just like stairs, giant fucking stairs…

Late on Saturday Bear messages me “when do you want to go hiking” (we’ve been chatting about when our next hike is for a while but we always seem to be busy) and I said “whenever you’re free” which was very quickly responded to with a “let’s go tomorrow”…

Bear suggested Platteklip Gorge (let me just tell you now that I had absolutely NO knowledge on this trail and like a chop didn’t even think to google it seeing as he clearly knows it) and I agreed. Tried to arrange with mum that Fysh visit her for the day but she somehow missed my message about wanting to hike and thought we just wanted to visit so she informed me that they (her, Hitler and the brat) are having a family day. Fine. I’ll just take fysh with then…

Yeah so it turns out that Platteklip is quite literally a gorge that runs up roughly the middle of the mountain- it’s the most direct and the fastest (due to it’s overall short distance) route up… but not the easiest. The gorge is roughly 3 kilometers, and climbs about 3,400 of the 3,558 feet. Run that math real quick- 3 kilometers to cover an elevation gain of 3,200 feet. Yeah, it was steep. About 80% of it was like climbing wide and large “stairs” (the chant that eddy and I had going was “it’s just like stairs, giant fucking stairs” and others soon joined in on it) up the side of the mountain. Essentially you feel like a lilliputian climbing huge stone stairs up this mountain.

Apparently the path is popular with tourists and locals alike, we came across locals, groups of tourists, runners (yes there were people freaking RUNNING this), people with their dogs, people with their parents, etc. About 20 minutes in, everyone is tired and struggling for breath. Despite this though Bear and I barely stopped, we the longest “break” we had was when Fysh decided he needed to pee, other than that we didn’t once actually sit down or stop for longer than a minute though.

We started later than originally planned but starting early had a serious advantage: as you start in the shade and the temperature is cooler (can’t imagine that hike in summer!). Though I think next time we’ll start earlier than we did. But at about the half way point, the peaks to our left (Devils Peak) gave way to the sun. All the sudden, what was a challenging climb became a seriously challenging one. The trail doesn’t get easier as you go up either, there are very (VERY) short stretches of what you can fool yourself into thinking is a “flat” stretch but each of those is followed by an almost straight up climb.
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At about the 80% point, we noticed that we were no longer being leap frogged and a lot of people were happy to simply follow behind us, we weren’t motoring it but we weren’t the slowest on the mountain either.
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At about the 90% point I was really close to kicking the next person who chirped “you’re almost there” though… The sides of the gorge are towered over by the sides of the mountain. So while you’re still climbing in sun, your left and right is towering walls of rock, all you can do is go straight (and UP) towards what looks to be the end.
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We made it all the way to the top! And let me tell you now what a sense of accomplishment that is! On the way up people commented on how brave I am or how I’m putting them to shame carrying a 18kg toddler on the climb while they’re struggling with nothing but their own weight and I played it off thinking we’re going so slow how is that an accomplishment but when I realized the hike took us just over 3 hours (all the boards say it’s a 2.5 hour hike) I realized that it really was something to be proud of. Bear was brilliant going up and I really couldn’t ask for a better friend, he kept asking if I needed to stop and he’d even hum Chariots of fire all the while telling me how great I’m doing.

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I sort of wished I’d downloaded the rocky theme song… I had that moment when he reaches the top of the stairs and stands there jumping with pride.

Just a side note: carry your own food up. The mountain shop is catered for tourists not locals and unless you’re willing to pay R32 for a bag of crisps or R20 for a coke… yeah. Daylight robbery.

Bear offered to carry Fysh down as I have a slight issue with heights so my legs actually get a constant shake to them (going up is fine though) and as I can’t hike with my glasses on (they fall off) my depth perception is shit – the rocks are the same colour so I can’t judge the distance between them. Think I’ll need to consider getting contacts to use for our hiking missions, particularly if we’re going to make them a weekly thing like we would like to.
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Well, that’s a tick off the 25 before 26 list!
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3 thoughts on “just like stairs, giant fucking stairs…

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