25 June 2013

Devils Heaths and Redbeard Proteas

This Sunday morning we walked into the dark and wild forest with Alice and Maddy and Pauline. First, we had to cross the river - Alice and Maddy and me first, without a fear in the world,
then Dougal and Pauline, hesitating.
Up on the contour path we were aware of swirls of mist and sprites,
and we found the path up to Devil's Peak - ancient and mossy,
and really spooky. Yikes and jeeps, what is that disappearing round the corner?* Wait for me Maddy, my protector and revered big friend.
Scottie-eye view of the path - all strewn with fairy dust and skirts.
And casting our eyes upwards, craggy misty edgy mountains.
Dougal looking a bit nerve wracked - contemplating the monsters of thunder and wind.
We had a quick tea on the path - Pauline, the Alf, Maddy Alice, Doogs and me.
And the Food Lady photographed this Mountain Anemone (Anemone tenuifolia) starting to open.
Then we finished the ascent up to the Saddle - expecting whipping wind and freezing cold,
but we were pleasantly surprised. There was not all that much mist, and flowers everywhere - and lots and lots of different ericas. These are Table Mountain's endemic Berry Heath (Erica baccans).
And Blinkblaar Tolbos (Leucadendron xanthoconus) bushes in shades of silvery green and red.
And the humans were excited to see the critically endangered Devils Heath (Erica abietina subsp. diabolis) starting to flower.
A hairy Fire Heath (Erica cerinthoides).
We crossed the Saddle, all lit up with flowers - these are Red Heaths (Erica abietina subsp. abietina
and crossed some streams
and some flowers were a bit crossed too - like this unfurling Waboom (Protea nitida).
On the zigzag path we came across this old but interesting Redbeard Protea. They are extinct on Table Mountain now and this is one that escaped from a planting of Jonkershoek Redbeard Proteas many years ago when foresters were keen to improve on nature. Go to iSpot for more.
Dougal hurrying down the path. He is going a bit deaf but he could still hear some barking dogs below and was eager to catch up with them.
Looking up to Platteklip Gorge.
Back down on Tafelberg Road. We walked along a bit while we waited for our lift, and Dougal chased a mongoose over the road - pulling the lead out of the startled Food Lady's hand. Luckily for him there were no on-coming cars!

*with apologies to artist Thamae Setshogo.

1 comment:

  1. Have just happened upon your blog again and thoroughly enjoyed reading your eloquent canine musings (and the magnificent photos of the FL). Am curious to know about the September plans?? Warm greetings from a fan in chilly Wellington, NZ, x