Sunday, March 11, 2012
Walks on Table Mountain
I got an e-mail from my friend Marie, wanting to know how I am and whether I felt like going for a walk somewhere. Yes, absolutely! "Ok, lets go to Newlands forest on the slopes of Table Mountain early tomorrow morning." Cool, see you in the morning.
As so often happens, the camera batteries were flat so while they were charging Marie made coffee and we chatted about painting, something Marie knows and something I'm keen to try my hand at.
Once the batteries were charged and coffee finished it was time to get going.
Cape Town is pretty much built around Table Mountain. The city centre is on the Table Bay side being where the harbour is. Places like Constantia and Newlands are on the back of the mountain and this is where we were headed.
We stopped to pick up a few snacks on the way and then made our way through the Saturday morning traffic to the parking lot. And so our walk began.
Table Mountain does get cloud on top during summer, they call it the "Table Cloth." This cloud keeps the upper reaches moist and the water trickles down in little streams. I wanted to get some shots of the water cascades using a slow shutter speed, you know that soft misty look falling water takes on. The ravine Marie and I were working our way up was quite deep and other people who were on the usual pathways were quite a way above us. It was a lot more quiet down here, sound went right over the top, like children squealing and dogs barking.
We were still looking for interesting subject matter, it didn't take long to find one of my favorite subjects, mushrooms.
Marie hadn't had anything to eat so we took a little break so she could get something into her tummy. I just went on with my camera, snapping away. Thank you Lord for digital cameras.
Water, water everywhere and not a drop to photograph, that was about to change. As we climbed the stream flow was stronger and little waterfalls were becoming more common.
There are so many incredible pictures I took on this walk, if only I could show you them all here. Oh well, maybe I should load them into my Picasa web album and then post a link, hmm, we'll see.
Anyway, we eventually got out of the ravine and, without following the more conventional paths, carried on up. It was strangely noisy again, we hadn't noticed the quiet until we came out. On the way down we would become even more aware of the noise as we approached the parking area. But for now we were still going up.
By now most people, out for a walk with their dogs, would have turned back. The only indication of humans we came across was the campsite of what they call a "Bergie", Someone who lives as a hermit on the mountain, normally in a small cave formed by a collection of rocks. They are not always to be trusted so we chose to leave that area and go another way.
I can't begin to convey to you the feeling of being dwarfed by the sheer enormity of the trees, they are huge. Their roots seem to seek out gaps in the rocks and spread out like an intricate web, thick at the trunk, cascading over boulders like a series of waterfalls captured in a stationary moment in time. Everywhere the more fragile plants flourishing in the protected areas between the huge trunks. The flowers are going to be lovely here come spring.
Poor Marie's feet were hurting her on the descent because they would slip forward in her shoes and scrunch up her toes. My feet were also sore by this stage but for different reasons, mine had soft soles and so all the clambering over rocks had left the underneath of my feet a bit tender.
It had been a good hike and we both enjoyed ourselves immensely. We're both Christians and understand each other, and since we've known each other for so long, didn't have a problem talking to each other about anything.
I really wish I could show you some more pictures of this amazing place in the heart of Cape Town. My recommendation however would for you to come for a visit and take a look for yourselves.
I've been living in Cape Town for more than twenty years now, this was the first time I've been to Newlands Forest.
For those of you who can't visit this lovely spot, I hope you enjoyed our little walk as much as we did.
Blessings to all of you from Geoff and Marie.