26 September 2011

Partway along the Pipe Track

Date: 24 September 2011

Location: from Kloof Nek

Walkers: Helen, Ian and the dogs

Previous walks on the Pipe Track here and here.

The Pipe Track is always a good choice for a walk late in the day as it catches all the afternoon sunshine. My brother was looking after a couple of dogs for the weekend so they came along with us. The start of the trail is off Tafelberg Road, just near Kloof Nek. We led the excited hounds up the steps and along the path. Table Mountain loomed directly right above, with the upper cable station clearly visible.

Camps Bay was visible below us...

... and, as we rounded the corner, we saw the Twelve Apostles.

And flowers! There were little sprays of Geissorhiza aspera everywhere.

And also many clumps of Adenandra. Such an attractive flower!

There are a fair number of trees along the route, mostly old stone pines.

I was excited to see a clump of Lachenalia right next to the path.

Although much of the path is on the level, there are one of two places where it goes down and then up again.

It was in one of these dips that we found masses of these adorable white star-shaped flowers. I think they are Spiloxene aquatica.

They varied in size considerably: some tiny but others quite large.

Once out of the dip we got to look back at Lions Head.

But mostly our focus was on the flowers alongside the path!

I think this unusual bush is a sort of brunia.

And... a fallen giant. One the old pines has toppled over.

The dogs had a wonderful time running up and down. So much to sniff!

And while they found interesting smells we spotted more flowers. Including Aspalanthus, Wachendorfia, and Moraea...

The path does continue on for quite a way but it was time for us to turn around and head back. We all thoroughly enjoyed this walk!


22 September 2011

Table Mountain: Return to "Puff Adder Alley"

Date: 17 September 2011

Location: Table Mountain

Walkers: Helen, Dominic and dogs

*** Route plotted here ***

Archive off all my walks on this route here.

"Puff Adder Alley" is a nickname for a route on Table Mountain I used to walk often: up Platteklip as far as the intersection with the contour; left along the contour path, taking the right fork at the split (that is, the upper contour), til you reach the Saddle Path; then down and back along the road. The upper contour section is home to at least one puff adder, seen several times sunning himself right on the path - hence this name a friend came up with. Of course every time I walk there I now think about snakes ;-)

As I hadn't done this walk for a good long while, I was excited about heading out on a bright spring morning, with my friend Dom and his gang of dogs. The route up Platteklip Gorge was very busy.

All the rain we've had recently meant that the steams and waterfalls were all flowing strongly, and the vegetation was looking very green and lush.

And of course there were lots and lots of flowers!

Albuca... Moraea... Spiloxene... Lobostemon...

... and darling little Gladiolus carneus, the painted lady.

The views from the contour path over the city and harbour were wonderful.

It made me so happy to see all these bright colourful flowers, many of them old friends from previous spring-times.

First of the season (for me) for Protea nitida...

... and Watsonia tabularis.

There was so much to see along the path that walking was slow, and there was lots of bending down for close-ups.

These two were particularly tiny: Drosera and Heliophilia.

A highlight of the every walk here is passing under the oak tree. It provides welcome shade on hot summer days, but this time of year its bright green canopy was the attraction. A leafy cave.

Hereabouts we spotted Cyphia and another Moraea...

... and a plenty of Pelargoniums.

The waterfall along "Puff" was mossy and ferny. I love this part of the mountain. It was quiet - we didn't encounter any other walkers. Or snakes either. I was half-hoping to see a puff adder even though they terrify me.

These drier slope is home to Trachyandra, Hermannia and Serruria.