05 February 2013

Stonecrops and stony paths

Today there was only the two of us with our two humans. The rest of the troop were ill, injured, too hot, working or away. We had planned to walk from Constantia Nek to Hout Bay, and luckily for us hot scots, the day dawned cool and cloudy. We parked at the restaurant and walked along the road for a bit past this fantastically exciting adventure centre high up in the gum trees - but behind a rather scary snary barbed wire fence.
This is the start of the path, which was littered with litter and half full/half empty (take your pick) black bags. The City of Cape Town regularly sends us glossy newspapers telling us how "excellent" they are at cleaning up the City but I think they must have forgotten to come up here as it was rather disgusting.
The path was stony and harsh on us Scots, and inhabited by large ants like this one that had a look of a Staffie about it. The Food Lady found out from Hamish Roberston that it is a foraging member of the "maculatus-group" of ants (possibly Camponotus liengmei) that are normally nocturnal, live under rocks and come out to forage sometimes in the early morning or late evening. It belongs to the subfamily Formicinae (the ants that spray formic acid) and looked a bit like it was looking for something to pick a fight with. 
Little stonecrops were growing next to the stony path (still waiting for an id.),
as well as lots of right red Erica mammosa plants.
We met a group of hikers from the Chrysalis Academy in Tokai. I thought it would be nice to walk with them. But they were going in the opposite direction to us so we just had a photo with my new found friends and then said a fond farewell. The Food Lady asked where she could send the photo to and one of them replied "Die Son". Then everyone laughed and Dougal got a bit freaked out.
Another stonecrop on the stony path. This one is Crassula scabra.
The early morning fynbos and spiders webs were all blobby with dew.You can see this one's escape hole. 
Then we hit the tarred road (complete with little vygies) that goes up the mountain to Constantiaberg Peak, but we veered off it after a few metres and
found a wonderful tea spot, known on the Slingsby map as "Picnic Rock".
Some Fire Heaths were out - this one was especially hairy. Their other common name is Red Hairy Heath (Erica cerinthoides)
Looking down over Hout Bay, through the Baviaanskloof Valley. Clouds beginning to lift and weather getting a bit warmer. 
Methought I smelled a baboon, or a dassie, or a rooikat, or a mouse but they called me back before I could find out so I had to abort my plans to go screaming down the mountain after whatever it was that smelled so enticing. 
The sun came out, and the path was SO stony and harsh on our paws. We were quite paw sore. And Dougal's tongue looks like it is getting gravel rash! 
Having a welcome drink in the recycled "dogs bowl" - the Food Lady having lost my elegant one from the Timoneys! Feeling tacky!
Spot Dougal's tongue! We think this little vygie is Lampranthus falciformis.
We eventually reached the bottom of the rocky road and the ruins of the East Fort, and we were fearsomely pleased to be able to rest our weary paws.

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