October 06, 2011 | By: Andrew Centofante | Tags: travel
You can’t talk about Cape Town without talking about Table Mountain. Every time I looked out of the window I was struck by its sheer size and beauty. I knew that conquering it was something I had to do.
Jane and I got a late start running a few errands and trying to figure out exactly which route we would take. We wondered if we should just take the cable car to the top and save some time, but decided it was something we need to do. By the time we made it to the trail it was 1oclock and the sun was beating down on my bald head. I was looking straight up the side of the mountain trying to figure out exactly where the trail was. Jane pointed to a gap on the peak where two rock faces came together. It didn’t make sense. I couldn’t see a trail and it was pretty much straight up from where we standing.
As we started up the mountain, I knew this was going to be a rough hike. Within minutes we both need to take a break, which turned out to be a theme. The trail which was more like a stair case, except each step was as tall as my knee. The stairs would go up one direction and the switch back in the other. I was instantly dripping sweat, out of breath and feeling the intense heat of the sun but we pushed upward. Every two or three switch backs we would have to stop. I was always amazed by how much higher we were after each break but also shocked when I looked up to see how much further we had to go. People would comment as they pass us on the way down. “My legs feel like jell-o.” “I can’t believe you guys are just starting now.” “Good Luck!”
About halfway up, the mountain covered the trail in shade from the afternoon sun. It was about 10 degrees cooler and helped rejuvenate us a little. We stopped for another break and heard in the distance the sound of music. I imagined a great reception on the top of the mountain, congratulating us on a good job. It turned out just to be one guy sitting on the ledge singing with his xylophone. We sat for a second listening to the beautiful acoustics given to us by the mountain walls.
We made it to the top and were instantly rewarded with spectacular views. The sun had started to set and was warm instead of blistering. The ground was level and walking felt more like floating. We could see for miles, taking in the epic mountains and city below. Lions head and Cape Town to our right, Camps Bay to our left. It was like we were being rewarded for our effort. We ran into some friends at the top and had a beer at the mountain top cafe. We talked about our adventures as our bodies relaxed. The clouds were coming in low to the sea and made blanket for the sun to set into. It was an inspiring blaze of color, light and texture on ridiculously huge rock faces.
The alarm sounded that the last of the cable cars were heading to the bottom. We quickly shuffled into one of the cars and started heading down. The floor of the car spun giving us 360 degree views all the way down. It was amazing to descend in 3 minutes what took us hours to accomplish. We went out to an incredible diner that night at an outdoor cafe. Just sitting and staring, in awe of Table Mountain.