13 December 2011

Drip, drip, drip

The humans were determined to hike up to Maclear's Beacon today as plans to do so had been scuppered on the last three attempts due to high winds, rain and heat. So a gentle drizzle was nothing, in fact it was great because it meant we could come too. We started at the Rycroft Gate at Kirstenbosch where we met the only other person mad enough to join us - Pauline. Here is Dougal looking a bit sceptical.
We slogged up Nursery in the drippy drizzle,
us Scots in our element: cool wet weather, and lots of smells and rustles in the undergrowth to investigate.
Waiting for the phoodlady almost at the top.
By the time we reached the top of Nursery Ravine, the squall had passed and the sun was trying to break through.
Dougal being a dassie.
Pauline, me, Dougal - and the Food Lady pouring the tea - taken by the Alpha.
They were keen to see Drip Disas, but we also saw drip sedges with large droplets that were about to drip ...
and a Drip Erica - (actually Erica plukenetti) flowering rather later than usual,
and a glistening Blister Bush, Notobuton galbanum - a member of the carrot family.
As if I wasn't wet enough already! But the mountain water is just so inviting.
This was the closest we got to seeing Drip Disas (Disa longicornu). Tight buds.
and some more buds of another disa, possibly Disa vaginata or maybe D. rosea.
We saw lots and lots of wonderfully drippy waterfalls - water was just cascading and gushing everywhere.
Relieved to see we were on the right track as the weather started to close in again.
The cloud lifted to reveal a glimpse of the Constantia winelands far below.
Omigosh what's that! A Christmas rocky reindeer?
The Food Lady and Pauline exclaimed over some pretty pink and fluffy bushes of the Rose Rice Heath (Erica tenuifolia).
Some helpful white arrows pointed us in the right direction as it was too misty to see very far ahead now.
A cute little Bulbine.
We clambered up and up, through waterfalls and tight spots,
until at last Maclear's Beacon loomed into sight.
Two nice people who had come from the cable car offered to take a photo of all of us at the beacon. We were quite relieved to see them there as it was quite windy and wet and we were worried that the cable car might be closed and we would have to walk down Platteklip Gorge.
It was too chilly to linger at the beacon, so we carried on through the soggy wetland, mist
and drizzle
and made it back to the cable car at about noon, where we had a picnic lunch and Pauline bought some coffee for the Food Lady and herself and a beer for the Alph which went down very well. We had some "Mocha and Almond" rusks, a Beano and some mountain water which suited us just fine too!
We felt relieved to be alive when we looked at this monument to all of the people who have died on Table Mountain.

The Alph phoned Simon to come and fetch us and we went down in the cable car which I did NOT enjoy one little bit!
It was all rather confusing and scary in the cable car
and we were mighty relieved to get down to find Simon waiting for us with the Land Rover.
Two tired and happy Scotties.

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