Bright and early on Wednesday morning a few of us set off to test out the Hoerikwaggo Trail that we are running in conjunction with SANParks. Garth, Patti, Wayne, Debbi, Nomsi, Hilka et myself (Lisa) set off early to start this adventure. We were all equipped with water (which weighed way too much!), food, hats, sunblock, cameras etc… We looked like a group of serious hikers. Patti even had a pair of proper hiking boots that were about 20 years old… I will come back to these hiking boots a bit later on. Our route was Table Mountain to Orange Kloof – which works out to be about 13kms… a very LONG way for some of us!!!
We met up with our SANParks guides at the Cable Station, Table Mountain. We were lucky enough to go up Table Mountain via the cable car and not have to hike up Platteklip Gorge – especially since it was 32’C! At the top of the mountain we were told to make use of the bathrooms before we start hiking as there were no bathrooms en-route! Patti then said rather loudly that she should go and ‘squeeze the last drop out’… this comment shocked a few of us, especially Wayne who amongst laughing told her she had shared TOO much information with us!
Off we went on the Hoerikwaggo Trails….
Besides a few water breaks – which were much needed – we made our way to Maclear’s Beacon…. This is the highest point on Table Mountain and the view surrounding this was magnificent!!! After a few photos and a few jokes that were made about the trail names we continued our way… down and down we walked! A few of us thought that a downhill hike would be lovely and relaxing… lovely it was though! Walking downhill works muscles in your legs that you never knew you had – I would say that is on par with walking uphill (with my minimal hiking experience that is!).
As the hike progressed and we made our way on the Hoerikwaggo trails, the terrain began to change. We walked along rocks and sand … overgrown paths filled with fynbos … wooden bridges …. huge rocks with chains to balance us … beach sand (yes, there is soft white sand on a mountain!) …. mud …. gravel paths … and the list continues. En-route we even passed another group who was doing the hike in reverse (from Orange Kloof to Table Mountain). They were all taking a break under the only place of shade there was for km’s… lucky them! I was very jealous…
Now, as you remember Patti was the only one with hiking boots and along the way to the hike in the morning she told us all how wonderful these shoes were… She told us how comfortable they were and how much better they were then any of the shoes that we were wearing (most of us had normal running shoes on!)… Anyway, we had been walking for about 2 hours (maybe even less) and she disappeared with the guide for a while. Well well well… her one lovely hiking boot had fallen apart! Yes, the sole of the boots had practically completely come off… The guide (with some creative thinking) laced the sole onto Pattis’ foot so she could continue hiking. Naturally everyone thought this was hilarious and teased her the whole way….
All along the way we stopped for water breaks as the guides told us interesting facts about the mountains and the trails we were on! He even showed us a plant called the blister plant that we should avoid touching on the hike – as we would get blisters from it (just like the name said)! Well every time Garth spotted a blister plant he tried to get Wayne to ‘test’ this plant out – which I think he did… but nothing happened. Or nothing he ever admitted to…
Then Patti’s other shoe broke!
We then stopped for our lunch break under a tree and relaxed our hot and tired bodies. Here we munched on some of the great food that Patti organized for us and laughed and joked about the Hoerikwaggo hike thus far. After our much needed ‘break’ we packed our bags, reapplied our sun block and moved on! We made our way to the Table Mountain dams and entered the Orange Kloof area which was predominately a forest. This was a lovely part of the walk – the forest provided us with much needed shade and there was even a light breeze to cool us down! As we walked along we saw some amazing streams in the little valleys that we were walking above.
We hiked and hiked and hiked….
At one point we were walking in a straight row (one behind each other) with Wayne stalking us with the camera and telling me that if one of us were to slip it would have a dominoes effect! I packed out laughing and slipped. Unfortunately or fortunately there was no domino effect as I slid down on my butt and Wayne jumped out of the way! In my defense the downhill stretch that we were on was quite steep… even Wayne slipped a few times – though he denies it.
We walked and walked and walked…. Slid and laughed…. Tripped and tripped …. And then walked some more!
We saw the final stretch in front of us which didn’t look too far away! I was very excited to reach the end of this hike. I was tired and covered in dusk and sand…. Plus I accidentally stepped in a huge puddle of mud – so I looked like a mess. We all reached the tented camps of Orange Kloof where we were greeted by some of the SANParks staff! We then relaxed for a while on some chairs in the tented camp. This is where clients would stay on the end of their Hoerikwaggo day one hike!
This was a great day filled with loads of funny moments (many which haven’t been mentioned here) and great pictures! The next week another bunch of Jenman Staff members go on day 2 of the Hoerikwaggo hike! Watch this space to see what their hike was like!