The Contour Path, a trail sandwiched somewhere between Newlands Forest and Table Mountain proper, is surely among the Cape’s best. Lichen-covered stones sparkle like gems; big, mossy boulders lay like sleeping giants. Trees with twisted roots and a waterfall cove worthy of an Aerothian forest made this one of the best walks to date. It all culminated with a surprise stumbling upon the blockhouse, which is basically an awkward memorial to cannons and otherwise forgotten people, though it did boast a fantastic view. It was lovely.
Then came the decision: how to get home. We came to a fork in the road, which was marked by an oddly-placed turnstile in the middle of nowhere. No sign or marking explained what exactly this turnstile was doing halfway up the mountain, but there it was, staring at us from the centre of the trail like a sign written in a foreign language, as though it was trying to tell us something we didn’t have the resources or inclination to understand. At this point we were about three hours into our hike, but we could see the end of the trail just below us so the path ahead seemed reasonable. We decided to venture forth, passing through the squeaky, metal gate with impish curiosity.
And then it hit. The trees disappeared. The sun beat down with relentless fury. My rations of juice and Salticrax ran out. Crazy-legged spiders and even crazier cyclists threatened my life at every turn, bolstered by the mocking rumble of red gravel beneath my feet. With each step the path below became farther and farther away as the road wound back and forth around the mountain in a torturous zig-zag. I pleaded and whined, hoping beyond hope the path would just end, until finally it fell into the shaded, street-side path between Rhodes Memorial and Newlands Forest. Not a moment too soon I nestled my bum into the velvety seat of the car, nearly six hours since I had first left it. I had survived, thanks mostly to the impromptu, adventure biscuits I made for breakfast. If ever you plan to brave the unknown, may your breakfast carry you through with more success.