For some reason I had a bout of Insomnia before the hike. I tried so sleep, I prayed to sleep but I was just wide awake and alert. If I wasn’t to lead this hike, I would have not gone as it is a B4 graded hike and I needed energy for this.
As a result of my Insomnia, I decided to have a healthy Sunday breakfast instead of my usual koesiesters and coffee. And Black Insomnia (the world’s strongest coffee) to help keep me awake. Not that I was even remotely sleepy. I’m at the carpark at 5:15am and wait for the sun to rise but it rose behind Devil’s Peak so that was a let-down. I take photos of a pretty flower and litter right next to it. I call the photo ‘Beauty and the Beast’
Zarina and son arrive and our start time is 5:45am but no-one else arrive. The siblings who requested this hike wasn’t even there and I’m like ‘really guys?’ Zarina tells me that their sister passed on in the week. I’m sorry for your loss guys. May she be placed high in heaven and God grant you and those close to her, peace and contentment.
Momeena confirmed the day before that she will be hiking but no word from her either so messaged her. She said she was on her way and she and Shamil arrived at 6am.
I check in with Tracking, 5 pax, Woody Buttress, eta 11am and we start from Kloof Nek car park and I’m already struggling and these guys seem to be in a hurry! I’m at the back mumbling to myself with hand-gestures and all! I reminded myself of the drug induced/psychologically challenged homeless that I’ve witnessed having an argument with their imaginary opponent with hand gestures and all. I’ve become one of them *rolling my eyes*
Anyway! I’m distracted by more pretty flowers but I can’t reach to take a photo and call the others who I thought may be taller but they turned out to be the same height as me. We try to take a photo of this out of reach flower and I even get a nearby rock to stand on but no such luck. Eventually Shamil said why don’t you bring the branch closer to you?! Seriously, I am that sleep deprived that I didn’t even think to do that! Sigh
Off we go and Sanparks has created detour to fix the pipes which burst couple of months ago. Looks like a huge operation but it must be done. Was nice to see new scenery along the new path though. I’m again far behind and mumbling to myself again. Trying to figure out why I had insomnia as I’m not stressed about anything and it’s bothering me. The last time I had insomnia, I was going through depression and anxiety and I’m certainly not depressed or anxious now. Although the fact that I didn’t know what caused my insomnia was making me anxious!
Anyway, after several photos of flowers and the views, I eventually caught up and passed them haha and with a prayer that I have to lead and sweep this B4 graded hike is making me a little nervous(especially without sleep). This is also when the cramps started. Really universe? This too? I’ve lead this hike before but there was always assistance and now I have to do it all by myself. Momeena and Zarina has done this route a few times already but they haven’t done it in a while.
I am leading from the back as I just shout directions to those in front. With a deep breath and a quick prayer, I guide Zubair up the first scramble from below and he’s up in a jiffy. I go up and then Zarina struggles with her short legs and she hasn’t done a scramble in about 3 years. I guide from above while Momeena guides from below. When everyone is up, we first take a few moments to take in the views J
I’m leading now as they wouldn’t know which way to go or where to climb up. I also can’t take many photos of the scrambling while I’m assisting from below or above. At the awkward scrambles, I have assist them one by one and get up a little, hold their feet stable and when they are up, I go down again to help the next one. And repeat. Zubair is a natural so do not require a lot of help and Shamil has long legs so easier for him as well. Also a little nerve wracking crossing for them but they made it across safely J
Before the most awkward and challenging scramble, I made them pose for the must have photo opportunity hehe and now I’m worried as I don’t know if I can get them all safely up. It’s awkward for me so going to be all the harder for them and I don’t have any help. I show them the options of crossing a ledge and how we would go about it or the scramble. In the end, I chose the scramble. I helped Zubair up first and told him to help from above as I help from below. When it was my turn and trying to take my backpack off, both shoulder muscles pulled stiff. This happened few months ago as well so that sucks!
Anyway, after I am up, I had to take a moment and just marvel at the fact that I safely lead/assisted them all up that! I even said this out loud.
Then saw another photo opportunity which we just had to take advantage of J
And another photo opportunity before our final ascent to the top of the Buttress. Still taking photos along the way of course.
Breakfast is had in the much needed shade J
My ETA was 11am but it’s already 10:18 when I updated Tracking with our new ETA of 12pm as we were only heading down to the ravine then.
I notice that Zarina is slowly making her way down so told Momeena that she can go ahead and I’ll stay behind with Zarina. It’s now stop and go all the way down as I wait for her to catch up. Always keeping her within hearing/visual distance. Also told her she is forbidden from going down the cable car after she’s hiked up a peak. She clearly hasn’t done so in a while so her legs are not accustomed to the descent.
We only got to the Contour Path where Zubair was waiting at 11:35. Oh yes, I did pick up a bottle here and there and crushed them before putting in my bag. I meant to pick up the lollipop sticks and wrappers on our way back but I was just way too tired to stop, bend and go. All I wanted was a shower and a nap before my sunset hike.
Checked out of Tracking at 12:45pm and noticed that Momeena/Shamil’s car is no longer there so they were safely back home as they had to go to a wedding. I did tell her to notify me when she was back at the cars but her battery died.
Despite the way I was feeling, I enjoyed this hike immensely as it is after all one of my favourite buttresses AND even better for the sense of accomplishment that I, yes me! Lead newbies and out of practice advanced hikers up this route without assistance of experienced scramble hiker assistance 😀 Is it vain to be proud of myself? This is a big thing for me after all J
Now to write about my sunset hike on the same day!
Thank you for reading and ciao for now.