08 September 2014

Bubbles at altitude

We arrived a bit early for the walk on Chapmans Peak Drive this beautiful Sunday morning,
and while the Food Lady and Alph were admiring the misty cliffs of Hangberg, Laddie and I tried to escape our leads to charge down the hillside after a mongoose that was flaunting itself in front of us. So frustrating!
Sue and Honey, Pauline and Kate arrived all together, at the same time as a mongoose ran right across the road in front of us again. I hurled myself at it, to no avail. Spoil sport humans. And spoil-sport De Goede Hoop Estate and SANParks for closing the wonderful path from Chapmans Peak to Long Beach, Noordhoek.
We started up the path - lovely early morning views over the Sickle-leaf Conebush (Leucadendron xanthoconus) back to Hangberg and all the mountain muggers that hang out there,
and past some Stompies (Brunia noduliflrora) bushes catching the light.
This Aristea spiralis was just opening up in the gently morning sun,
and these Pine-leaved Saffron-bushes (Gnidia pinifolia) flowers were also catching the morning light.
Kate was wearing her Springbok cap.
More spectacular views of Chapmans Peak Drive and a distant Hout Bay, with the Green Tree Pincushion (Leucospermum conocarpodendron) in front.
The daisies were just opening, like this Wildewitmagriet (Dimorphotheca nudicaulis)
and a little Granny's Bonnet orchid (Disperis capensis) with its twirly bits eaten off.
We were both frantic with all the smells ...
"Just SMELL those mongooses - dassies - baboons - porcupines - caracals - mice - hairy footed gerbils - HAGGISES!" Laddies mind was boggling.
Pauline checking the spectacular views onto the back table of Table mountain and down into the Noordhoek Valley. The Food Lady and the Alph said some words that make us Scots very uncomfortable, but for once it wasn't us in trouble but the City Council who have allowed some scurrilous development to take place in Noordhoek despite the local population's objections to having their peaceful farmlands ruined by commercialism.
While they solved the world's problems, I was getting hotter and hotter, so I found a lovely damp spot in some purple shade. How about some tea, peeps? My tongue is hanging out!
The Alph and Lad went out on a limb and found a rather exposed spot for tea,
but eventually we found the perfect spot. While I kept watch for mongooses, Kate whipped out the bubbles to toast her engagement to Greg, with Sue who missed out last week so we had to do it again, properly! Altitude: 593 m*. Bubble count: high.
and cheers Sue! Thank you for bringing Kate into our walking group and lives. We all love her to bits!
Honey NEARLY ate her biscuit.
But then retreated into her den of Cape May.
Tea shot: Laddie, Honey, Sue, Pauline, the Alph, Kate and moi.
Soon it was time to head back down the path.
Past the spring daisies
and past the Aristea spiralis that had opened properly now - it being almost midday.
A welcome dip in some heavenly icy-cool mountain streams for me,
some last snaps of Geissorhiza ovata for the Food Lady, 
a quick "howsyourfather" with a submissive Pit Bull for Lad (it makes him feel great when he can hold his head higher than another dog - poor silly boy!),
and we were on our way home. Uh oh: a short delay at the Stop-ry-go. More opportunity to look for mongooses from the back window for me and the Lad,
and for the Food Lady to look for whales, and for the Alph to look at the battery of cannons and an old blockhouse with a grassy roof. 

*The humans are conducting some ongoing research into the behaviour of bubbles at different altitudes. See the label "Bubbles at altitude" for each post where this groundbreaking study will unfold.
**Thanks to Alice for help with identifications of plants. 

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