“Are we there yet?” What Table Mountain hiking is not – 24 March 2014

Table Mountain hiking means different things to different people – and different things to the same people on different routes and different days. Some take to the mountain for peace and quiet; to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and the grind of daily life. Others do so for exercise, for adventure, or to connect with nature. Many hike Table Mountain merely to get to the summit in an act of distinguishing themselves from the vast majority, who ride up in the cable car. It seems sad to reduce a mountain to its summit; to reduce a mountain experience to a summit experience i.e. views and a sense of achievement. While these remain important reasons why we climb mountains, I believe that a large component of a mountain experience consists of the ascent. Climbing a mountain can be likened to the old adage, Life’s a journey, not a destination. And this especially applies to Table Mountain hiking, where such diversity occurs in terms of topography, views, flora and mood. In my opinion, Table Mountain hiking shouldn’t only be about reaching the summit. The mountain reveals itself more along its slopes. And it’s in the throes of an ascent that we learn most about ourselves. Soak up your surroundings – the sights, smells, views and sounds – and the summit will take care of itself.

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