Saturday, January 8, 2022

Up, and down again

A recent hike up Table Mountain with three friends was like a tonic. We met at 8am, and then began to walk. 

There are dozens of ways to climb up, and we chose Skeleton Gorge, on the cool western flank of the mountain, where you endure (endless) log and rock steps before climbing up (much more amusing) ladders and then scramble up boulders in the steep bed of a stream.

I love this route because it flattens for a spell, along the Smuts Track, above, and then allows you to choose to swing west along the Aqueduct, where disas, an endemic orchid, flower in summer. Watsonias dot the fynbos. Grassbirds and sugarbirds and sunbirds sing.

That's the Smuts Track in retrospect.

Photo: Marian Oliver

And the waterfall that never stops pouring pure, tea-colored mountain water. A good place to stop for a drink. 

Beautiful little drip disas (Disa longicornu) grow in the wet moss on the rock walls.

And after a downhill track you are in the kloof of the Disa River. We dipped, skinnily. It was freezing and wonderful.

And eventually it was down again, to the waiting world. This group of Belgian trail runners trotted past us at the top of Nursery Ravine. 

Clouds rose as we descended and the lower slopes were cloaked in a misty rain as we ended our walk in the early afternoon.

Next stop, Brooklyn.


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