To the top of Table Mountain

Safari over, we flew to Cape Town, checked into our B&B, walked to a neighborhood restaurant and got a good night’s sleep. We woke the following morning eager to hike Table Mountain, push our legs and work our lungs, after sitting for the majority of the previous week. Buying a two-day pass for the hop on-hop off city tour bus, ear buds supplied to hear prerecorded messages as we drove by landmarks and tourist spots, we caught the red bus, which dropped us off at the visitor’s center of Table Mountain. Walking past the seemingly endless line for the cable car, along the side of the road leading to the Platteklip Gorge trailhead, we stopped frequently to take in the view and snap photos of the unfamiliar plants and trees.

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looking out from along the road at Table Mountain

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It’s spring in Cape Town, the weather was cool; we wore our lightweight hiking pants and layered short-sleeved wicking shirts under long sleeves. The sun alternated shining through the clouds and hiding behind them. The trail is steep and relentless. We climbed up and higher, stopped to catch our breath and drink from our water bottles.

We passed hikers resting, others heading down.

“It’s all lungs up, all knees down,” one woman, hiking with her family, said.

A young couple ran past us, their feet springing off one boulder, landing on another, only to bounce off it again.

It felt good to push my body, to exert myself, to sweat. I’d felt sluggish at first but soon hit my stride.

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DSC_0477We scaled the last stretch, through the gorge, and reached the summit. At the top, trails led in several directions. Bill and I walked as close to the edge as we could in one direction before turning to explore the opposite end. It was easy to spot the people who’d taken the cable car up, women in leather pants and short skirts teetering on high heels and fresh-faced men in slacks and street shoes.

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We took our time walking along the mountain top and gazed down to where our hike had started, far below. Clouds drifted by, at times obscuring part of the mountain. We found the general neighborhood our guest house was in, realized it was only a longish walk away, which we planned on doing when we hiked Lion’s Head later in the week.

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DSC_0434After taking photos from every angle we hiked down the way we had come up. We were careful, some of the rocks were wet and slippery. It was late afternoon and we were surprised people were still heading up. They were either going to be hiking in the dusk, maybe even dark, or taking the cable car down. We heard a group of students before we saw them. They were rowdy in a friendly way, asked if we’d taken the cable car up. One boy seemed surprised when we told them we had hiked up. We wished them well and continued down, knowing our knees would bear the brunt of the burden. IMG_5733

30 replies

  1. Oh my word! Even if you’re riding in the cable car, who in their right mind would wear high heels! I’m glad you shared your beautiful photo because I could never make it to the top. Hiking or in the cable car…my palms are sweating at the thought. I’m deathly afraid of heights. Thanks, Geralyn!

    • Jill, I’m afraid of heights too. To me, the cable car is a more frightening way to the top of the mountain than hiking it. I was joking with Bill when I saw some of those fancy dressed women; I thought they must be on a first date and trying to impress. 🙂

  2. I’m with Jill. I couldn’t do it without serious barfing! It’s beautiful and I’m glad you posted your picts. It is crazy what people wear. When I’m on vacation I don’t worry about looking great. I’m all for comfort and purpose.

    • Ha, Ha. It was straight up, barely any level areas to rest, but I managed not to barf. I don’t think I wore makeup most days on our trip unless we went back to our room before going out to dinner. If not, I wore hiking pants to dinner. 🙂

  3. Good post Ger. Was holding my breath on the height. Frightening! Great pictures. Thanks for taking me along your adventure from my living room couch! Xo Mom

  4. What an amazing visual feast that must have been. The pictures are gorgeous.

    I love those hop on-hop off bus tours. They’re a great way to learn about the sites but also be able to navigate them on your own.

  5. Not sure if I’d manage the climb up, but I think you’re pretty determined. 🙂 How long did it take you?
    I’d probably have gone with cable car but I certainly don’t think down would be easy on foot either. I’d love to be up there though.

    • Took us about 1:50 to get to the top. I think it was about 2000′ elevation. We got our work out that morning! Going down was faster but tough on the legs. I’d much rather be on solid ground than suspended in the air by a cable. Thanks for reading, Jo. 🙂

  6. It sounds like a strenuous hike with no straight stretches. Getting to the top and back down again must have felt like an achievement. I really enjoyed the photos of the flora. I liked those pretty pink flowers–whatever they are. And what a view from the top! Thanks for sharing your photos.

    • Thank you, Nicki. It felt great to get a workout in after very little exercise the week before. We visited Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden and saw absolutely gorgeous flowers. I’ll be sharing photos.

  7. WooHoo! Nothing like a good hike to get the heart pumping eh. And in another country too. Even better. Nice photos, especially that one from way up high with the bright blue water.
    Are you missing your time there yet?
    🙂

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