Lion’s head is a mountain in Cape Town located between Signal Hill and Table Mountain and from what I now know, peaks at just over 669m above sea level. This would have been useful to know before I actually agreed to hike up this mountain.
So Elroy, my work colleague says: “Zivs, let’s do an early morning hike up Lion’s Head this Sunday.” Fuz, my other colleague and I are all excited since we’re on this “get fit” buzz but not actually doing anything but talk, to get fit. Although Fuz has been doing a bit of Parkruns lately, like most of Cape Town.
So on Saturday night, my bag is packed. Clothes are ready for my big hike. I don’t have a CLUE what I’m in for, but I am ready to go. I have very little sleep that night fearing that I won’t hear my alarm and be embarrassed to have my colleagues at my front door with me in pyjamas. I have this image in my head, me sweating like a horse, drinking lots of water. My over active brain is not even registering that there’s going to be strenuous activity at all!!
Elroy is outside my front door at 6.15am on Sunday morning. Mug of coffee in hand and we are getting ready to go. Mandy, my overly excited neighbour, is out in the road in pyjamas asking me if I’m seriously going on this hike, but saying that she’s very proud of us all. The adrenaline is pumping all the more now that she’s there cheering me on. I love the fact that people who know me, believe that I’m unable to do things. I want to go out and do it just to prove them wrong then.
So a 10 minute drive to our destination. The road is dark but when we reach the starting point, there appear to be hundreds of cars and clearly many people with head lights almost already at the top of the mountain. I am soooooo ready for this. Gripping stuff. People always talk about this hike. My younger sister has pictures to prove that she’s already done it and now here I am, ready for this Lion’s Head.
2 MINUTES into this hike and I’m huffing and puffing, reaching for my water bottle. Fuz shares my sentiments that this wasn’t exactly what we signed up for, but on we trek. Sulaiman and Elroy are ahead of us thankfully so can’t see just how pathetic we look at the very start of this trail. My inner child wants to run back and say, “I’ve changed my mind” but the adult inside of me says: “if Anna Steele could cope with a spanking from Christian Grey in his Red Room of Pain, what makes this so hard?”. I think I said the word “Fuck “more times than my colleagues can remember.
So we pass the first stretch and I’m waiting for a plateau but sadly it doesn’t arrive. My “Fuck” has now been replaced with “What the fuck was I thinking”. The next leg involves climbing rocks, hanging on chains and climbing up steel ladders. I’m starting to feel like I’m in an episode of Survivor Africa. This part I knew about, but in my head I kept thinking that it couldn’t be that bad. My concern was also that Fuz has shorter legs than I do but who was I going to save first if we were falling down the mountain. The further up the mountain we moved , the more Fuz kept cursing saying that she’s certain even getting the selfie at the top wasn’t worth this pain.
People started passing us, moving downwards and telling us not much further to go. Like seriously?? To me it looked like we were about 5 minutes from the top but I was told just another 15 minutes. My breathing had settled but my legs weren’t playing the same game with me.
And then, at last, we get to the top after one and a half hours. No one exchanged as little as a “Finally”. We sit quietly. Elroy and Sulaiman light their cigarettes. Forget that this is a fire hazard. I take out the steak pies. Fuz was smart enough to pack in yogurt. Certainly a much healthier option, considering our mission and Sulaiman brought along frozen water bompies which he collected at the Two Oceans race. Very smart.
So in typical Cape Town style, we take the selfies. We smile and wave regardless of the pain we feel. We say how beautiful our city is and how we really don’t appreciate its beauty enough and slowly we make our way down the mountain so that we can Instagram the pics and show our friends how horribly cool we are having climbed all the way to the top of this mountain.
I’ve ticked this off my bucket list. It’s unlikely I will do it again, but yes, it was absolutely breath taking and by that I mean the hike literally took my breath away.
Thanks Elroy, Sulaiman and Fuz for laughing with and at me all the way to the top. You made it worth the pain!
Let’s do another route some time.