Almost the Pipe Track

There is a mountain bike trail that goes through the private land between Camps Bay and the Twelve Apostles where hikers may go during the week. This made a nice alternative to the much higher up Pipe Track, accessible via a rather steep jeep track straight up the mountain from Theresa Avenue. Having done the trail to Slangolie Ravine in 2017 as a new hiker, and reading my blog on that particular outing, I was not keen to do it again, and the prospect of a gentler hike with the same views was encouraging. It seemed that other members of the group had the same apprehension and so did not turn up at all, but they would have enjoyed this very pleasant and not strenuous trail.

Despite having to clamber off the trail a few times to give way to the odd mountain biker (it is their trail), only about 6 people passed us during the 4 hours it took to reach the turnaround point and return. Walking in the shadow of the impressive buttresses of the Twelve Apostles reminded us of our small place in the world. These towering cliffs have kept watch over the Cape of Storms for millions of years with little sign of rockfalls due to weathering. Woody ravines lead up to the Back Table of Table Mountain, where the cableway perches and brings hundreds of thousands of visitors to admire the views the easy way, while many a local simply clambers up the ravine, rests a while at the dams and then clambers back down in time for supper. The disa uniflora and disa graminifolia are currently putting on spectacular displays in some of these ravines and surely are a great incentive to scale the heights. Such a privilege to have all this wild and wonderful nature in the middle of a city.

There were a few places where I thought a mountain biker might come a cropper – very short tree stumps in the middle of the path, sharp-edged rocks jutting out and some interesting tumbled boulders, and we did pass a rather tired looking chap pushing his bike about 3km from the cars, having suffered a puncture and not brought the repair kit. Rather him than me. We were to have done the circular route, which involved a long descent and then a 45-degree climb straight back up again, but as usual, I lost something and the delay meant we couldn’t deviate from the level route back. Some may say I lost my spectacles so that we could take this short cut, but the inconvenience of not having my driving glasses far outweighs the extra effort. Suffice to say, the group will now run through a checklist with me before, during and after a hike. I think it is a necessity!

All in all, marvellous views, easy trail, a little warm if there is no wind and one to do again. 7-8km.

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