05 September 2014

The last winter walk of 2014

Today - Sunday 31 August - is officially the last day of winter. There was still snow on the distant mountain tops but it was lovely and warm when we arrived in Muizenberg. We met Pauline, and Kate - just returned from Canada
with her fantastically sparkling diamond ring from Greg.  
Alice and Maddie joined us too - and, exclamations over, we started walking up the Old Mole Track where there are no moles but lots and lots of very fragrant Keurtjies or Sweet Pea Bush (Podalyria calyptrata
and False Slugwort (Dischisma cilliatum)
We came to Weary Willies Pool which was great for a tummy cool.
Some new local Fish Hoek art (sharks being the symbol for Fish Hoek these days!) on a stepping stone across the cool, red waters of the mountain stream.
Lots for the Food Lady to snap as we walked up Echo Valley. This is probably a white Kastynbos (Muraltia heisteria).
We then veered left up the Jojolu Path onto Cave Peak where all the Jack Russells fall into caves and have to be rescued by the Mountain Club. Our humans, not understanding that we are far too careful to fall into a cave, clapped on our leads. Here is Pauline and the Alph climbing up with Echo Valley far below. 
On top of Cave Peak and looking over towards Kommetjie, with some China Flowers (probably Adenandra villosa judging by the size of the bush) in front.
Kate bought some posh Canadian chocolates for tea, and Laddie put on his poshest pose for the photo.
Bubbles, chocolate, dates and some delish rusks to celebrate Kate and Greg's engagement. Altitude: 445m. Bubble count: good. (See next post for explanation.)
Each chocolate was in the shape of a Canadian maple leaf. Thanks Kate!
Tea shot: Pauline, the Alph, Kate, Alice and me. Maddie was behind Alice, Laddie behind the Alph and the Food Lady behind the camera.
Kate doing a spot of whale watching.
Off we set, past some scary, snary cave entrances,
and some wonderful rainwater ponds. Some were Maddie-sized,
and some were Scottie-sized.
Buds are popping up all over the place - this is the Green Tree Pincusion (Leucospermum conocarpodendron subsp. viridum).
We descended into the shadowy forests of the Amazon where the bright yellow flowers of some huge Heady Gorse (Aspalathus capitata) shrubs were almost overwhelming on the nose.
These shrubs are classified as Vulnerable on the Red List as there are less than 1000 plants, all of which occur only on Table Mountain.
Through the forest we tripped - like the goats in the story, trip trap trip trap, but no trolls appeared to challenge us - although Laddie and I could sense them close by ...
Yikes, what manner of hairy beasties lurk in this place? Haggises maybe?
Past a luminous Peninsula Conebush (Leucodendron strobilinum - thanks Al for the id - which is also a rare Peninsula endemic and Red Listed as Near Threatened) and then out into the light again.
All along the side of the path flowers were opening - like this Ground Bobbejaantjie (Babiana ambigua),
golden Wedge-leaf Sorrel (Oxalis obtusa),
monkey beetle-riddled Renostergousblom (Arctotis acaulis),
and Spekvygie (Aizoon sarmentosum).
Back on the Mole Track - Pauline looking across False Bay.
A tiny Rooiknikkertjie (Romulea rosea) narrowly escaping being crunched in the path.
Still cool and damp enough for these shade-loving Forest Sorrels (Oxalis incarnata) with their heart-shaped leaves.
Down and down the Old Mole Track we went,
until we couldn't see over the Sweet Pea bushes at all.
Home again - G&T and B&E (cubes for us - ho hum)
and a lazy afternoon in the warm sun.

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