Woke up at around 6. Made coffee. Another beautiful day here. It’s not supposed to be so hot today — maybe this would be a could day to go hike up to Lion’s Head? Double portion of mangos, bananas, and toast — we’ll need the ‘fuel’.
Sue got herself lathered up in Coppertone, put on her hat, filled a bottle of water. Running shoes for both of us. And shortly after eight, we’re marching up the street behind our place. My phone, with Google Maps, is directing us up on High Level Street, up a little side road, and then we’re walking on a gravelly, rocky path through the trees on the side of Signal Hill. Not too tough a climb — but steady upwards, through the trees, out onto the grassland, still on the shady side of Signal Hill. It’ll be hot on the way down. The GPS says it’ll be 5.7 kms to the top and it should take us just under 2 hours. Up. Another time as far/long coming down.
Conditions are excellent. We meet only a couple other ‘hikers’ on the trail. When we come to a fork in the trail we take the one that goes more ‘up’. Gradually climbing, zigging and zagging LONG distances at the bottom, then gradually the turns come more frequently as the mountain narrows towards the top.
We’re finally past the ‘grassland’ section, the path is more rocky again, sometimes big rocks laid down as steps, sometimes small logs tied to keep the steps from washing down the hill. And it’s getting steeper. But the air is not too hot, and the higher we go the more breeze we get. I sure hope we don’t have to carry that full water bottle all the way UP the hill, and then back down again. Better drink a bit. No, it only bloats me and then I have to pee. Okay, how about we leave it here beside the path and we’ll pick it up again on the way down.
Once we start the more ‘serious’ climb we are joined by more trekkers. It’s a pilgrimage. We’ve heard there are ladders and chains near the top, but Sue has also read that there is an ‘easier’ route. We don’t find it. When we get up the first ladder and we encounter a section of ‘hand-over-hand’ climbing Sue loses her enthusiasm. And now I have to endure a constant haranguing to “be careful” and “we don’t have to go to the top”, etc. Well, I haven’t walked all this way to NOT climb to the top!
I’m relieved when Sue finally decides that she is going to stop. She will sit and wait for me. I will carry on — after all, I think I must be very close to the top.
But I’m not. Now I’m following a path that is basically a ledge! and climbing up more ‘ladders’. And at a fork in the path with a sign warning one way is the ‘recommended’ way, the other (pointing up to a system of chains linked to walls of rocks) is ‘at your own risk’ (at whose risk is the rest of the way?) I choose the ‘recommended’ path. Zig. Zag. More up. Steps. Up. I’m happy to see more people, so at least I know I’m on the right path and if I twist an ankle there will be people here to give me a proper burial.
And finally I approach the very top. This is the Lion’s Head. We’ve walked up the ‘rump’ (Signal Hill) and crossed the ‘saddle’, and now I’m heading for the crown. I clamber up the last 100 metres. And I’m on the top! Along with about 20 others. Congratulations they say. I say it back.
I get a Russian guy to take my photo standing on top of the tallest rock. My camera (I didn’t know it could record all these things!) says I’m at 666 metres above sea level. Wow! That’s quite a bit higher than the hill we climbed in Hermanus (330 metres, I think). I take a couple of ‘panorama’ shots. And one of the Dassies (mountain rats?) sunning themselves on the rocks. I eat the trail mix in the baggie in my pocket. And then it’s time to go back down.
I decide to follow a couple of climbers who are taking the ‘at your own risk’ chains route. Good choice. Much shorter. Sue must be very worried about me by now. She’s been waiting half an hour since I left her — sitting patiently at about the 519 metre mark, NOT sipping her water. Now we’ll carry it down with us!
But we miss a turn on the way down and end up near the parking lot on the road going up to Signal Hill. And there’s a canteen selling “cold” cokes there. So we sit and have a coke. And then punch in ‘home’ on my GPS and walk right back ‘over the saddle’ of the lion, and eventually back on our original trail, down, down, down, to Green Point.
We arrive at our apartment at around 12:30, hot, sweaty, aching feet, tired, happy, hungry, thirsty. Shower and lunch.
After lunch we sat down to watch another Homeland episode. Sue went to ‘Woolies’ for some groceries and in the meantime I FaceTimed with Max and Alex. When Sue came back we watched another Oscar movie, “Amy”, considered the best bet for Best Documentary Feature.
We had a great supper ‘at home’. I spent a bit of time deleting about a thousand photos that the Russian guy had taken of me on top of that big rock on the hill! (Yikes!) And then it was time for (what else?) another documentary feature nominee, Cartel Land, a story about vigilantes vs the drug cartels in Mexico. Not bad, although Sue nodded off for a bit during the show. It was 10:45 when it was over, and not a minute too soon — bed time!