Friday, March 13, 2009

scaling Table Mountain

Rubber shoes are not meant for mountain-climbing but I sensed an opportunity of a lifetime and I was not about to let the chance pass. Midway in a weeklong conference I was attending in Capetown, South Africa in 2001 was a break and among the choices of day tours, the option of climbing the famous Table Mountain leapt out flagrantly. Problem was I brought no hiking shoes as I was traveling light. With resignation, I knew I’d just had to give this a go, sensible footwear or not.

Table Mountain
at sea level, Table Mountain appears flat at the top

The kickoff point of the hike was the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens. Lying on the eastern slopes of Table Mountain, the park is reputed to be one of the top three most visited botanical gardens of the world and definitely one of the most beautiful too. Not a shabby place to start any hike I say.

dramatic and unusual plant forms dot the Kirstenbosh National Botanical Gardens

a steep ridge along the peak of Table Mountain

In another life, I always picture myself as a mountaineer. I am relatively tall for a Filipino, reasonably fit, lean in frame although I am not in anyway a competitive hiker by any figment of the imagination. Gladly, I acquitted myself quite well in the climb. I did not turn an ankle, ran into any mean creature (South Africa has some poisonous snakes) and even managed to stay ahead of the pack. Panting I was at the end, but I did not get dead-weary. Sure, my legs went sore the next day but as adult decisions went, scaling Table Mountain was a no-brainer.

jagged peak
rugged rocky terrain characterizes the peak

a lake at Table Mountain
a lake in Table Mountain

ladder trail in the ascent to Table Mountain
a wooden ladder trail for hikers

creek at Table Mountain
a foot bridge allows crossing over a small creek

abandoned antique equipment are still littered in parts of Table Mountain

The trail probably rates between easy to moderate. Which was all good as I still needed my pair of shoes for the remaining days of my stay in South Africa. Worn out they did become but I would not complain. The panoramas on the apex of the mountain were breathtaking. One thing needs to be said though. From below, Table Mountain appears to be a horizontally flat table. On top, the peak was jagged and there was no obvious plateau. The knife edge appearance of the mountain is definitely just perspective.

view from Table Mountain
a view of Capetown from the Table Mountain

view from Table Mountain
a dramatic scene that can be as viewed from the peak of Table Mountain

Table mountain at dusk
the Table Mountain as seen from the Victoria and Albert Waterfront, Capetown, South Africa

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PinoyApache said...

Wow, what a breath-taking view! How high is Table Mountain?

Farl said...

PinoyApache- the mountain is 1,086 meters in height and we started at the higher part of the slope I think. If I remembered right, it took us about 2 hours plus to get to the peak.

Anonymous said...

Yes ,the view on top is spectacular and the trekking experience is breath taking. Been there too last April 13, 2011. Hope it will make it to the new 7 wonders of nature..