Mountain Passages

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Views from Lion’s Head (el. 2195′), Cape Town

“The range terminates on the left with the titanic wall of rock, named The Table Mountain, rising almost perpendicularly to a height of 3,582 feet, facing Table Bay.  It is flanked on the left by the picturesque Devil’s Peak–the “Windberg” of old navigators–and on the right by the Lion’s Head, which slopes away to the rump, or Signal Station.  In the Amphitheater formed by these elevations is spread out the city of Cape Town”

( from: John Noble, Illustrated official handbook of the Cape and South Africa; a résumé of the history, conditions, populations, productions and resources of the several colonies, states, and territories, 1893

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liohs head start

“The term ‘path’ simultaneously indicates the act of crossing (the path as the action of walking), the line that crosses the space (the path as architectural object) and the tale of the space crossed (the path as narrative structure).”

(from: Francesco Careri, Walkscapes, 2009)
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lions head bench

“For many cases of nervous breakdown,
so common a feature of our
over-strained civilisation, I regard the Cape trip as an invaluable resource. [. . .] In [one] instance a gentleman whose symptoms pointed to the early nervous break-down of general paralysis, recovered his faculties of mental concentration and memory as a result of a few weeks duration.”

(From Ernest Graham Little, “Health Resorts of South Africa” in South Africa and its Future, 1903)
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“Each lions head pathpath has its own song and the complex of the songlines constitutes a network of erratic, symbolic paths that cross and describe the space, like a sort of chanted guidebook.”

(From Francesco Careri, Walkscapes, 2009)
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“Ever since the time of its first settlement the Cape has been a lions head yellow flowersource of constant pleasure and delight to the botanist and the gardener. Though Cape plants have somewhat gone out of fashion of late years, it is still probably true that no single country in the world has contributed so largely to to European Conservatories and gardens as the Cape of Good Hope.”

 (from Harry Bolus, F.L.S, “The Flora of South Africa” in The Illustrated Official Handbook of the Cape and South Africa: a resume of the history, conditions, populations, productions, and resources of the several colonies, states, and territories. John Noble, ed, 1893)
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a peak on lion's head

 

“My feet feel weary
like a feather
yet
I walk the path that breaks the heels”

(excerpt from Mongane Serote’s “The Journey”)
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“Walking conditioned sight and sight conditioned walking, till it seemed only the feet could see.”

(Robert Smithson, cited in Careri, Walkscapes)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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