After seven months of looking at Table Mountain nearly every day, I finally had the opportunity to climb it on 29 March!

My fellow YAGM in South Africa and dear friend Joe Turner was in town with his family, and they invited me to climb Table Mountain with them. I jumped (literally) at the opportunity.

We struck out around 9 AM to complete the easiest trail up the mountain- Platteklip Gorge. According to what I read online, it should have taken us no more than three hours of steep but easy climbing. Unfortunately, this time estimate was probably for people who have had some sort of strenuous exercise routine in the last seven months, and I am not exactly one of those people…

Luckily, there were some gorgeous views to stop and look at as I struggled up the mountain with the incredibly patient and fantastic Turner family. Here is one of those gorgeous views:

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As we climbed, there were plenty of other people on the same trail. Being my friendly self with a family of friendly Minnesotans, we made friends with nearly everyone we passed. As people passed us walking down the mountain, we cheered on their accomplishment and made witty comments such as “How’s the weather up there?”  As people passed us on their way up, we would move over to let them go quickly and make more witty and encouraging comments.

About two thirds of the way up the mountain, I was beginning to realize why no one just wakes up one morning and decides to climb a mountain without any training. As I stopped for yet another water break, a kind gentleman walking down the mountain asked why I was stopping. I told him I was just a little slow, and I hope I always remember his response: “That’s okay. Stop and drink water, but keep going. Stop and look at the view, but then keep climbing. You’ll get there.”

His words, clearly meant about the hike, also apply to my year in South Africa. I’m two thirds of the way, and I love the view from here. But… I need a lot of water breaks. This takes endurance. If I’m lucky, I’ll remember that the journey is just as good as the accomplishment, and I’ll always remember to keep climbing. After all, even if it takes me a long time, I’ll get there. 

Once we finally reached the top, we stepped into a dream. The top of the mountain was covered in a cloud, providing some fascinating scenery. We literally hiked up into a cloud. See below:

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Fortunately, the other side of the mountain provided some better views. Here’s a picture of me on top of Table Mountain, looking over the gorgeous city of Cape Town! I still can’t believe I get to call this place home.

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P.S. We took the cable car back down. It was a less gratifying but equally beautiful five minute process of descending what took us three hours to climb, and gave us the afternoon to enjoy some much-needed yummy food. Maybe next time I’ll climb both ways.

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