19 July 2016

Pretty in pink

Here we are again, climbing up the steepest path the Food Lady could find - Thea and Tessa, Pauline, me, Lad, the Food Lady and the Alph. Now that the Food Lady's foot is better ... watch out - we are all going to get fit again.
But luckily for me, she has to keep stopping to take photos. Here is the start of Orchid Season for the Food Lady - a dainty pink Moederkappie or Granny's Bonnet (Disperis capensis).
Tessa bounding up and down and up and down,
while I found every little water hole to cool off as it is definitely getting warmer.
Thea and Tessa knew EVERYONE we bumped into on the mountain!
We tried to spot Pauline's house in the distance when we reached the top but concluded it was just out of view.
Suffering from exhaustion, the Food Lady called for an early tea - which suited me as I could smell the dog biltong bits,
and Thea's delicious sandwiches.
The Alph tried to send messages,
while I kept watch for baboons and porcupines, caracals and other dogs that might want to muscle in our feast, 
and Tessa and the Lad went exploring.
There were quite a lot of flowers for the Food Lady - a pink flushed Yellow Rice Heath (Erica lutea),
some pink, honey-scented Erica glabella plants in full flower,
and these interesting, pinky white Common Starheath (Staavia radiata) flowers that are from the Bruniaceae family. They are composite flowers, like daisies. 
With battleships far below,
we reached Muizenberg Peak which had already been conquered by lots of other peeps.
So we turned down, past these endemic and rare Sticky Green Heath (Erica urna-viridis) flowers
and these big bright pink Cape Fellwort (Saltera sarcocolla) flowers which also belong to an interesting fynbos family - the Penaeaceae.
Some more of Thea and Tessa's friends passed us.
The Food Lady was super excited to find some teeny tiny, sweet-scented pink orchids called Disa obliqua subsp. obliqua.
And there were more pink flowers too - the pinky-blue, early flowering bulb, Babiana villosula,
and some pretty pink and white Needle-leaf Sunflax (Heliophila scoparia var. scoparia) - but eventually she had to stop and run to catch us all up.
Tessa and Lad and me were having a welcome dip in the river at the bottom of the path.
Then it was a short walk back to the Land Rover and home. Incidentally, the yellow flowers here have the fabulous common name of Fivetooth Baboon Cabbage (Othonna quinquedentata).

11 July 2016

Has spring arrived?

In the early Sunday sunlight we met Pauline in Kalk Bay and walked up the cobbled road,
wondering if we had teleported ourselves to the Frozen North somehow,
and being much distracted by CAT smells,
until we came to a path up onto the mountain.
There was the usual mess (and delightful aroma of bergie pate) from vagrants and fire-starters that SANParks just cannot manage,
but eventually we were above it all and looking over the harbour
where some fishing boats were chugging out to sea in the beautiful warm weather.
We stepped over this giraffe in the path,
and continued up and up and up and up
till we reached the cool clear waters of Weary Willy's pool.
Then more uphill into the sun - me and the Lad full of beans and tails up - 
while the humans toiled up behind us - rather too full of Christmas-in-July dinner from the night before.
The Malachite Sunbirds were singing,
and spring bulbs were springing - like these Moraea ochroleuca.
I was springing up the boulders too -
although sometimes it was just too high for a ten year old Scot to manage and I needed some help from the Alph.
Eventually - after a wrong turn or two - we came to the deep dark forest near Boomslang cave. The caves are a bit snary for the Food Lady so we didn't linger too long but carried on up to find a good tea spot.
Time to try out our new flask, and the biscuits that were a gift from the previous night's festivities.
The best tea spot!
And even a photo of the Food Lady.
Looking over Fish Hoek where our spaniel and Bouvier cousins live, as well as Snoekie, Snippie and Knapie. We do so love lookouts.
We thought of Paul when we saw lots of his curly grass around. (He is in the Frozen North vising family and friends.)
Another deep dark forest - Lad and the Alph waiting for the gels to catch up.
The side of the path was filled with sparkly mossy gardens with little snowdrop-shaped flowers called Heliophila meyeri var meyeri.
I almost thought I saw some fairies but I am getting too old for such flights of fancy ...
or am I? Hmmm.
Then it was down down down, SANParks is not too hot on maintenance ...
and helooo, what have we here? The Lone Ranger?
It got hotter and hotter although I never overheated in spite of my winter coat. Must be the new diet I am on. Even the flowers thought spring had arrived. This is the white/lilac form of Romulea flava var. flava.
And a bright and chirpy, teeny tiny little yellow-spotted Ladybird - probably Cheilomenes sulphurea.
More waiting. This time I was also waiting: lunch and a snooze in the shade calling.
But the Food Lady was photographing fairy lanterns - mistletoe (Viscum capense).
A human with his bed on his back passed us - or maybe its was his dog's bed. Bed, mmm, come on Food Lady and Pauline!
Eventually they appeared, and we walked the last few hundred steps down to the road,
then down Ponder road (which is just a hundred more stone steps)
past the houses - some with interesting names -
and some with snoozing, sun-bathing birds,
down to where we had parked - and home.