23 February 2011

Up Pecks with a brownie

Sue, Nola, Maverick and Goose, Paul and Pauline, our humans and us reported for duty at the stone gate at the bottom of Peck's Valley. This is Aristea dichotoma with Lachnaea grandiflora in the background. Paul arrived with a beautiful Brownie Box camera. We are all intrigued to see the results.
Us and the Alpha at the top of Pecks waiting for all the slowpoke photographing pholks to catch up. You can see the lovely cool mist in the background.
Apologies to Maverick and Goose for lumping them in with Maltese Poodles in an earlier post. The Foodlady will amend the title forthwith. (Click here to check.) They are very distinguished terrier cross breeds. Just look at Goose's distinguished expression! And Dougal is trying to will the rusks to just JUMP out of the backpack.
A misty but not too chilly tea in the rocks. Nola, Maverick, Goose, us two, Sue, Paul, Pauline and the Alpha Male.
Paul shooting from the hip.
Crassula coccinea - a very very red Red Crassula (almost as red as Paul's boots!) that is also pollinated by the Table Mountain Pride butterfly. According to PlantZafrica,the botanist, Rudolph Marloth explains in his description of Crassula coccinea published in Flora of South Africa (1913-1932) that 'this dazzling brightness ... is principally due to the dome-shaped form of the epidermal cells, each acting like a combination of a convex lens with a concave reflector'.
The monarch of the Glen - that me!
On the way down from St Jame's Peak we passed these early flowering Golden Spiderheads (Serruria villosa).

14 February 2011

A short history lesson from the Food Lady

The Foodlady left her camera card behind so there are no photos to show of their Sunday walk this week. Pity, as by all accounts the disas were so plentiful that in the end they were all disa-ed out. They toiled up Skeleton Gorge - only Sue, the Alpha and the FL in the end - the others all ailing or entertaining. (These photos are from last year).

The Food Lady thought that this was a good opportunity to provide some facts that she found in Colin Paterson Jones's book Table Mountain Walks and Jose Burman's The Table Mountain Book. They had a tea stop at the top of Window Gorge in among lots of flowering red disas. Window Gorge is where one of the streams that flows into the Liesbeek River starts. (The other is at the top of Skeleton Gorge.)
They then walked on to the Aqueduct (made famous by Paul's red hiking boots last year) which was built in the late 1800s to channel water into the Woodhead and Hely-Hutchinson dams.
Then it was down the gorge that skirts Junction Peak and ends up at the dams which they crossed. There were lots and lots of people (and dogs!) in the Cool Pools. En route to the top of Nursery Ravine, this little clump of firs, silver birches and oaks and some ruined mossy stone walls are all that's left of the Superintendent of Plantations in the Cape, Joseph Storr Lister's Oudekraal Tree Nursery established in 1884. (He also set up the Tokai Arboretum.) Lister appointed a forester, Paul Schickerdanz, as Forest Guard for Table Mountain and gave him the task of establishing a nursery for exotic plantation trees u[ there. At one stage there were blackwoods (Acacia melanoxylon), silver birches (Betula pendula), firs (Chamaecyparis lawsoniana, Cryptomeria japonica and Cupressus species), pines (Pinus radiata), ash (Fraxinus species), elm (Ulmas procera) and Turkey oaks (Quercus cerris). Some of the plantations were inundated when the Hely Hutchinson Dam was built, and the rest have been felled, save for a few of the non-invasive ones - some ancient old firs (Cryptomeria japonica), some silver birches and some Turkey oaks. Indigenous species have also been planted there now - yellowwoods (Podocarpus latifolius), Rooiels (Cunonia capensis) and Cape Beech (Rapanea melanophloeos).
Why in Heaven's name did they want to grow trees up here in this remote spot one asks. Well, the prevailing thought in those long ago days was that trees increased water run-off in catchment areas. It has now been conclusively demonstrated that the indigenous vegetation is more efficient for this purpose - in fact it is much more efficient because the exotic trees suck up any available moisture at a great rate, which is then lost through their leaves.
(For more on this nursery and Schickerdanz, click here for a previous post that included us scotties in the walk, when this photo was taken.)

07 February 2011


We were excluded from this little jaunt, but it sounds like it nearly did our two humans in, so we concede that it was not really for us. And besides, it is part of the Limietberg Nature Reserve that excludes all canines - but I would have loved to come and look for bobbejaans to chase. Clare and Roos came with our humans, and they met Anthea and Mike and Bronwyn and four of her friends, Eleanor, John, Matthew and Jenna at Bain's Kloof.
Looking back at Bain's Kloof Pass. The Bobbejaans River joins the Witte which is the river that runs at the bottom of Bains Kloof.
The FL specially got herself a waterproof camera so she wouldn't miss out on any special plant sighting, and this is Erica pinea which is quite special as it only occurs in this area.
There was a lot of energetic jumping into the coolest of cool mountain pools. This is John.
Mike with all the Westerfordians in a puddle, a huddle, a cuddle but not a muddle.
A very special first for the Food Lady - the Bush Lily, Nivenia corymbosa. It also only grows in this area and nowhere else in the world.
Lunch and a little relax.
Another very cool looking pool and waterfall. The blue flowers of Nivenia corymbosa cascading over the edge too.
There were also a few Red Disas (Disa uniflora).
Looking down the Bobbejaans River.
A beautiful soft pink King Protea (Protea cynaroides).
The Food Lady playing with her new waterproof camera.
Roos looking like a trapeze artiste. I would have loved to have a swim in that pool.
Clare and Roos relieved that Mike is not going to make them jump or abseil down the next level far, far below.
The FL will put some more photos on Facebook so check that out too.
The Mitre Aloe (Aloe perfoliata).
Back to the start. Tired and hot and a bit sunburnt.

02 February 2011

A cool walk with scotties, other terriers and a Maltese poodle

After a very very hot Wednesday walk with the Food Lady and her friends when I tried to take a short cut home and incurred the wrath of the Food Lady, today's walk was lovely and cool. We met Sue, Thea without Boris, Kristin (from the USA who has been here with us before in 2009 - just type Kristin in the search box on the right and the relevant posts will come up), Richard, Josie, Nola, Maverick and Goose, and all piled into the Land Rover which we drove along Chapman's Peak Drive and parked near the booms. Then it was all out and up the mountain. There were some red Mountain Pipes or Summer Snakeflowers (Tritonipsis triticea) in bloom. this one has a strange little bristly gogga on it.
Goose and Maverick on top. The Sentinel in the background and the Karbonkelberg covered in cool clouds.
Another red flower for the Food Lady, this Red Rock Heath (Erica nevillei) that we have seen before, and only grows on the higher parts of these mountains from Constantiaberg to Kalk Bay.
Setting off along the contour path with the clouds still swirling around the peaks. Dawniedawg is getting a bit myopic and has to smell everyone to find out which one is the Food Lady. Nope, not you ...
Another Tritoniopsis - this one is the pepper-scented Pepersouskousie (Tritoniopsis parviflora).
Tea on the rocks overlooking Hout Bay beach. Thea, Sue (trying to beat the Food Lady at her own game), The Alpha, Kristin, Richard, Nola and standing on the rock looking goofy is Dawniedawg. You can just see my tail - up. Its not just me that likes being a lap dog! Me contemplating the deep blue cool sea. So very far below.
The long and gravelly road home.
Oh, and the one that got away - that large flappy insect that looked like a cross between and butterfly and a stick insect with a bit of dragonfly thrown in that the Food Lady missed getting on the camera - turned out to be an adult Mottled Veld Antlion.