26 May 2011

Land of cedars and honey

Last Sunday, they left us behind with Simon and drove up to the Cederberg with Peter and Dorothy to join Ian and Ingrid in Clanwilliam to plant cedar trees at Heuningvlei. To get there they were allowed to drive on the 12 km of normally-closed road from the top of the Pakhuis Pass to Heuningvlei. It was also built by Thomas Bains (who built the Pakhuis Pass which was completed in 1874). He was the son of Andrew Geddes who built Bain's Kloof Pass.
And what do I see? A dog! So why were we not allowed to join in the fun I ask? This is Lucy Buckland's boxer (sitting on Lucy's feet) chatting to Penny Mustart who was one of the movers and shakers of the whole Cedar Tree Event which has been going for eleven years now.
The Clanwilliam Cedar (Widdringtonia cedarbergensis) is an endangered tree that only grows in the Cederberg mountains and many people are trying hard to save it. Once a year everyone meets at the little village of Heuningvlei where they all grab a tree (which have been grown in Bushmans Kloof Guest Farm's nurseries down the drag) and hike up into the mountains to plant it.
Here are some previously planted cedars that, ten or so years down the line are looking quite big. (On the left.)
The humans chose an easy-to-identify rock - this half a Maltese Cross - and planted their two trees underneath it so they will know where to look for them next year. The Alph looking pleased with his efforts while a ranger from CapeNature called Patrick GPSed it for monitoring.
Then it was back to Heuningvlei Community Centre for a slap up lunch and a relax in the sun
before the prize-giving and some more speeches. Here is the Alph getting his prize for planting his tree from Allan Winde who is some bigwig minister of tourism and finance in the Western Cape.
Then is was home again into the sunset. This is Anne Paterson, Micky Orrey and Cecily Muller walking home along the Heunginvlei Road.
The sunset from the top of the Pakhuis Pass - which is 914 m above sea level. You can just see this sea in the distance too.
Home for the night was the a farm just outside Clanwilliam called Patrysvlei. They stayed in The Waenhuis which they shared with these horses,
this Golden Retriever who wasn't allowed into the house so it slept half way in,
and this cat. (Oooh lucky we weren't there or it would have been chased all the way back to Heungivlei!) In the photo you can see Ingrid, Dorothy, Peter, Ian and the Alpha Male about to indulge in yet another gastronomic extravaganza.
There was also a herd of Eland on the farm,
and a rather doff looking Great Dane puppy.
On Sunday they drove to Wupperthal where they stopped to photograph these strange looking flowers which are some kind of snake lily or Ornithoglossum.
The road goes through the small hamlet of Eselbank where this dog came out to greet them and wish them a safe trip home to us.

Planting Cedars

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