Quote of the week – November week #4: Table Mountain solitude

“For the solitude of the mountains is something different from the Byronean solitude of the ‘pathless wood’ or ‘lonely shore’. It is something grander, more inspiring, more overwhelming, more sublime.”

E.G. Pells – extract from his article in the 1931 Journal of the Mountain Club of South Africa

I received an inquiry the other day from an elderly lady for a Table Mountain hike – not to reach the summit, not for views, not for flowers and not for adventure, but simply for solitude. I seldom get this kind of inquiry, which is unfortunate, because mountains are islands of solitude in a frenetic world – a place where you can get in touch with nature and yourself.

Although overlooking a city, Table Mountain offers much in the way of solitude – places where you see only pristine nature, with no sign of man and little chance of encountering one; places where you hear nothing but the burble of a stream, birdsong and the screech of insects or clicking of frogs, at some places overlaid with the distant boom of surf.

Table Mountain walks, hikes and climbs can be structured to include a variety of experiences and mountain aspects. My favorite climb on Table Mountain, Slangolie Frontal, is a prime example: it’s a long route that involves much rock-climbing and adventure, with a meditative space awaiting you on the summit: stunning views, solitude, peace and dramatic mountain terrain.

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