23 April 2013

Signal Hill to Lion's Head

Early morning on Signal Hill - with Guinea Fowl. Too big and scary to chase.Besides, we are not bird dogs, but specialist small mammal dispatchers. 
Robben Island in the distance. There are lots of Muslim graves and a Kramat on Signal Hill so its quite a holy place.
Today we had our human brother Philip with us (down here on busuness), as well as Lydia from New Zealand, as well as Philippe, recently from New Zealand but resident in Cape Town now. Paul and Pauline were there but Sue was still feeling a bit poorly and decided to give it a miss. And its altogether too populated for Maddy so she and Alicewent up Red Hill instead. 
Paul took a few photos.
One of the Lions Head/Signal Hill specials - the Medusa's Head Euphorbia (Euphorbia caput-medusae).
The Kramat of Sheikh Mohamed Hassen Ghaibie Shah,
surrounded by olive trees with a good looking crop of olives.
Looking all clean and newly painted.
Philippe and Philip sharing a cell phone moment.
Lots and lots of this little Wild Sorrel (Oxalis glabra) enjoying the damp soil from Friday's torrential rain.
Just in case we were lost ... which, wth the Food Lady, is a strong possibility!
The Alf, Lydia and Pauline with Sea Point spread out below.
Suddenly we came up against a HUGE granite rock. The path turned sharp left, and we zigzagged up - only taking one short cut.
The two Phils had to keep stopping to wait for the slower, older or vertically challenged members of the hike. We caught up with them chatting to one of the SANParks rangers. He was intrigued by us scotts.
It started to get steeper and more hectic.
There were quite a lot of these bright red Guernsey Lilies (Nerine sarniensis) flowering on the edge.
Dougal was pretty wasted so we stopped on the edge too and had tea - special glace fruit from Provence from Philippe and some delicious chocolate swirly biscuits from one of the Alf's grateful patients. Pauline, Paul, Dougal, Phil, Philippe,the Alf,Lydia and moi..
 Conversations from the edge.
Pauline and the Food Lady stayed with us scotts while the others carried on up, but before long they were back again, defeated by the queues of people trawling up and down. It reminded the Food Lady of rush hour at Paddington Station!
Back down the path - me on the lead in case I smelled a dassie ...
A helping hand from the Alf.
Dougal having a howsyourfather with a rough haired foxie.
Looking decorative against the Malmesbury shale. The Alf in the distance. It was pretty hot.
Lots of this Skraalbossie (Senecio pubigerus) about.
Doog and me keeping to the shade. Getting some admiring looks ...
Phil ad Philippe ran back along Signal Hill and we all decided to walk down the road to where we had left a car in case we were tired and hot. We saw lots of these Green Proteas (Protea coronata) - and bees - on the way down. They like to grow on clay soils on mountain slopes.
A creamy white Protea repens.
We all squeezed into Philip's little hired car that was waiting for us at the bottom of Lions Head - and we were put in the boot! Pretty horrible of t hem! We were so shocked we didn't really know what to do or bark. But is was only for a short time and we were soon back at Signal Hill watching the para-gliders jumping off the edge.
The Food Lady looked for some cannon that she remembered as a kid, but only found the ruined remains of where she rememberd it being. We are a bit alarmed about her - she seems to be loosing it somertimes especially when deadlines for her rag loom.
We left Lydia texting her mom ...
and were home in time for G&Ts and bacon and egg with our human brothers. Then Philip was off again in the evening. It was lovely having him but next time we promise to go on a less hectic walk Phil!

16 April 2013

We go bouldering

We met at the scene of our Land Rover break-in from a few years back - the bottom of Echo Valley on Boyes Drive. To greet us was lots of broken car window glass in the road ... and Sue and Honey, and Florian-from-Germany, and Paul and Pauline, and Alice and Maddy.(Sadly my BIG buddy Claude had gone home.) 
At Weary Willy's pool, Sue decided that she could go no further and she and Honey turned back. The Alf went back with her to see that she got down safely - and he also wanted fetch the house keys that he thought he had left in full view of the affirmative shoppers that cruise Boyes Drive. So we all soldiered and bouldered on up and up and up to the very top of Cave Peak.
Some people with large things on their backs passed us while we were waiting for the Alf to come back. They said they were also going bouldering.  

Eventually the Alf caught up with us again - this is us waiting to give him a hero's welcome (Scottie-style - which is very restrained.)
Tea out on a limb overlooking Fish Hoek - Trappies Kop far below. Maddy, Alice, Pauline, Florian, me, Paul and the Alf.
Pauline and Florian looking into one of the deep dark caves on Cave Peak that I had to go on a lead to avoid falling into.
A stroll along the top of Cave Peak with Simons Town in the far distance.
A harbinger of cooler weather - Autumn Pipes (Gladiolus brevifolius).
Soon we were at the top of Echo Valley, looking out towards Hangklip on the far side of False Bay. According to one of the Wednesday Walking Gels, you can fit Mauritius into False Bay.
Cocktail Ants on a flowerhead of the Coastal Kiepersol (Cussonia thyrsiflora).
Disappearing into the deep dark Amazon Forest. Interestingly there was not one April Fool flower in there. We wondered if they only came up in Spes Bona Forest next door.
A pesky lizard - far out of Scottie reach. How I would like to snap him in two and swallow him in two short swallows. 
Black Girdled Lizard (Cordylus niger).
On the way down Echo Valley we started encountering these large erica bushes that look a bit like small pine trees. They are Tree Ericas (Erica tristis)  
and this is a closer view of their flowers which all have a little vuvuzelas sticking out of them. We think it should be called the Vuvuzela Erica. (Apparently the vuvuzela is a stigma that is designed for wind pollination - and it needs to be quite big to catch passing pollen in the air.)
A pretty Diosma or buchu for the Food Lady to smell and feel happy.
More flowers to make you happy - possibly Oxalis versicolor. 
Checking for rodent activity - or maybe just fairies.
A nonchalant little Scottie for little girls in pink to admire. 
A fluffy Coastal Camphor (Tarchonanthus littoralis). Sniggers from me n Doog - what does it remind us of? A Maltese Poodle perhaps?
Another piney kind of shrub growing in the stream bed - the Vleikolkol (Berzelia lanuginosa). Soon we were back and the car in one piece. 
but what horrible fate awaited me?