Even though I have been to Cape Town a few times now, I have not done very many of the classic touristy things like going out to Robben Island or going up Table Mountain. Determined to get at least one of these things in, I convinced (very easily) Jason to hike up the mountain with me.
The cable car for those lazy folks, takes you up the face of the mountain but a lot of the nice hikes actually start off around the back, in Kirstenbosch gardens. It's a beautiful setting with loads of amazing plant life. As usual, we got a late start (it's just so hard to get out of bed early on a Saturday morning) but we managed to start our hike around 11am.
The first hour an a half is basically straight up - stair steps (mostly rock but reinforced with wood slats) and even some ladders. Jason suggested we go up the way he went with some of his friends 10 years ago, Skeleton Gorge or something ominous like that. You think that would have been a clue! It was pretty intense but knowing the straight up was only part of the hike, we managed. We weren't in any big rush so we didn't push ourselves too hard and made sure to enjoy the scenery along the way (translation: we had to stop every 5 minutes, pretend to take pictures only to catch our breath and quit panting for a moment).
We ate a late lunch at the top, enjoying the view and chatting with some South Africans. It's always nice to reach the top for fantastic views!
The hike down was just as intense as the hike up. We went down through Nursery Ravine, which I'm not sure was the best choice. This path literally had stair steps the entire way down. Sounds great except that they are large steps and mid way down my one knee started hurting pretty bad. It only happens during serious repetition like this or on really long bike rides and usually I'll take some advil early enough and that helps but I wasn't quite as prepared this time around. For some reason I thought since it was touristy, it would be an easy hike. Not so. Plus we haven't been out hiking in a few months so our bodies aren't used to it anymore, despite our regular running routine.
Regardless of my knee and sore body the next day, it was definitely worth it. Time to get out and find some nice hiking in Zimbabwe!