27 August 2012

Tea in the rain

No rain was forecast on Windfinder.com so Alice, Maddie, Paul, Pauline, Sue, Leanne from Prince Edward Island - and lately from Robben Island - and us four set off into the Great Green forest of Cecilia - all bright-eyed and bushy tailed.
Some exotic blossoms (Malus domestica?) were also fooled into thinking that spring just might be in the air ...
Dougal is not interested in flowers or spring, and was chasing goblins and little forest mice,
and avoiding lurgies and water sprites in the rushy rivers.
But then it started to rain but we were quite sheltered in the forest.
Every surface was covered in moss and ferns and everywhere was dripping wet.
Leanne leaping across the Rooikat mountain stream.
Inside the crown of a Forest Tree Fern (Cyathea capensis) is this "maiden hair fern"-like growth that distinguishes it from the Common Tree Fern (Cyathea dregei). (This is when its good to have Alice with us!)
As we emerged from the deep dark woods, we saw a rainbow through the blossoms of the Sweet Pea/Keurtjie trees (Podalyria calyptrata)
that got brighter and brighter. Just look at that gorgeous Afrotemperate Forest! They say that all this CO2 in the atmosphere is like steroids for forests and our Cape Peninsula forests are doing rather well.
Sue and Leanne decided enough rain was enough, and wisely left us to carry on up Cecilia Ridge without them.
Alice spotted this pure white version of the normally purple Spiky Purple Gorse Muraltia heisteria on the way up.
We got to the Great Dog Highway on top in an icy cold wind and we didn't see any dogs - and hardly any humans either. We were hoping to sneak into the Overseer's Hut for tea but there were people in it and a SANParks car or two up there (one nearly ran us down - I don't think it saw us in the mist and rain) so we just carried on down the road and eventually got out of the wind.
Alice and Maddie looking cheerful.
Anyone for tea?
Paul was too cold to stop for tea so he carried on down, and we settled down to tea in the rain.
with this sign to mark the spot.
Tea over, we carried on down through the drippy grass,
keeping an eye out for things that lurk in the mist.
The Alph and Pauline looming up.
I needed a little help coming down the ladder.
A beautiful old Peninsula Conebush (Leucadendron strobilinum). These Peninsula endemics grow on the margins of forests and in other relatively fire-safe habitats that burn infrequently.
A visitor - Erica versicolor - not a Peninsula native.
Dougal having to re-cross the rushy Rooikat river with its river monsters like this Taniwha which seems to have mistaken rainy Cape Town for the rainy places of its homeland of the long white cloud, Aoteoroa.
Good smells that needed investigating, and a very wet Pauline.
And, yay, some dogs to say hi to at last!
Featherhead Phylica (Phylica pubescens var. pubescens) coming up in the newly cleared veld above the carpark at Cecilia.
We were pleased to see Paul safe and sound in the car park - luckily he had not been led astray by the Food Lady's instructions about non-existent benches. Now - home to dry, warm and cosy beds!

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