The Tuesday hiking group (The Slower Pacers) continues to flourish with numbers now being regularly in excess of 15 members on each hike. Whilst most of the members of this group may be of a more mature disposition there is certainly no lack of enthusiasm and fun on the hikes. This was once again evident on this week’s Chapman’s Peak hike when 16¼ members set off from the parking area under rather grey skies. The ¼ member being four-month old Mali Thilo – by far the most popular person on the hike. Not only did she manage the hike with ease but she also brought the average age of the group down phenomenally!
We were informed on the hike that we were literally walking in the footsteps of the founder members of the club when they hiked up Chapman’s Peak on 4 October 1892, captured in the Club records as follows: “twenty-one members had a most enjoyable excursion to Chapman’s Peak, this being the first actual Club excursion.” And that was more than 25 years before the original Chapman’s Peak Drive was even built! The challenge that they must have had just to reach our starting point must have been terrific.
We were aware that this area is a known hotspot for criminal activity on the mountain and the group was kept close together in an attempt to deter any villains. About halfway up the mountain the sun finally came out to greet us whilst we enjoyed the spectacular panorama views. During this stage we were also able to appreciate a numerous lovely spring flowers which included Adenandra uniflora (China flowers), Dimorphotheca pluvialis (reenblommetjie), Leucadendron
xanthoconus and Mimetes fimbriifolius.
But the favourable weather was short-lived as a gale-force north-westerly with accompanying flurries of cloud racing past us soon challenged our ascent to the peak. Nevertheless we soldiered on and made a successful summit before finding a sheltered spot to enjoy a well-deserved tea break and sustenance.
On the return trip, once we reached lower altitudes and also had some shelter from the mountain, the weather conditions improved somewhat. We returned safely to the cars at about 13h30 a bit weary and weather-beaten but well satisfied with the day’s excursion!