My first thoughts when I saw Cape Town by day were: (1) Wow, what an amazing site Table Mountain is. And (2), how the heck am I ever going to get up there? With my paralyzing fear of hights, this just isn't going to be possible.
Luckily, Shira had made arrangements ahead of time with a guide to take us up, so there wasn't any question - we were doing the mountain.
Today, at around 7:30am we left the road and started hiking up part of the mountain. And up, and up and up some more. The views along the way were amazing. The vegetation was both recognizable (hey, that looks like a pine cone!) but totally foreign (but it's growing out of a small plant, not a pine tree). We scrambled up rocks, traversed valleys and gaped at awesome views.
Along the way, it was our guide Margaret from Table Mountain Walks who kept us going. "It's all easy" was her refrain, and I just kept asking her to repeat this, as I traveled higher and higher up.
Lunch was outstanding, but of course, climbing a mountain and hiking 11km or so, will make almost any food taste great.
With the climb and lunch completed, and the views photographed as well as possible (which is to say, not well at all - how do you capture that much landscape?!) there was only the minor detail of getting down the mountain. We could have opted for the cable car, but please, we wanted the whole hiking experience. So, it was down the Platteklip Gorge for us.
Wikipedia calls this gorge "an easy and direct ascent to the summit." The direct part is correct, the easy part is a bit of an understatement. The gorge is essentially a natural rock staircase that requires quite a bit of care to make your way down.
Down the gorge we trudged. At one point, our guide took out her cell phone and called the cars to pick us up. Only one hour left of walking *down* to go. Ugh.
When it was all said and done, this has to be one of the most challenging and enjoyable hikes we've ever done. I felt like we really took in Table Mountain, and Shira really nailed it choosing Table Mountain Walks as our guide. If you are thinking of hiking up Table Mountain, Margaret is the one you want leading the way!