Hiddingh – Ascension Ravine

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Hiddingh Ravine, The Pulpit, Ascension Ravine as seen from Newlands

My only wish for Christmas was to eat some trifle.

And so my wife went to search the local Woolworths for a) a store with a manageable que and b) one that does in fact have stock of said trifle.

I promptly finished the “serves 4” on my own.

When asked which part of the trifle I like best I had no good answer. I like the different textures and how they feel and taste different. Too much of one thing is not that great in the end but it is the subtle combination that seals the deal. Pretty much like a good trail.

A seemingly endless grassy slope is fun in the same way that caramel is fun – in limited doses. Same with bush bashing through fynbos. Fun for a while. Think the biscuity pieces in above mentioned dessert. The short bit of getting lost: crunchy chocolate bits. Scrambles above a big drop: cream. Too much of a good thing ultimately does make my head spin. The girls in bikinis sunbathing at the top: hmm maybe that was a hallucination.

And so I went. In search of new land, in search of new adventure and in search of a new route.

I wake up every morning looking up at Fernwood Precipice and that impenetrable part of our mountain. The last time that I had this view I was preoccupied with harder objectives.

This is the world between GPS tracks and heatmap lines. Now my mix of motivation and difficulty is just right.

The recce was well on its way.

Finding the quickest way onto the contour path from Newlands Forest parking was easy. A quick navigation to find the right gully and it was upwards all the way. Nice pools in the stream bed. Followed by a steep slope led to the obvious slanting line of weakness. Then another traverse onto the edge of the buttress. The long slope up to the next rockband. I got lost a bit here. Did not trust my instincts but then found the delightful calf burner that would rival Kilian’s best fresh pow. In defence of this comparison fresh pow makes you work way too hard for vertical gain, you end up hot sweaty and out of breath. Fynbos is the same with the added delight of ending up with a whole herb garden in your shoes.

This is old school FKT or TM FKT X

From the Newlands Fire base gate to Maclear’s Beacon.

What time can you post?

Leave your comments below.

 

Ringing the Bell:

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approaching Orange Peal Gap, Cathedral Peak left of center, The Bell further left

I leave the Hikers Parking at  6h00 sharp. Scouting the first river crossing last night helps so it goes quickly and I gain altitude. I see two lights below me. They have chosen a different path. We all have.

I am walking out of the darkness into mountains cast in shadows. As in Magic and Loss there is an equal part hope too.

It is what ever it seems.

‘I was thinking of a series of my dreams’

Patter of my feet on the trail.

‘Was not thinking of anything specific’

Lyrics running my head

I shut them out

040

looking back up Bugger’s Gully

I am surprised to reach Bugger Gully in 2:40. The other side has snow and I follow imprints in the snow trying to guess how long they have been there. I meet them later. The owners of those feet.

You can’t listen to metal with the volume low. I drop into the wave.

 

The line between shadow and light is distinct. But we all follow our own line. Some have rumble strips to warn us, others come unseen and deadly. Some are crossed and recrossed, skipped over even? Without a care in the world. Others scare us. Right now one side is sun and heat. The other biting cold. I can’t understand why anybody would choose the suffering unless to learn and ultimately emerge. I carve my own way and leave only a faint sign of my passing. My passage however leaves a huge impression. Not the act but the meaning we give.

050

looking back towards Cathedral Peak

I come across white tufts, not snow. Flags waving I the breeze. I shat here! I wonder if we will ever learn.

I stumble upon Twins Cave quite unexpectedly.

And suddenly it is done.

I find a spot in the sun and out of the wind and eat my old school sandwich.

The descent down Mlanbonjwa is less fun than I thought. Typical berg pass which is too steep to run but I lose height quickly. The obligatory bush whack does not last long.

I am unkind. I enjoy running the flatter sections and catch up to the footprints of three days earlier.

I have to commit to running where I can. Walking always seems so much easier. But then I don’t want easy. There is nothing of interest there. There is interest (and learning) I suffering perhaps?

‘I walk by tranquil lakes and streams’

I don’t have the commitment to break 8h (or 7 for that matter) I arrive at my lone tent in the camp site and think back on one of the best days in the mountains I have ever had.

The lone dear makes its rounds later. I say ‘Hi’ and observe for a very long time.

‘The hard thing is to hold on to what I learn there in those high and wild places – those fleeting glimpses of the truth of reality – and to live it when I am back in my everyday. That is the real challenge.’

Lizzy Hawker

 

Several lines above are quoted (and misquoted) from the below. Thanks for the inspiration.

 

Soundtrack:

Moxica and the horse – Vangelis

Series of dreams – Bob Dylan

Link 2-3-4 – Rammstein

Tell ol Bill – Bob Dylan

Mothers of the disappeared – U2

The medallion calls – Klaus Bandelt

Someday baby – Bob Dylan

Track 5 More Melon – U2

Things have changed – Bob Dylan and Mark Knopfler I believe in you – U2

99 red balloons – Nena

Here comes the pain – Farmer Boys

Pa Pa Pa Palavas – Triplets of Bellville soundtrack

Urban Trail – Constantia Greenbelt – Table Mountain top trail run #7

GReenbelt loopThis great loop does not wonder more than 50 m from houses at any point. Despite this it feels like you are in nature. The temps are generally cool under the green canopy of trees. Almost equal mix of single track and pavement makes this a real gem. There are no major hills so really gentle to get into a nice pace. Many shorter loops and variations are available. Just go and explore! otherwise you can use the map above and follow this loop.

The Constantia Virgin Active Gym offers a great base to start from.

Water can be found at three points along the trail in fountains sponsored by VOB running club. Some sections feel a little remote so I would recommend that women run in groups. There are many shorter loops available as I am sure Dion will confirm. This is a great place to play and marvel at this piece of nature in our city. Each section of trail is broken up with a section of road. Most notably Southern Cross Drive (that bastard hill of the Two Ocean’s Half Marathon).

Die Hell is pretty special. Go and have fun here between session of Turkey!

You are more than likely to get sections of this trail wrong the first few times but that is part of the adventure. You will never get very lost.

11,5km 100% runnable. Ice cream trucks can not be guaranteed.

Steenberg Ridge

Steenberg PeakThis morning is Roger’s birthday so we met at the end of Boyes Drive. In fact we parked at the top of the service road just off Boyes Drive, crossed the road and headed into the bush. The odd cairn and pathlet led us up and across to the white rock band. Here we traversed right under the cliff to a scramble up into a gully hidden from below.

Up this and a few more rock steps to the window.

Once you reach the top go left and follow broken asbestos pipes to a single track. This goes down a short gully and gets better and more defined. At the Jeep track (and radio mast) turn left, left again and shortly thereafter left onto a single track. Follow this up to a nek and down to Boyes Drive.

Surprisingly this route is only 4,5 km long but will take you over an hour.

Enjoy

There are some picture posted here.

Table Mountain Top Ten Trail Routes: Mowbray Ridge no 3

leo_rust’s 1:53 h Running Move #SuuntoRun.

one of my all time favorites

This morning I had a bit more time so we headed up the long hill from Newlands Fire Base parking (yes it was a brutal warm up). Popping out at the junction between Newland’s Forest and Rhodes Memorial with a view of mist. Through the short dip in the dirt road and then left up the faint single track “The Other Woman”. Named so by my friend Tinie because it is so good that you don’t want to tell your wife when you are heading out to play on the trails. One of the most stunning single tracks anywhere.

Once on the Contour Path we picked up the pace and headed to the turnstile. Through this then up the road for a little and an eroded short cut up to the left to the King’s Blockhouse. You will find the track leading up just behind the building. dive left into the bushes shortly after and follow the track upwards. some scrambling onto the ridge itself leads you to a derelict fire lookout. Continue up and onto the ridge itself. A short scramble and down climb leads you to minor peak. We traversed around to the left and then headed down the overgrown zig zags in direction town. Once on the high travers we headed back to Mowbray Ridge and down this to the start. Many variations exist in gaining access to this fantastic part of our hill. 840m vert in under 10km, not bad!

Check out the picture here, video here

Grab your map and head out the door!