Sunday, December 30, 2007

Fifteen minutes away

Marijke asked me if I wanted to join her for a hike on Silvermine. This after a long lunch under the tree together with Clan Collins (pictures later). So at 5.45pm I piled the dogs into the car, grabbed a backpack with a sweater, some money, water, a cellphone; and whizzed up Ou Kaapse Weg. Marijke and Doc were waiting with Mickey and old Tigger, and off we set. 6pm:

Right beside the wide gravel path, before we turned onto the sand tracks, this pelargonium kept appearing in the dry banks. I must still identify it. It was delicate, small, with almost pastel- apricot petals, that in some flowers became more pink (see later) [Ed. I think it's P. longiflorum...]. Fynbos from far looks uniform and dull green.

Up close it yields:

One of many gorgeous watsonias, dotted regularly about the fynbos, statuesque and saturated with colour. Probably W. tabularis.

A stunning lobelia, probably L. coronopifolia, kept appearing in violet-indigo clumps as we turned to climb up a sand track. Time, about 6.30pm.

Isn't that perfect? Pelargonium myrrhifolium.

Lichen like orange paint on the rocks.

Later I found a spot where crushed big patches of fynbos whose contrasting brown against the green, along with exposed sand, traced a path up the mountain to a place where a rock looked clean and unweathered and freshly-split: a boulder's violent descent to its resting place on and below the path, where it had shattered into several huge pieces again was obvious, and must have been monumentally awesome...

Below: looking back the way we'd come.

Here the same unidentified pelargonium, with colour variation. [Ed.'s mother suggests Pelargonium pinnatum, and Ed. agrees, based on the deep pink blotches above the spidery markings. Any other ideas?]

The intrepid corgis on their longest walk to date.

Marijke, Doc, Tigger and Mickey

Maggie coming back to ask me WHY I keep stopping to take pictures...

Don't know what it is, but very pretty.

Are we there yet?

Around 7.45pm and in the Amphitheatre above Kalk Bay. A stunning surround of rock slabs with a round, sandy floor.

Looking up the terrain of white rocks, patches of everlastings and tree-like pincushions (Leucospermums)

The roof of the Peninsula...

Another mystery, very small, beside the path. [Ed. Marijke suggests Tritoniopsis parviflora, faded]

At last, after two hours, water...Happy Ted.

Joined by his sister...

We walked another half hour, with dusk falling fast, the valley already dark, as I was to find out from some unhappy and worried parents later...I saw an owl in the path ahead of us, sitting like a stone cairn, who flew down, and around, and sat on this pincushion just above us and watched us, head swiveling soundlessly.

He was the perfect ending to a wonderful walk. We left the mountain to him.


  1. You know, in their worry they must have thought you had decided to become a hermit and live in a cave up on the mountain with the grosibou, near a South African Garlaban... I mean, the landscapes even look alike! Well, with different flowers, but still, it's quite surprisingly similar...

    Beautiful country! Abe is itching to get started... ;-))

  2. I'm curious what camera are you using. I love your flower pictures. It's probably your talent not the camera but still curious...

  3. Vince - Happy New Year! xxx

    Lena, thank you! It's a Canon Powershot SD850 (an "Elph"). It's a great little camera.

  4. Of course the views are spectacular, and the plant life is gorgeous. But I just adore that paint-like lichen!!

    The corgis are getting more exercise than they've ever had with you and Marijke mushing them along the hiking trails!


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