Table Mountain – the hike down

It doesn’t matter how many times I see Table Mountain each day, it still has me in awe. It’s a bit like the Pyramids in Egypt…just so ‘present’ but in this case, visible  from almost all around Cape Town and surrounds. I love seeing what it will look like each morning.

This week, on a lovely clear afternoon I decided to grab the cable car to the top, as the sky was so clear with zero cloud cover, and have a walk around, grab some snaps and head back down on the cable car…Bah Bow!!! Not quite the way it worked out I’m afraid.

The line on top for the return trip upon arrival was massive…and I mean massive…stretching back several hundred metres from the departure point…I assumed this would be fine, by the time I walked around it would die down…an hour or so later after heading back, the line was worse…and I hate lining up in stupid lines…so I thought…I’ll walk down…”will be quicker”, I thought to myself…”shouldn’t be too bad, going down will be a piece of pi$$”….

I found the entrance to what is supposedly the easiest ‘Class A’ path down….no real major climbing, a path, and walkable – sweet,  I thought. What confronted me was a valley of doom….

I could hardly see the bottom, but surely the walk down will be ok, a bit steep at the start then nice and smooth. Again, my mind was fooling me…step after step of down and steep down continued in front of me!

Fortunately, I wasn’t the only fool who had the same logic…quicker to walk than wait in line, as many a walker I crossed was in the same situation, and many less fit than my truly athletic self!

I had to push on, as there was no chance in hell I was going back up, even from the 100 or so metres I had descended!

Early stages still saw me either confident, happy or totally delusional that this was all going to be OK…It wasn’t…about half way down my legs decided they didn’t want to be a part of my body any more and had a mind of there own, going in weird directions, not wanting to move and generally giving a feeling of worse than jelly legs, and worse than any sensation I had ever had…give me the Amy’s Gran Fondo any day…

The further down I went, and the more I looked back, I seemed to have come a long way, but there was a long way to go…but, having said this, the view and the surroundings are simply amazing…and the more I hobbled down, the more I stopped to ‘admire”, not to rest, just admire!

The spec in between the trees on the photo to the left is where I started…looks a long way…it was, but when you looked down to the road, the distance was still about the same…not good at all!

Step by step, tear by tear the downward walk continued, to be given unwanted motivation by seeing kids, grandmothers and even dog running up the hill with ease past me…idiots, and surely dog abuse!

After continuing and using the ‘one step at a time’ approach and the road is surely getting closer motivation, the ground approached before I met a confused couple at the above sign. This sign had two options…a Road or another option…I knew one went up another mountain – Devil’s Peak and we all did not want to talk this, so we stood around (all crying in pain) as I Googled for confirmation!

Eventually the road became a road, and I had made it….over 1000 metres of a really steep mountain conquered….and legs that wanted nothing to do with me.

Today, the day after the night before I am in a world of pain….walking down an incline of more than 1% or down a step kills me…and all I’ve told (or whined to) have said day 2 will be worse, and ‘Why did you go down, you go up, and cable car down’…nice to know, but it was the cable car to blame in the first instance!

Anyway…I’ll take the tick for doing Table Mountain, and I look forward to giving my family the experience of walking down it after Xmas…!

I now have to decide if I will look at that mountain with the same love I have developed for it, or whether my legs will cripple each time I see it!


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