14 November 2009

The Saddle (Not Quite) & Tafelberg Rd

13 November 2009

Location: Devil's Peak, from Tafelberg Road

Helen & Michele

A full week of non-stop rain has meant no walking. I'd been feeling desperate to get outdoors, so was delighted to see the clouds lift and blue sky and sunshine return today. We planned a walk up to the Saddle for straight after work. However, when we got to Tafelberg Road, we saw the cloud had come back and was just touching the top of Table Mountain.

The weather didn't look too bad, so we set off, up the path signposted to Devil's Peak. This route is an easy walk up comfortably-spaced stone steps. We crossed the contour path and continued towards the Saddle.

Gorgeous orange Erica abietina was in flower on the hillside.

We were about two thirds of the way up when it suddenly started to look very dark and gloomy, and before we knew it it was raining. The only sensible option was to head straight back down, which we did, just like
last time when rain also put an end to a walk on this hillside.

We retreated to the car, rather wet and bedraggled, and cursed our bad luck with the weather. Must be something to do with it being Friday the 13th!

Then, just as quickly as it started, the rain shower moved on. We wanted to walk some more, but didn't want to tempt fate by heading up again, so decided to walk along Tafelberg Road instead.

Pink Pelargonium (cucullatum, I think) was flowering everywhere.

We also saw bright yellow daisies. I still haven't made much effort to try to identify and name daisies (beyond the easy ones like felicia and gazania). There are so very many different types, and they are not easy to tell apart. However, I'd hazard a guess that this one is Heterolepis aliena. Such a bright and cheerful yellow!

We also saw one of the strangest plants I've ever seen, growing alongside the road. I have no idea what it was. A single stem, growing about one and a half metres tall, and curved. Distinctive leaves at the bottom only, the rest a thick stem, with small hard fruits within a circle of bracts all the way up, and everything covered in tiny raised light-coloured bumps. The flowers at the top of the stem were small and yellow in colour. A triffid, perhaps? :)

At various spots along the road we watched teams from a rigging company unload blue screens. I'd read that Table Mountain was going to be lit up with blue light that evening as part of the World Diabetes Day campaign - these were clearly the gels that were going to be placed in front of the flood-lights to create the desired effect.

The guys were really working hard lugging the heavy-looking screens up the hillside, to the banks of lights. Not a fun job!

During the course of our walk on the road the rain had cleared off entirely and the city bowl got some sun.

And by the time we were finished dusk was close, and Lion's Head was getting the last rays. We didn't manage to climb the Saddle as planned, but we'd had an enjoyable and interesting walk nonetheless.

(Photos by Helen)

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