On a Clear Day

You can see forever. The young man who drove up the jeep track to fix the transmitters must have thought he was seeing things. There were women of various ages strewn all along the jeep track. When he got to the top, there was a guy and another woman with a Landcruiser. Before long, another guy and two women appeared from the steep and rocky western side. “What was going on?”

We combined LOT, SIM and HAT on Friday for an exploration of the Eastern Head of Paardepoort. It burnt about three years ago and the regeneration has been slow, because of very poor rains. There was no sign of our target plant. We were hoping that Mimetes chysanthus (Vulnerable) had drifted across from the western head and colonised the eastern head, but we didn’t even spot any skeletons. Greg , Cheryl and Evie (HAT) had a steep scramble up on the western side. Greg particularly enjoyed the rock-scrambling near the summit. Ann and Mike went up in the Landcruiser and explored the top. Sally, Nicky and Di walked up the jeep track at different speeds and Gail walked down, having flagged a lift up in the Landcruiser. That is about as comprehensive an exploration as you can get.

The find of the day was a single Disa arida (Endangered) first spotted by Sally and then later seen by Gail. Brunsvigia josephinae (Vulnerable) was over and the first leaves were starting to appear. As expected on these northern foothills and post-fire, Psoralea diturnerae (Endangered) was prominent. There wasn’t a lot else flowering, but the views from this amazing ridge were spectacular both to east and west, across to the Outeniquas, Swartberg and the Kammanassie, with the glorious empty plains of the Little Karoo in between. In the distant east, we picked up Formosa Peak in the Tsitsikamma. Looking north to the Swartberg, we could see Blesberg in the east, Spitskop in the middle and Towerkop to the west. We had an amazing day. So many thanks to Gus du Toit for permission and his escort to the access gate from the Langkloof. We are hoping to return in the Spring.

Evie reports on Hat’s ascent from the west
HAT(Greg &Cheryl Devine, and Evie) spent the latest Outramps outing scrambling up a rocky south facing ridge to gain the Peak(1200m) of this section of the Paardepoort. We certainly had a wonderful day among the rocks - which come in all shapes and sizes. Luckily, very sturdy rock- and the artistically sculptured shapes provided the best hand holds ever. At the start – very bushy and loose underground- however we soon gained height to get to the real rock. After reaching the saddle we worked our way along the mountain edge to eventually arrive at the actual peak- as is the norm these days topped with a manmade mast! All along the upper reaches – we peered into the South facing aspects – sadly no evidence of any populations of Mimetes chrysanthus .

The vegetation is recovering from a previous burn- flowering Crassulaceae sp; Restios in all sorts of shapes and sizes; pretty scatterings of Lobelia linearis; new green on numerous Pelargonium myrrhifolium; perfumed clumps of Agathosma ovata in amongst the rocks and new shoots on Protea nitida – some on old large sturdy trunks. Along the top saddle – numerous new bushes -the future Leucadendrons and Proteas; some Erica clumps – both E. demissa and rosacea, as well as an unknown.

Cradock peak

This was a long day out – HAT Evie had instigated a WAGS trip to the top of Cradock Peak. The hike is fantastic- brilliant path and views all along, today including views over the cloud covering George. Somehow, I always find the final last 1½ hours of downhill on the return the most grueling of the day. I had hoped to monitor the elusive Erica outeniquae (VU) found on Cradock Peak in June 1017. Today no sighting at all!! Hopefully, it is because it is not in flower and is currently obscured in a jungle of young Berzelia intermedia plants. The rocky area around the rocks just below the peak is covered in numerous different Ericas - pink E.steinbergiana; E.lanata; E.cordata ; E. densifolia; E.viridiflora. and a few red Ericas will need verification by Outramps Jenny.

The top saddle area has recovered well from the fire (about 4 years ago). Numerous young bushes of Leucadendron conicum (NT) and Mimetes pauciflorus(VU) are becoming more obvious as they show their tall selves. A deep blue Psoralea - possibly trullata (Rare), currently only 15cm high was very evident along the ridge trail towards the peak.


Breakfast Rock
While Cradock Peak was the WAGS destination for Wednesday, Bill and I were only aiming for Breakfast Rock. There was thick mist at the start of the day, which lifted later and we made our destination quite easily. It was on the way down that things went a bit haywire for us. I asked Bill to take the camera and bushwhack to Mimetes splendidus (Endangered). He missed them completely, but saw some tall Mimetes-like plants further down the slope. They turned out to be Mimetes pauciflorus (Vulnerable). He didn’t catch a glimpse of the Splendid Pagoda, so that population needs revisiting. By this time, he was in head-high Fynbos and couldn’t see his direction. There was much phoning and shouting and eventually he made his way back to the path. This was after about an hour of very hard going. He arrived exhausted, scratched and bleeding. What we do for the plants!

Rares seen were Ld conicum (Near Threatened) in profusion, Psoralea trullata (Rare), Erica unicolor ssp georgensis (Rare), Lobelia ardisiandroides (Rare) and Mimetes pauciflorus (Vulnerable)

Ismail Ebrahim (our Cape Co-ordinator) will be visiting us this week. He will drive up on Tuesday evening and we’ll have our Planning meeting at 9am on Wednesday, followed by lunch at Strawberry Hill. He will be staying for a field trip on Thursday. I suggested that we have a look at the original population of Mimetes chrysanthus on the western head of Perdepoort, which the Outramps found in 1995. His reply, “YES YES YES! Mimetes chrysanthus is on my bucket list.” So that is what we’ll do.
Hamba Kahle
Groete en dankie
Di Turner
The Outramps CREW Group
Southern Cape
Di Turner

Abbreviations Glossary

MCSA – Mountain Club of South Africa
MSB - Millenium Seed Bank based at Kew in the UK
WIP – Work in Progress
HAT – High Altitude Team
LOT – Lowland Team
SIM – Somewhere in the Middle Team
WAGS – Wednesday Adventure Group
VB – Vlok Boekie “Plants of the Klein Karoo” and our Plant Bible
ITRTOL – Another thread “In The Rich Tapestry Of Life”(It describes a challenging situation, usually to do with the Buchu Bus)
ITFOT – In the fullness of time
WOESS – Fair Weather Hiker
FMC and JW – too vulgar to translate, but the equivalent is “Strike me Dead” An expression of surprise and delight on finding a new “Rare”
Kambro – same as above
Fossick – A meter per minute, scratching around looking for rares
SIDB – Skrop in die Bos – Another name for a field trip, this one coined by Prix
BAFFING – Running round like a blue-arsed fly
SYT – Sweet Young Thing - Anyone under the age of 40
TOMB – Get a move on
Mayhem - Needless or willful damage or violence
SESKRYNG – “Sit en staan kry niks gedaan” ,with thanks to Brian
SOS – Skelms on Scramblers
FW – Idiot
BOB – Another name for the Buchu Bus when she’s misbehaving.
CRAFT – A symptom of Old Age
DDD - Metalasia tricolor (Damned Diabolical Daisy)
VP – Vrekplek – Retirement Village
Qàq – Self-explanatory Inuit word describing some of our local problems
Mr Fab – Our Fabaceae specialist, Brian Du Preez – originally Boy 1
Muisvoel -The Mathematician – Peter Thompson
Boy 2 – Kyle Underwood who works on Orchids and is still at school
Sharkie – Finn Rautenbach – Our latest SYT is a surfer in his spare time
Sicko – Someone who suffers from Car Sickness. With 4 in the Group, allocating seating in the Buchu Bus is tricky
VAG – Virgin Active Garage, which is our meeting place when we head north
MATMUE – Meet At The Mall Under E - Meeting place when we head West
WG – Waves Garage in Wilderness East. - Meeting place when we’re going east.
VU- Vulnerable
DDT – Data Deficient and Taxonomically ?
NT – Near Threatened
EN – Endangered
CR – Critically Endangered
PE – Presumed extinct
LC – Least Concern
TBC – To be Confirmed
TLC – Tender loving care
JMS – An expression of absolute disdain
FOMO – Fear of Missing Out
Milk – the fruit of the vine
Condensed Milk – Scotland’s finest export
Full Cream Milk or Fat Milk – Any product of Humulus lupulus eg. Milk Stout
Milk of the Gods – Rooibos and Brandy
Milk Shake - Sparkling Wine
NS – Species of conservation concern new to the Outramps
PS -Priority Species allocated to the Outramps by our CREW Cape Co-ordinator , Ismail Ebrahim
iNFD – iNaturalist for Dummies as compiled by Sally
Mizzle – Mist and drizzle combined. A regular feature of George in the ”good old days”.
FE – Fire Ephemeral – only appears immediately or after a couple of years after fire
Squirrel – aka President Ramaphosa
WOG – Wrath of God – eg. incurred when you put a young Pine tree on iNat as Leucadendron album
Skedonk - A banger - old, battered motor car more than 30 years old
Hoedown - redneck gathering, usually involves shouting catchy phrases like "yee-haw" and "the south will rise again"

Posted on April 23, 2018 04:36 AM by outramps-tanniedi outramps-tanniedi


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