Adventures: June 2017

 WESTERN CAPE, SOUTH AFRICA

Justin Hawthorne

June 2017 has been an eventful month with a fair amount of hiking on the Cape Peninsula as well as a fantastic trip to the Cederberg. The winter chill finally arrived in Cape Town and we’ve had a number of wet days to deal with, a couple times the gear was tested against the elements! *not official gear testing, although I wouldn’t be the worst person tasked to gear up for any brands in winter…

cave dwelling ⛰ #Cederberg #CapeNature #SouthAfrica #wildcardtravel #fujifilmsa #neverathomeSA #myCPTtour

A post shared by mountain. travel. (@justinhawthorne) on

The month started with a memorable road trip up the West Coast of South Africa to the Cederberg Wilderness Area. I blogged that trip to show you the highlights in a comprehensive post. Take a look to see just what you can manage to squeeze into a weekend with short winter days! In a separate post, I shared our Maltese Cross adventure.

The Stadsaal Caves (featured image) was quite an intriguing place: the burnt orange rock of mysterious shapes, arches and caverns will keep you occupied for a long time. Within the main cave, the Stadsaal (City Hall), you’ll discover walls covered in politicians names. It will raise an interesting comparison with the nearby rock art…and you’ll figure out which one is more graffitiesque.

There will surely be another Cederberg adventure coming up…so keep your eyes peeled for that!

With bad weather about Table Mountain is often a desolate place. But that’s when you truly understand the magnificent mountain! Nobody else about to disturb the wild peace, and the sprawling city and suburbs absent from view thanks to dense cloud cover. Provided you’re geared properly, know the terrain & choose a route wisely it can be the most wonderful experience.

We did just that and headed out into the wet and cold mountain just as there was a break in the rain. Tranquility Cracks was passed along the way and at the time we were in howling wind on the Apostles Spine, so we ducked into the cracks and found a wind free nook which made for the darkest lunch spot in Cape Town that day!

The gateway to recreational heaven – Mount Pleasant. This was my most successful image posted on Instagram during the month of June and continues to see a positive response. Mount Pleasant, part of the Groote Schuur Estate, lies on the eastern slopes of Devil’s Peak – tucked between Newlands Forest and Rhodes Memorial. On any given day you will find the area dotted in recreational users from trail runners, hikers and dog walkers to mountain bikers and those just out for a picnic or the like.

The area is prettiest in autumn and winter as the exotic trees such as Pin Oaks, Plane Trees and the variety of pines add an interesting beauty to these slopes where the natural vegetation is disturbed. I pass through these gates often when leading hikes in the area.

I was guiding a hike up Devil’s Peak and the northwesterly wind had brought in plenty cloud. As the wind died down, the cloud continued to swirl about and by the time we had reached the Knife Edge there was a vertical wall of cloud on the southern aspect. Whilst enjoying coffee (carried up in my flask) I stood up to capture the iconic ridge and caught sight of my shadow which was projected onto this cloud, superimposed with a halo-like rainbow around me. This natural phenomenon is known as a Brocken Spectre and needs certain conditions in which to take place. I snapped this featured shot with my old iPhone.

I’d previously experienced it a year prior when guiding a group on Lion’s Head, but with less intensity. This time things were different and our shadows were close, halo larger and it lasted a long time. The flat winter sun, coupled with the mouisture laden cloud of similarly sized particles are needed, along with a feature wedged between the two – in this case it was the Knife Edge and us, hikers! We experienced it later on the hike near the summit, but with less of a striking effect. These are the days that really make you want to spend each day out in the mountains.

*A monthly series of four highlights from my work and play, shared via all social platforms. 

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