08 November 2010

Rocks, rockets and dragons

We started our Sunday morning morning walk with almost a full house - Pauline, Thea-without Boris, Nola, Goose and Maverick, Sue and Nora (Sue's honorary granddaughter) and Nora's mom, dad and baby brother, Alice (squirm with joy!), Roos from Holland and Phakamani from Kirstenbosch. Paul is in England and the Alpha in not allowed to walk till his back toughens up. Considering we were a hair's breadth away from being left behind, this was pretty good going!
This is me showing Nora and Sue the way up the dog steps in Kirstenbosch.
We were just really happy to have all these walkers, when suddenly there was only Roos, Alice, Thea, Phakamani and the Foodlady. They others had gone a different way. It was quite hot by now and I thought maybe I should have peeled off too! But we soldiered on behind Roos.
This is Roos - pronounced Rose - from Holland who speaks perfect English.
We climbed up Constantia Ridge and had tea on breakfast rock overlooking Cape Town.
Then it was a quick drink on the Great Dog Highway on the top. Here is Dougal chasing after a pretty young fluffy dog. We were intrigued by these dung beetles on the Great Dog Highway making short work of what looks like chocolate ice-cream, (but its not really chocolate ice cream, its dog s-h-one-tee!)
But to sweeten the blog, rather look at this pretty Cape Anemone (Anemone tenuifolia), a flower of the damp summit of Table Mountain. We headed up Klaassenskop and the Foodlady found a rather Scotty-unfriendly path that took us up to the edge of a high cliff overlooking Orange Kloof. Here is me and Phakamani on opposite sides of a deep dark crack.There were lots of enticing, irresistible dassie smells and the Foodlady slapped the leads on us to stop us hunting these pesky beasts. (She said it was to stop us taking a header over the sheer cliff, but only Jack Russells would do that! We would just be as nimble as the dassies.) So all we could do was watch helplessly as the dassies melted into the rocks, and Alice, Roos, Thea and Phakamiani disappeared over the top like the scene in Picnic at Hanging Rock. Thea even had a sunshade for atmosphere - and we could hear the strains of the pan flutes and the growl of a diggereedoo ...
But they came back with news that they spotted this rare and endemic Buchu-leaf Heath (Erica diosmifolia) growing like a lichen in a cave. Alice took some photos of it. A close up of Erica diosmifolia. The endemic Crowberry Heath (Erica empetrina). (These are Alice's photos of the ericas.)
And one of the huge trees growing in the cracks and caves up there where we were not allowed. (Also Alice's photo.)
Then it was time to leave. Here is Roos waiting for us at the crossroads.
We came back down to the Dam on the Great Dog Highway, and although it clearly said no swimming,
I just couldn't resist a dip! This is me checking that there were no one looking!
There were lots and lots of these blue and white and mauve Koringblommetjies or Corn Lilies- Ixia polystachya - all over the mountain slopes. They matched Thea's sunshade.

Although this Rocket Pincusion (Leucospermum reflexum) is not locally indigenous (it comes from the Cederberg), it was growing in Kirstenbosch along the path and I thought it would be appropriate seeing that so many rockets and bangs have been unsettling Dougal because of Guy Fawkes last Friday 5 November.
And the dragons came back after we had left and settled down to watch over Orange Kloof till our next visit...

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