11 May 2015

A bridge of silver ...*

Waiting and waiting for our walk. We are off to the mountain whose name we don't like as it sounds too close to the human's really-really-cross swearword. Pauline and Philip and Harvey are coming too.
There, but still waiting!
The start of the walk was rather bleak - burned old pine tree trunks from a previous fire, dead and singed Silver Trees, and ashy sand.
Then suddenly in the middle of the grey ash and singed Silver Trees we came across a clump of Red Hot Pokers (Kniphofia uvaria) flowering brightly. The Food Lady was happy to see them.
The Silver Trees (Leucadendron argenteum) are even more silver now - with a carpet of silver beneath them. We noticed that some of them are still alive on top and many of their stems are hardly even blackened, but apparently they are re-seeders, and usually the trees are killed in fires but the seeds are released en masse after a fire.
We hope Jayne doesn't mind that her rare and endangered Silver Trees are rather burned - but at least there are lots and lots of seeds around for a new generation - "the jewelled vision of a life started anew."*
The scramble to the top of the Swearword Mountain is steep and I needed a helping hand every so often. Luckily the path is still clear - as the burn was not so intense here.
Up on the top the path skirts the burned area - and there is lots of new growth coming up - even though there hasn't been much rain yet. These are Fire Daisies (Capelio tabularis).
Tea and bubbles to celebrate the Alph's milestone birthday - and Mother's Day. You can see the Swearword Mountain in the background - but it was already occupied by millions of hikers so we had tea below it.
We saw lots of birds including this Pied Crow and some White-necked Ravens, and a Lanner Falcon.
The Lad and Harvey rushed off crazily to meet the hikers as they filed past below us. Such uncool behaviour!
We finally reached the top of the Swearword Mountain - with its wonky beacon -
and we surveyed the extent of the fire below us. This is looking back to Tokai - with Muizenberg on the far left and Constantiaberg on the right. The fire came scarily close to the vineyards of Groot and Klein Constantia and Buitenverwagting.
Constantiaberg - all burned.
But when you look down, all is re-sprouting and growing and there are insects and spiders crawling around, and abundant birds too. Amazing! These are Aardroos or Common Ground Proteas (Protea acaulos) re-sprouting from underground stems. There were also lots of seeds in the flowerheads.
Back in the unburned fynbos on the way home I decided to give them all a scare and did one of my disappearing acts. Philip and the Food Lady eventually came back to fetch me. Its just that sometimes I think I can find a better way home.  
Back we trudged, under ziplines and past fancy new restaurants.
There are always interesting dogs and smells on the other side of the fence!
An autumnal scene for the last stretch up Hout Bay drive to Constantia Nek,
where there were lots of happy screaming children
and busloads of happy smiling tourists.
Home to breakfast and a box of Mothers Day chocs from Phil - and a lovely Skype for the Food Lady and the Alph with Simon in Korea.
*“A bridge of silver wings stretches from the dead ashes of an unforgiving nightmare to the jewelled vision of a life started anew.” Aberjhani, The River of Winged Dreams.


  1. Those red hot thingies look beautiful in the burned bush!

  2. 'Swearword mountain' - love it! Amazing that not only the plants come back from seed which has survived but that the wildlife comes back so fast. What a huge fire though:(