My week starts off with an incredible sunset hike where I do my second fastest summit. Thankfully, because I run into hikers expecting the cable car to work (its closed) and having come from Skeleton Gorge (Kirsetnbosch Gardens which is a 3 hour hike) I safely bring them down Platteklip. We barely make it down before dark sets in but thankfully no injuries. Incredible to think my snap decision to do a sweep round the extremity up top meant I ran into them.
No rest for the wicked, I’m up at 06:00 to start hiking in the dark to FINALLY test a theory of mine that the sun rises between the cliffs of Platteklip Gorge. About 20% left of the way I worry I started too late and I won’t be up top in time. I try push harder but its like those dreams where you need to run fast and just can’t. Thankfully, I made it with time to spare (albeit 5 days after the solstice) but my gut is right and I’m rewarded with the most spectacular start to a day one could hope for. Hike 177.
Calm before the storm
We all hear the saying. We’ve probably all said it; but this week I get to truly understand that. I also realise that the northern hemisphere’s saying of ‘Red morning Shepard warning red night Shepard’s delight’ is in reverse here in Cape Town. We have the most EPIC sunset Thursday before 4 days of inclement weather descend on us. So, what should our rhyme be?
Red morning Shepard’s yawning, red night shepherds fright?
Anyway, week 26 sees me have 3 days of exquisite opportunities for photos culminating with the most perfect lighting for your eyes Thursday before the storm. And oh yes…. The storm.
Sense of Humour Failure
Warnings of four days of foul weather mean I’m even more alert than usual, like a cat whose tail’s been stood on eight times already.
Friday looks like the mildest of the forecasts, but I still go when the least amount of wind and rain is predicted.
Not only did I wake up on the wrong side of the bed, but I think there was no bed, no side, and no waking. My drive up is fine until I reach the Roundhouse and it starts raining. Then? I reach Kloofnek and its misty. From there you only drive up and up.
Great. Probably no Cable car (its boarded up as I drive past) AND I’m getting wet.
I’m not happy.
I’ve always said its fine to get rained on. Just not to start in the rain.
I sit in my car before hoping I can climb at least halfway without jackets (I always have two – one standard for warmth and another for rain to stay dry). If it rains – I have to wear both. No use carrying a wet jacket in my bag.
Its not raining. Its like someone’s sneezing constantly. Constant fine mist that’s not enough to be cold or wet instantly, but after ten minutes enough to soak you.
I must wear my jackets. Which – is INSANELY hot doing so. I’m a sweater. I sweat profusely. After 7 minutes I’m almost at the contour path and I’m not sure if sweat or water is pouring off my forehead.
I’ll be fine if I take off the jackets – so I think.
I walk up one flight of stairs from under the tree canopy and BOOM! The mist/annoyingly fine rain returns.
To make matters worse my rain pants I’m wearing keep sliding down so literally every 5 stairs I have to pull them back up. Interestingly, this – doesn’t happen the next day. Being in an ‘off’ mood and have all this happen starts shredding my sense of humour like FBI agents at Watergate. Or Jacob Zuma lawyers at Nkandla.
I’m not happy.
Today will be only the second hike in 182 that I see not a single other person on the mountain.
That means my first of 3 outlandish cries in frustration go unbeknown to anyone but myself, the mountain, and now you.
All I can think about is how more annoyed I’m going to be, hiking back down pulling my pants up every two seconds. After placing rock 180 and knowing I only have 13% of the way and roughly seven minutes at a good pace left – I start ‘praying’ for a small miracle that the cable car is working
(At this juncture I should share the wind forecast showed it should be closed all day.)
I. Have. Never. Been. Happier. To. See…. A stock take being done.
In probably my foulest mood ever I went from the Grinch to Santa in 0.56 seconds.
The cable way was closed but the staff were doing stock take at the shop in the station. With the eyes of a puppy wishing to be adopted I asked if they’d take me down.
“Ask the drivers”
Thankfully, one of my favourite drivers – Bululani – is operating the car opens the doors for me. The sweetest sound to my ear maybe in my life. He has one of the best smiles and radios below to bring us down.
Honestly, a split second changed the tone of what my daily video was going to be versus what it was.
Bululani was my daily miracle. I told him that too. And thanked him.
I saw him again Saturday and we ‘laughed’ but man alive after the weather reports and expecting four hikes down in a row? Two rides down in two days was GOLD!!!!
My brain may not comprehend 180 climbs in a row but damn skippy my legs sure do.
I’m reminded of how many people care as they send wishes on days like today – Sunday, where insane water flowed off the mountain.
Truthfully – a lesson I realised early on in this challenge, is no matter what the weather, the mountain must be respected.
And its on these days where the weather is so adverse and changes so quickly, that I look forward to; because it reminds me how important respect is. Not fear. Respect.
Always remember where you are and never get too big for your boots.
The water on the mountain on day 182 is majestic and made that much more interesting because of gale winds on the middle 1/3 only. Lower down and up top: nothing but WHOA on that middle band, waterfalls flowed back up the mountain.
I earned my stripes this weekend.
And once again I’ve seen the duality of perfect days (in our eyes) compared with not so perfect days (all lies).
There is no such thing as bad weather – just bad preparation.
See you on the mountain