A backpack, sleeping bag, one change of clothes, dixie, gas cooker, hiking boots and an awesome group of friends are all you need for the adventure of your life. There is nothing like a throw back Thursday to reminisce about some of the best days of your life. For me it was defiantly hiking the Senior Scout Adventure in the Cederberg. I hiked it 3 times; in 2008, 2010 and 2012 and I could never get enough of this hiking paradise. The Cederberg is harsh with rugged mountainous landscape for as far as you can see. Scattered orange rocks take over all the empty spaces. The air is hot, you can see it beam off of the horizon in front of you with not a tree in sight, but somehow it is the most peaceful tranquil place you will ever go.
For 10 days we spent hiking through un-spoilt wilderness up through the steep, rocky Wolfberg cracks (3 cracks in the rock) towards the dramatic, wind-carved sandstone formations of the Wolfberg Arch. Once we got through the cracks it was as if we walked through a door into a different landscape. Still scattered with rocks but surrounded by green plants and lush vegetation. Another magnificent formation is the Maltese Cross. After hiking up a fairly steep kloof, a 5-story rock formation stands alone on the barren fairly flat escarpment (If you are into geocaching, there is a surprise waiting for you there;)
While these rock formations are something from a star wars movie, there are 2 incredible peaks that give way to another epic challenge. The first is Tafelberg (No not the famous Table Mountain in Cape Town, another flat topped mountain). We slept in a cave near the summit that offers one of the most spectacular views in the Cederberg, especially while we cooked bully beef as the sunset turned the bright orange landscape to dark mauves. The route to the summit of Tafelberg leads up to God’s staircase of massive boulders, before some jumps and chain climbing up to the summit, which is a huge rocky slap full of eroded rocks that form all kinds of shapes. It may actually be the closest feeling to standing on the moon.
One of the first mountains you notice when you start hiking the Cederberg is Sneeuberg. Sneeuberg stands at 2027m and is the highest mountain in the Western Cape. The climb to the top of Sneeuberg is technical, thrilling and exposed. But wow, is it worth it! At sunset we climbed up to the trig beacon and on one side we could see the massive glowing sun engulf all the peaks around us in a bright yellow and orange glow and on the other side, the land seemed to go on forever, the Maltese cross was so far below us that it looked like a match stick. The Sneeuberg Mountain cast a shadow over the rest of the Cederberg and put the whole land to sleep. At night we slept on the edge of a cliff like sardines all in a row on a ledge that is blocked off with a boulder that kept us from falling off of the edge. We really got to be one with the mountain as we lay exposed to the elements under millions of stars on the side of the mountain with the world below us.
One of my favorite things about hiking without a tent is lying under the stars with a clump of grass as a pillow and our backpack standing upright which sheltered us from the wind or any wild animals that may want to come cuddle us while we sleep. In 10 days of hiking we found ourselves sleeping in caves, in an open field, on a path because that was the only flat area we could find, in an old roofless hut or on the edge of a mountain. Wherever we were we made that our little spot for the night and nothing could be better.
Cederberg, you have been part of many amazing memories and have definitely given me one more reason to love hiking and the mountains. I’ll be back with my backpack on my back and boots on my feet ready for the challenges and experiences you offer.