Table Mountain Might Look Flat, but Damn It Ain’t!

I’ve been living in Cape Town my whole life and when you hear Cape Town, an image of the beautiful and famous Table Mountain probably comes to mind. Although I’ve been to the top of the Mother City’s most iconic landmark many times, I’ve never hiked up the 1080m high mountain. The trek has been on my bucket list for ages, and yesterday I finally ticked it off. Sorta…

The View from the Top.

The View from the Top.

Our little hiking group decided that it’s high time (see what I did there) that two of our fellow hikers from Gauteng can say they’ve been on Table Mountain. They’ve never set foot on the mountain, so we figured it’s a great idea to hike up Skeleton Gorge via Smuts Track from the beautiful Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. This was before we read up about the hike. I knew it was going yo be tough, but nothing could have prepared me for the anguish of that trail.

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It’s much steeper than it looks, trust me.

Basically, you have a kilometer incline spread over 5km. That translates into a lot of steps up a very steep incline, after all, we’re climbing up a mountain here. I think some part of me died on the way up. I’m not as fit as I want to be, but I’m also not completely useless, so I just pressed on as best I could. The plan was to hike up to Maclear’s Beacon, the highest point of Table Mountain. But after 2 hours of climbing, I couldn’t go any further. Me and one of the other girls stopped to just enjoy the beautiful view that we already had from our resting spot. In the back of my mind, I kept thinking I need enough strength to go back down this mountain…

Beautiful fynbos flower.

Beautiful fynbos flower.

After catching our breaths, having a beautiful falcon come sit and watch us with hawk-eyes, spotting a lizard and beautiful fynbos flowers, the group rejoined us and we set off down the mountain. By this time, most of us were hungry and craving cold beers. Everything would have been fine if we didn’t take a wrong turn on our way down…

A perched Peregrine Falcon.

A perched Peregrine Falcon.

So after our horrible detour (I’m not going to elaborate!) we decided to go back down Skeleton Gorge. It’s funny how when you are hiking up steps you wish you could go down, but when you’re going down you wish it would be over. I think I’ll call it Hiking Irony. Now most of us started to become hangry. Two of the guys started cramping (and they are actually really fit) and most of us said our legs felt like jelly. I was convinced when I gave another step down my knees would just buckle beneath me and I’d roll down the rocks. But, our bodies are capable of so much more than we think. My knees didn’t buckle, I never fell, and we made it back down to Kirstenbosch for a well-deserved picnic.

It was a 6-hour hike, by far the longest and most difficult we have ever done and I can honestly say I’m very proud of myself. I do feel disappointed that I didn’t go all the way to Maclear’s Beacon, but next time I’ll definitely go all the way. For now, I’m just going to try and soothe my aching muscles and forget the way my legs felt going up and down that beautiful mountain.

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5 thoughts on “Table Mountain Might Look Flat, but Damn It Ain’t!

  1. Looks like it was a great experience, but I’m taking the tram. Yes I know it is not the same. But these knees of mine are killing me if I run more than 5km. Age is catching up!

    • Yes, next time I’ll take the cable car down or the other way around, but it’s torture to climb up and down!I do feel pretty good about it at least, but as long as you appreciate the view at the top, I don’t think it matters how you got there!

  2. Pingback: Taking the hike – capetownpulse

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