Setting Table Mountain
Dec 28, 2008
|It is December 27th and time to tackle Table Mountain. We were hoping to get an early start, but we didn’t make it up to the parking lot until after 10am. By this time the parking lot was packed full and people were everywhere. The parking lot and cable car station are about halfway up the mountain. We dropped off my parents and had to drive back down to park on the side of the street. We had been hoping for good weather, and we were lucky. We had been warned that we should take advantage of the good conditions, because the weather on Table Mountain can change in a flash. It was a beautiful day with clear blue skies. It was going to be hot though. It already was hot. That was one of our reasons for wanting an early start, but we had waited too long. Rebecca and I seem to have this problem everywhere we go. Depsite our plans or preparations, we always seem to end up hiking, walking or exploring during the hottest period of the day.
We had to walk down the road from the cable car station to the starting point of the Platterklip Gorge hike.
This is not a hike to take lightly. The mountain is over 1000 meters high, and conditions can change in a hurry. Hikers die every year attempted to scale the mountain. Despite knowing this, we were a little reckless. We didn’t bring enough water, we didn’t bring any food, and my mom was wearing only Merrell sandals. Danger is our middle name.
The hike takes about 2½ hours, but more if you get lost half way up, as we did. We took the wrong path for about 30 minutes, and had to turn back and retrace our steps. The detour did give us some great views of the city, however.
The gorge was steep, with a narrow, rocky path switchbacking its way up through the gorge.
The trail was busy too, so we were constantly passing or being passed by other hikers, going both up and down. The last part was a vertical slog and was exposed to the sun almost the whole way up. We were trying to avoid the sun by resting in the shade whenever possible. Rebecca was having a hard time due to low blood sugar. She was feeling dizzy, faint and nauseous. Luckily, a stranger we met had some candies that gave her the sugar boost needed to get to the top.
It was a tough climb for all of us, but we made it and we were proud of ourselves for the accomplishment.
The top of Table Mountain, as you might expect, is basically flat with some rocky points.
We were able to see down below with Cape Town on one side, and the Atlantic coast with the small beach communities on the other.
We could also see the Twelve Apostles mountain range stretching to the south. We had some snacks for recovery and then took the big cable car down to the bottom. We walked back down to our car, had a quick picnic lunch beside the road and drove back into town.
We stopped to quickly tour the Bo-Kaap area. This is the area where all the freed slaves settled. The traditional architecture is very interesting, but the colours are the real attraction. While captive, the slaves were forbidden from wearing bright colours. Upon gaining their freedom, they painted the facades of their newly-acquired homes in vivid bright colours as a show of their freedom.
We returned to the Waterfront, and the women continued to look at rings while my Dad and I had coffee. Finally our opinions and objections were required so we joined them in shopping. Rebecca and I finally found the ring for her, and after negotiating a little on the price, we bought in on the spot. For dinner, we ate a the Green Dolphin Jazz bar and restaurant, that had been recommended to us. I had a delicious ostrich steak that tasted very much like beef. Mountain climbing and ring buying – it was a busy day and we soon ready to call it a night and return to Simon’s Town.
We were greeted by rain the next morning, so we had a quiet day in. We relaxed, played cards, read our books and took it easy. It was a rare day off for us, since Rebecca and I are usually always on the move seeing sights, planning our next ove, or doing the local activities. It was nice to just do nothing for a day – like a quiet Sunday at home.