Every Thursday morning I get up with the birds. I put my backpack on my back, lace my boots and make sure my camera battery is fully charged. Thursday is hiking day. It has been for the past year of my life and probably will be till the day that I have to accept that old age has caught up with me. I can't believe all the beauty that I've discovered in this past year has always been right here, under my nose. I'd like to share some of my experiences, as seen through my camera lens, with you. Who knows, you might be inspired to go out and buy yourself a pair of hiking boots as well...

January 2011 - Cape Town, South Africa

Friday, April 29, 2011

Porcupines, angels and castles...

Well, we went up Porcupine Ravine, climbed past a rock shaped like an angel and headed home via Kasteelspoort, so the heading for today's post is not that far fetched!

I'll remember this Thursday's climb as the first of our 'winter' climbs as the sun is definitely coming up later and at times I really was glad that I'd packed my fleece jacket! What a glorious day though. Not a climb for the fainthearted, the wet rocks certainly have to be negotiated with caution and we had to use a rope for support on at least one occasion.

I'm still trying to establish whether I prefer climbing up or down a mountain. Going up I feel pretty convinced that I prefer going down but based on how my knees were behaving on the climb down Kasteelspoort yesterday, I think it's fair to say that a level path is the only one I really love!

I'm happy to report that I survived last Saturday's Two Oceans Half Marathon, so perhaps it was to be expected that my knees would be a little sensitive on any hike I undertook this week. Nonetheless, I had a wonderful day - great company and wonderful scenery as usual, what more could one ask for?

Looking down at the suburbs below us I couldn't help but feel privileged beyond words. Breathing in the fresh mountain air, listening to the icy water running down the rockface and almost being able to touch the wisps of cloud rolling past us down below made me think that I couldn't possibly create a more perfect Thursday afternoon, even if I tried!

The famous little angel...

Our esteemed leader - Irene Vermeulen from 'Hiking is Fun'.

The rest of the 'team': Derrick, Reline, moi and Eddie.

                                            Photo: Irene Vermeulen

                                            Photo: Irene Vermeulen

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A different kind of hike...

Rhebokskloof Wine Estate - venue of today's hike. A very easy 5km hike followed by a wine tasting and leisurely lunch next to the dam. Frolicking Red-Knobbed Coots, a lone Heron, a couple of Egyptian Geese and the resident Jack Russel kept us company as we discussed topics ranging from Churchill to Tiramisu!

What can I say - just another brilliant day in Africa! For more on this lovely farm  - click here.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Leopards? Nooo....!

Last Thursday we hiked the Klein Drakenstein mountain (1047m), just outside the town of Paarl. We were blessed with beautiful weather - windy at times, but nonetheless a stunning day. To say that I was BUSHED at the end of the day is an understatement! It really was a hectic climb, made worse by the fact that I really was not very fit! Incredible how quickly your body reverts to 'couch potato' mode if you stop exercising!

The company and scenery was wonderful as usual - as the pictures clearly show! We missed our first 'swallow', who has already left for Germany. There are a few such 'swallows' in our little group - those who follow the sun for a couple of months once our African winter starts.

One of the most interesting things to look out for below is the photo where one can clearly see the scratchings of a leopard against a tree. Amazing! It seemed rather fresh and I couldn't help but look over my shoulder every now and again! A while back a permanent camera captured some of these amazing creatures next to that exact tree - I'll try and source one of those for my next post.

This is Africa after all!

Tomorrow we're off to a wine farm for an easy 5km walk, followed by a wine tasting and lunch next to their dam.

Just another lousy day in Africa!

Here one can spot the leopard scratchings - the brown round spot on the main trunk - will post close-ups with the next post together with the webcam photo of the actual leopard at this actual tree.