Monday, 19 January 2015

FEEDBACK: Saturday 24 January 2015: – Weary Willie's, Spes Bona Forest Circuit, Kalk Bay Peak & Nellie's Pool

One of my personal favourite runs with TMT is through the Spes Bona forest. This magical, dessicated fairyland inspires mental images of leprechauns, elves and even the odd hobbit, so tangled are its branches and dappled is its shade! The steep and breath-taking climb up the steps and rocky path from the town centre is well worth the panting and sweating (and probably some silent cursing). Weary Willy was no doubt named after his climb up to his namesake pool and not before.

Apart from the intricate tree architecture, this route is full of fabulous flora. Familiar watsonias and proteas aside, there are very many interesting plants flanking the path. I'm going to quote Karen Watkins of here, because I have no knowledge of the indigenous growth in the area myself. 

"Thanks to the efforts of the Friends of Silvermine and a stalwart group of hackers (those who clear alien vegetation), the Silvermine area is practically clear of plants that do not belong here. This part of Silvermine has some fascinating plants which are endemic (occurring nowhere else) plants such as Erica urna-viridis, a straggling plant with very sticky green coloured urn-shaped flower heads. Another interesting plant is Diastella divaricata Peninsula silkypuff, a low-lying scrambling shrub with small pink flowerheads. Look closely at the flower and you will see why it is a member of the Proteaceae family. "

She goes on, "TMNP have done a magnificent job of path building and maintenance, particularly evident through Spes Bona Forest, with boardwalks to protect the roots of ancient, and often rare, trees. Spes Bona is a fine remnant of forest, rich in indigenous trees such as rooiels, Cape beech, milkwood and Podocarpus latifolia, the only yellowwood that occurs naturally in the peninsula."

And there I was, thinking they built the boardwalks not to protect the roots but for trailers like us... ;)


Arriving at Kalk Bay Peak, we drank in the gorgeous views and took a moment to revel in the privilege of living in such a beautiful corner of the world. High above the clouds, we gloated -just a little bit – the feeling making us magnanimously state that Eskom could shed its load anytime it liked, as long as we had our mountain to escape to.

A particular highlight of the morning was the visit to Nellie’s pool, complete with mating display by frogs and a haha moment courtesy of Geoff Nell and his suggestion that ‘where there are frogs, there are boomslang to eat them’. Ahem. 

Amongst the names on  the register were Neil and Felicity Garbers arrived at the start, but decided to rather do a flat Tokai route instead seeing that there wasn’t a walking group. We welcomed a good number of new faces to the group, many of whom declare their intentions to return, despite the steep climb and random conversation.

The main group of 12 intrepid trailers did 11.2 or 11.4 km, depending on whose GPS you were using, in 2h20 (or faster, for Julian & Co).  The recovery group did a very similar distance in just a few minutes more, due to either an incorrect turn or FOMO and general over enthusiasm - who knows? :)

Report by Lorraine Nevin, with additional photo contributions from Bonnie Floyd, Gae Tompkins and Richard Rossiter.

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