I don’t quite know how it happened, but after the amazing successes I’d had in getting the hiking duration estimates almost completely correct several hikes in a row, I must have become cocky. Because just when I thought I’d escaped it, Westwood’s First Law of Hiking* kicked in again.
As luck (or Murphy’s Only Law) would have it, it would be on the one hike when I’ve invited a friend who definitely doesn’t want to do a long, difficult hike, that the short, easy hike I’ve promised her (and five other people) turns out to be – well, you guessed it – a long, difficult one.
*Westwood’s First Law of Hiking is similar to the laws of software development project management: however long you think it will take, double it.
Duration: 6.5 hours. Not 3.5, as predicted by Alison.
Distance: 22,000 steps = 22km – according to Catherine’s app, which was apparently set to “how far it felt”. Probably around 10 or 12km in objective reality.
Trail directions we used: Pages 47 and 289 of Table Mountain Classics by Tony Lourens.
Parking: At the top (Rycroft) gate of Kirstenbosch.
Remember: To bring your entrance fee for Kirstenbosch and some change for the car guard.
Post-hike eating place: Moyo for Castle Light, burgers, sammies, bobotie (if you have a foreign hikist with you), and obscenely large potato wedges.
Highlights of this hike
- Discovering a new and relatively quick way up the mountain. (Much more fun than the boring old Constantia Nek jeep track.) Although, funnily enough, it wasn’t quite as quick as Alison expected it to be.
- Eventually finding the path to Hole in the Wall and being amazed at how we could possibly have missed it the first time.
- Climbing through the Hole in the Wall.
- Climbing all over the rocky ridge, feeling like bold explorers.
- Getting lost at least 8 times. In fact, by the time we reached the jeep track and headed back, we were so used to being lost that it felt a bit odd to know where we were going.
- For Frank: coming into his own as a hikist and unlocking his special cairn-finding skills.
- For Catherine: not breaking her leg when she fell straight through the ground into a hole, and also surviving being dragged up and down the mountain for 6.5 hours without completely freaking out.
- For Alison: falling off a boulder into a thorn bush without dying and also not being murdered by everyone because she’d completely misunderestimated the duration and difficulty of this hike.
Photographs of the Cecilia Ridge and Hole in the Wall hike