I had marveled at the majesty of it for weeks, but I’d never been to the top. Then one day my chance arrived.
The student ministry where I worked was hosting a social event for students, and we were going to climb Table Mountain.
The plan was to meet at the campus ministry office at a certain time, then carpool to the base of the mountain. Of course, since it was college students, we got off to a late start and were seriously delayed by the time we started our hike.
Several students lagged behind while others literally raced to the top. The average climb should take between an hour and a half to two and a half hours to reach the flat-topped peak. Since I was staff, I felt I should stay with the last students, to make sure nobody got lost or gave up halfway.
We reached the top just in time to catch the sunset. It was gorgeous, but obviously posed a problem.
The sun set and we were climbing down on the east side, the path cast into a dark shadow.
Nobody ever told me that going down would be harder than climbing up.
My thigh muscles were tense. It was dark, except for the large spotlight at the base of the mountain that lit the mountain at night for the city spectators to enjoy. Behind me, a student held a flashlight, but the light danced and shook with each step he took, making my descent even more precarious. Then, “Whooaa!”
He slipped, and my heart skipped two beats.
I thought we were both going down.
After several more slips and frayed nerves, we finally reached the bottom. Even in the car, I had to sit in the driver’s seat for about five minutes before my legs stopped shaking enough drive my manual car back to campus.
But it was worth it.