28 February 2013

Earth , fire and no water

We were left behind while our humans went off to Riversong with John and Julie. On the way they had to negotiate a scary snary fire on the N1,
and there were also fires on the hills in front of Cedarcot,
and in the distant Cederberg.
 There was no water in the cottage the first day,
so they had to go for a swim in the pool to freshen up the next day. Luckily the Alph managed to sort the water supply out later, as there is nothing that makes the Food Lady more irritable than missing a shower at the end of a long hot day!
We've been over that bridge! John and Julie following the Alph and Phoodlady on a hot hike across the river.
Julie - intrepid explorer.
Restio - possibly Katstertkanet (Rhodacoma capensis).
Fiery dragonfly.
Can you see any Scotties? Yes! John and Julie also come from the frozen north where we Scots originate, although technically speaking they are not Scots.
Heading home to a fire and dindins.

18 February 2013

Sun and Shade

On Sunday we set out from Cecilia Car Park early in the morning as it was going to be a HOT HOT HOT day. Sue and Honey came, as well as Paul and Pauline, and Alice and Maddy. The forested paths reminded the Food Lady of a quote from Kipling's Puck of Pook's Hill:  "The trees closing overhead made long tunnels through which the sunshine worked in blobs and patches." 
There was a little bit of discussion about the route, and in the end Alice, Maddy, the Food Lady and us two Scots decided to go the hot way round and all meet up at the waterfall. It was quite a pull up but we were in good spirits. This is the view over Kirstenbosch looking north east over the Tygerberg and the distant mountains. 
Alice and some King Proteas (Protea cynaroides) colour-coordinating in the hot fynbos.
Just spectacular!
Alice remarked on this rather yellow Erica abietina subsp. abietina which is normally bright red.
We soon reached the cool dark waterfall where the others were waiting for us to bring the tea. We were a bit nervous as there seemed to be quite a lot of whispering and dripping and strange goings on in those mossy drippy falls.
Out we shot, like the proverbial bats out of hell, and into the sunshine - the little people don't really like the hot sun.
Come on you lot! There are things under that bridge.
A back-lit Common Sugarbush (Protea repens),
and looking rather hot and bedraggled, a Red Disa (Disa uniflora) clinging onto the rocks above the path.
Soon we were back in the cool river near the Car Park. What a pleasure! 
This is Asparagus scandens which grows in the shady forests of Table Mountain.

15 February 2013

Disas and botomists

Last Sunday, the Alph and the Food Lady upped and left us all alone in the night to fend for ourselves (luckily they did feed us first) while they proceeded to have the time of their lives on a wonderful hike, but being dogs, we forgive and forget, and I will allow the FL some space on my blog to share her photos. 
This is the Orange Kloof Tented Camp where they spent Friday night having a braai and getting to know the other hikers. (Apparently the Alph and FL forgot to take the bag of charcoal that the FL put at the front door - probably because they were feeling guilty at leaving us and forgot to pack it.) They joined Micky, who had organised it all, Bettina, Meg, Cathy, Carolina, Louise, Sandy and Cyril.
The Alph looking like a pukka tour guide leader the next morning when they let out up Orange Kloof - with Meg and Carolina. 
The weather was rather mizzly - autumn in the air? This is Gladiolus monticola - Autumn Pipes all drippy and shiny.
Hiking up Orange Kloof.  Watsonia tabularis in the foreground.
The Alph was intrigued with the tunnels and dams up here. They thought this must be the start of the Apostles Tunnel built in the 1960s to take water down from the dams to Cape Town.
Where no dogs are allowed to tread.
At the top of the mountain they had to take shelter from the rain in the Waterworks Museum - and the Food Lady thought we would be interested in this dog that lived up here for a bit with its owner, the Site Engineer Robert Esdon, who helped build the Woodhead Tunnel. The chap on the log is TW Cairncross, the main Tunnel Engineer.
Luckily for the Food Lady some of the hikers were interested in flowers - the botomists (or lobotomists) - so named because they also like to get down into the undergrowth with lo bottoms in the air. This is the polliniferous  Wind Heath (Erica hispidula).
Mist rolling in over De Villiers Dam.
Arriving at the Overseer's Cottage where they spent Saturday night and where no dogs are allowed.
The Food Lady waxing lyrical.
A fire was made to dry out boots, socks and all ...
City lights from Table Mountain. Luckily for us Simon was back on Saturday to at least let us sleep inside and not out in the rain and wind.
Setting out on Sunday morning.
Looking back to the Overseer's Cottage and beyond to Cape Point.
Trying to raise Xolise and tell him what time to bring the bags to the Cable Station. (But, as they discovered later, SOMEONE had copied his telephone number down incorrectly!)
Most of Cape Town (and their dogs!) had turned out to see
the Red Disa (Disa uniflora)!
Tea time at the start of the Aqueduct.
Red Disas under every bridge. Cathy and Sandy Familiar Chat-watching with iPad at hand to identify birds.
The Alph leading the way out of the jungle. Carolina looking relieved to see the proper path.
Micky doing some last minute misty botomising and photographing the Golden Orchid,  
its petals flecked with gold dust. 

They caught the cable car down and waited at the car park for their bags to arrive - the slight delay mainly thanks to the Food Lady not entering Xolise's telephone number correctly on her phone! I hope this Jack Russel's humans remember that their dog is behind the land rover!
All in all it looked like a good hike - and in just the weather that we Scots enjoy!