Thursday, January 25, 2007

Cape of Good Hope Two Day Hike

I have not posted much lately, because I was house-sitting in a home without internet. Then my sister Erin, her partner Shane and my mom came to visit until January 19. We went on a road trip and to the Eastern Cape, hoping to pin down some information about (or graves of?) our great great grandparents who died of tuberculosis there in 1892. Anyhow, that i another story.

The morning after the family went home, I woke up at 6 am to go pick up some girls I know and then we all drove to the Cape of Good Hope for a two day hiking extravaganza! Cape Point is not the most southern tip of Africa (Cape Agulhas is), but it is the most south-western point!

Satuday January 20th was an insane day for wind. Luckily the wind was blowing towards the land rather than away. I think we seriously could have been blown off the cliffs if the wind was blowing towards the ocean. I am not kidding. It was kind of like when you are walking through a wind tunnel between buildings in a city, although this was non-stop for hours.

Here I am with the crew: Meghan, Tina, B and Lena. Cape Point is behind us.

This was a cannon of some historic significance. It is aiming towards Cape Point.

This sign is pointing at the huts we hiked to. They are small in the pic, but if you look closely you will see them perched on the hill above the sign.

Sunset from the hut, looking towards the continent of Africa, with the ocean on either side of the peninsula. Cape Point is behind me from this angle.

We had the most unexpected and coolest treat ever on the 20th! On the left is Comet McNaught and to the right of the photo is a crescent moon. If you click on the photo, it will enlarge and I want you to look closely at the moon - you will see a red spot right at the top of the moon. This was Venus! It was so so so so neat! The sky at twilight was just too much! Venus almost overlapping with the moon would have been spectacular on its own - but a gorgeous comet as well?? We were speechless! I didn't take this picture, but it was taken nearby in Franschoek and depicts what we saw, except for the land in the foreground.

This is the path before us on the second day. These flowers all over remind me of daisies, but the petals appear sparkly, a bit translucent, and look a bit like dried out flowers, even though they are alive and kicking! Very neat indeed.

This is a mother of a protea flower! It was a rebel flower, as it was blooming out of season and was the only one of this variety that we came across over the two days. The Protea is South Africa's national flower. This blossom is WAY larger than my open hand. Peter, a retired pediatrician that stayed at our hut with us, told us that there is way more of a diversity within floral species in the fynbos kingdom. Unlike species in, say, the Boreal kingdom of North America (where glaciers have run over the plants a number of times in ice ages), the plants in this part of the world have had a much longer period to diversify. This is why there are so many types of heather and protea in the Cape and only a few types of pine in North America. I hope I conveyed that newly learned information accurately.

And now for some wildlife we spotted....

A cape tortoise!

One of many lizards.

A Chacma baboon on his way to fish for some molluscs! These are the only baboons on Earth known to eat from the seas.

The above is a map of the route we followed (click to see better detail). The hike on Saturday was almost 8 hours. Sunday took 10 hours. Motorin'!

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Friday, January 12, 2007

Margaret says "Hey Team! Go here for some photos of us in South Africa!"

Monday, January 01, 2007

Sotho Sounds!