As our beginner hikes starts a little bit later and as today’s hike was super easy, I decided to do a quickie trail run prior. What could be quicker (and safer) than a quickie up Kloof Corner. Not that I know how long I would take as I’ve never ran uphill before today. It’s high time I up my trail running game.
Leave the house shortly after morning prayers and on my way, I realised that I forgot my pepper spray! Oh crap! Sigh. But Kloof Corner is not a mugging hot-spot as there isn’t really any thick brush for muggers to hide out. Driving along the De Waal drive, it’s still very much dark and I assumed it would be light out by 6am sigh. Sigh, I would have to run with my phone’s flashlight.
Anyway, check in with Mountain Tracking & Safety at 6am with ETA of 6:45am (I hope) and fortunately, it was light enough by now to not need a torch ^_^.
And I run my first uphill 😛 taking photos while taking breaks to breathe lol. Gawd, my phone really takes crappy pics with poor light! It looks ok on my phone but when copying to PC, I’m embarrassed that I actually uploaded those to Facebook sigh.
I think I’m making good time and I’m sole alone this early on the trail J with several going up Lion’s Head for the sunrise or Platteklip or somewhere else along the mountain.
I’m at the bottom of the last steep section and decided to record and time my progress. Unfortunately, I cannot upload the hilarious video to my free WordPress account hehe but did upload it to Facebook. I watched the video a few times, laughing at my heavy out of breath breathing and comments of ‘oh gawd. Sheesh’ The struggle is real. But did make it up in 3.5 minutes including 3 rest stops 😀 Yay me!
I update tracking at 6:25am with a pic of a ‘No access’ path. Like why? At 6:30am I go down again and reach my car at 6:40am ^_^
Go back down to Kloof Nek car park and change out of my trail-running shoes and into my hiking boots. Also change my trail-running backpack for my hiking back-pack 😀 and wait for the beginner group. My message was meet at Kloof Nek Car park (at Myciti) at 6:45am for 7am start.
As I needed to use the loo (bush), I see club members and just when I wanted to go over and greet them, one of my cousins called for directions. I then had to stand on a open spot for them to see me. Sorry I didn’t come over to greet guys and then they left.
When first cousin arrived, I go answer the call of nature. My other cousins decided to park up Signal Hill road and told them to come back down as we are not starting from there.
I’ve only done Lion’s Head Loop once and that was on the 01st January 2013 which I don’t even have an album for. Must be the only hike where I didn’t take photos and I can’t even remember why not. The Loop was followed by a sunset up Kloof Corner. I stalked someone’s Facebook profile for a pic and date hehe. I had to do my research on this hike and even printed a map from Google maps.
Anyway, all the cousins finally arrived so checked into Tracking again at 7:30am, 15 Pax, Lions Head Loop, ETA 11:30am. BTW no-one from the actual Whatsapp hiking group joined us today.
Off we go and walk along The Glen and realised that there’s lots of parking along the side of the road. Could’ve parked there but would have to walk back so parking at Kloof Nek was ideal. Take compulsory group photos at the start of the hike and up we go. The hardest part of the entire route is a short uphill.
Point out to the young ones where the shipwreck they were at a month back and also show my cousins The Bos shipwreck where we were 2 weeks ago.
I assumed there are no forks along the path and I asked my experienced cousin to lead but he said it’s fine and it’s a good thing as there are forks along the path! The first one is from another route up along The Glen. All I remember about this route is the pine plantation, walking along the houses and ending at Signal Hill.
We take our first break (besides regrouping) at the so called pine forest and explain to the kids how bad they are for our environment and current water crisis. Pines soak up water and wherever there are pines, there will never be luscious forests. Also explain what’s found in pine cones.
Further down we go and come across air valve covers. Why even? Also a building covering a waterworks thingie. Further along we go and nothing looks familiar. And then my battery dies! Really?! My phone was on 45% after my last photo! Well my phone is almost 2 years old and due for an upgrade soon. I then had to ask one of my cousins for her phone every time I wanted to take a photo so some photo cred to her.
Finally reach the familiar section along the houses and there’s a fork. Uhm, I’ll just choose a route as I guessed that all paths meet up somewhere. And then there is another fork which was closed so chose another path and then see someone running on that path that is closed ^_o. This is also a busy trail for trail runners with dog poop almost everywhere and had to give way to lots of runners with their dogs (most not on leashes BTW but they were harmless)
Get to stunning lookout point at the start of yet another route up Lion’s Head! Also a whole lot of rubbish and empty booze bottles which I cleaned up. One of my cousins offered to find a bin in the residential area as the bottles were quite heavy and awkward for me to carry back to Signal Hill road. He did not find a bin though and gave it to another guy who offered to throw it away for him haha.
After charging my phone with my power bank for a bit, I could finally take photos with my own phone again. And another start from a residential area! One of my cousins blurted out that it’s the third time we are starting this hike haha. I then see an area where some people are living/hiding out. Sigh
We are in the sun now. And then I had to answer nature’s call again. Sheesh. How on earth did Palm trees get to grow on Lion’s Head?! O_O
Finally the end is near with the kids complaining that its hot and they are hungry. The Kramat (Kramat Definition) is finally in sight. Another fork and take the path I assume goes to where I want to be as the other one looks like it goes down to the bottom of Signal Hill.
Finally! Get to the familiar path again and wanted to go to the Kramat and check what damage was done by the fire just during this week! But the kids were hungry so chose to breakfast instead.
My experienced cousin’s car was parked along Signal Hill road but opted to go back with us to Kloof Nek car park and get a lift to his car from one of the other cousins.
Get a little boy named Matthew who offered me his stick and proceeded to draw a circle which wasn’t a circle. As I’m about to pass Matthew, he runs in the other direction (away from his father) so ran after him lol.
Dump the litter I collected in the bin at the Main start of Lion’s Head and cross over to the trail running path and we are back at the cars by 10:15am 😀
Enjoyed this hike very much guys, thank you 😀
As I was home quite early, I considered going rock-climbing as well but this was after I’ve showered already. Water Restrictions Fatima! Hopefully, I can go climbing next week! It’s been 4 months!
Until my next mountain adventure, ciao for now and thank you for reading this very long blog (if you have reached this far haha)
PS – I wrote the blog yesterday (Sunday) but only uploaded pics and published today (Monday)