27 July 2009

Getting high on Hoerikwaggo

Feeling perky today - no tummy troubles and Alice is back again! Set out in two cars with Sue, Katta, Richard and Pauline, and dropped a car at Silvermine on the way to Noordhoek Beach. Got a bit lost looking for start of trail....

...but then found the path thanks to very nice man at Monkey Valley. (Next time we will know to go right to the end of the beach.)

Then we just kept going higher and higher and every twist and turn was another "oooh" and "aaah" from humans.

Very welcome tea with lots to eat at the top of Chapmans. You cant see me in the pic as I am comfortable at Sue's feet. Saw lots and lots of other dogs so that Dougal got a bit rattled and had to go on his lead.
We left all dogs and humans behind on Chapmans Peak and headed down the other side and then all the way up again to Noordhoek Peak. It was quite a walk.Luckily there was lots to drink.
Alice and Food Lady found interesting flowers to photograph: lots and lots of Table Mountain Hairy Heath Erica hirtiflora. And a Cape Snowdrop, Crassula capensis. There were quite a few of these little Granny Bonnet orchids, Disperis capensis that are thought to mimic the nectar-producing flowers of Polygala bracteolata to trick the rather stupid carpenter bees (the staffies of the insect world!) into thinking that they have nectar, but they don't. Carpenter bees (which are very common on Table Mountain and important pollinators) also steal pollen from long-tubed ericas by biting holes through the side of the flowers and it is thought that the sticky coating on some ericas clog up the mouthparts of the bees preventing them from stealing too much precious nectar. Here are Pauline and Alice inspecting the sticky flowers of Erica physodes, the Sticky-flowered Heath on Noordhoek ridge.

Richard didn't find too many birds and luckily the black eagles were not there today,

but as he saw some horsefish when he went diving, that made up for not seeing too many birds.
Last stretch - and look at the smoke from all the tantalizing braais! The humans (some of them at least) were looking forward to a cold beer at this stage. But we still had lots of barking to do to let the neighbours know we were back.

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