The Langeberg High Ridge Line is quintessentially Rim of Africa. This section of walking challenged us all with extreme climbs and descents, clouds and wind, and drought and exhaustion. After three weeks of walking and living in the mountains, this was still a test of ability and certainly a test of endurance.
The beginning our walk was very grey, with rain and clouds constantly dancing around us. To Walk Into the Clouds was as much an emotional challenge as a navigational one.
As we descended from the wind-howling cloudscapes high in the mountain, we followed a path along the jagged, epic face of the mountainside again. The trail felt old here and worked its way along the dramatic drops and waterway we encountered.
Once the sun appeared again and the mountain top cleared of cloud, we climbed back to the high ridge line. The ascent angle was insane — we had to work our way zigzagging back and forth up the mountain. The fynbos was beautiful, but there was times we had to grab hold of it to steady ourselves on such a steep ascent.
The view from the top is most rewarding. From here we can see our entire journey ahead of us. Follow the ridge until the end. And the end is at the gap in the mountains, where you see the triangle face of the mountain askew from the rest of the ridge. Almost there. Still another two days of walking.
And so continues the beautiful high walk, our realm of mountain peak, sun, and open sky.
Put this is not an easy place to survive. This high on mountains is a test of adaption to the elements – hot sun, strong wind, little water. We begin Running Out of Water and are forced to drink from small puddles hidden in the rocks. To take water at any place we see it — for who can tell you when it may appear again?
We only stop walking once the sun is setting, and it becomes too dark to continue. This evening we considered stopping earlier, to give ourselves time to relax before rushing to set up dinner and camp. But one walker said it best “what would we do, sit around and stare at each other?” We walk in the mountains, that is what we do. All else seems unnecessary.
Look closely at the above photo to see the group ahead, in the middle of the frame. I believe this photo still fails to grasp the scale of the mountain faces we scaled, this one being affectionately named “the swoop.”
This is the footpath that will take us to the end. This is our first good look at Montagu, the end of the first half of the Rim of Africa. This is the last day, the twenty-seventh day, of walking along the first-half of the Rim of Africa.
I am happy to think that tomorrow I will not be spending all day walking with a backpack. To have all the food I want again. To have a bed again.
I also look ahead, at the mountain beyond Montagu, which I plan to continue walking in just a few weeks. Part of me calls to continue now – restock and go! Another part of me is intimidated. I know what it is like to walk these mountains now, I can read them plainly, and I know walking the mountain opposite of Montagu looks tough. Very tough.
I bring my focus back to the footpath ahead and the feast I know to be waiting below.