The Ancient Modern
Cape Town / Joshua Alan Sturgill
This morning, I woke early, drank tea, filled three water bottles, did some stretching exercises and packed for the vigorous journey to the top of Lion’s Head Peak.
Lion’s Head is next to the more massive Table Mountain, but has the advantage of 360 degree views of both the Mountain and the curving cityscape of Cape Town as it bends between the peaks and the coast.
From the door of my hotel to the Peak, the hike—through business districts and neighborhoods, rising to meet National Park lands—took nearly two hours. It’s an elevation gain of more than 2,000 feet.
Once above the city, the landscape changes dramatically; the variety and color of the local flora astounds. I took a heap of pictures: close-ups of the plants, panoramas of the city and the harbor below.
I’m impressed by this city, by its history, architecture and natural beauty. Sitting at the top of the Peak for an hour, I heard a dozen languages spoken—by locals and tourists—as other hikers rose and returned.
I ate a breakfast bar, drank water and gazed south, across the mingling of the Indian and Atlantic oceans toward Antarctica (which I couldn’t see, but knew it to be just beyond the limit of my vision).
Cape Town is a recovering city, reentering the global scene after a complex and difficult period of racial oppression. But the people are friendly, helpful, proud of who they are and where they’ve come from.
I only have a few days here. But I would stay longer if I could. I would ride the ferris wheel at the waterfront a few more times. I would drink a few more beers at The Power and the Glory pub.
And I would climb Lion’s Head again—on one of the full-moon hikes that folks around here talk about. I’ll be north of the equator before then. And the blisters and pulled tendon will need to heal.