Day 22 – August 18th 2017

08:00 Camp in center of Kaskasavagge

The night here in Kaskasavagge was cold and comfortable, what a difference when not having to make an effort to just keep the equipment dry.
Frankly I can’t remember when I woke up with a dry tent last time, I’d have to go back and look through my journals.
Today is overcast yet it looks like it will stay dry for now at least, the clouds give this valley a more sinister atmosphere and a feeling of ancient times. It would not be surprising to see a woolly mammoth turn up behind a huge rock.

I’m setting out to start the day going over the pass to Goubirvaggi, then follow that valley westwards back to Tjäktjavaggi and enter Sinnivagge. A few km up that valley I know a really good camp site that I intend to use the coming night.
Then the weather will determine how I continue towards Kebnekaise.

As the afternoon snack yesterday really bumped both my Ketonix readings and my energy levels I chose to complement my fat coffees this morning with some nuts, jerky and ghee. We’ll see how that turns out during the day!

17:05 Camp in Sinnivagge

First let me break the news that I hiked in my normal hiking pants all day, can’t even remember the last day I had no need to change into rain pants!
I’m so incredibly grateful for this beautiful weather, it’s been a little on and off all day yet dry all day through and now I have the sunshine hitting the tent from the east and a beautiful view over the Ruskkas mountains I past on their eastern side just days ago.

The hike today was marvelous, first the ascent to the summit – beautiful views and quite a lot of snow to walk on. I prefer the snow though it’s more physically demanding than rock as one has to kick hole into the snow for each step. It’s just so much easier on joints and ligaments!
It took me about an hour to climb the pass and I made a little video at the summit.

The way down was a lot of fun yet very demanding – I could utilize a few huge snow fields to avoid descending on rocks and it takes an enormous amount of concentration to stay in control on the snow.
Once down at the bottom I hiked a few more km before my eyes and brain needed a little rest and refueling so I took a snack break right down at the lake.

Continuing 45 min later I was perfectly ok with having to go all the way down to Kungsleden and use the bridge to cross Guobirjohka. Fortunately that wasn’t necessary, I kept pretty much south and soon after clearing ‘Drakryggen’ (the mountain is called ‘dragons back’ due to its shape) I saw not only Rabots glacier and a grassing herd of reindeers, but also a wide area of the river where it looked passable. It was indeed and I didn’t even have to get my feet wet!

After the crossing I went down quite some in elevation to round Guobircohkka and turn back east into Sinnivaggi. Nice soft grass to walk on and very easy to find reindeer tracks to follow.



The actual trail along Sinnjijohka is on the south side of the stream, yet that’s a well worn out trail and I prefer to hike on the north side instead. The first ascent into the valley is physically much more demanding as one needs to climb up to avoid a steep field of rocks. After that it levels out and follows the stream up to the grass field in Sinnivagge.
Once arrived here I just set up camp and got myself some hot tea so now it’s time for an early dinner and probably an early night as well. I’m a little weary after the last two days, more mentally than physically.
Most guide books recommend doing one of these passes per day only and there’s been quite some additional hiking these days.
I guess I just need some rest and recovery and we’re all good again!

Time to relax and enjoy the beautiful spot here in Sinnivagge!

The journey continues, please leave a comment to tell me what You think and share this with friends and loved ones who might benefit or be interested!

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Peace // Claes

Devils Peak from Newland Forrest

To avoid getting into the traffic of Cape Town I planned my hike up Devils Peak to start from the east and Lance dropped me of at the Fire Station in Newland Forrest just before 10:00 in the morning. This being the day after my India Venster hike I expected some soreness in my legs, early on during the hike I know I was right in that regard – this was going to be a slow day 😉

Looking at the map ahead of the hike my choice to follow the “Rim trail” up to the Newlands Gorge turned out to be an interesting one. The trail started out as a beautiful small path that soon got fainter and then even fainter, at times it was almost invisible and it became clear that it was used mainly by game, not hikers. Lots of fun, though, to climb over and crawl under obstacles and I did not at all mind the hour it took me to reach the contour path.

The climb up the gorge was steady and, due to my tired muscles, pretty slow without any difficulties. Reaching the saddle I could easily detect the rest of the trail towards to top of Devils peak and continued in a steady pace until I reached the summit.



Sky was clearer than previous days and the view over Cape Town just breathtaking!



The wind from N/W was pretty hard and I hope You can live with the sound on the video:


Going down I had to abandon my original plan of following the
knife edge, that path was simply indiscernible, and
instead I descended down to the Upper Traverse path following this around the northern edge of the mountain aiming to get down to Kings Blockhouse.

Parts of the trail offering a lot of fun, steep descents 😀



The contour path took me once again back to Kirstenbosch garden where I got picked up by Lance for the ride back to the house.
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Peace // Claes

More Table Mountain – India Venster to Skeleton Gorge and Kirstenbosch


Starting at the lower Cable Car station the India Venster (meaning Indian Window in Afrikaans) trail soon crosses the contour path and runs steeply up the mountain side. It is generally considered to be on the more difficult side and partly closer to climbing then hiking.

The trail passes under the cable car several times during the first part and every time I see the car pass by me I get this mixed feelings of envying the easy transport and pity the passengers missing out on this beautiful and fun hike!
I have to admit that the trail is so much fun, I have to remind myself to stop and enjoy the view every now and then!

Getting even better during the second half of the trail, almost vertical at times yet with great grips and threads not really difficult to climb. Still I recommend anyone being advert to heights to chose another route up this mountain. Some parts are very close to the edge along impressing drops!

Heading for the Café at the upper station for a nice double Cortado I made a new friend from Perth, Australia and got company for the rest of the hike. We took the trail leading south to the Woodhead reservoir, crossed the dam and turned east heading for Kirstenbosch Garden through Skeleton gorge.

Just before reaching the gorge and at the most eastern end of the Hely-Hutchinson reservoir there´s a fantastic sandy area almost forming a beach right on the mountain. Had swimming in the reservoirs been allowed, this had been a great place for a refreshing dip 😀

The decent through Skeleton Gorge soon follows a creek carrying no water this time of the year yet should be impossible to pass during rain fall. Leading through beautiful shady forrest and offering fun climbing parts and even a few ladders it´s a treat after the scourging sun on the top af the mountain. A short walk after reaching the bottom of the gorge lies the botanical garden of Kirstenbosch, unfortunately I didn´t have time to explore the garden itself, got that saved for another day!

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Peace // Claes

Table Mountain from Constantia Nek January 4th 2017

First shot at hiking Table Mountain was on Wednesday January 4th 2017, I started out from Constantia Nek just before 9:30 after Lance got me a ride there. Following the trail and keeping left for the jeep trail I met a couple and got pointed even further west where I found a marvelous little nature trail leading up the mountain side.
The spectacular view at times almost dangerously distracting as the hike became more of a climb in some sections!
Weather was amazing, warm and sunny with a nice breeze cooling me down every time I got over a ridge.

Not many people on the trail, I passed a total of 6 persons before reaching the first reservoir and bumped into a party of four with three dogs bathing and enjoying the cool water.
The planned route west of this reservoir was heavily overgrown and, swiftly adjusting plans, I followed the jeep trail north just passed the … cabin where a water faucet was placed serving hikers with amazingly cold and tasty water. After drinking my fill and washing head and face, leaving my hair wet to cool the head, I soon continued north along the mountain side, aiming to follow Smuts Track up to the peak of Table Mountain.
The day getting warmer and covering quite a lot of elevation taxed my water supply harder than I planned for and I actually ran out of water on the way up. Reminder to self: always fill the container with fresh water even when I don’t think I need it ?

From the peak it´s an easy walk crossing the plateau to the cable station where they established a café serving a few lunch dishes besides coffee, other beverages and sorted sandwiches.
I had beef stew that contained more bones than meat, pretty lousy value for money and, to be frank with You, I´d recommend You pack lunch if You plan on having lunch on the mountain!
After spending around an hour at the café, eating and resting it was time to follow the north ridge of the plateau back to Platteklip Gorge and decent along the trail down the gorge.
Usually steep decent are slightly uncomfortable for knees and quads, this one being no exception, I took it pretty slow and easy downhill. Also I was rather surprised to see that the fence partly following the trail at the steeper parts was made out of barbed wire… Please don´t grab if You fall, and don’t fall onto the fence… ?
Once out of the gorge there are several forks in the trail and the one to follow runs along the mountainside right to the point where the cable car crosses the trail. From there just use the trail leading down to the station.
All in all it was a majestic and beautiful hiking day and I can highly recommend the route. Getting back up on the mountain again and, of course, right back to You with the next report!

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Peace // Claes