Ever since we first arrived in Cape Town it has been on my ‘To-Do list’ for Damian and I to climb Table Mountain. After everything to do with settling in a new city, finding ourselves and our other adventures, I just had not got to arranging anything. After the Argus, my friend Anton often asked: ‘So what’s the next adventure’ to which I’d reply ‘Well, I’ve been wanting to climb Table Mountain…’ Sometime in July he asked: ‘So when are we climbing the mountain?’ and I decided that it was now or never. Damian is not getting any lighter, and I am not getting any stronger, so I realised that our window of opportunity for this being a possibility was growing smaller. I thought the first day of Spring would be a good day, I posted an invitation on Facebook to rally the troops to join us, I thought it could be a fun day with a picnic at the top, welcoming in a new season. I hadn’t even finished posting and Sara had RSVP’d… and I knew instantly that one way or the other this was going to happen! Next was Eva… no surprise there… Eva is one energetic and adventurous lady and my cycling buddy.
RSVP’s were slow, but by the week before we had almost 20 people willing to climb with us. During this week though the weather reports weren’t looking good… but I assured everyone we would have blue skies. That may sound a little over-confident or wishful thinking… but I have experience with this sort of faith…
I grew up in- and spent the first 10 or so years of Damian’s life in the Eastern Cape, with summer rain.
Every year rain was predicted for Damian’s birthday in November.
Every year I planned an outdoor birthday party without a backup plan.
Every year we had an outdoor birthday party without rain.
I have loads more examples but my experience is this… if we plan something with love and as a celebration of community or family… we are supported completely. So I knew we would be blessed with perfect conditions for our climb.
We planned to meet at the mountain at 7am to begin climbing.
I was up at 5am.
On a Saturday.
I went outside to pack the car… and the rain came down.
And the wind was blowing.
But I carried on.
At 6am I got the sms… ‘We are going to have to cancel – we’ve already let everyone know.’
Damian and I were still willing to go, if anyone would go with us.
All I needed to hear was Sara’s disappointment matching my own and her eagerness to go. It was also on her bucket list, and she had been as excited as I was.
I have never sms’d, facebook’d and whatsapp’d as much as I did on Saturday, 1 September 2012. I knew Eva would be up for it, and Mike as well. Anton agreed to meet us, and Michelle was keen to meet for a picnic breakfast and take it from there.
Michelle & Kian, Eva & Mike all met at my place and we drove to fetch Sara & Connor and then met up with Anton, Deon and Carl at the base of Platteklip Gorge. We had a yummy picnic breakfast and then blue skies urged us to climb. Michelle and Kian decided they weren’t going all the way but joined for the beginning and then spent some quality time together taking pics and walking about together. The rest of us clambered our way up.
Damian had been nervous in the lead up to the climb, and in the last week he kept telling me he was scared and didn’t want to go. But as soon as we began he was in his element. He is an amazing nature-boy and loves the outdoors and any adventure.
It was no walk in the park… definitely a tough climb. When I created the even invitation, I called it ‘Table Mountain – The Climb’ with Miley Cyrus’s song ‘The Climb’ in mind… “It ain’t about how fast we get there, it ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side… it’s the climb.” The beginning of anything is always the hardest for me. The first 15km of the Argus I thought I wasn’t going to make it. The same went with climbing the mountain.
We had an amazing group of people with loads of giggles along the way.
One man walked past wearing Two Oceans running shoes. Anton asked him if he ran the Two Oceans or if he just borrowed someone else’s shoes. He replied he had done the half marathon – to which Sara chirped ‘Oh, so you did One Ocean?’
No stranger could pass without some sort of banter or conversation and Anton and Carl joked about ‘men in blue’ escorting us off the mountain, or chasing us back down when we reached the top.
At one point Anton got a little close to the edge, but promised he’d take pictures on the way down. I joked that he would then be able to write “Falling Off Mountains for Dummies”.
When the noon cannon went off… we all shouted ‘Duck… rockfall!’
Damian giggled his way up with the rest of us and thoroughly enjoyed every minute. He was delighted by getting wet from water running off the mountain as we passed under some cliffs.
The men were super-heroes at pulling me and Damian up rocks that were a little too high to manage on our own, and were extremely patient at having to wait for me to catch my breath every few steps. After being asked if I’m OK, I replied that I just need to stop to breathe every now and then. Anton said he hopes I breathe more than every now and then!
Connor beat us all to the top by at least half an hour – one super-fit dude! As for Eva, I barely saw her she was so far ahead most of the time. Mike said he was lagging behind to see the views. That’s his story and he’s sticking to it!
Deon kept promising it was only 5 more minutes. I told him to stop lying.
Near the top Carl told me I should put my jacket back on. I told him I was too hot from climbing.
“Trust me, put your jacket on,” he said.
I didn’t listen.
I got to the top and it was FREEZING!
Needless to say what followed… an ‘I told you so!’
Reaching the top was awesome. It really was an amazing accomplishment for us. According to Connor I was 5th up – he was first, followed by Eva.
The view from the top is breath-taking, and worth every ounce of agony on the way up.
There was no way I could manage climbing down again, so I’m glad we planned to take the cable car down. Damian did not enjoy the cable car. Not so much the height, but that the floor rotates for a 360˚ view, that he didn’t like.
Once at the bottom I had no more energy and Sara carried Damian the rest of the way to my car.
We had left my car at the parking at the bottom cable station for when we got back as the start of the Platteklip Gorge route was 2km further, which we had driven to in Mike’s car.
I had left my keys in Mike’s car!
So much for that plan of having a car when we finished. Mike and Eva had to walk another 2km to fetch his car and my keys.
We got home exhausted, in that way that makes you feel completely and utterly alive. Damian and I climbed into bed at 5pm and that is where I lay until the next morning. Before he went to sleep he told me:
I asked what for, to which in his way he replied, for making my back sore. I just love my little boy so much.
And then he asked to go again….