25 November 2014

Walking to Woodstock

This muggy fuggy morning we decided to brave the muggers and hike to Woodstock Cave, on the slopes of Devils Peak. John was still in the country, so he joined us, as did Paul and Pauline. Sue is back from her travels, but is still feeling rather jet-lagged so she and Honey stayed at home. We started at Rhodes Mem.
Pretty but poisonous: the alien invasive Cherry Pie (Lantana camara). The Food Lady wondered why they were allowed to grow here.
Up we slogged, on a very eroded path.
The Blister Bushes (Notobubon galbanum) were out in full. They are from the carrot family, and brushing past their leaves can cause some distress from irritant chemicals - especially when exposed to the sun.
We eventually reached the contour path,
then came through the gate, 
and walked along the road until we came to the Kings Blockhouse, and an old monument to one of the early foresters who foolishly planted alien trees all over Table Mountain thinking it was good for water retention. Now millions are spent every year trying to get rid of the water-guzzling aliens. Silly humans!
I found a speck of shade
while they read the dilapidated and uncared for sign.
We carried on along the lower traverse path - around the corner there was a deliciously cool breeze coming from the foggy sea, and a pretty spectacular view of Cape Town city.
We came to some more alien, invasive trees - this time Australian wattles. (The Australians have stolen the name Acacia for their wattles, leaving us with the name Vachellia for our real acacias. Silly humans!) But what is that we hear down there? Maybe a wombat?
A view of a foggy Devils Peak through the Australian Black Wattles (Acacia mearnsii).
Our first view of the cave - a dark slash high up Devils Peak.
Walking up the path at my own pace.
We came to a sign post that had been beaten to within an inch of its life. Do people come up here with the intention to destroy stuff, or does the urge just take hold and they grab some rocks and start smashing? Silly humans!
Up the zig zag path we zigzagged ...
till this little heart alerted us to the Woodstock Cave path to the left.
Nearly there - lots of lovely flowers including pelargoniums and phylicas.
The sign was still standing, although full of graffiti.
The stench and the litter at the cave was a bit off-putting - and the Alph put us on leads as he knows what we like to roll in ...
It is a huge overhang, but it is shockingly full of graffiti, broken glass, plastic bottles, stinky, festering blankets, chip packets and rusty coldrink tins. But luckily there didn't seem to be any noxious humans around.
John trying to work his camera. The view was amazing.
A bright and white Chinkerinchee (Ornithogalum thyrsoides) in amongst the broken glass and debris.
The Alph found a tea spot below the cave. I was quite hot, and as there was nowhere to swim, I tried to get into the drinks bowl.
Harvey had a quick nap.
John, the Alph, me, Laddie, Harvey, Paul and Pauline.
Dog noises!
Even Harvey woke up. But the spoilsports kept us on the lead so we couldn't run madly through the broken glass and other delicious human scatterings to get to the dogs on the path above.
Pretty soon we'd all had enuf,
so we left this most beautiful but neglected and abused spot and hit the rocky road.
Parts of it were rather crumly and steep for me so I just shouted for help,
and John came to my rescue.
Now we are besties. This is us checking out Lion's Head.
Back through the grove of Cork Oaks (Quercus suber),
back past the Kings Blockhouse,
along the watsonia- and Silver Tree- lined road,
where bright Stink Bugs, from the family Pentatomidae, lurk in the flowers,
down a very eroded and uncared for path,
all the way to Plum Pudding Hill. SANParks really needs to do some serious erosion control here.
There were lots of these Corn Lilies (Ixia polystachya var. polystachya) alongside the path,
 with many colour variations
 and different beasties inside. 
It was a lovely walk - no muggers in sight - and lots of wonderful smells and memories.

17 November 2014

Bird noises and roses on Table Mountain

So what's the delay?
We EVENTUALLY got the humans out of bed and up the mountain - meeting Paul and Pauline, Kate and John (who belongs to Paula from Germany) at Cecilia Carpark. John is stranded in Cape Town having had a spot of bother with thieving Hout Bay locals and his passport. But we were very happy to see some more of him.
Our destination: the top of Table Mountain via Cecilia Ridge.
Paul surveying the hazy view. It was a lovely cool morning - just perfect for little black Scotties like me.
Kate photographing some Watsonia borbonica flowers.

Tea at Breakfast Rock: Kate, the Alph, me, Paul's leg, John and Pauline. Lots of yummy snacks.
Some Ixia polystachya growing in the long grass. Its common name is Corn Kalossie or Corn Lily.
John scrambling up the Ridge - Muizenberg and False Bay in the distance.
The Brown-bearded Protea (Protea speciosa),
and some pretty Spear-leaf Conebushes (Leucadendron spissifolium).
The King of the Castle.
All of us at the top.
We went to fill up our waterbottles at the overseers hut and saw lots of beautiful pink roses cascading over the Great Dog Highway near the hut. The good winter rains must have inspired all this blooming.
Then it was a slog all the way down the Great Dog Highway. Not my favourite - its quite tough on the pads, but as there were so many enticing smells, other dogs and distracting bird noises, I hardly noticed.
Paul spotted this Black Girdled Lizard (Cordylus niger) basking in the warm sunshine along the path.
A helping hand going down the steps.
Looking back through this Erica versicolor (not in its natural habitat) to where we had walked up the ridge. Right in the middle you can see our tea spot.
This dandelion seedhead was not in its right habitat either, but they have really made themselves at home in Cecilia forest.
Kate spotted some Cape Batis birds making quite a noise in the tops of the trees - it made us Scots go crazy because they sounded like squirrels.
Back down in Cecilia Park we met another Scottie and his Australian friend.
Then we were left at home while they all met up at Thea and Hendrik's house for their gee and tee fix. Pauline saying cheers, and Hendrik opening the bubbles ...
And to think that we were also invited, but the Food Lady thought that I would chase the cat and Laddie would pee on everything in Thea and Hendrik's lovely house. Such a spoilsport.