Cape Town: Table Mountain
Oh Table Mountain. It is probably the most noticeable thing in Cape Town, when it is not raining which it was during my time there. Sunday morning seemed beautiful outside. I had met a Norwegian, Henrik, who’d just finished a volunteer program in Zimbabwe. We decided to hike Table Mountain and set off from the backpackers. I was a little sore and my left knee felt destroyed from the run the previous day. I was also wearing a nicer outfit since I had planned to go to an Easter service. The walk up to the base of the mountain was long enough. Once we got there we asked a worker how long the cable car would be running. We had hoped to take it down from the top. We were told that it was going to be closed due to high winds and incoming rain. For some reason we decided to climb anyway.
It was rough. And it started to pour and my cotton khakis and leather dress(ier) shoes were far from appropriate. Before we had even really started to climb I was regretting my decision. My knees were shot and I knew it would only be worse on the way down. However, I figured that I was already here and who knows if I’d be back. At least I had a hiking partner who could talk as much as I can and the path was pretty much deserted. The rain continued in waves but the fog was thick enough that the city below was quickly obscured.
We climbed over a few waterfalls and some pretty large “steps” until we reached the top. The wind was quite strong and it was blowing the fog around in a way that reminded me of a blizzard. I was surprised at how much standing water was pooled at the top. We slogged through some puddles and finally got to the buildings. As we assumed, everything was closed. We huddled under a small recessed doorway and peered in at all the food and drinks. It was now after noon and I had only consumed a bowl of museli with raisins and a glass of grape juice. I hadn’t really planned my day well.
We felt pretty miserable and decided to see if the bathrooms were open. AHA! The men’s room was open and we quickly headed for the hand dryers. Soon we were joined by a family which we had passed on the way up. They all had rain gear and whatnot and soon they headed back down. We stayed for over an hour waiting for the rain to let up. I found a couple garbage bags and we put them on (I told myself I was staying my hatred toward wearing bags out of necessity) and headed back down.
The way down was as bad as I expected. Henrik asked if I’d like to run down. Heh. I would have actually but today was not the day to do it. I was having enough trouble stopping myself as we jumped down from step to step. Luckily there are scattered “handrails” made of barbed wire which catch your hands or clothes if you get to close. Actually I am pretty sure they are there to keep people on the paths however at times I had to use them to keep myself from falling over.
Finally we reached the bottom. We decided to ditch our bags into a trash can since the rain had stopped. It then started to pour, just as soon as we got far enough away so that we didn’t feel it was worth going back and retrieving them.
One nice thing about the whole event was that I did not spend a single rand. That was nice. By the time we got back near the backpackers it was almost 6pm. I was really hungry and it was about dinner time so we ducked in to a nice little noodle place called Simply Asia. Check it out, it is very reasonably priced and both the food and service were great.