25 February 2015

Rock-monsters and poo in the Kalk Bay hills

Last Sunday we planned to do a cool beach walk and link up with the Alph who is doing Argus Cycle Tour training, but it was rather windy and no-one could come so we changed our minds and went to Kalk Bay again (abandoning the Alph to a lonely ride) where we met up with Alice and Maddie. Maddie is banned from beaches having once tried to eat a dachshund on one.
We walked up the Old Mole Track - still no moles - and down to Weary Willy's pool for a cool-off and a drink, although it wasn't really hot.
Some intelligent being had decided to improve the look of the SANParks signpost there.
We then set off up Echo Valley with False Bay below us looking rather beautiful and sparkly.
This is cave and crag and rock-monster territory, and I was a bit spooked.
Cat-faced rock-monsters and flares of glare,
fiery flowers (Disa ferruginea - practicing its Batesian mimicry),
and a giant rock-monster foot about to squash Alice and Maddie. Aaaaargh, look out!
Phew - escaped. Luckily rock-monsters seem to be frozen by day - but who knows what they get up to in the moonlight.
Just checking.
Those cavorting rock-monsters on the horizon look up to no good.
And that is Laddie and not a ghost Scottie in the cool eau-de-vie of Nelly's Pool. (The Food Lady is still using her inferior cellphone camera.)
On the way down there was lots of evidence of human occupation - blankets and cardboard beds - and of course, my favourite - bergie paté. I crammed as much of it into my face before the Food Lady could swat me away,
but sadly, at home I ended up in the Bucket of Shame. (But it was worth it!)

19 February 2015

Mis'ble humans

We were deserted last weekend - although we had a lot of fun with Phil and Kerryn and Harvey - even a beach trip. But we are still feeling a bit injured that they left us behind and went to our favourite Land of Tortoises.
Lad and Harv looking mis'ble. We hate the packing up.
The glorious Land of Tortoises. Without us!
Strange blobs in the water,
made by a colonial microscopic single-celled protozoan called Ophrydium versatile. According to the website, Ask a Naturalist, they can be found all over the world in fresh water. The individual cells line up side by side in the “blob” and attach themselves to a jelly-like substance they secrete. They are symbiotic with microscopic Chlorella algae which live inside the Ophrydium cells and give the blob its green colour. Amazing.
Rooibos Tea in bloom.
Agamas and Mountain Wheatears all over my rocks. I would have spotted them and flown up there to dispatch them forthwith!
Work, work, work - clearing some rather exuberant growth.
Lots of food as usual. Here is the Alph with John and Julie. Is our Alph saying grace or contemplating the deliciousness on the plate?
And lots of good drinkles. John and Julie brought some Valentines Day rosé (or was it vin gris?) bubbles called Rose of Sharon. And frangipani flowers for the gels. The Food Lady must have been in heaven!
Finding a pretty but prickly Pelargonium alternans,
and a very dead Solifuge. Maybe the one Margie bopped on its head?
Climbing up to see the flowering Kraansaalwyne (Aloe perfoliata).
Even the acorns were celebrating Valentines Day.
But soon they had to come home to their two Scotties, and our bestie bostie.

08 February 2015

Stalking baboons

We had an early start this morning - meeting Alice and Maddie at Red Hill. You can see False Bay in the distance. It was beautifully cool and breezy - and it  seemed that the rock-birdmonsters were crowing with early morning joie de vivre.
Alice, Maddie and Laddie in the cool and breezy fynbos.
There were lots of beautiful Golden Conebushes (Leucadendron laureolum) lighting up the fynbos.
Then we came upon this glorious view looking down to Long Beach - and we imagined the Alph cycling somewhere on the slopes of Chappies.
We decided to stop right there for tea and snacks. (Alice is asking Lad a question, not giving him a klap!)
After tea there were the most enticing smells wafting over the slopes, and Alice and the three of us went bundu-bashing to see what it was. Then over in the distance we saw - and heard - the baboon troop with the baboon monitors - too far away for a good photo, but exciting nevertheless. (We even had to go on our leads because we were so keen to run helter skelter down into the troop to sort them out.)
After the rain the other day, the fynbos was looking quite colourful - this is the Sticky Heath (Erica viscaria) which was flowering profusely all over.
Another water and cool-down stop: us two black dogs were quite hot by now. A little way further on we came upon a cyclist who had fallen off his mountain bike and was sitting looking a bit stunned and scratched on the path. After a little while he said he felt better, and luckily there was nothing broken (except his glasses which were smashed) and the bleeding wasn't too profuse so luckily (for him!) Alice and the Food Lady weren't called upon to render first aid. We all started walking back to the dam with him, then he said he was ok to ride, and he leapt on his bike which was also unscathed, and rode off.
Then we all swam and swam all over the dam (except Laddie), and drove home.

06 February 2015

Birthday bubbles

We were very keen for our walk this morning as yesterday the Food Lady completely forgot to take us out.
The Alph was cycling this morning, but Lydia and Thea joined us, and we met up with Sue, Honey and Nola (minus her boys who are too elderly now for long walks). The Food Lady managed to drop her one remaining pocket camera into the Silvermine Dam earlier in the week so we were glad to see Lydia had a camera to document anything important - although the cellphone camera took some ok shots.
It was quite warm to start and we had to keep on ducking into the shade,
and finding vantage points to shoot the breeze - and check for baboons (none).
We finally arrived at the cool and delightful Eau-de-Vie pool and all plunged in,
except Honey - even though Sue tried to persuade her to cool off or at least have a drink.
We found an airy rock for tea - and bubbles (though not at any great altitude today) and cake - to celebrate Sue's recent birthday.
Thea, Sue, Lydia and Nola. Honey had found a cool spot way up the hill behind us, and we were rootling around somewhere.
Soon it was time to plod on down the road -
us two black dogs taking a bit of strain in the heat.
We turned off the gravel road and up and down another sandy track (which we scots prefer as its softer on our pads) with lots of interesting flowers like this Serruria villosa which only occurs in these mountains and nowhere else in the whole wide world.
We were soon down again, made a bit easier with a light cool breeze and lots of shady spots for cooling down.