15 January 2012

St James: Hilltop Path

Date: 15 January 2012

Silvermine East, above St James, from Boyes Drive

: Claudia, Delphi, Dorothy & Helen

*** Route plotted here ***

Other walks in this vicinity here, here and here.

We started our walk from the Ou Kraal sign on Boyes Drive, but instead of following the Old Mule Path, our usual route up, we turned right and followed the steeper path up the slope. This route leads to Bailey's Kloof.

It was hot and the slope was looking very summery and dry. Bunny tails!

We stopped now and then in the shade to catch our breath.

An large xerophyte was hanging like a chandelier above the path.

And we saw a lot of spider webs, some complete with spider.

Lichens and moss on the rocks. I guess the sea mists must bring in enough moisture to keep these alive during the dry months.

Flowers on this slope: Cotyledon orbiculata. Almost over.

Crassula coccinea. More pink than red.

Polygala myrtifolia I think, although it is not mean to be flowering now.

Half way up the path led us beneath the rocky buttress...

... and around towards Bailey's Kloof. When the path forked we went up.

A section of the slope was recently burned. Nothing growing here now. [Note to self: come back and see what is flowering here in the springtime.]

This sunny slope had more crassula. I do love these buds!

Pretty white Cape snow, Syncarpha vestita.

And hairy Erica cerinthoides.

It was an easy climb to the top. We saw many other walkers on the mountain hereabouts, including a couple in the distance that appeared to be collecting plants. Hmm.

From on top: False Bay! Hangklip in the distance.

And below us, silver ripples into Muizenberg.

The turned left onto the Hilltop Path. This route took us along the plateau, direction Kalk Bay.

There were some gentle ups and downs, but mostly very easy walking.

I have never seen so many serrurias in one place - this one, Serruria villosa. In one dip there were masses and masses.

Also seen on this stretch. Agapanthus africanus in full bloom.

Tiny Diastella divaricata.

And a lot of lobelia, in purple, light blue, white and pink. I still can't tell the different varieties apart. They're worse that the buchus!

And very happy healthy fynbos foliage. Silky and soft, like cats' ears.

Rocky landscape so typical of this area.

Looking right we saw what I am pretty sure is Kalk Bay Mountain, which we had climbed the week before, in very different conditions.

And as we made our way along there was a very welcome cool wind blowing in. See the white horses on the sea.

The Mesembs were showing their little faces to the sun.

LinkThis Pseudoselago has such a strange stem.

I always think of this yellow one as the prickly daisy. Those barbs are vicious! It is cullumia, possibly Cullumia setosa. The white one is an agathosma of some kind. It has very sweetly scented leaves.

And there was quite a lot of this glorious erica. I think it may be the pink version of Erica mammosa. It apparently comes in greenish-cream (that one I know) as well as deep dark red, scarlet, reddish-orange and pink.

Struthiola ciliata.

Hermas villosa. From underneath is looks like a mushroom.

Willowy polygala garcinii.

Roella ciliata. A most handsome flower.

I'm not sure what this yellow one is.

After a while the Hilltop Path joined the Old Mule Path, and we made our way back down this easy route. Kalk Bay harbour visible below.

And some welcome shade at the bottom of the path.


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