-Myself  kind of route.

Even by Saturday, I didn’t know whether or not I was going to hike Sunday.  I’ve been super stressed these last few weeks and wasn’t in the mood to leave the house lolz.  (As an introvert, I am happy to do so) Also, I’ve injured my wrist again so doing a scramble is not the best of ideas.  I wasn’t in the mood for Platties either but I would basically decide on Sunday morning what I’m going to do.

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First refreshment break

Well, Kareemah decided for me.  She’s an Instagram follower and blog reader and she joined us 2 weeks ago in Orangekloof.  She did her very first scramble (Els Buttress) with the club last week and now a member yay ^_^ I didn’t hike last week (went to Langebaan for a blissfully relaxing weekend) so didn’t know whether or not she is capable of doing this route so asked the others.  One was extremely sceptical but Anwar said yes so went with that.

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View from Contour Path

Anyway, 7 of us checked in Tracking at 7am with an ETA at 3pm.  Oh yes!  Some club members were hiking Arangieskop for the weekend so it was just the faster hikers, Kareemah and myself.  I knew these guys were going to kill me with their pace plus it’s a HARD hike so ate a healthy bowl of muesli for change instead of my usual Sunday morning koesiesters and coffee haha.

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Second Refreshment break

So off we go (in the dark – 30 minutes before sunrise) from Newlands car park until the contour path and we chat about this and that and as we were in the Forest, no sunrise photo unfortunately and turn left towards Skeleton Gorge.  Instead of going to the start of this route, the leaders decided (and as a group) that we actually go up Hiddingh Ravine.  We have never taken this route before and I’m always up for something different J and bypassed a lot of bushwhacking.

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Going directly up Hiddingh Ravine

Up we go until we get to the familiar path which doesn’t have as much water as it normally does and all is well and we are happy.  We regroup here and there and make our way up towards Hiddingh Buttress where Kareemah (unbeknownst to her) dismantles a cairn and asked her ‘Why did you do that?  It’s there for a reason and now other hikers won’t know where the turn-off is lol’ She replies with ‘I’m sorry!  It was in my way!  I’ll put it back the next time I do this route’. So guys, if you do this route, there is another not so visible cairn and the turn off is at a boulder and tree (just past the ferns).  Look out for that lolz Kareemah is sincerely sorry, she didn’t know – remember she’s new to this hehe

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‘shrooms just before the fork

Up the first scramble and past the section where I stopped a falling rock with my hip the last time I did this route – See https://myhikingmylife.wordpress.com/2015/06/08/hiddingh-ascension/ and Kareemah is a natural at scrambling hey! Sceptical hiker also apologised and for under-estimating Kareemah as he is super impressed by well she is doing.

We have a refreshment break on The Pulpit and just as I’m about to pour my coffee, the others get up to leave and I’m uhm bugger it, I’m hiking with coffee in my hands.  So there I am making the traverse to the next Ravine with coffee cup in my hand and I tell Kareemah not to tell Anwar because he freaks when I do scramble with my phone in my hand.  He will be proud to know that my phone was safely in my bag.  When I needed both my hands, I would just bite on the cup hehe.

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Departing pulpit to the traverse

It’s up the Ravine and its hot!  I contemplated whether or not to take off one of my tops but kept them on as it’s quite cold in the shaded Gulley.  Kareemah’s legs are not as strong as ours (YET) so it was slow going for her with Shamile and myself alternating as sweepers. I explain to Shamile how I hurt my wrist but didn’t tell him that it was actually sore then.  The views are spectacular with mist over the suburbs and could see as far as the Langeberg/Hex River mountain ranges and all you can do is sit there quietly and take it all in.  Beautiful.

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View from the Gulley

Anyway it’s time for the first serious scramble and I’m a little bit nervous as I really struggled last time and had to use a rope to get up and across.  In my defence, I was injured hey and this time it’s my wrist.  Easy peasy!  I was worried for nothing and we have breakfast on top of Ascension Ravine.  I tell Kareemah, if you thought that was challenging, the hike only starts now lol

John and his daughter part ways here as they decided to go down Skeleton Gorge and skipping Ledges.  Change is nice but the whole point of doing this route is going down Ledges hey.

We make our way to Carrell’s Ledge and OMG people!  The Pollen!  We had to breathe in dust clouds of them!  It’s the first time we experience this and could actually feel the pollen enter our lungs and soon we were coughing.  (a day later and I’m still coughing) We traverse Carrell’s Ledge and I take a video at the most exposed area with the couple a hundred meter drop and my video isn’t working sigh.  I take photos instead but photos doesn’t capture depth meh

Towards Ledges and I’m really worried about my wrist now but still don’t say anything and John has gone down Skeleton Gorge with his rope so have to do this through pain and all.  Down a scramble and no-one assists me.  Really guys?  Just because I’ve done this before, doesn’t mean I don’t need guidance where my feet should go coz I can’t see my way down hey.

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Down we go to Ledges

Anyway, Kareemah goes down the first Ledge (aptly named Hideous Descent by Anna on a previous hike) and she did brilliantly!  My turn, I’m nervous.  I’m very nervous.  It’s time to put my full weight on my wrist and I’m scared as freaking hell that my wrist was going to give in and I fall!  I am literally shaking in fear!  I have to do this!  With the help and guidance of the rest, I safely and gratefully get down (and stepped on Shamile’s fingers in the process #sorrynotsorry)

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Hideous Descent

Not even giving me chance to recover its down The Ledges and these faster hikers’ takes the most awkward scrambles down!  There are easier routes you know!  One stage I was hanging on for dear life again as I couldn’t reach the bottom lol so had to step on Igsaan’s leg for reach *rollingmyeyes*. My wrist is throbbing and burning in pain!  I wrap my extra buff around my wrist for warmth.

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View from Ledges

We are finally on top of Newland’s Ravine and the faster hikers say their farewells leaving Kareemah and myself behind.  I ask her if she is fast going down as I can’t go slowly.  Too much impact on my knees.  Down we go at her pace until I pass her but slow down anyway.  It’s stop and go every few minutes and I know my knees are going to hate me after.  Pain is temporary.

Passing the carousel, Kareemah says she knows her way from there and I can go if I want to.  I replied with ‘Are you nuts?  We leave no man behind’- Hiker’s motto.  One of them at least.

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Carousal (miss the tree that use to be in the middle) 

Along the river, 2 dogs come running and barking at us and I stand still.  Remembering what a friend told me last week in Langebaan when dogs did the same thing and I used him as a human shield lolz.   He said just stand still and they won’t do anything.  He also gave me a few choice words for doing that and my response was ‘its survival instinct.  Just know that should the Zombie Apocalypse happen, I’m using you as a shield’.   So I stood still and they didn’t do anything J   I then pick up litter and Kareemah blurts out ‘We are under attack and you still have time to pick up sweet wrappers’ lol.  Can’t help it, it’s ingrained in me to pick up litter on the mountain.  I’m surprised that there wasn’t much litter considering that Newlands Ravine/Forest is quite a popular route.

We eventually clock out of tracking at 2pm.  Not bad.  7 Hours Hiddingh Hike, not bad at all.

Well this was a long blog.  Well it was a long hike.  My knees were broken by late afternoon and today I am sore all over.  A good post workout/very hard hike sore J

Until my next hike, ciao for now and thank you as always for reading.

PS – don’t feel bad Kareemah, I would rather have broken knees for days than leave you behind and go through guilt should something happen to you and I wasn’t there to assist – all because I wanted to go down faster.

PPS – [17:56, 5/15/2016] Kareemah: Thanks for sending pics – I can’t believe I did this. At the moment – I’m saying never again – I can’t feel my legs 😁

[17:57, 5/15/2016] +me: Oi my knees are in its tjops

[17:57, 5/15/2016] +me: Wait till you recover then it’s when are we doing this again!

[17:59, 5/15/2016] Kareemah: I really enjoy the group as well. A bunch of nice guys and they’re make u feel safe.

[17:59, 5/15/2016] Kareemah: Guys meaning guys and girls

[18:12, 5/15/2016] +me : Indeed! We’ve been hiking together for years…we all came from another club lol

John we met at Kloof Corner Ridge in Feb last year and he decided to join our club

[10:38, 5/16/2016] Kareemah: Okay – I’ve slept for 9 hours and feeling as good as new. What’s next ?

[10:43, 5/16/2016] me: LOL

[10:43, 5/16/2016] me: lucky you…i’m sore all over

[10:44, 5/16/2016] me: Anwar will only let us know next hike on Friday….everything is weather permitting

We created an addict ^_^

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hiddingh Ascension: The Sequel

Another Barefoot Solo Platteklip Gorge

Yesterday was my son’s 20th Birthday so had to do a quickie hike.  I woke up tired and emotional and wanted to cry when he lead me during morning prayers (which he does every day but yesterday he was no longer in his teens)

Anyway, driving through to Platties shortly after 5:30am, I see a group of guys walking in the dark along De Waal drive and think that they do not have good intentions at that time of the morning… There’s quite a few cars in the parking already and I check in with Mountain Safety & Tracking 6am/1 pax/Platties/eta 8am and that I will update them when I reach the top.

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Predawn view

I’m barefoot with boots in my bag as I’m never coming down the mountain barefoot ever again.  The air is warm and dry and grateful that I took 2 bottles of water instead of one as I originally planned and not long up the path, I have a huge fright as I thought I saw someone in the bush.  I couldn’t see properly as it was still dark and I didn’t have my flashlight on nor was I about to check.

With my heart racing and my imagination working in over-drive, it is not a good start to my hike and hiking supposed to be food for my soul and silently rush up and with a sigh of relief, I see a couple ahead and pass them.  I’m so very tired and have my first break on the contour path and drink half my bottle of water O_O

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Sunrise 🙂

I don’t see anyone else in sight and wonder where everyone is but do pass another couple but not before answering why I’m barefoot sigh.  As I am tired, I am cranky and not in the mood to answer the same questions and grateful I can now hike in solitude.  I am also grateful that there aren’t much litter on the path  😀

I’m taking forever to get to the half way mark and this makes me even more crankier lol and after huffing and puffing, sore lower back, blowing of my nose, water breaks and almost feeling my heart thump against my ribcage, I actually thought of quitting right there and turning back.  I then answered myself…’are you nuts!’  so onwards and upwards I trudge and had some guy coming down calls me a veteran for hiking barefoot and if I do it often.  Meh…

The sun is coming out now and see smoke coming from behind Devil’s Peak and send a photo to the Tracking group who in turn reported the fire…another advantage of being in this group :P.  I think those guys on De Waal drive could have been responsible for that fire grrrrrr!

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Fire!

Get more people coming down and I get a huge fright when 2 Tahrs moved from the bush right next to the path and take photos and videos of course.  I then see a couple picking up litter and thank them.  They replied ‘wish more people would do it’  I replied ‘ True dat’  but in my sarcastic cranky mind, I was thinking, it would be better if no-one litters sigh but nevertheless, less work for me 😛

I then hear loud talking and look down to see who is making that noise and think, there goes the tranquillity sigh.  And they are closing the gap and not wanting them to pass me, I pick up my pace and eventually reach the top at 7:15am.

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View from Platties peak

Take a 10 minute breather before heading down again but not before asking those same guys to take a photo of me and getting my barefoot in the pic and he took a couple of photos and told him to stop coz he is making me feel like I’m posing for the paparazzi lol.  Had to explain to him the barefoot as well.  They started 10 minutes after me and said I’m not allowed to pass them going down (being a girl lol)

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Barefoot nuh

I’m putting on my boots when a group comes up and after a struggle induced profanity lol they greet and I notify tracking that I’m heading down.  I then almost run and think ‘OMG I love my boots!’  and now I’m enjoying my hike and think that I don’t have to pick up litter when I see a lollipop stick and think that I am not going to pick it up but then I bend down to get it anyway.  I get a well done and I see you have boots on now from the couple I passed before the half-way mark going up lolz.  I see the traffic of humans coming up and think that’s going to be a hellava lot more Good Mornings!  The couple picking up litter is still at it and I pass them as they are really digging into the bushes but I think they skipped the bottle tops and cigarette butts as this is mainly what I’ve been picking up.  One guy stops me and ask if I’m coming down already after being on top and I say yes, he then ask me if I’m the girl with the Mercedes we got down at the carpark and in shock I say yes (assuming he is going to say that the car was broken into) but he says well done and they only started 30min after me as they were waiting on their friend.

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Litter grrr!

After many many many many good-mornings, I get the couple I passed right at the beginning of hike only at the half-way mark and give them a well done J  Many hikers are shocked after they ask if I’ve been to the top and already coming down and my standard reply is that if you start at 6am, you can come down already.  Some ask me how long to the top and have to look up and have to guestimate the time at their pace.  I then hear the helicopter and see that it’s taking 2 helicopters to put out the fire L

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not tourist prices water

 

Finally reach the bottom at 8:10am and there’s a guy selling water and have a giggle at a little girl having a conversation with this guy (it also warmed my heart that this girl is oblivious to the colour of his skin)  After giving an American couple directions up Platties, I rush home to make soup, chocolate eclairs (which came a flop),  Fresh cream cake, Oreo pudding and peppermint pudding.  Gratefully, my sister-in-laws offered to make the salads and Rooster brood for the braai J

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Post birthday lunch braai desserts

Until my next hike, ciao for now and thank you for reading J

 

 

Another Barefoot Solo Platteklip Gorge

Sunrise Lion’s Head (2nd Attempt)

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.

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04:45 view of the city still sleeping

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.

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oooh the sun is rising

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.

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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.

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the infamous rock

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.

 

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no caption required

 

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 😛

Sunrise Lion’s Head (2nd Attempt)

A Yucky Kloof Corner Ridge

Well for me that is but the others loved it of course and I was supposed to as well!  I thrive on the harder adrenalin filled hikes damnit!  I’ve hinted to do this hike for a while But I was feeling crappy from start to finish.

When I got to Anwar’s house this morning, I was so hot!  I had to lie down on his kitchen floor at the door so I could cool down and tell him in jest that I’m going through menopause and on our way to Kloof Corner, I was telling Anwar how crappy I’ve been feeling these past two weeks.   Headaches degrading to full blown migraines.  Dizzy spells, strength just draining from me at the office that I slumped down from my chair and just lied on the floor until my boss lady came in and had to buy me a chocolate so I could get some strength.

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break at Kloof Corner

With the weather looking like rain, Anwar wanted to cancel Kloof Corner Ridge as it would be too slippery to go up the chains and told him don’t let me smack you.  Throw positive thoughts to the universe as it’s just misty and will rain tonight (which it is now thank God after our heatwaves)

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First Chain

I thought I was going to be ok today.  Going up Kloof Corner to the contour path, I was ok but then I started feeling crappy and thought it was the humidity.  It was hot and overcast.  Up the first chain and I felt that I didn’t have much strength but I made it and that’s when the nausea and cramps started sigh.  I felt as though I was getting a tummy bug which has been going around.  I STRUGGLED!  I slumped down onto a rock whenever I got the chance and fortunately, Nadeema gave me a disprin and the cramps (more like spasms) subsided but the nausea remained and I STRUGGLED some more.

As it was overcast, we didn’t get the tranquil views of the ‘window’ so up we went to the second chain.  I didn’t feel that I could make it but kept this to myself as I was controlling my gag reflexes at this stage.  A few went up and it was my turn, I could not pull myself up!  I tried again but no.  Others went up after my failed attempts waiting for my strength to return.  Rashaad (due to his recovering shoulder) went up with the harness followed by Shaheen.

I attempted to throw up at this stage hoping I would feel better after but nothing came out sigh and I tried going up again.  Nope!  It was not meant to be. I tell Anwar that I can’t make it, I will wait for them at India Venster but he would hear nothing of it!  I try again but still can’t pull myself up and I slip down the chain and I wanted to cry as I’m not a quitter!  I’ve done hikes with an injured hip and knee but still enjoyed those hikes!   I did the 30km big walk with excruciating lower back pain but I finished the walk.  Thinking of quitting made me wana cry and the thought of quitting today was the same but I was putting my own life and that of my fellow hikers in danger.  I resolved to put on the harness and relied on those pulling me up and with their help; I made it to the top.  Thank you.  No sense of accomplishment from me.

I’m miserable and can’t even find solace in the views which would normally mesmerize me no matter how many times I see it sigh.  Off we go to the 3rd and last chain which is the easiest for me as it’s just a matter of shimmying up with no need for the chain (for me that is)  and its breakfast time.  I gained a lot of my strength back here (thank you healthy foods)  The faster hikers left with just Anwar, Rashaad, Peter, John, Shaheen and myself chilling some more and eventually make our way to India Venster.

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happy 2nd chain is done

Rashaad was leading but when he wanted to go left, I go right so ended up in front swiftly make our way down.  With a deep breath, I go down the chain and thankfully, didn’t struggle but once down the staples, I was feeling weak again and got my foot stuck in an awkward position which John and Rashaad had to help me out of.  As we were ahead, we wait on the rest and I go lie on a rock and when I got up, my vision was blurry. Gawd can this hike get any worse for me!  It was as this moment that I added up all my symptoms and resolved that I would have to go on medication again.  Low iron levels and low blood pressure!

After another dizzy spell, I slow down my pace to the contour path.  As the rest didn’t want to go via Kloof Corner, we went straight down and I go down fast now as its monotonous steps.

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City views from Contour Path

It’s another walk back along Tafelberg Road back to the cars at Kloof Nek Water Station and I’m relieved that the hike is over!!! Peter has some coldrinks and we make our way home but not before popping into the pharmacy for some meds.

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Litter and refreshments lol

I’m sorry I was so miserable today and if I knew I was going to feel this way today, I would not have hiked.  I thank you for your patience and assistance.  I’m sorry I didn’t talk to our two new visitors but I just wasn’t up for being my normal friendly, bubbly self.  I’ve done Kloof Corner Ridge twice before without harness so can do it.  See my previous happier Kloof Corner Ridge Blog https://myhikingmylife.wordpress.com/2015/02/22/kloof-corner-ridge/

Until my next hike, ciao for now.  I’m going to lick my emotional wounds.

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Litter grrrr!
A Yucky Kloof Corner Ridge