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

 

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Silvermine/Elephant’s Eye/Hout Bay Lookout

My Maiden Rock Climb!

I’m not a rock climber so how did I end up going rock climbing?  Allow me to share my journey J

Anwar took his time posting the hike details for today as he was watching the weather and eventually only sent out the details last night!  The plan was to do Silverstream Ravine (C2 graded hike) and I was super excited as I haven’t done this route before and I was looking forward to the 30m free climb.  I haven’t done a hard hike in a couple of weeks so needed today!

So I’m up at 3:15am and do what I have to do and at Anwar’s house before 5am and he looks like he just got out of bed!  (He only got home after 3am he says).   So I watch a bit of TV whilst waiting on him.  We have to pick up Luke at Claremont Station but by 5:30am, Luke was still in Fish Hoek and our hike was to start at 5:45am.  We unfortunately cannot wait on him.

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Fire detours

Due to the fire on Devil’s Peak, De Waal Drive is closed so take a detour and Peter is uncertain where to meet as he is the only one at Kloof Nek car park.  We get there and wait a bit as others could be delayed by the detour and traffic due to the Bay to Bay race.  It’s just the 3 of us so Anwar cancels the hike due to strong South Easter as well. (an overhead sign on the boulevard was blown onto the highway, that’s how strong the winds were).  Anwar suggests doing the route just before the climb and I’m noooooo!  That’s too easy.  I suggest India Venster as we haven’t been up this route in a while as we use this route to come down.  Right Arrow Face?  Left Face Mystery B?  Devil’s Peak?  Lion’s Head?!  I get a no on all counts x_x  He is not keen on hiking as his calf is sore and Peter is tired and these two want to go for breakfast or even lay on the beach -_-  NO!  He then checks that Khalid and his wife Ayesha are doing Rock Climbing at Silvermine at 7:30am and I’m like yes!  Let’s do that!  It’s still early and the coffee shops are not open yet so go have coffee at Peter’s joint.  I can write a blog about Peter’s home :p Seriously!

I am not disappointed that our intended hike was cancelled as everything happens for a reason…

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Let’s do this!

Anyway we get to Silvermine just before 8am and Khalid and Ayesha are joined by Faried, a first time Rock Climber like me.  Peter has done City Rock a few times but this is his first outdoor climb.  I do not have any gear so borrow Anwar’s harness and helmet and Peter’s shoes.  Can’t do rock climbing with hiking boots.  Peter was my belay on both climbs and had to knot my rope and do the safety checks.

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What fancy shiz moves she be doing O_O

While they are setting up, I watch a group from Canada climb and it looks very tricky!   The route they were doing is not for first timers like us fortunately and we seemed to be doing an easier climb.  Khalid leads (setting up the rope), Ayesha cleans (removing the thingies) and Faried goes first.  The first route is graded 14 but 15 if you can lift yourself up a very tricky part and Faried can’t do it so don’t and I don’t either.  Getting as far as I did was accomplishment enough for me, no need to push it lol.   Sheer face rock climbing is finding the tiniest of finger and toe holds and pushing up with your legs.  Finger holds is just for stability.  As a first time rock climber who overcame her phobia for heights and nervous for her virgin climb, I broke this rule a few times hehe!

My first successful climb!  YIPPEE!  I am filled with adrenalin and a sense of pride that I did it!  And I abseil down!  Yippee!  Oh yes, I’ve climbed the Wall (probably only half way) at Ratanga Junction and completely sucked at it nor did I enjoy it but the best part was abseiling down lol.

Ayesha and Khalid set up another climb which ‘appears’ ‘easy’ as there are many finger and toe holds which Peter and Anwar climbs (with sore calf and wrist) but Faried only manages ¼ way up as what may be ‘easy’ from my perspective, it is tricky nonetheless and it doesn’t matter as we did the first climb \o/ The rest is just a bonus.  Khalid loosens the rope and I’m disappointed as I wanted to do that climb as well but he says he wants to set up the route next to what the Canadians and others were doing and I’m like what?!   I can’t do that!!!  I’ve seen other groups struggle up there!  Not only that!  He is setting up next to the tricky route!  T_T

I go first after Khalid and Ayesha has set up the climb and with deep breaths, I make my way up.  Not as tricky as I originally thought and I’m doing well but then don’t know where to hold onto and I struggle.  I’m told to look out for the chalk powder which Ayesha uses to climb and was an excellent guide for me.  Upwards I go and pose for photos lol and rest for a few seconds whenever I am stable enough to do so.

I’m huffing and puffing and my arms are strained with exertion and I want to give up! I said as much!  I can’t anymore!  I do not have the strength to carry on!!! My limbs are shaking in exertion!  I’m told to rest both my arms and just hang there but I opt to rest one arm at a time and as soon as I felt some strength returning, I climbed to the top!  My arms were too lame to do the pose I wanted but it doesn’t matter!  I climbed that 15-20m sheer face rock!  And had even more fun abseiling down hehe!  What a sense of accomplishment and pride I had for myself!

We were then watching the Canadians do an insane climb with insane positions!  After several attempts,  Faried no longer have the strength to the climb which I just did and tell Ayesha that I can understand as there is no way I have the strength to do a 3rd climb. Peter makes his way up but Anwar happily decides not to.

We get to the cars shortly after 12pm and we are ecstatic!  We did not get to do the hike we wanted to but we got an awesome first time rock climb instead ^_^

Thank you Khalid and Ayesha for allowing us to gatecrash your climb and for your expert guidance and patience.  Thank you Anwar for always ‘taking me places’ and fulfilling my need for adventure!  Thank you Peter for belaying me (your first time hehe) and for being who you are that I willingly put my life in your hands even though we met just over a month ago haha! Thank you Faried for taking so many photos of my climbs!

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

 

 

 

My Maiden Rock Climb!

Agatha’s Gulley

Before I start with Agatha, we had our debrief and HPHC will release a statement soon about Blinkwater but I do want give a shout out for the 984 ‘Blinkwater Ravine Turned Rescue Mission’ views O_O from various countries all over the world! That was most certainly unexpected…even more unexpectedly and shockingly! A share onto the BDSM fetish community! O_O uhm! Thank… you…? I think…

last week's views with another 7 views this week..thus far
last week’s views with another 7 views this week..thus far

Soooooooo Yesterday we did Agatha’s Gulley and I was slightly apprehensive doing a scramble (as teeny tiny as it was) plus crossing the ledge as I feared my old phobia for heights would return and that would make hiking terribly sucky not being able to do buttresses, ledges, traverses and ridges :/ I have to hike. (I took 2 friends up Wally’s cave the week prior and didn’t blog about this as I wrote a piece for “The Wrap’ – a weekly old school newsletter one of said friend emails out and in ‘The Wrap’ I mentioned that Hiking Centers my Chi)

was a hot one people!
was a hot one people!

For me, personally, I’ve done the routes up Constantia Nek too many times and no longer finding it exhilarating but grateful for the fact that I am able to hike (in fact, my very first blog was about this route) but have no issue taking others up. I guess taking others up are for them and not for me hey.
So 8 of us met up at the car park and geez it was HOT and not even 7am yet! Off with my jacket. We also got old hiking buddies at the car park that did Hole in the Wall. This time I was with the faster hikers as it seems all the squatting of last week made my legs stronger lolz

waiting for the Sunday 'strollers' at the first break
waiting for the Sunday ‘strollers’ at the first break

At the first break, waiting for the others to catch up, it’s off with my long sleeve top which was already sweaty and appreciate the early morning views and smells coz geez people! I do not have issues with owners taking their dogs on hikes but for realz! Pick up their poop please!The start of this route smells like your backyard! (the good poopie picker-uppers excluded of course)

its fine, take all the time you want...
its fine, take all the time you want…

We then make our way to Belle Ombre and take another break at Agatha’s turn-off and admire the mountain ranges some more. The mountain may have hurt my feelings but I still love her!

After a while, I ask them are we just going to sit here or actually go up Agatha lolz and go through the almost unbeaten path as not many hikers know of this route and it’s time to cross the ledge and I’m slightly nervous. Crossing this, I’m like yay! I’m not scared! I can look down without fear so merrily and confidently make my way to the other side 😀 I go find a nice spot so I can take photos of the rest of the group crossing the ledge and now I’m right behind as its go-ocd-on-photos-time! We are also now extra cautious stepping on and over loose rocks.

the LEDGE!
the LEDGE!

And Agatha’s Gulley is now done lolz (why it’s not one of my fave routes is because it’s so short).

Luke kisses the mountain and I promptly say I wana kiss her too! Which I did, and stroked her and said I still love you my mountain. (yes I speak to the mountains) ok there’s still the teeny tiny scramble to Belle Ombre and on the way for the first time! I see The Throne!

sitting on the Throne in my Brian rescue-guy inspired funky pants! \o/
sitting on the Throne in my Brian rescue-guy inspired funky pants!
\o/

Well I called it a throne as it resembles a toilet pot lolz Why I’ve never seen it before I do not know but anyway photos! This is when the fierce wind suddenly picks up…where did this come from and then its up the scrambletjies and I admit that I am even more careful now when pulling myself up a rock. Fear of a rock dislodging is real people. We have always been careful, checking before pulling and in many scrambles, we only have fingertip holds to pull ourselves up (and push up with our legs) With the hikes we normally do, we have to be careful as all it takes is one slip…

Scrambeltjie
Scrambeltjie

Anyway, its up Belle Ombre and we break at the overhang. Not in the overhang where we normally sit as it was too windy! Soon a group of hikers arrive and I offer them koesiesters with them saying that they are a large group and I say its ok as they can all share…the lady looks at my top (with hikers paradise hiking club) and ask me if I am the hike leader and tell her no and point out to Anwar and tell her he is sitting over there…Anwar Adams…if the name sounds familiar…and Blinkwater was discussed.

thanks for the warm send off guys! *waving byeeeeeee*
thanks for the warm send off guys!
*waving byeeeeeee*

Another friend spent the weekend on the People’s Trail with his hiking club, Ommiedraai Hiking Friends, and as he wasn’t feeling well and knew that I was going to be in the area he asked if I could give him a lift so parted with my club at De Villiers dam and waited on Saeed. Anwar notified Mountain Tracking and Safety that 1pax was staying behind and that the rest of the club was going down. He asked that I check out when I’m done as well.

Volunteer Ranger Saeed aka sick Saeed!
Volunteer Ranger Saeed aka sick Saeed! PS he is single ladies!

As Saeed is a volunteer ranger, he educated me on some of the fauna and flora and I’m still totes clueless as to the names lol…what stands out for me is the carnivorous plant species that eats ants and got to take a pic of it! He also told me that in February, we should look out for Blue Disas along the trail as well.

and I forgot what these ant eating plants are called hehe
and I forgot what these ant eating plants are called hehe

Saaed would have to lead as I’m always in a hurry going down this path. My legs get bored with the monotony of this path and not even a long way down, he says he’s bored lolz

Despite Agatha’s Gulley being such an easy hike (for our hiking fitness levels), this route was the perfect choice for post incident hike actually to get us back into the swing of things so want to thank our Hike Leader for his brilliant consideration once again. Thank you Anwar!

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We missed our injured hikers (and Shaheen and our good doctor ) terribly on Sunday and wish them a speedy recovery!

(I wrote this over 2 days)

Thank you for reading and until my next hike, ciao for now.

PS. Sanparks free entry week is from the 14th to 18th September (specifically Cape Point and Silvermine, which will be open by then)
And Cape Nature free entry week is from the 21st to 27th September – highly recommended route is Jonkershoek and Krom River
Check out their websites for further details.

Agatha’s Gulley

Groot Kop (scramble) via Oudekraal Ravine

Grade A+2 (+/- 6 hours) ‘A seldom used path off Corridor Ravine winding its way beneath the south face of Corridor Buttress into Oudekraal Ravine offering some amazing vista spots and then onto Grootkop with its breathtaking 360 degree views and mystical shelter spots, crevices, cracks and caves’  is the message sent out by our president…

After my volunteering stint, I was on a go slow yesterday morn before taking my daughter to karate and then grocery shopping.  When we get home I had a week’s load of laundry to do, lunch for today, koesiesters for the hike and pumpkin bollas for a thikr.  As I spring-cleaned on Tuesday (the hottest day in over a century, Cape Town being the hottest city in the world that day), it was not one of my priorities to clean as well.  It was also my nephew’s birthday so had to show my face there as well.  I did manage to take a 2 hour nap But this morning I overslept and had to rush.  My son dropped me at our president’s house immediately after morning prayers where another member came to pick us up.  My usual lift had other commitments. We got stuck in traffic because of the Argus Cycle tour but no biggie (traffic delays and detours were to be expected)

We arrive at Kloof Nek carpark where we wait on others delayed by traffic and 12 of us eventually make our way to Theresa Avenue in Camps Bay where we start our hike at 7am.

Start of the hike at Theresa Avenue
Start of the hike at Theresa Avenue

The start of this hike is deceptive.  One would think it is an easy winding path leading up to the pipe track but it actually works your calve muscles and I am told, you feel it in your shins as well.

Deceptive path
Deceptive path

I’m in a ‘push myself’ buzz again so leading the way until I’m distracted by picture taking again.  The fauna and flora and a tree hugging the mountain J

Tree hugging the mountain
Tree hugging the mountain

Appreciating its beauty even more after the destruction this week on the other side of the mountain. For the first time (after hiking the pipe track numerous times) I notice the dates on the pipes.  1919 and upgraded 1929!  It’s really that old?!  One was 1945 and the most recent ‘upgrade’

old pipes along the pipe track
old pipes along the pipe track

First time that I also notice a concrete ‘building’ with a ladder which was probs some drainage back in the day.

Building
Building
empty building
empty building

Also notice a row of cairns on display where our pressie duly decided to build another one.

Row of Cairns...display purposes only
Row of Cairns…display purposes only

There are also new chains along the route and dutifully took pics of these as well.

new chains
new chains

After all our picture taking, we were far behind the rest of the group and they were waiting on us.  We even received a phone call because they were waiting that long 😛 We had a new guy today who only started hiking 3 months ago so enjoyed sharing our ‘vast’ knowledge of hiking with him ^_^

sharing our knowledge
sharing our knowledge

Even told him that he is fortunate to do this particular route as many people who have been hiking for decades has never done this route.  They don’t even know of it as it cuts off at Corridor Ravine.  All our yacking delayed us once again and the group had to wait on us once again lol…They were snacking when we reached them.

looking at an oddly shaped ship
looking at an oddly shaped ship

We veer off the pipe track and make our way to Oudekraal Ravine.  This is a route we do not do often so always mesmerized by the scenery, fauna, flora and mountain! Not long into the route and another snack break (what’s up with that?  We don’t usually take snack breaks)

snack break...again?!
snack break…again?!

2 of our faster hikers went ahead and not long after, I followed them.  This Ravine is one of the steepest with loose gravel and as the wind is pumping, I put my buff over my mouth and nose, my red scarf turned around my head for easier breathing  (I’m wearing something red in support of our heroes)

#supportourheroes winds so strong it takes the breath away
#supportourheroes
winds so strong it takes the breath away

When it’s this windy, standing up straight is difficult as the wind will push you down so to remedy this, hiking up bending over is recommended but do strains the back.  Here I concentrate on balance, my breathing and the wind rustling through the fynbos and reminded that other parts of the mountain no longer have any fynbos. The other 2 faster hikers wait on the group ¾ of the way up and I join in the wait.

our 2 faster hikers
our 2 faster hikers
male winds so strong that i had to hold my sweater down for feat it blowing up
male winds so strong that i had to hold my sweater down for fear it blowing up

I also had to take a loo break and venture off on my own along another path.  I get back and we are still waiting.  One member went to check why the delay and I go back down as well.  A member went the wrong way and our pressie went off searching for him.

Where'd you go bra?
Where’d you go bra?

They eventually join us and up we go again.  Pressie didn’t want to take the normal path and wanted to try an unknown route and off we went searching.  Normally I would absolutely love this type of adventure but I’m tired, couldn’t take an afternoon nap as there was the Thikr to attend and blogs to finish.  Then there’s still the pics to transfer to pc and sort but that can wait for tomorrow.  This detour was a major delay as we had to find our way up and around and further up.  Looking for cairns or any visible paths which is of course grown over.  Nonetheless  I enjoy the new route with new scenery and chatter.  The A grade has now become a B lol but one never complains about scrambles 😛

exposure to heights and scrambles now made this route a B grade
exposure to heights and scrambles now made this route a B grade

In one of my previous blogs, I mentioned some fynbos  with an absolutely divine scent and we have a horticulturist with us who names the fynbos! And I’ve already forgotten what it is lol.  Nor can I remember the other one with delicious aroma.  There’s even a fynbos which smells like bbq big corn bites.  I kid you not.  We didn’t come across them today though.

hmmm the aroma!
hmmm the aroma!

All the previous times, Ive done this hike, it was overcast and never got to see the views and today’s forecast was morning clouds.  The morning was clear but slowly the clouds came over and I was like oh bugger!  I don’t get to see the 360 degree view yet again! Sigh but I was in for a pleasant surprise when we eventually reach the peak of Groot Kop in the afternoon!  What was supposed to be a 6 hour hike up and down, took us 6 hours just to the peak lol   Before we reach or rather find the peak, we had breakfast (which was closer to lunch time) lower down and someone unknowingly goes and sit on the remains of a dead animal.  Some fur and its tail remained so cannot say a carcass.  I had to take a pic of course.

nice and cozy... haha
nice and cozy…
haha
anyone identify what she sat on?
anyone identify what she sat on?

We reach the peak shortly before 1pm and only stopped to take photos, lots of photos and look at the burnt parts of the mountain ranges.  We can see Chapmans Peak, Hout Bay, Vlakkenberg, Tokai, Silvermine but Muizenberg is covered with clouds.  (Table Mountain too but we weren’t focused on that).

Panaromic photo
Panaromic photo
Panoramic photo
Panoramic photo

We start our way down and the faster hikers goes ahead while I wait at the crevice meaning to take more pics inside but yet another delay as 2 of our members were on a go slow.  I go back up to the peak not seeing them and go down again and lo and behold, these 2 members took another route to the crevice.  Yarre!  The descent was a slow one as a member had issues with his knees and we still had a long way to go.  We waited for them at certain forks showing the ‘newbies’ the various routes and the ravine we came up from a different angle and they couldn’t believe they went up that!  (that as in the pic)

View of Oudekraal Ravine
View of Oudekraal Ravine

The new guy’s phone was dead and he had to make a phonecall.  We had to wait on pressie with his power bank which didn’t charge his phone for some reason and tried swapping sim cards in another phone but that didn’t work either but we eventually gave up.

easy scramble down
Panoramic View
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easy scramble down

During this wait, another member and one with the sore knees went ahead and were soon followed by the older couple (I forgot to mention we had a married couple with us who are definitely above 60! I didn’t ask their age) and they did very well on this hike.  I eventually passed member with the sore knees and caught up to the older couple and another member and hiked at their pace as I had to wait for my lift to come down anyway.  They couldn’t pass member with sore knees.

weird worm dancing on the edge of this rock
weird worm dancing on the edge of this rock

The four of us waited on the pipe track and when 2 other members joined us, they said that the rest will take a while as sore knees is in so much pain and really struggling. My knees were also sore coming down and I thought this prob was in the past with the end of my volunteering stint :/ I hope with a few days rest off my feet, it I will be back to my old fit self again.   Older couple kindly offered me a lift home and off we went!

This 6 hour hike turned out to be 9 hours J  I was late for the thikr starting at 4pm when we only finished the hike at this time and I still had to shower and stuffs and sugar the bollas. I was of course very late and people were impressed that I was wearing stilettos after hiking 9 hours J ended up having lunch and supper at the thikr 😉

That’s how I roll baby 😛

I normally walk with a walking buddy on a Monday but cancelled on her as I have to rest these knees of mine as I’m volunteering with the SPCA on Tuesday in search of injured wildlife up our mountains.

Being unemployed doesn’t have to be boring 😀

Now for much need sleep (after I’ve published this of course) Ciao for now

PS I normally upload my pics to album first but will do so tomorrow as still have to upload 2 other blog pics plus 2 albums as well!

PS…As per my previous blog, I didn’t get to volunteer today but there will be other days…(the universe forcing me to rest my knees and I am not hiking tomorrow either)

Groot Kop (scramble) via Oudekraal Ravine

#Supporting our Heroes

After 5 days, we are greeted by the sight of our beautiful mountains which is finally visible and our hearts sing with joy!  The fires have finally been contained and everyone breathes a sigh of relief as the worst is over.  Certain areas are still burning but it’s under control or so we thought…

Cape Point is burning and Scarborough decided to follow.  Opposite Kommetjie Ostrich Farm as well.  Stoppit now please it’s not a game of tag!

After my initial disappointed for being turned away at Lakeside Fire Station the day before, I duly make my way back there as promised and hope that I will be able to volunteer.  I told the guys at Fish Hoek that I was first going to Lakeside first, see how it goes and then go back…..It was not to be…

From the train, I was shocked to see the hiking trails clearly visible which use to be covered by forests and fynbos.  Not to fret though, the fires destroyed alien vegetation and re-growth will happen.  It will take some time but it will happen.

no haze
no haze

I arrive at Lakeside Train Station and it’s no longer covered in a haze of smoke as the day before and I get to the Fire Station with trepidation but and I am allowed to volunteer!  YAY!  Introductions are given and most of the volunteers are not there yet as it’s still early and given a run down on proceedings.  We were given those reflective yellow jackets and name tags.  Halaal section is away from the non halaal section as to not allow cross-contamination.

Halaal Food Station
Halaal Food Station

It was also a good thing that I came back the next day as one of the supervisors mentioned that they were running low on certain items and I could tell her that Fish Hoek is fully stocked with these items and she promptly got hold of them and a collection was organized.  It’s also a good thing that I was there as the muslims making donations appreciated seeing someone in a doekie around the Halaal food.  Day old food is given to shelters and under privileged schools.  I am told that by now, firefighters are tired of sandwiches and I would be too by eating it every day and yet sandwiches are being donated all the time.  I make me cup of coffee and start cleaning up any litter, tidying up here and there. Sorting out the water bottles, energy bottles, soft drinks and energy canned beverages.  I am blown away by the volumes of donations received at this hub!  I have seen nothing yet!  The pics I took were early morning and regret not taking more photos when there weren’t any place to stack more beverages.

1/3 of donations compared to what we received throughout the day
1/3 of donations compared to what we received throughout the day

As I am a rookie still I do not understand the collective groans made when the first donations of water arrives.  I was to join in with the groans soon after lifting, carrying, bending and stacking, 100s upon 100s upon 100s litres of water.

refreshments
refreshments
less than a third still to be received
less than a third still to be received

The joke was that the firefighters were putting out the fires with bottled water as there was so much.  It was even funnier when one of the guys said that even though he is tired of all this water, ironically he was thirsty and proceeded to drink a bottle in one go.  I was soon to experience just that as you get so busy, you forget to drink water and become dehydrated.  I’ve been suffering from headaches since Wednesday for just this reason.  I still have a headache which I mostly ignore and haven’t taken any pills for it.  I just need to drink more water.  It does make composing my thoughts and trying to remember the sequence of events over the last few days difficult though.

I was flattered that even though I was a newbie, I was included in selfies, and the get together of volunteers they were planning shortly 😀   The group photos were a laugh as the ‘photographer’ had to take a pic with almost everyone’s phone.

One guy was telling another how great Truth Coffee is and I chimed in.  They are one of the top 5 coffee joints in Cape Town!  You can only imagine my reaction as a Coffee Snob when Truth came in and set up their machines with enough filter coffee for 400 cups and we could always let them know when we’ve run out!  They donated their cups, white and brown sugar sachets plus stirrers.  I hugged Miriam!  I shouted to one guy who was talking about Truth not even an hour earlier to come see what we have.  He says I lie and my response is I speak the Truth!  Miriam showed me how to make the coffee and their flasks holds the coffee hot for up to 4 hours.  We had 3 flasks J

Truth Coffee Roasting
Truth Coffee Roasting

Donations stream in all the time which means constant lifting, carting, bending and sorting of goodies into various boxes, buckets and trays.  100s upon 100s upon 100s of snack packs were made.  I think there was more stock of energy bars, chocolates and sweets than your local superette. Firefighters arrive for their meals, snacks and refreshments and we are at their beck and call.  I was timid at first until I built up the courage to hug them all!  Thanked them for saving my mountain.  They really appreciated it as well as it uplifts them J  We had group hugs and they would come back for more 😛 Metro and EMS are part of the crew as well and we eventually build up a repertoire.  Everyone knowing my name by my tag but I can’t even remember a third of their names.

Our hearts dropped when ever a fire truck left the station with sirens as we know it’s yet another call out of flares.

EWN news was camped out on the balcony out back (the lookout) with live updates.  Other news reporters and print journalists and photographers were in and out.  Politicians were in and out, other important people I don’t know were in and out.  I could tell they were important by the greetings they received.  Turns out that Carte Blanche was there as well as my parents saw me for a second carrying something…

The lookout
The lookout

Then lunch time rush happened and I acted as waitress around the fire department.  Carrying food and refreshments with my crate up and down the stairs, back and forth, taking orders and going back for more until every last fireman and woman, metro and admin staff were fed.  When the rush died down, I sat down for the first time that day and my feet and legs are throbbing.   (You don’t realize how tired your feet are until you sit down) and had something to eat.  I can’t even remember what I had.  2 Masseuse came in to give fire fighters massages J. We drink and eat when your body reminds you.  There is more than enough food and snacks so don’t feel guilty when we do grab a bite.  There is no time to run out and get something.  We do have time to chat and joke and get to know each other a little at the various stations viz dispatch, collections, sweet and meal lines.  Then there are also the beverage sorters and hunters.  Dipping your hands and arms in a bucket of water filled with ice is no joke when hunting for something specific one of our heroes ordered (heroes include EMS and metro).  It burns!  We did also run out of ice and as the ice truck was taking a bit too long we resorted to social media which responded so well that we didn’t know what to do with the excess ice lol.  The 6 deep freezes and truck from Ice Man were packed to capacity.  At this stage it was groan not more ice J  We just packed them over the several containers of beverages.  Don’t get me wrong, we do appreciate every donation as they generously made the effort and time to deliver the goodies.  Schools, NGO’s (Islamic Relief, Nakhlistan, Mustadafin Foundation etc), various organizations from different faiths, restaurants, take-aways, bakeries, companies and retailers came in with donations.  My day ended when Mustadafin foundation came in with a huge pot of hot akni and dished it into bakkies.  Our heroes enjoys hot meals (although it may not be hot by the time it reaches them so should rather say they appreciate a cooked meal more than a sandwich, burger or hotdog/boerewors roll).  My shift may have ended but there’s still the night shift to serve our heroes throughout the night.  Night shift may not mean that shifts change as some volunteers stays until dawn before getting some rest.

Piping hot akni
Piping hot akni

Earlier that day, I did not know that I was to return the next day being Jumuah as I have to go to mosque and then there is the issue of lunch for my kids.  If I was to return, I would leave before jumuah so that I can be in time.  Only later the night I asked my mom if she could make lunch for my kids as well and I could go to jumuah in Steenberg.  How I would get there, I did not know yet.

I had to rush as I still had to feed my kids and take my daughter to karate.  No rest just yet and when I get off the train in Wynberg and walk to the taxi rank, a guy mentions ‘shjoe tietie maar djy lyk moeg’  I just smiled in response.  My day was well worth the exhaustion J  and when I finally got into bed I suffered a case of ‘you are bone tired getting into bed but your mind says haha not yet biyatch’.

—————————————————————————

So I’m up early again with morning prayers with not enough sleep or rest.  My knees are so sore!  I embarrassingly admit, when I’m praying alone, I used a chair.  What I can’t fathom though is that as I am a hiker and can endure hard long hikes, how are my knees sore?!   Anyway that is a mystery to be left alone.

I arrive at the fire station and see that the night shift has taken down the bigger gazebo (can’t remember the specific name for that ‘tent’ right now) and moved most of the things into the smaller tent.  Most of the goodies have been moved into the storage room.  The night shift is getting ready to leave and we were less than a handful to feed the breakfast crew and we had very little food.  We had to ration breakfast and limit to firefighters only.  We could still give them all as many beverages as they wanted though as there was still 2l cooldrinks and crates and crates of Parmalart yoghurt, steri stumpies and juice.  Cans were low but water and energy bottles still in abundance I was now the barista to our heroes’ lol and soon we had lots and lots of muffins to give them in addition to sandwiches.  We got to have left over Charley’s cupcakes 😀

day old cupcakes coz the firefighters get first dibs
day old cupcakes coz the firefighters get first dibs

When I was carrying a rather heavy crate with ice over to the tent, a staff member from Life Health Care Hospital asks if he could help and I say no thank you I can manage.  I did first feel how heavy the crate was before adding more bags so could manage.  Only later I found out they were there for massages!

Slowly but surely the rest of the exhausted volunteers arrived and I gratefully went for my massage.  Started out with an exfoliating foot rub, followed by a foot spa.  I then had someone working on my back with those laser handheld machines and then she was massaging me.  Another one started on my hands and had 3 staff members working on me at the same time!  We were in a public room so couldn’t undress (besides my bolerol) for a full body massage but very much grateful for the pamper session.

Exfoliating foot rub This was bliss itself
Exfoliating foot rub
This was bliss itself
Foot Spa
Foot Spa
aaaaahhhh
aaaaahhhh

When I get back from my massage, we were over stocked with meals again!  As there were only about 50 firefighters in the field, we had meals for about 1000 people and were still getting donations throughout the day.  We had to turn them around and send them to shelters etc.  This way, the shelters and schools will get fresh meals instead of day old food.

It’s time for me to get ready for mosque and everyone asks me to pray for them lol (not even being the same faith) One of the ladies mentioned that she has been several places all over the world but Cape Town muslims are the best! I got a lift to mosque with the maintenance water pump crew on their way out and sitting down made me so darn sleepy!  I embarrassingly admit that I dozed off here and there :$ From the mosque, I take short walk (which seemed like 30kms with my sore knees) to the train station and take the train back to Lakeside.  I get a warm welcome back from everyone as if though they haven’t seen me in a while (these are people I just met the day before and was treated like an old friend)

Nakhlistan came in with another delivery of gatsbys but had to turn them away as well but not before donating a box to us at the department which I delivered to those who wanted.  We could take home to our families as well and this is where we feel guilty and had to remind ourselves that it was given specifically to us.  We are not ‘carrying’ donations away.  I bring up this part because later the day (shortly before my time to leave) another volunteer was feeling too guilty to carry her bag out so I did it for her.  Getting to the driveway, I see a food run was about to happen and ask If I could go with and run to the volunteer to carry her own bag out lol and jump into the back of the bakkie.  Off we go with sirens and a police escort.  Sheesh but that was a wild drive!

had to turn Nakhlistan away :-(
had to turn Nakhlistan away 😦

We go to Tokai Forest first and see firsthand the aftermath.  There is still a forest of trees but everything ground level is burnt to ashes.

Tokai forest
Tokai forest

We could thankfully not see further up and didn’t go further as we were on a food run after all.  One of the firewomen was so tired she could barely stand and that image will haunt me forever.  (I’m starting to tear up again) She was the only one who got a hug and a kiss from me.  She hasn’t seen her family since Sunday, sleeping in the bush, monitoring and putting out flares.  I know she sleeps in the bush as a volunteer on a food run the night before saw this with her own eyes and she was close to the flames around her.

Woman Firefighter bone tired
Woman Firefighter bone tired

We see two firefighters fully outfitted with hoses and all coming up and wanted a close up but I was distracted by the haunting image as the firewoman was leaning against a tree for support, and we were off again for another drop in the forest.

Firefighters coming from a distance
Firefighters coming from a distance

The Fire and Rescue driver woman had a family emergency so we got a lift back with metro cops.  Driving towards Silvermine, I asked if we could take a 5 minute detour just up and down Ou Kaapse Weg just to see.  They were kind enough to indulge me J My smile faded as we drove up and up, burnt everywhere and finally at the top we turn into the picnic area (can’t drive further than the gate which is closed) and I was shocked by what I was looking at.  I always say that a camera can’t capture what the eye sees and OMG even though I saw the pictures, it was heart-breaking! Seeing the devastation with my own eyes!  I could see the parking area from the gate!  There were also volunteers picking up glass bottles not realizing that they could actually be destroying new growth sprouts.  I was still in shock on our way back to the fire station and we continued to chat and joke until I had to explain where I was and what I saw.  I broke down into tears.  I know what it looked like before; I know what it looks like now.  I have lots and lots of before photos and we’ve all seen the after photos….

Silvermine
Silvermine

It’s late and I have to rush home as I’m taking public transport on Friday night.  One of the volunteers said hell no and proceeded to ask others which way they are going.  Fortunately for me, SPCA was still there and situated in my area and got a lift back with them.

SPCA dudie
SPCA dudie
SPCA lady
SPCA lady

The lady even jumped at the back of the cramped bakkie filled with donations for the wildlife so that I could sit comfortably in front.  They wanted to drop me off at home but I said no, I have someone picking me up and while waiting, I helped them unload the bakkie only for 2 minutes before my lift arrived.

Donations
Donations

I had another case of ‘you are bone tired getting into bed but your mind says haha not yet biyatch’ episode.

Today was clean up day, operations were closed.  Some volunteers were there for the 7th straight day but I have weekend commitments.  Everyone is on standby for flares (which eventually did happen and will happen for the next few days)

Tuesday I volunteer for the SPCA as we go out into the mountains and help the wildlife. (I wasn’t selected to go today which may be a blessing in disguise with the universe telling me to rest my knees) There will be other opportunities

Until my next hike (which is in 5.5 hours but I have to be up in less than 4 hours) so ciao for now.

  1. I did not mention any names as to not offend if I forget a name. I will however mention that one of the volunteers was a DJ from Durban.  At the beginning of the raging fires, he mentioned on air that he is with Cape Town.  Someone asked where is he, he replied that his with Cape Town in spirit.  The producers promptly sent him down to come help J

One of the Volunteer’s husband asked her if she signed the Attendance Register as they see so little of her so thanks goes out to the families of these volunteers who makes the sacrifices as well J

My Status on Friday night:

3 days of volunteering has been an absolutely amazing experience! the gees amongst the volunteers, firemen and women, metro police, sanparks, spca and city council was phenomenal! the enormous amounts of donations received was overwhelming from various Islamic NGO’s…Nakhlistan, Islamic relief (I’m too tired to remember the other major one now who provided hot meals) various restaurants, individuals, organizations are but a few…truth coffee has to be named again and vida e…we thank you and salute you grin emoticon

life medical health place (too tired to remember name for the foot, neck, back shoulder and hand massages

next I will be helping the animals grin emoticon

I have loads of pics and stories to share which I will write in my blog once I’ve recovered smile emoticon

we know everything happens for a reason and after 11 months I still haven’t been able to secure a job and if I had, I would not been able to help so Shukr to my Maker for this experience which I will carry with me for the rest of my life…even though it was under disastrous circumstances

algamdullilah

it was my intention to help out couple of hours on Wednesday which turned out to be 25 hours lol…the true thanks goes to those volunteers that’s been helping since Sunday for around 15 hours a day, every day, who hasn’t cooked for their families since Sunday, who does this at every fire which breaks out (not only this week)….it honestly feels weird when people dropping off stuff thanked me when in my mind I’m only there to help, thank the rest of the guys and gals with exhaustion written all over their faces and bodies and yet some of them are there right through the night and no one complains  I would have loved to stay longer but I had other commitments at night  and traveled via public transport which we know ain’t that safe…. I am grateful for the little I did

#Supporting our Heroes

Midweek hike cancelled due to fire…

So I went to volunteer at one of the Fire Stations instead.

Capetonians eyes have been on the mountain since Sunday morning when the fire broke sometime during the night…We can only make our own assumptions as to how this happened ..during… the… night… As it was before sunrise (5:45am) and still very much dark outside, the flames were clear from our view point  but couldn’t pin point exactly where as the mountains were not visible yet. From the outline, it looked like Silvermine side but later #muizenbergfire were trending. For a hiker, this would be the Steenberg Plateau in the Silvermine Nature Reserve. The Reserve is on both sides of Ou Kaapse Weg and not restricted to the picnic/braai spots.

We were all glued to social media for updates as the fire which was swiftly spreading around Muizenberg, St James, Kalk Bay, Fish Hoek, Clovelly to Noordhoek, Houtbay and Chapman’s Peak. The fire jumps over to Tokai, it gets lower and lower. Then Constantia lookout is on fire and still spreading further to Vlakkenberg.

this is smoke not clouds unfortunately
this is smoke not clouds unfortunately

Please don’t reach Constantia Nek (I know I complained about this route in my first blog but I don’t want it destroyed!) This side of the mountains is lush with forests, fynbos and fauna. All this and then Cape Town went on to have the hottest day in 100 years and also hottest city in the world yesterday. Environmentalists and Nature and animal lovers are in an uproar. Hikers and trail runners are in an uproar as our trails are being destroyed and we are helpless. The firemen (bless them) are doing all that they can and the weather is not helping (heat and strong winds). The masses were praying for rain and today we were blessed with much needed rains (not too much as to cause mud and rock slides please). Capetonians came together and volunteered any which way they are able to.

I had every intention of hiking the unspoilt mountain and even received a message from a friend that I should not hike (that person was worried about my safety – bless that person) but I am not about to take unnecessary risks.  If I had in the past, I would not be here to write this blog but in the back of my mind I was wondering if I should rather be volunteering instead but I made a commitment to my hiking buddy that we hike every Wednesday…I did not know which route yet as it all depended on the fire and weather…

This morning I woke up to drizzle, checking mountain side every 30 minutes but couldn’t see anything! Now I’m seriously two-minded about hiking at all but would leave that decision to my hiking buddy who eventually messages me and we cancel. Also, I was feeling guilty hiking when the mountains were burning just a few kilometers away and here I am enjoying nature while firefighters are battling to put the fires out!

Then we could smell the smoke, ash were floating in the air…was there a fire close by that we couldn’t see? Only later realized that the heavy rain clouds insulated the smoke across Cape Town and couldn’t escape. What happens when you throw water over a fire? Excess smoke happens that’s what.

Now where to volunteer, who needs it the most? I ask on Facebook and the responses are Lakeside Fire Station. Updates vary all the time, they need food and water, they don’t need food and water, they need this and that, they don’t need this and that etc etc etc. My intention was to go ASAP but was delayed several times and no surprise, 45 minute metrorail delay as well sigh. I kept reminding myself that everything happens for a reason and thought of that story about a man being late for work and everything that could go wrong, went wrong and how he pleaded to God and God replied saying that this and that happened and his life were saved at many turns. If he was on time, he would’ve been dead. If I wasn’t delayed, something could’ve happened to me as well.

I put on my hiking boots in case there’s an opportunity to go up in the mountains to save some tortoises J

Finally arrive at Lakeside train station and was greeted by helicopter flying over us (I was too fascinated to take a pic and also it’s a train station, don’t take phone out!) And then I see the mountain through a haze of smoke. I take a walk over to the fire station and it’s abuzz with people. I ask if I could help out but to my utmost disappointment, the response is that they have too many people volunteering already and not taking on anymore. I came all this way for nothing! Volunteers are not giving up their posts even though it’s supposed to be on a 3 hour rotational basis and they flatly refuse to do so when asked by the supervisors. If I arrive there at 7:30am for the latest tomorrow, there should be a position for me ^_o

Haze of smoke
Haze of smoke
Lakeside Fire Station
Lakeside Fire Station

Well, off to Fish Hoek I go. While waiting at the station for another late train, I look at the mountains and see a fire flaring up on a hiking trail! and watch the flames get bigger and bigger and hope someone sees it and puts it out. It burnt out in less than 10 minutes. I was to see many such flares on the train.

Flare up on the hiking trail...broke my heart
Flare up on the hiking trail…broke my heart
one of the many flare ups
one of the many flare ups

Only when I arrive in Fish Hoek, did I realize that I actually don’t know where the fire station is lol. I ask a stall holder and he tells me it’s up the road and I make my way there only to remember that the Police Station is that way and not the fire station! I go ask at the Police Station and back track my steps. At this point I’m starving and thirsty so pop into Fresh Stop coz I remember that they sell Pieman’s Burger Pies (yum!) and walk in the general direction of the Fire Station still not knowing exactly where it was but I do find it 🙂

It’s awfully quiet at the station so hand in the koesiesters I sugared this morn and ask if I could help out. Was relieved when they said that there is not much to do but I could hang out as it gets busier when people drop off donations to be sorted into various boxes. I realized then why there have been posts that they no longer need food or water. There’s an overabundance of water, cooldrinks, energy drinks, sandwiches, burgers, hotdog rolls, various snacks and first aid goodies. Eye drops were low. So this is the scenario – as soon as someone posts a specific wish list, people rush and donate these things. Soon there was 2x 5l ice cream tubs filled with eye drops lol. They clearly do not need anything else but they are still accepting donations. How can they turn people away when they have made the effort hey?

refreshments
refreshments
donations of food, snacks and medical supplies
donations of food, snacks and medical supplies

I then ask where is the halaal food and they show me a small packet of burgers amongst the trays and trays full of non halaal food…that’s it? Despite Muslims running over their feet yesterday to provide halaal meals after a plea message was reposted several times and that’s it?

spot the halaal food
spot the halaal food

But soon Muslims were coming in with their donations yay! One lady even added a little muffin in her sandwiches 😀 Parcels are made for the firefighters and other fire stations in need and this is where labeling is of utmost importance and started labeling the individually wrapped goodies. As the others didn’t have much to do, they joined me and soon there were 2 boxes full of halaal meals! If you are making goodies, please use cling wrap as wax paper and foil breaks easily and please do label them halaal. I asked the volunteers if there are any kosher foods and they looked at me with worried eyes until I burst out laughing saying if its halaal, its kosher lol (well I think it is?)

Label them halaal food ladies
Label them halaal food ladies
muffin treat with the sandwiches :-)
muffin treat with the sandwiches 🙂

Volunteering at a Fire Station basically means carrying and sorting goodies as it comes in and that’s what I did most of my time there. Someone donated a whole lot of empty bottles and caps which was used to mix the rehydrate and energy sachets – I referred to this as the water bottling section lol

Water bottling station
Water bottling station

Another person came in and asked if we are having a market! She must be the only person in Cape Town not knowing what’s happening around her.

Harbour House Restaurant went on a shopping spree and several others popped in after work and it was time to make my way home as my kids had to eat and I had to get done for classes. Even though I just read that the fire has finally been contained everywhere, there’s still hotspots being watched, I am still going to make my way to Lakeside in the morn as I’m sure people will still be dropping off donations.

Harbour House Restaurant donation
Harbour House Restaurant donation

Just a note, perishables won’t last. Unused fruit will be given to the animal shelters, meals will be donated to homeless shelters and energy bars, various snacks etc will be kept in storage so please be mindful what you decide to donate.

Also please donate to the volunteers as well as they are too mindful to eat from the firefighter’s stash even though there is too much.  Thirst and hunger is a reality for them and tell them its for them so they can indulge with a clear conscience lol

As far as I know, it’s the animal shelters requiring the most donations but please confirm with them before you go make mass purchases.

I may or may not update this blog tomorrow with Day 2 of volunteering. If I do not, until my next hike, ciao for now

Midweek hike cancelled due to fire…

Hello world!

This is your very first post. Click the Edit link to modify or delete it, or start a new post. If you like, use this post to tell readers why you started this blog and what you plan to do with it.

Happy blogging!

The other day I was looking for a blog post of a hike that I haven’t done in a while and saw that I haven’t actually written my ‘Hello World’ blog. – 20th August 2016

(04/10/2016 – My new site:  Fat’s Mountain Adventures)

(06/07/2017 – yet another new site:  Fats On A Mountain

I had quite an eventful weekend the 14th/15th February 2015 and as a Facebook status wasn’t enough to describe my Helicopter ride and experience at an Ethiopian Wedding I attended on the same day, I wrote it as a Note.  1 or 3 people enjoyed it and suggested that I start a blog.  My response was that I have nothing else to write about and they said I could write about hiking.  I replied ‘Well, that I can do’

For as long as I can remember, I have always loved nature.  I loved the beach.  We grew up going camping every long weekend and holiday and I would go off on my own and explore.  Every morning, while everyone would go back to bed, I would be up with a cup of coffee and a book and go watch the sunrise on the beach.  To this day, whenever we go camping/holiday, I stay up to watch the sunrise 🙂

I got married, had kids and only later I started doing big walks.  I got divorced and as I was always looking for activities to do with my kids (as my father did with us) I decided to take them for a walk in Newlands forest.  This was 11 years ago.  The PC with these pics crashed unfortunately sigh.  I took my kids up the cable car and explored the top of Table Mountain as far as Mc Clears Beacon and passing Platteklip Gorge, I thought it madness to hike that far up the mountain and not something I would ever do.   Few months later, we started doing Lions Head with friends but that didn’t last long.

1930786_44026091412_9919_n
Lions Head 2006

When I started doing the 30km Big Walk, I wanted to improve my time and fitness levels and when another friend invited us to join her on a hike, I jumped at the chance.

1914696_180622711412_7667056_n
Had to come back for this view

My passion for hiking started on the 11th October 2009 when I did my first hike (in takkies mind you) with the then known, Muslim Assembly Hiking Club.  We did Tranquillity Cracks and I complained all the way up!  There was nothing tranquil about this hike!  But these people whose names I was yet to memorise were so very patient!  THANK YOU!  When we got to the peak and I saw the views!  OMG the views!  The pain going up was forgotten (like childbirth…yes, I compared my first hike to post childbirth and I can because I gave birth to two children so I know what I’m talking about).  I was hooked.

Going down however was another story.  In takkies remember, I got blisters.  I had to take off my shoes and each step was painful! (Haha, I was earthing then already ^_^)  Mr Jaffer stayed by my side all the way down (side note.  Mr Jaffer turned 60 that year and beat luekemia by eating clean and basically living a healthy lifestyle).   I will never forget the lessons I learned with this club.  As my kids were still small back then, I could only hike every second weekend and 10th January 2010 (which felt like the hottest day of the year), the club did Platteklip Gorge and got the meeting points wrong (I was new to this so didn’t know all the landmarks yet) and as I didn’t have anyone’s phone number and the friend who introduced me to the club, wasn’t answering her phone, I joined another family from Hanover Park.  Yes, I hiked with people have I just met lol.  Checking out the few photos I took that day, we actually went up Porcupine Ravine (or Diagonal) but definitely up that fork.  It was a big family of friends of younger and older hikers and I ended up with the younger hikers and as it was quite misty, we were separated from the older (slower group) and because they had the one guy’s water, I gave my water to him and instead of going to the Cable Station, unbeknownst to us, he went down Platteklip.

By 12pm, I couldn’t wait on the rest of the group so decided to go down Platties by myself.  My first solo happened to be when I started out hiking haha.  It may be haha now but I was in agony going down in takkies with my toes getting sore.  I had to take off my shoes as I had blisters and the rocks were burning my hands.  At this stage, I was sliding down on my buttocks.  Other hikers saw my pain and offered me water and a banana as my water was with someone else and it was probably about 40 degrees Celsius by then.  Not knowing that I wasn’t far from the road, I decided to take the contour path back to Kloof Nek car park and I was only done by 3pm.  It was torture all the way down Platties then along the contour path in the afternoon heat.  I’m a newbie hiker to experience something like that that I avoided Platties whenever I could.  As a more experienced hiker now, I love Platties!

As my kids got older, I started hiking every Sunday.   Initially, when I woke up to rain, I wouldn’t hike but then the skies would clear and I would mentally kick myself.  Now I hike regardless of the weather and I love hiking in the rain.

I eventually got to know the routes and become the club hike leader and I overcame my very real phobia for heights; hiking took a whole new adventurous turn for me.  As we stuck to what I knew, I became bored with the same ‘o same ‘o routes and joined another club offering exactly what I have been yearning for.  New routes and new challenges that I thought I would never be able to do.

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Hikers Paradise Adventure Club

Through hiking, I got to overcome my real phobia for cockroaches as well lol.  We were in the Outeniqua mountains hiking for about 10 hours in the middle of summer with very little shade and when it was eventually my turn to shower, there was a cockroach in the stall.  At that stage, I could not have cared less.  The shower was more important than my fear.  If that happened anywhere else, I would not have showered at all haha.

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Mountain Ascent Hiking Club

Later I started taking my brothers and nephew on beginner hikes and later others asked me to take them and now I take a group once a month on easy hikes.  I would love if my kids would hike with me often but alas, they have their own interests. (Like sleeping in on a Sunday morning)

I’ve assisted on mountain rescues, I have even been involved with a mountain rescue myself and I keep all the lessons learnt over the years with me.  I will always remember and appreciate my first hiking club as they were the building blocks for the hiker I am today and I thank them and my mentor for my leadership skills.

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Meet Fatima-Rashaad ^_^ – Rescue standby at Ultra trail run

Hiking has never and will never be about fitness for me.  I hike for the love of the mountain;  The sights, scents and sense of accomplishment;  The view sumiting a peak after a particularly challenging scramble;  Adrenalin coursing through my veins inducing endorphin;  The quiet time connecting with my self;  Connecting with like-minded mountain lovers and sharing our joy.   It’s my tranquility away from normal every day city life.

At the age of 40, I started rock-climbing and trail-running although this is still at the beginning stages.  Through all my years as a hiker, I was never interested in these activities until I tried it.  Rock-climbing is all strength and Trail running is all cardio and concentration whereas hiking is a combination.

If you have read all this, and some of my posts, you will realise that my blog is not a technical one.  I am not Siri giving directions on a particular route but share my experiences.  I should actually change the name to My Hiking Diary haha

So when people deface my mountain with litter, it annoys me to no end! GRRRR

 

 

 

Hello world!