This was something I had always wanted to do but never got the chance to do it/ someone to do it with because I always thought one needed a group to do it (little did I know that it can be done alone).
A friend of mine had just taken up a hobby of hiking the Table Mountain on a regular basis so I made an appointment with her to hike with her the next time I am in Cape Town. So the time had finally come, it was the only thing I was thinking about because it was one of my birthday celebrations activity so it meant a great deal to me. The same time I was there it was the Cape Town Jazz weekend so we went out the previous night and had slept for just under 2hrs....bad move.
The phone rang and it was the time go. I was not ready at all, I was filled with regret as a result I made so many blunders that morning from forgetting to pack water and energy chews to forgetting my bank card in the car. You must be asking yourself why did I have to take my card with me? The plan was to take the cable car down the mountain because as much as I like hiking I still have not managed to wrap my head around also enjoying the descend, forget that I never thought I could be able to cover the distance on the first attempt.
We started the climb at 06:30 which was rather late but it was still good time. It was fun in the beginning, looked normal until the trek started to go on a zigzag instead of going straight up. This got me thinking, it’s going to take forever to finish this. Don’t get me wrong, I was still enjoying the climb but the results driven little person in me started whispering to my ear, “you need to go faster to get to the top and rest” and I accepted the challenge....first mistake.
I broke away from my crew because according to me they were moving too slow and taking too many breaks and I wanted to get to the top and rest there instead. I had forgotten that I did not have water and therefore needed them. So I continued, got thirsty along the way but it was still manageable and I was still enjoying it. Then I needed to take pictures and I had no one to do that for me but was saved by so stranger that thought I was on my own and volunteered to take my pictures. Then I was happy again and the journey continued.
It suddenly became very cold towards the summit and my nose were running like crazy, luckily I had brought enough tissues (one battle conquered). I went all the way up on my own in 2hrs and enjoyed every moment. So when I decided to leave my crew I was of the view that we would meet up there and all will be well but 30mins went past, still no sight of them, an hr went past, still nothing. Did I mention that my phone was dead, for some reason it just decided to take a break when I needed it the most, then all hope was lost. Then the sad thoughts of descending by foot slowly started creeping in, then it became a reality. After 1hr 30mins I had to make a decision to go down because I felt the more I waited the more time I am losing so the descend started.
The dreaded move could not have been any better, what kept me going was knowing that after it’s over and done with it have burned a lot of calories; That’s the only good thing I could think of. It was ok but not as relaxing and exciting as the climb, I had to apply more precaution to my every step which took a toll on me. Not all was lost though, there were people that we had met a few times before that would make small talk and tired climbers wanting to know how far they still had to go so that would ease the tension and I’d smile a bit.
Along the way I became very thirsty, bordering dehydration but I had to keep going, I decided to move faster so that I could get to the bottom. Suddenly my phone started working and I could get hold of my crew that was very worried about me because it was my first climb and a foreign environment, but I am a big girl and I was ok. So they decided to take the cable car down so that when I finally touch down they are there to avoid keeping me waiting. Did that happen? How I wish.
So I finally get to the bottom of the mountain but there is no sight of my friends there. That made things worse, I could not wait for them so I called my other friends to get me so e water and energy drinks. As I waited, I spotted on of the young man I would constantly chat with as they were going up and down the mountain like it’s nothing. I asked for water and being a gentle man that he was gave me all his remaining water. I guzzled that water as if my life depended on it (but it did in a way). That water saved my life, I was a normal person again, I even managed to do some stretching exercises. My friends came and we proceeded with the day.....phew, what an experience.
Sweet and sour as climbing the Table Mountain was, it still is one of my best and treasured memories. One milestone reached and I will do it again any day. I even say to myself if I stayed in Cape Town I would do it every Saturday Morning.
Things I learnt not to do when hiking that day
• Never stray too far from your group
• Always have your water with you to re – hydrate
• Never forget your energy gummy chews
• Most importantly, always have your bank card or cash with you
• Never go without a power bank, incase you battery dies of phone acts up
I learnt that hiking the Table Mountain is a very popular activity amongst Captonians, and that one can do it on their own because you never feel alone anyway as people are friendly and would constantly check if you’re doing ok.