27 September 2010

Ash Valley

On Saturday we had Wyndham (the father of Tammy - who is one of my most bestest of all humans) to stay and the Food Lady decided to use this as an excuse to go for a 6 hour hike up the mountain. We started at Cecilia forest, and headed up Cecilia Ravine again, this time with the Alpha to help me up the tricky bits. While we were having a drinks break on Breakfast Rock, this little Neddicky joined us,
and further up we saw these hairy monkey beetles having fun in a pillow-white flowerhead of the Cape Everlasting (Syncarpha speciosissima).
Then we were up and back on the Great Dog Highway. Interestingly, this road where the Alpha and Wyndham can be seen - Wyndham checking his GPS co-ordinates - and which is also known as the Bridle Path, was laid out by Thomas Charles John Bain, son of the more famous Andrew Geddes Bain (also Scots!).
We crossed a few streams and here we are standing on a wall that diverts water into an aqueduct that runs down the mountain to Kirstenbosch.
Looking down into Nursery Ravine.
We walked along an easy path, past this glade of exotic trees that was planted over a hundred years ago - and which is why the ravine is called Nursery Ravine. The Food Lady says all the invasive trees have been felled, and the ones that remain are Silver Birches, Turkey Oaks and Cryptomeria japonica fir trees.
Up on top and heading to the Woodhead Dam with the Alpha. It was nice and cool and splashy and wet. These are the flowers of the Peninsula endemic Mountain Rose (Leucadendron strobilinum.) The Food Lady frog-marched us to the Waterworks Museum for Wyndham to admire Terence Timoney's legacy to the people of Cape Town. This is a photo inside the little museum of the Black Watch Scottish regiment pipers at the laying of the foundation stone of the Woodhead Dam in 1894. Us Scots are everywhere!
We did a little diversion - the "scenic route" - the euphemism for getting a bit lost! and had lunch overlooking a large, mostly empty Victoria Dam. Then headed back to take the Ash Valley track back to the Great Dog Highway.
The Western Province Mountain Club hut in Ash Valley. This was originally a stone cottage built for the forester, Paul Schickerdanz, who planted the nursery at the top of Nursery Ravine in the the mid 1880s. There were barracks for 15 convict labourers here too. If you look closely to the left you can see a little boy climbing on the rock. We were quite envious of him and his family who looked like they were having a lovely relaxing time in the hut - and we knew we had to start heading all the way down again.
In Ash Valley, the floor was a carpet of these tiny pink Witsterretjies (Spiloxene alba).
A white Geranium incanum. (The pink garden ones come from the George area, but these are the true Cape Peninsula ones.)
I got a bit tired - and the road was quite hard underfoot - so the Alpha gave me a lift for a bit.
The long road home. For the first time in history, we didn't see any other dogs on the Great Dog Highway.
Looking back at Constantia Ridge where we scrambled up a few hours earlier.
We wanted to get stuck into this enticingly screeching cockroach, Aptera fusca, on the road but the Food Lady said absolutely not - she tends to be a bit of a spoilsport when it comes to us hunting on the mountain and besides, it ejects a black liquid that might sting our eyes. (We dont really care about that sort of thing but we decided not to fight too hard to bite it in two.)
Some pretty flowers along the way included this Painted Lady (Gladiolus carneus),
and spider had spun a web around the flowers of this soetgonna bush (Struthiola dodecandra). By the time we got down into the forest, my back legs were a bit wonky and didn't always do what I wanted them to do - but as you can see, my tail was still up. Back in Cecilia Forest I was able to cool off in this lovely cold water. Wyndham had sore knees.But Dougal didn't want to come home and the Alpha had to chase him back to the car.

1 comment:

  1. That looks like a fabulous walk Coco, and quite a climb for your short legs! Thanks for showing me two places I've never been before: ash valley and the waterworks museum. I've been meaning to walk up the back table for a while and will make a point of including these two spots on my route.