I left the house at 7.25am to meet my walking party, a group which hikes together every week, led by Marianne Alexander, at a nearby shopping centre.
The sun rises late in the Cape winter.
After sorting out cars and rides we arrived at Silvermine on the east side of Ou Kaapseweg to a peninsula just touched by the sun, rising beyond the Hottentots Holland mountains.
I had not hiked in this direction before - usually Vince and I break right, but this time we headed left, skirting the road below for fifteen minutes as the cloud above Table Mountain became polished in the early light.
I like winter in Cape Town.
Soon, we were in the clouds and wind above Muizenberg Peak. The second sweater I'd taken off, went back on. My windproof jacket's hood was activated.
The sculpted and weather-shaped sandstone was a grey backdrop to the brilliant acid of the Leucadendrons' new growth.
In the background, Mimetes in early bloom.
A closer view...
I had never seen this vivid colour before. While there were few flowers, the landscape itself became more important than my usual macro focus.
I may have been a disappointingly mute hiking partner. The party was large, and sociable. The rocks, silent and eloquent.
A halt was called for tea, and everyone settled down to sundry snacks and sandwiches. My little flask had kept my espresso reassuringly warm. I munched fruit buns with butter and my mom's apricot jam.
Toads breeding. But what kind of toads? Western leopard toads are given a lot of press and their own Toad Crossing signs because of their endangered status, but I was told by a fellow hiker that they do not breed this high. The signs says that transgressors "will be dealt with accordingly..." This was in the area near the antennae (rising a hundred or so feet, guessing?) which belong to the navy.
On our return leg, about two hours after starting, we walked back into some sunlight.
The sound of running water was everywhere, small clear tan streams, stained a characteristic fynbos-brown by plant roots.
I let the party move ahead and stood for a while, listening to the water and to the rusty chatter of sugarbirds higher on the slopes.
Flowers, at last. Small and large -the tiny pink Diastella divaricata belongs to the family Proteaceae, and the king protea is Protea cynaroides.
Back on the relative flat near the jeep track, more pools of clean mountain water.
Promises of orchids to come.. What I would not give to be here in the spring.
Here we passed that incongruous white bakkie, nosing its way up the track.
And then it was over. And we gathered, got into cars and drove back down to where all the people are. The privilege of living in Cape Town is this spectacular proximity of nature to human dwellings.
It is a siren call.