On Sunday 06th November @5:30am, a friend send me a Whatsapp. Getting the notification, I wondered who on earth would message me that time of the day and it could only be a hiker, knowing that I would be up and on my way to the mountain. Only, I was not on the mountain but in Hermanus, on the beach watching the sunrise and the waves crashing hehe.
Anyway, said friend said that she was chatting to her brother (both of whom are in our beginner group) and I suggested that I have a hard hike once a month in addition to our easy hikes and said yes, I can do that.
On our last easy hike, we discussed routes and Nursery Buttress was agreed upon. One of my fave buttresses and one I haven’t done in exactly a year! https://myhikingmylife.wordpress.com/2015/11/30/nursery-buttress/
I secretly hoped that I would remember the route but still confident that I wouldn’t get us lost as I’ve done this route a few times and know what to look out for even though it’s been a while since I’ve lead this route.
I was really looking forward to doing this hike as I was too tired to go rock-climbing as planned (recovering from our work’s end of year party) and needed to activate my happy hormones. Long story short, I am back on iron supplements and haven’t been in the best of moods skipping a weekend of mountain adventures!
Anyway, I was totally exhausted Sunday morning after only 3 hours sleep. Had a hectic Saturday and marshalled the #ShineforSyria 5km night walk. I was so tired that I forgot to freeze my water that was in the fridge. I knew it was going to be hot Sunday but didn’t expect Nando’s extra peri-peri hot!
Oh yes, when I sent out the hike notification, I did warn that it is not a beginner hike, for those who has a fear of heights and require moderate fitness levels. Even though there is quite a few in the group who is capable of doing this route, only the brother and sister joined me as others had prior commitments.
Soooooooooooo, I checked in with tracking at 6am, 3 pax/Nursery Buttress/start and end Cecelia Forest/ETA 11am. I start this route from Cecelia to avoid paying R50 into Kirstenbosch Gardens which would have been a quicker route. I don’t see why I should pay R50 just to walk through the Gardens to Contour Path and not even explore the grounds itself.
We didn’t even reach the contour path yet when Nazeemah was taking off her layers. She too didn’t expect yesterday’s heat and I knew what I’m going to be in for as I’ve done this route in intense heat before. It was not a pleasant experience as the route is 95% of the time with the sun on our backs -_-
I opted to take a short cut but short-cut was closed off so had to back-track a bit and find another short-cut lol. It was found soon enough and we are sweating! I’m slightly ahead of the siblings but keep them within eyesight or earshot and wait on them in a shaded spot and go ahead when they catch up. I did this the entire route lol. They are both capable hikers so don’t need me to ‘babysit’ them ^_^
We reach the buttress fork before 7am and make our way up and I look out for the turn-off which I know is to the left. Some bushwhacking and we still can’t get over how hot it is! We drink water whenever we have to and take breaks in shaded spots whenever we have to.
I guide and assist Nazeemah up the first scramble as she hasn’t done a B4 graded hike in a while and it felt a bit odd assisting someone on a scramble. I guide from above and Faried assists from below as her legs are shorter than mine as well so require physical assistance at times.
When we came to the sheer face scramble, I remind her that she is an old hat at this and should be able to do it. At one stage, she apologises to me that she is struggling and tell her not to apologise as she need to take is slow and easy or she will get heat exhaustion which could lead to a heat stroke. I don’t want a rescue operation to happen on my time. No way have I wanted to be on the mountain in that heat longer than necessary. I’m still ahead and wait at each shady spot until they catch up and I go ahead until the next shady spot. I tell her that there is a section in the shade for all of us where we can take a breather and refuel as by this stage, I was beginning to feel dizzy!
The peak looks so far away!
We gratefully sit down in the shaded spot and drink some of Faried’s iced water and have a snack. After recuperating, we make our way up again but within 5 minutes, my legs are still tired and I slow down my pace once more. Still ahead, wait in a shaded spot until they catch up and off I go again.I eventually see the top of the boulder/shelter where we will be having breakfast and I rush off to lay on a cool rock. We feast! I also take off my boots as my feet were on fire. I tell them that after breakfast, I’m going to take them to a spot for photo opportunities ^_^
They had so much fun there and off I go to a different spot and now Nazeemah says that she is enjoying this so much and we remind her that she didn’t say that on our way up hehe.
Time to make our way down and she slows down her pace and her brother tease her that she is use to going up Platteklip but takes the cable car down. I tell them, don’t worry, the hard hikes we are going to do, I’ll keep her away from the cable car! Our next hard hike will be another one my faves, Woody Buttress! Date to be decided still hehe.
Still ahead, wait until they catch up and off I go again. Eventually reach the contour path again and my legs feel heavy so slow down my pace as well. We reach the cars at 11:05am and check out of Tracking!
The heat made the hike all the more challenging but we thoroughly enjoyed it!
Until my next hike, ciao for now and thank you for reading.