A Mountain Calling

“You never know what’s around the corner. It could be everything. Or it could be nothing. You keep putting one foot in front of the other, and then one day you look back and you’ve climbed a mountain.” ~ Tom Hiddleston

It’s been a busy year so far and so on Sunday when I finally made it back out to the mountain my soul rejoiced!  Yes, it has been a long four month break from hiking just because life got really busy.

We all gathered early at Silvermine, our chosen route was the Amphitheatre circular route.  The exciting thing about that morning and hiking again, was not only the fact that I was back on the mountain, but that this hike was in fact going to be the first training hike for our next big adventure! Yes folks, a sneak peek, the next big adventure is well in the planning stages and like I said in my last post I have so much to share with you all. It is all beginning again, the excitement is already building and the rest of that story… well that’s for another blog post coming soon(ish)!

Our hikes are never really without adventure and this was no different although it was nowhere as entertaining as our Llandudno hike we did last year! As per the instructions we headed to Silvermine’s Gate 1, where we paid an entrance fee as for this part of the mountain you need to pay a little bit of cash for the park fees. So we paid our money and as the guy ‘processed’ us I enquired as to which parking lot I should park in for the start of the Amphitheatre hike. With a kind smile he looked down at me in my car and said that hike is at Gate 2 just a little further along the road we had just come off. After holding everyone up and causing the start of a long queue of cars behind us and paying for the 6 of us in two cars we confirmed what the kind man had said with some park rangers who were standing around ~ we were definitely at the wrong gate! So much for the instructions of the route I had! Luckily, they kindly let us turn around and refunded us our money and just in the nick of time as I caught Judi handing over her money to the kind man in the box. “She’s with us” I shouted before shouting out “Don’t pay Judi!” After a quick explanation and once again holding up the cars for a mere few seconds, Judi was turning around with us and our three cars in convoy headed back out onto the road to find Gate 2 a little further along.  I do apologise to anyone who might have been cursing us under their breath on the Sabbath!

Take 2 and it wasn’t even 8:30am yet!

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Finally, at the right gate we were ready to hike!

A few minute later we pulled up at Gate 2 and parked our cars and were ready to walk the Amphitheatre route.  But before we headed out Judi was stuck in her boot unpacking her backpack. Upon enquiry she informed us that something was leaking in her backpack and everything was waterlogged, including the two dictionaries she had in her backpack. Don’t worry you did read right and yes I meant to say dictionaries.  Although Judi is a teacher she didn’t have any intention of giving us a spelling lesson or teaching us new words, at least we hoped not! The dictionaries were in fact for what Judi and I are training for, our next adventure.  I will be honest I didn’t pack extra in my backpack although I did offer to carry the heavy flask of coffee that my one friend had in her backpack.  Once the leak was not found (yes Judi couldn’t seem to find what it was) and everything was packed back into her backpack, we headed out.  After a short walk we came across a map of the different routes including the one we were looking for and once again we were back on track!

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A map showing us exactly where we were planning on going.

It was a perfect autumn morning with not a cloud in the sky. The mountain, still shaded, offered a coolness as we headed out on a jeep track, with the awesome smell of feinbos all around us.

I was so ready to set out for the morning ~ it felt so good to be back on the mountain!

I was so ready to set out for the morning ~ it felt so good to be back on the mountain!

The mountain still shaded from the sun allowing us to walk in the coolness of the shade.

We started off on a jeep track, the mountain still shaded from the sun allowing us to walk in the coolness of the shade.

Within a short distance we came across a sign saying there was a waterfall 150m down to our right. We all agreed we would go and check it out and headed down the path in single file. The waterfall was merely a trickle and was a little disappointing to say the least especially after the heavy rain we recently experienced in the Cape. So with not much more than a trickle to see we headed up back to the main path.

A waterfall 150m down that way. Pity there wasn't much to see.

A waterfall 150m down that way. Pity there wasn’t much to see.

Judi did well with her water-logged dictionaries, not complaining once about the extra load she carried. Between a few of us we came up with some ideas of what we could carry in our backpacks next time – some bricks, a 25kg bag of cement, big round rocks from the beach…. Yip I think we sorted on how to make our bags heavier next time without having to worry about it getting water-logged and even heavier, except of course if we had to use the cement idea and then sprang a leak…!

Along the way two young men passed us with what looked like suitcases strapped to their backs. Curious, we asked them what they were training for, of course always eager to get ideas of what we could do ourselves. They informed us they were going rock climbing and these ‘suitcases’ on their backs were in fact mattresses in case they fall. Okay great, have a good climb ~ we won’t be doing that!

We passed some beautiful proteas along the way.

We passed some beautiful proteas along the way.

We passed some beautiful proteas along the way.

We passed some beautiful proteas along the way.

And the scenery offered so much to delight the eyes.

And the scenery offered so much to delight the eyes.

Sometimes, when I'm out on the mountain and views like this unfold before me, I have to remind myself I live in a city and how blessed am I to have this all on my doorstep!

Sometimes, when I’m out on the mountain and views like this unfold before me, I have to remind myself I live in a city and how blessed am I to have this all on my doorstep!

We couldn’t have asked for a more stunning autumn day.  A light breeze came up and the sun on our skin was warm with a never-ending blue sky above us.

Eventually, we reached a point where our path began to climb up. One of our hikers, who had injured the sole of her foot quite badly recently, was struggling a bit and wasn’t too keen to clamber up the mountain side anymore so we stopped for an early lunch break while we decided how to proceed from here.  We asked two passing hikers how far it was to the Amphitheatre to which they replied it was a short 15 minutes to the top and that it was well worth it. In the end, two of our hikers decided to remained at the bottom and the rest of us would head up to the top for a quick look before heading back down to meet up with the other two waiting below.

The climb up wasn’t half as bad or as steep as it had originally looked and without too much puffing and panting we made it to the top with the most beautiful views unfolding before us.

Heading up to the Amphitheatre.

Heading up to the Amphitheatre.

The contrast between the mountain rock and the blue sky made for a perfect picture as we climbed up.

The contrast between the mountain rock and the blue sky made for a perfect picture as we climbed up.

Bless the plants that grow through the cracks, right!

Bless the plants that grow through the cracks, right?!

Heading up to the Amphitheatre, look out over the landscape between the rocks.

Heading up to the Amphitheatre, looking out over the landscape between the rocks.

I have always loved how beach-like sand is found on top of the mountain!

I have always loved how beach-like sand is found on top of the mountain!

When we reached the top we walked across the top to the other side and found views like this spreading out before us.

Gorgeous views greet us at the top, all the way across False Bay.

Gorgeous views greeted us at the top, all the way across False Bay.

A 360 degree view of everything around where we stood.

A 360 degree view of everything around where we stood.

Breathtaking this beautiful city I live in!

Breathtaking this beautiful city I live in!

The sign directing us to the Amphtheatre, but we decided to stop here and not keep the rest of our hiking party waiting too long. But we will be pack to go all the way on another day.

The sign directing us to the Amphitheatre, but we decided to stop here so as not to keep the rest of our hiking party waiting too long. The views from here were pretty enough and we will be back to go all the way on another day.

As two of our hikers were waiting down below for us, we decided not to go any further so we stopped for a short while taking in the view before us before heading back down to the others.

Making our way back down the mountain.

Making our way back down the mountain.

All together again, we headed back to the cars along an alternative route.

All together again, we headed back to the cars along an alternative route.

Colourful flowers lighting up the side of the trail.

Colourful flowers lighting up the side of the trail.

Spoilt with the most beautiful scenery and that fantastic smell of mountain feinbos!

Spoilt with the most beautiful scenery and that fantastic smell of mountain feinbos!

A short while before we reached the cars we found the perfect rock to stop on to take a self-timer picture, naturally! Although I had been using the camera on my phone for the hike, I had brought my camera along specifically for the self-timer pic but as luck would have it my camera wasn’t playing along for some reason. In truth, I think my rechargeable batteries have come to the end of their life as after summiting Kilimanjaro last year they have just never been the same and I had fully charged them the night before. Time for a new set I think! But, luckily for us, help is never far off and we managed to ask some fellow hikers passing us if they would mind taking our group pic with Judi’s camera, which they happily obliged!

Thanks for an awesome morning on the mountain guys and thanks Judi for sharing the photo.

Thanks for an awesome morning on the mountain guys and thanks Judi for sharing the photo.

We made one more stop at an ice-cold mountain stream just before we reached the cars where some decided to take off their hiking boots and relax their feet in the icy water for some refreshment!

Refreshing tired feet in an ice-cold mountain stream.

Refreshing tired feet in an ice-cold mountain stream.

Back at the cars we made plans to head off to the nearest place we could find for a nice double-thick milkshake! My soul was full of amazing ‘mountainness’ and my body was singing praises for I was back at a place I thoroughly love!

“My expectations are sky low, because I’m standing on a mountaintop. 
”
~ Jarod Kintz

~ All Photos By Me and the Other by Judi ~

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