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Table Mountain

May 28, 2011

If you have ever seen a picture of Cape Town, it is almost guaranteed to have a large rock formation in the background of it.  That large rock is known as Table Mountain.  A 1,000 meter high slab of rock that is about 3 km from side to side with the top part primarily being sandstone (Table Mountain Sandstone).  So, naturally, we saw it protruding from the skyline and decided we had to climb it.

Our first major hurdle in starting our trek was to actually find the path that you take to the top.  What should have been a ten minute drive to the trailhead took over an hour and allowed us to see all different parts of the city.  Generally, we would figure out that we were going in the wrong direction when the mountain was getting smaller and smaller behind.  Then we would turn around and try again.  Not even Brad working the car’s GPS would help us.  Eventually we found where we were supposed to be and parked the car.

One thing about South Africa is that there is always a parking tout no matter where you go.  These are less fortunate individuals that have decided the best way to make money is by watching people’s cars for money.  Additionally, they also save open spots for you, help you pull or back in, or even help you navigate parallel parking.  If they didn’t get to you in enough time to help, they at least give you a thumbs up to let you know you did a good job.  Essentially you have to give them a few Rand (South African currency) just so they don’t mess up your car.  I never subscribed to giving them anything but I think they always found a sucker within my other travel companions.  All of that to say, there was one tout when we parked our car at the national park.  At the end of the day, Brad paid him with a few Rand and a bottle of mustard – he then asked my dad for more money.

The group on top of Table Mountain

After setting off on the trail, we got about 25 steps up the mountain and seriously considered if it was a good idea.  Looking to the trail ahead, it would be a pretty rough and steep climb for two hours.  We knew there was a cable car not far from where we were and I think the thought of just taking it up crossed all of our minds.  However, we decided to persevere and keep climbing.  Jen and I are getting used to climbing quite a few mountains from the Monastery at Petra to Machu Picchu and more. Luckily, in the end, this mountain did not rank as one of the harder ones we have climbed on the trip.

The views of Cape Town were great and the weather was nice for the hike up.  Actually, the weather was a tad warm at first, but then we reached the shaded part, closer to the top, it became much cooler.  The trail was very well marked and very well maintained.  We did encounter other hikers but not too many.  Some had even decided to take their small children along, which was a mistake.  One guy had to carry his son on his shoulders the entire way down and one man and his son took forever to get out of our way because they would stop in the middle of the path.

Going back to the car

Once we had made it all the way up, we stopped for a great little picnic and well deserved rest and relaxation.  We had gone to the grocery store to pick up some sandwich items and a bottle of wine.  The wine was consumed through our empty plastic water bottles and there was a great dessert that Brad bought, except that he only got three of them for the four of us.

The views were spectacular.  Like many other place we have visited, the pictures do not do it justice.  On one side of the mountain was the sprawling city of Cape Town, farther south east was where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans come together, and just past that you could see the African cape extend out into the oceans.  I figured it was an opportune time to snap some jumping pictures, which Jen captured and we also got quite a few photos of the sun beginning to go down.

Sun setting behind Lion's Head

After a good while of exploring the table, we decided to save our knees some pain and take the cable car down to the bottom.  From there it was just a 20 minute hike back to the car.  Along the way, we got to see a vending machine for soccer balls and some great views of Lion’s Head, the peak beside Table Mountain.  Upon returning to the car, Brad determined it was in good condition and paid our tout and we were off.

Next up were drinks at a very eclectic restaurant named Bombay Bicycle Club on Kloof Street and eventually a splendid dinner.  So brought to an end another day of exploring the great outdoors.

Go outside today,
Steven

 

If you click and enlarge the picture, they are much, much better….

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One Comment leave one →
  1. January 2, 2014 01:15

    great pics! will be sharing a few of your posts on http://www.facebook.com/capetownbreakaways if you don’t mind. you guys keep well and regards from beautiful sunny South Africa

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