Sunday, February 15, 2009

A hike up Devil's Peak

Yesterday was pretty neat: a couple of friends and I went for a bit of mountain climbing up Devil's Peak. Devil's peak is a part of the Table Mountain 'amphitheatre' surrounding Cape Town, and falls a bit short of Table Mountain's own height.

It's still a bugger to climb, though.

Our nemesis looms in the distance. Also, friend's head.

I'm not much of a hiker. In fact, I'd probably be a better hiker if you blindfolded me and chopped off both my legs. And attached a “kick me” sign to my back. Gasping and wheezing up the steep slope of the peak wasn't the dashing and romantic adventure that I'd originally forseen, but my one saving grace was that I hadn't lugged my laptop with me – my friends somehow managed to persuade me that a rugged mountain landscape wasn't the ideal place for a portable computer. It's probably just as well: I reckon that my Internet connection would have been absolutely rotten at the top.

Still, the climb was well worth the effort: one encounters some almost alien sights while climbing up the peak, and the photography opportunities are amazing. Even if you're the absolutely rubbish type who screws up camera settings for huge parties , there's always some fascinating opportunities which practically launch themselves at your digital snapper. Putting them all on this blog would send everybody's bandwidth bills skyrocketing.

After a quick stop by the Rhodes memorial, we hiked up to a location on the mountain known as the Block House, an old military installation near the summit that sports several cannons which, in the past, were used to defend the Cape Town colony from attack, but which now mostly serve as tools for phallic humour in the hands of more juvenile tourists.

“Take it all, Cape Town!”

On the way down, a very generous breeze struck up, allowing us to scuttle down the hill with our hair blowing in the wind and a tempest roaring in our hearts. Or something like that. Unfortunately, the downhill trip once again proved Nandrew's Eyewear Law: the fact that within a month of purchasing a new pair of sunglasses, I'll either lose them or destroy them utterly.

The wind was so startlingly intense that at one point my sunglasses were blown clean away and instantly lost within the mountainous terrain. I spent about ten minutes searching in vain for the specs, but at least my fruitless efforts yielded some more cool pictures.

This picture may seem inconspicuous at first ...

... but could this be the legendary Extremely Pale Yeti of the Cape mountains?

Overall, the mountain hike has been a worthwile and invigorating experience. Moreover, my tan has graduated from Creamy White to Off-Colour Creamy White. I show it to people at every given opportunity. They generally remain unimpressed for some reason.

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