28 January 2013

We rescue a dog

This morning it was windy and we were all a bit fractious but the singing of this Boubou high up in a camphor tree above Ou Kraal path put us all into a good mood.
We were joined by Misha who was a bit lost and wandering around in busy Boyes Drive. Her owner was overseas and wasn't answering her phone so we thought she could come with us and we would find out where she lived and take her home when we got back.
Pauline, Alice and Maddie also joined us, and we went up at Ou Kraal, and round the mountain to Mimetes Valley.
It was rather hot, and we were grateful for a short shade stop.
The Table Mountain Watsonias (Watsonia tabularis) were looking autumnal and hot,
and really brightened up Mimetes Valley.
Misha really enjoyed our stop at Nellies Pool and cavorted around like a puppy.
The Middle Earth-other worldly feel of the place also got to her. Yikes, what is that! 
Better get out of here fast! 
There are definitely dragons on those crags!
Me on the edge checking for dragons. Looking down over False Bay - Spes Bona Forest far, far below. (And full of hobbits for all we know! Maybe they are fobbits - fynbos hobbits.) 
The Red Heath (Erica abietina subsp. abietina).
Misha on the edge.
Tea time. Dougal, Alice, Maddie, Pauline, the Alph and Misha (who couldn't keep still for a second).
All the Red Crassulas (Crassula coccinea) are starting to flower up in the rocky parts of the mountain. This one was right on top of Kalk Bay Peak.
Then we went down into the valley, past these Rustling Reeds (Elegia racemosa).
and into the deed dark dwarf forest in Echo Valley.
We were having a sedate and very sedate paddle in Weary Willies pool,
which was constantly being disrupted by a mad dog!
A pink Ninepin Heath (Erica mammosa) - the indentations at the tip of the flower are an easy way to identify it.
We were so hot that the Food Lady had to carry Dougal some of the way, and it was a great relief to get to the bottom of the Mole Track.
After some heated discussion, Alice and Maddie took Misha back to their house, and we all had tea and phoned TEARS who already knew that Misha was missing and told us to phone Mike who came to fetch her. So Misha was missing no longer and we all went home.

24 January 2013

The Alph's new boots

Today we walked up Steenberg into the mist with Alice and Maddie and Pauline. 
The Alph has new boots, and Dougal is also as good as new on his heart pills.
The Alph's new boots led us up the endless, rocky path, past these spectacular red-pink forms of the Ninepin Heath (Erica mammosa), into the mist and wind on the top. 
On the other side of the ridge, it was a bit more sheltered and we walked on towards Nellie's Pool past some more ericas - Erica pulchella Alice thought - 
and past lots of bright blue Aristeas. Possibly Aristea glauca
Another erica with longer leaves. Still needs to be looked up.
The mist was enveloping everything - from these little Peninsula Silkypuffs (Diastella divaricata) - to us. Keeping us nice and cool and testing the water-repellent abilities of the Alph's new boots. 
Some dead Laurel-leaved Sunshine Conebushes (Leucadendron laureolum) made us think of Paul - as he would have loved their spectacular sheen, colours and form. But he is away in the chilly northern climes of our ancestors. 
We had a cool, wet and slippery tea in the trees near Nellie's Pool, which is a bit spooky at the best of times but today it was straight out of Middle Earth! 
Some impressive, craggy Middle-Earthy cliffs near Muizenberg Cave.
Dougal in the misty fynbos, desperately hunting rodents.
Now which way? Left or right? I think right. No, its left.
A rare little albino Aristea juncifolia
Up the sandy paths we scampered, the Alph's new boots behind us. These are normal blue Aristea juncifolia flowers.
Teeny, tiny sprawling Prismatocarpus sessilis flowers in the path. Watch out for the Alph's new boots!
Then we were back where we started from, and we headed back over the ridge into the teeth of the Southeaster and the mist. 
Spittle bug spit.
Roella triflora maybe?
Then we were out of the Southeaster cloud and back into midsummer and heat and the long slog down. False Bay in the distance.
And the Alph was very pleased with his new boots! 

17 January 2013

Honey comes walkies

Today was a very exciting day as it was Honey's first walk. She has come to live with and look after Sue - although this photo is of Honey with Kate from Canada who also joined us on the walk with Greg from Canada, and Richard and Josie. 
We set off from the Brooklands ghost town,
through excitingly enticing tortoise-filled veld,
to the Kleinplaas Dam - still quite full as you can see from the marker. We both had a dip in the water but Honey refused to leave Sue's side, and Josie said too many other dogs had polluted the water and she would rather not thanks very much.
After that refreshing swim, we walked across the dam wall which was abuzz with activity - dogs, joggers and hikers.
The path was very sandy, and full of flowers
like this Aristea africana
and this Roella triflora
It started to get quite hot so we made use of any little shade we found
while the Food Lady did some phlower photography. These are Prismatocarpus fruticosus.
Me and Josie.
Then it was tea - er champagne - time. Kate had bought a bottle to celebrate new year and Greg being here, and so had the Alph,
so there was lots to go round and the six humans polished off two bottles remarkably fast.
Anyone for more? No thanks. We prefer Cape mountain water.
Richard, Josie, Greg (almost hidden in the shade of the Leucospermum), Sue, Kate and the Alph.
Now now Alph! We still need to find our way home.
Even Honey lightened up somewhat. I don't think she likes us though. She called us some names that I can't repeat on the blog and told me where to go and put myself in no uncertain terms. But as it's her first walk and this is all new to her, we forgave her.
On the way back, everything was beautiful to the Food Lady - especially the dried flower heads of one of her favourite plants - Bergtee (Syncarpha gnaphaloides).
The next dam came into view just as I thought I was going to expire from the heat.
Luckily none of us were authorized, so we all went through the gate
and Dougal and I had another very welcome dip in the glorious, cool, rooibos tea-coloured water.
Sue had a foot-dip and even Honey eventually had a dainty drink but not a swim thanks.
The glamorous Kate.
A perfect Rain Spider egg case but no spider to eat. (Dougal and I have both been known to swallow spiders.)
Looking back at the Lewis Gay Dam wall - with two lone swimmers sitting on the top.
A short hike up the road ...
and we were back at the Brooklands car park where we were met by this polite fox terrier.