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Her Moody Beauty - Arangieskop

I remember her, I remember her beauty but I also remember how moody she was when she finally showed up. She looked beautiful, clothed angelically by the mist that surrounded her ever so visible appearance, but she was challenging.

Let me tell you what it took for us to see her. It’s morning of day 1. We arrived the night before, having taken a 2 hour drive to Robertsons, Dassieshoek Nature Reserve from Cape Town. The overnight house is lovely, spacious, huge kitchen so the morning is a buzz with noise, laughter and footsteps on wooden floors clomping their way over there across different rooms, you’d swear the group was larger than 5 people. The beauty of this house was everything I had ever wanted if life had to present me with an opportunity to live off grid. There was a dam nearby, a walking distance from the house.

Yes we were just 5 individuals from different walks of life at different points of our life’s journeys but one thing was for certain, we shared a passion for the outdoors! Yes yes back to day 1; about to leave, we gather on the front porch stairs to snap a group pic. I always love those, see ourselves before and after, more like before and after the trail has dealt you great but nasty cards. You’ll be amazed at that site LOL.

As we head out it’s a slightly easy walk about to the start. We couldn’t see the mountain range which was covered in mist. At this point I'm torn between wanting to see the big Goliath that was about to be man-handled by David (Me) and actually thanking the heavens that I can’t see it, just in case I decide “haikhona this is a beast” and it messes up with my head. I’d be keen to hear which view you’d rather have. I’m always undecided on this !

Look I knew this was going to be an uphill trek of note. We were told about the 9.5km of day 1 being tough. What do they call this mountain again?? Oh yes the Kilimanjaro of the Cape. The side to side winding uphill is a killer and so I take my pace and keep stopping when needed. Nothing irks me than having a strategy to conquer a mountain, only to alter it as you go along. But that’s just it right, the beauty of the outdoors and the free lessons (or not so free for us Joburgers) that you receive along the way. As my bosslady loves saying “I’m not married to this or that decision, if you have to change it to make it work, go right ahead and do that. Ultimately, we want results and we must be victorious whether you're on the mountain or in the office.

It was long, at some point I recall going down a chain and super excited to finally see a rest stop to take off my boots and immerse my feet into flowing streams. Day1 took anything from 7 – 8 hours, we were literally going uphill non-stop. Think I lost a bit of my mind there. Some parts of it were tricky to manoeuvre so it’s always wise too travel in pairs for safety’s sake and really coming up with ideas of making your way out of tricky situations. Between myself, Nthabi and Matelakengisa, the "older" H or The King as affectionately known by many, we really paced ourselves but I remember him pushing us to keep moving, we all could see that time was against us and the clouds were closing in on us. It’s hard walking in the clouds at night and trying to find a trail especially one not clearly marked.

By the time we got up top closer to the hut it was dark, the moon smiled at us and yes of course we stop and take pictures! BONA whether I’m tired or not, I can never be too tired or annoyed or emotionally drained to ever miss an opportunity to snap a lasting memory. That’s just me! So yes back to her moody peak-a-boo games. She was stunning! I'm such a weeper when faced with such breathtaking moments. I question why it is that I’m still working, why am I not doing this for a living, to keep chasing moments that continuously take my breath away! I digress...

We finally get to the hut, guys it was warm. I’ve never been so happy to have such luxury on a mountain top! This is unheard of. Hovey (the young H Matelakengisa) and Lucy had long arrived and made fire in and outside the hut which meant warm water from the donkey-boiler. To them I owe a "kudos" moment. So granted we didn’t see outside views but morning cometh you see, patience my fellow hikers.

Waking up early hours of the morning to get ready for the summit, but first coffee and sunrise fun behind lens (or phone, agh whatever, the cam is too bulky and collecting dust at home Eish) and what amazing views.

Heading out to the summit, wow I honestly underestimated it! I mean having reached the hut, seeing the cloudy formation below, you’re almost ready to pass on the summit because that’s another insane 2 to 3 km climb nje. It was CRAZY. And then we thought it was over as we’re about to begin the descent!!! I actually just looked at it and laughed, like I stood there and I bloody laughed because I don’t get why we do this to ourselves (dear new hiker it’s amazing and addictive, you recover quickly and you have amazing long lasting memories, so please ignore my rant) but damnit man whyyyyy!!!!

Well we do and while the view was breathtaking it didn’t take away the fact that I needed my trekking poles more that day that any other day on any other hike (let’s bust the myth while we’re at it shall we, they are NOT a fashion statement, spare a moment and read up on how trekking poles assist you on trails).

It was a steep descent and we had to be extra careful which also meant a more slower pace and increasing our time spent on trail. I love spectacular views, give me a tough trail but let it have amazing views and it’s game on! I will take my time and will finish. I’m scared of falling, I had the joyful experience a couple of years back of plummeting 20 stairs down holding hot coffee, a handbag, laptop bag, a 4 year old's school bag and slipped at the point he reached out for my hand because it was raining. I tore my ligaments and mommy instincts flooded me as I covered him while we both rolled down. He got out without a scratch while I almost didn’t get back into hiking, I had a moon-boot for well over 5 months so yes I’m scared of falling, okay pumpkins.

Arangieskop is a beautiful but tough hike. A must must do for hikers and if you’ve done it I’d be keen to hear your experience! My lessons on this one ? Pace is everything, partnership is everything, don't underestimate a two day trail called Kili of the Cape or any trail for that matter haha, trekking poles were never about a fashion statement guys, SA is beautiful you must keep exploring it to find these gems!

Below are more pictures from the trail. What an awesome time with this team.

Skirtgirlhiker over and out (haha always wanted to use that line)

Dassieshoek, Robertson, Western Cape

Instagram @leera_1

Twitter @lermon

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