Sunday, July 17, 2011

King of the mountain

I remember once many years ago we were on holiday in Cape Town. We went up Table Mountain in the cable car and my mom pointed at the figures far below us and said: “Look children, mountain hikers!”
Today I was one of those mountain hikers that waved back up at the cable car. And I wouldn’t have swopped places for anything in the world. India Venster is a king of a hike. It is pure royalty. It is filled with splendour and has had its share of tradegy. It is one of the oldest and most popular routes up the mountain. It has claimed lives, absorbed buckets of sweat and been trodden by thousands of boots.
On this day, another peach in this glorious midwinter hot spell that has lasted almost three weeks, we added our footprints to the thousands before us. Spring has confusingly sprung and it’s only July. The bobbejaantjies sat in royal blue clumps, the red buds of the China flowers have popped open to a surprising pink and white and the yellow daisy bushes shout ‘springtime!’
India Venster is tough. For the first two thirds it’s a hard, straight-up climb, mostly just below the cable car. The difficult part is where there are some big step-ups between some big boulders and this is where most of the trouble has been. Thanks to the kindness (and hard work) of some mountain lovers, India Venster now has some sturdy bolted on handholds and chains that have made this tricky negotiation much easier.
Doug and Keri with baby Rachel.
Now the hard work was past us and the blue sky soared above where a black eagle was being chased by crows. Then it pulled away from the crows like a Ferrari leaving a Volkswagen at the kerb. What chance does a crow have against an eagle with a two-metre wingspan and such a stately name as Verreaux.
Spot Gilad, dropping out of the sky on a rope.
As we rounded the buttress to the back of the mountain, a friend dropped out of the sky. Literally. It was the well known Gilad, abseiling down a rockface as if it was a normal Sunday morning occurrence, which, for him, it probably was.

When we smelt the bacon we knew we were near the top cable car station. We took the cable car down and passed some hikers on their way up India Venster. This time I knew exactly what if felt like to be the one down there on the rock.


1 comment:

thula jewelry (Jess) said...

...amazing pics

We live in such a beautiful country