When I realized that New Year’s Day will be falling on a Sunday and knew I would be hiking, what better way to start 2017 on top of the highest peak in Cape Town watching the sunrise? Also, I’ve wanted to do a sunrise Mc Clears beacon for a while now.
Not an ideal time to do a solo so had to find some crazies to do it with me which proved to be a difficult task as most of the crazies are out of town or had New Year’s Eve plans and would be in no condition to hike that early. My daughter is working and my son would have to drop her at work so it looked like a solo would have to be done after all. I even purchased a 250 lumen headlamp just for this route as I knew it would be super dark and super scary! When I commit myself to a route, it will take a lot for me to change my mind.
sigh…also apologies for poor quality pics.
But then I chatted to Sumaya and as she often does Platteklip, she was super excited to do it with me ^_^ yay! Relief! At 2:30am this morning, she even made sure that I would not cancel on her haha.
So the 2 of us set out a few minutes after 3:30am after checking into Mountain Tracking and Safety with our route and ETA. There were surprisingly quite a few cars at the car park so we are not the only crazies to hike at that time of the morning. I did get an invite to watch the fireworks from Lions Head at midnight but this is a route wanted to do at sunrise.
Anyway, we chat nonstop and after a while, I realized that I am not huffing and puffing and nor do I need to take breathers…I initially thought it was because the time of night but then realized that we were hiking at an easier pace than what I normally do up Platties hehe. It is so dark that we can’t even see the outline of the mountain unless we shine our headlamps on it. We also see 2 headlamps higher up and not even halfway up, another hiker comes down. He started at 2am and it was around 4am. He couldn’t wait for the sunrise as he needed sleep.
Not much to take photos of in the pitch black and my phone takes horrible low/no light photos anyway but did take photos of yucky roaches, a spider, a worm and flowers. It’s the first time I see that species of yucky roach on the mountain though. I’ve only seen the fat mountain roaches before so we assumed that it must be the female of fat roach.
Nearly at the top when it was getting lighter and we could put off our headlamps and at the top of Platties, we took a break for morning prayers. I cannot describe the feeling making morning prayers for the first time on top of Platties after doing this route a gazillion times. When I put my head to the ground, I couldn’t help but smile. The honour I felt that I was able to do this…an amazing feeling of peace and contentment surrounded me J
Prayers done and when I realized it’s already 5:20am, we had 15 minutes to get to the Beacon so had to motor now. Even though I knew I was running out of time to catch first rays, I couldn’t help but stop a few times to take photos of the predawn city and mountain views. If only my phone would play along with my visuals sigh. Waste of time that was sigh. Also! It’s quite cold up there! It was windy going up Platties but wasn’t cold and my removable sleeves wasn’t even up. It was so cold that my fingers were hurting and my nostrils were burning. I had to put my buff over my mouth in order to breathe.
Also, if anyone can identify this frog species, please let me know. I have googled it, but alas, google was of no help to me sigh
Then, I noticed burnt out fires. I completely forgot there was a big fire here few weeks if not months ago and could still smell it. Most of the boardwalks which were burnt have been removed and 2 minutes away from the top of Mc clears, I missed first light sigh. Oh well, it is what it is which means that I will have to do it again haha! When I got to the Beacon, there were already hikers there who wished me Happy New Year and wished them back stating that I actually forgot that it’s not just an ordinary Sunday haha and only when he posted his photos on Facebook is when I realised that we are friends!
We only stay on top of the Beacon to take photos and find shelter from the cold wind to have breakfast.
We were about to make our way down when Sumaya spotted the Jan C Smuts plaque and as she hasn’t seen it before, I take her for a close up and pics.
We’re hiking at a slower pace now that we don’t have to rush any longer and only reached Platties at 7am when my ETA was 7am. I update tracking to extend our ETA to 8am and that we will be picking up litter on our way down.
We first chatted to some hikers before going down though and couldn’t find the bottle I spotted (in the dark) going up. Someone must have picked it up ^_^ yay! Thank you J
Not far down the path, we spot Faried! I gave him a piece of my mind that he knew he would be hiking Platties, he knew that we doing a Sunrise Mc Clears and allowed 2 women to do it alone! He said he was still partying at 3am haha.
There’s lots and lots and lots of hikers coming up which meant in addition to the usual ‘Good Mornings’, its Happy New Year as well. Still forgetting that it’s not just an ordinary Sunday lol. We even got Uncle Shamieg and Aunty Ghairo from Ommiedraai on their usual New Year’s day Platties hike ^_^ They went over to Mc Clears as well.
Thinking that there wouldn’t be that much litter on the mountain considering that my daughter and I picked up 2 overflowing bags less than a month ago, not even half way down, my bag was broken and overflowing already! Seriously guys?! I honestly don’t enjoy picking up your litter! I do it because I must. It’s time consuming and I damage the fynbos climbing down off the path to retrieve what you think are hidden bottles, cans and wrappers. It’s also dangerous! I miss taking 35 minutes going down Platties but having to pick up litter, it takes me 2 hours! If Sumaya wasn’t with to assist me, it would’ve taken me longer and as she is a capable hiker, she could also go down the paths to retrieve those discarded bottles. Oh! And I have to mention that someone poured booze into a water bottle and when I opened it to crush the bottle, the stench of fermented booze permeated the air. That’s just gross!
Ok rant over lol. (not so lol coz you are just lazy ass inconsiderate spoilt brats for littering anyway). Rant really over now J
Only checked out of Tracking at 9am and so very grateful that Sumaya joined me and felt guilty that I held her up with the picking up of litter but she insisted that she didn’t mind at all!
Oh yes! Nearly at the bottom, we get a veteran hiker and who I assume is her grandson. He is holding her as she is going up Platties! She is easily in her late 80’s early 90’s. She was impressed by us picking up litter but we were impressed by her still hiking at her age. What a delightful woman to chat to! Big ups to her grandson for his patience as well. It’s the veteran hikers who are an inspiration to me as I too still wana be hiking when I reach their age, God willing J
Until my next mountain adventure, ciao for now and thank you for reading.
Thanks again Sumaya for your company J I had a great time J