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

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Nestled in the Winelands - a Pearl of a Mountain...

Last Thursday we headed out to the town of Paarl where we tackled the famous Paarl Mountain, also known as Paarl Rock. The mountain overlooks the sleepy little winelands town and consists of a huge granite rock, characterised by three distinct outcrops. Read more about the town and it's distinct mountain here.

As the photographs prove, we had lovely weather. It was quite windy at the top but as soon as we headed back down we were totally sheltered once again. The only shadow cast on this day was the fact that I lost one of my walking poles. We went back and retraced our steps but alas, my stick has been claimed by the mountain. It's a little sad for me as this is one of the set that helped me up Kilimanjaro, so needless to say, I was not impressed with myself. Anyway, my fellow hikers have told me that I can finally call myself a true hiker, as losing a walking pole for the first time is the true qualifier!

Lately I've noticed a heart shaped object on every walk that we've undertaken. Sometimes it's in the form of a leaf, sometimes it's in the form of a stone and sometimes it's even in the branch of a tree. I'm going to attempt to capture this on camera in future and will always post it as the last picture in every post.

This week the heart shape that really jumped out at me was perfectly formed in a tree that we passed. I definitely feel the presence of our creator out there in nature and I'd like to believe that these hearts that keep appearing is mere confirmation of what makes the world go round!

Enjoy the pics!

As is evident in this blog, hiking in Cape Town is a truly special experience and can be enjoyed almost year round!  If you ever visit our part of the world and would like to experience what hiking in the Cape is all about, contact hikingisfun@telkomsa.net.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Cape Winelands - it's not all about the wine!

Last Thursday we set off from home at 06:15. It was still dark and there was no denying the fact that winter has truly arrived in the Cape. For the first time I packed three sets of gloves, two hats, two jackets and a scarf. I was pretty much geared for Kilimanjaro all over again, but all of those items, except the extra jacket and third pair of gloves, were used!

So for those of you complaining about the heat in your part of the world, spare a moment for us hauling out our winter warmers here at the tip of Africa!

Our route last week took us into the heart of the Cape Winelands. We drove through the sleepy little town of Franschoek, bought our permits to enter the nature reserve and continued up the pass behind the town. We started our hike at about 700m above sealevel and by lunchtime we had reached the Perdekop Peak at 1575m. It was pretty cold up there but as we were all well prepared with the right gear and lots of hot coffee, we could not have asked for a more scenic spot to catch our breath.

We spent about 8 hours on the mountain in total and it certainly was one of the most beautiful local hikes I've been on. It's not that difficult but it is long (about 16km in total) with lots of ups and downs. At the end you have to negotiate quite a steep downhill with quite a steep stretch up towards a jeep track - not easy if your legs are a bit wobbly after a day's climbing!

Nevertheless - this is a hike that I can highly recommend and I for one will certainly be back!

Note the snow on the peak in the background!

We crossed paths with this interesting but deadly fellow - a young Bergadder, basking in the sun. Luckily he was spotted and we could admire each other from afar! Read more about the species here.

Another interesting find - a camera set up to monitor the movements of the cape leopard. Yes, believe it or not, we still have a number of wild leopards in the mountains around our towns and cities here in the Western Cape. Read more about this elusive but beautiful creature and the work that is being done by the local conservation organizations here.

Until next week - happy hiking!