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  • Writer's pictureTim and Lindsey

Table Mountain - I didn't buy the T-Shirt! - Day 390

We went up Table Mountain - I didn't buy the T-Shirt, but I should have done and would have done if I didn't stick to my 7 kilos of luggage!

#TableMountain has a very nice five-minute cable car trip to the top. The floors of the car rotate by 360 degrees during the ride, taking any sensible person to the top, which is 1,089 metres above Cape Town.

Once at the top there are some lovely flat walks, the Dassie Walk, Agama Walk and Klipspringer Walk, all easy to navigate, nice and flat and none of them long or strenuous. But were the #grownuptravellers sensible? Did they take the easy, more refined route? No way. “Let’s walk up, it’s a nice clear day today”. What was I thinking of?!

We managed to find a parking space about 1.5km from the start of our walk, and the first part seemed fine. A bit rocky and a fairly steep incline. It didn’t take us long to look back and see the most spectacular view of Cape Town and the harbour. We enjoyed looking at some of the 1,460 different species of plants around us, including gnarly False Olive trees, finding gaps in the rock for their roots to cling to, bright yellow Proteas, and orange and pink Crocosmia, seeing lizards and a rather scabby looking Dassie.

We took it slowly, and by 1 hour of climbing, it was time for a rest and eat our lunch. A couple of Pale-winged Starlings came to join us, sitting on a nearby bush, with the burnt orange panel of their wings just peaking out, making them distinct to the common starling. I threw a tiny piece of my flatbread for them to snack on, and their little chirp definitely sounded like “Thank you”.

Onwards and upwards, regrets of years being unfit passed through my mind, followed by recognition of improvement from when we trekked in New Zealand. I plodded on, taking full use of the handmade rock cages that edged the rocky pathway, finding it easier to walk up a steep, flat incline rather than high steps that were causing discomfort in my right knee. Suddenly, just as we reached the Platteklip Gorge, I felt a shooting pain in my knee. “Yeeouch”. I stopped, and Tim looked concerned. We were now probably halfway up, or halfway down. Neither direction was good. I had visions of paramedics somehow carrying me down. That was not going to happen. I remembered that I had packed my headband. We retrieved it from the bag, made a figure of eight, joined the two holes together and rolled it onto my leg, creating a strap to give support. It worked! I really must go and buy myself a proper one, rather than use a bright turquoise headband!

The Table Mountain website says about this hike “do not be misled by the 3km distance from bottom to top. The distance may sound short, but the hike is physically demanding…” Phew, you can stay that again. We passed a big boulder. An area where the mountainsides narrowed, which we assumed was near the top, was looking nearer. People descending were encouraging us by saying “You are nearly there, just 30 minutes”. Mmm…thirty minutes descending is not the same as going up, especially at my speed.

Gradually we were getting closer. I could see the top, then suddenly I lost my footing, slipped and my immediate reaction was to grab onto a nearby bush – a gorse bush, it could have been worse. Before we reached the peak, I had images of entering a lovely flat landscape, a bit like a table. I was going to spread myself on the flat grassy ground. Let’s just say that my imagination was far from the truth. We arrived to find more rock and scrubland. I didn’t lay down!

We walked part of the easy-peasy Klipspringer Walk, Agama Walk and Dassie Walk reaching the Upper Cable Station. After queuing for a short while, seeing the perfect T-shirt, which I didn't buy ( #7kiloofluggage), we climbed onto the large cable car and enjoyed the revolving journey down. 3 hours up, 5 minutes down! I can now tick off my bucket list that I have climbed Table Mountain. (Well, I would if I had one!)

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