“Our route mattered little. We seemed to float up the lower slopes with a minimum of effort; over small pitches of rock; into little heather-choked gullies; and up onto a mountain’s crest. Rocky peaklet followed rocky peaklet and we flitted from top to top until, after what seemed merely minutes but was probably hours, we arrived at the main summit. We had climbed a mountain of quite minor importance, one that is overshadowed by greater neighbours on all sides… but what mattered it? It was the day of days when we went along apparently aimlessly, but in reality directed by some indefinable guiding force. Time, distance, place, were of no importance; we were steeped in the Spirit of the Mountains.”
– Extract from an article in the 1934 Journal of the Mountain Club of South Africa –
At its best, hiking Table Mountain – or any mountain, for that matter – unfolds in similar fashion as in the above extract. I always remind myself that I climb mountains not to reach the summit, but to experience them in unique ways and to draw inspiration or some life-enhancing feeling from the effort. I try to stay in the present and soak up my immediate surroundings and impressions, reminding myself that I wouldn’t want to climb mountains if it didn’t involve mental and physical effort. To the nature lover and adventurer, Table Mountain hiking offers decades of fun and enthrallment. And it’s when you find it on the slopes as well as the summit that you will have experienced the Spirit of the Mountains.