Thursday, April 9, 2009

A hike up freaking Table Mountain!

Yesterday, I took a hike up freaking Table Mountain! For a geek of my calibre, this is no mean feat. Before now, the only sort of intense vertical walkabout that I've ever been engaged in has been a vigorous ascent of Devil's Peak to reach its old military block house. And said peak is quite thoroughly and quite mercilessly put to shame by Table Mountain with regards to both pain and gain.

“Skeleton Gorge”? Who in their right mind wants to walk up a trail with a name like that?

I shouldered this monumental task with two of my friends – brave and noble men who were willing to face rocky perils and unspeakable horrors in a quest for Bragging Rights and Really Good Views. Our expedition started in the Kirstenbosch Gardens, situated at the base of the mountain.

Our nemesis looms in the distance. Also, two noble friends.

The climb quickly became steeper. We were soon in a rather thick forest, hopping up stairways and the occasional inconvenient boulder. Good enough so far: no direct sunlight and a well-worn path to keep us on the straight and narrow.

“We're going on an adventure, Charlie!”

Then, all of a sudden:

“You're screwed now.”

After a few hours of hiking, we actually wound up getting lost on Table Mountain. It's hard to believe, I know. It looks so endearingly flat when viewed from the bottom, after all. But, dear reader, this is merely a trap set up by the spirits of the mountain to lure helpless tourists and hiking noobs to their doom. That, and I totally suspect that it was a bad idea for the tour guides to scrawl direction arrows on rocks that any mischievous little urchin could easily pick up and move.

We eventually got back to the beaten path, though. And our detour was admittedly kinda adventurous.

This is my wallpaper now. I just look so badass.

Of course, no matter how worth it the climb may have been we were pretty much dead by the time we finally hit the summit. We came grossly underprepared, and were extremely dehydrated and possibly suffering from a little too much sun exposure after four hours of supercharged stairstepping. We technically satisfied the safety requirements for a hike between the three of us, but Table Mountain doesn't seem to accept group deals. A protip, kids: when they say “bring two litres of water”, they mean PER PERSON.

We ended up taking the cable ride back down. It was amusing enough, but we weren't really paying for a ride or a view at that point. We just wanted to spare our bodies from further pain and humiliation.

A good day in all. Now I can veg out with a clear conscience for at least the next three weeks.

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