After the Burn

In early November last year a group of 14 walkers went into the Vogelgat Reserve to see the flowers which were blooming in the area burnt in the huge fire of December 2012.  A month later a similar walk into “The Burn” north of De Mond se Kop was undertaken. One can but wonder at the profusion of some species and the appearance of seldom seen plants which occur after such fires.

The Vogelgat walk started in partly cloudy weather and we went straight up the path to “Window” seeing many interesting plants en route. However the first real treat awaited us opposite “The Leopard” where fields of red/orange Pillansia templemannii covered large areas of the rocky slopes.

Having climbed the “Zig-zag” we passed more templemannii,  these being a slightly paler orange in colour.  Shortly before reaching “Vogel Pool”  a small area of Gladiolus carneus with their delicate blooms simply took our breath away.  More was, however, in store for us as the fairly large stand of Disa racemose  near “Cluster Stream”  introduced us to a species many of us had never seen before. Among many other better known plants, we were also fortunate to see splendid specimens of Lachenalia peersii  and Corymbium cymosum.

Our hike took us to the amazing new “Sip Lodge” and the return to “Base Camp” was undertaken in rapidly deteriorating weather with a gale force wind and cold driving rain. This served as a reminder that one should always be well equipped for any eventuality when venturing into the mountains of the Western Cape.

The December walk saw us heading up the “Zig-zag” behind Voelklip and then along the “Jeep Track” to “The Burn” behind De Mond se Kop. In this burnt area we came across several species which caused great excitement amongst the botanists in the group. Specials like Pachites bodkinii  and Disa bivalvata  were much admired but even the common Lachnospernum umbellatum  and  Lanaria lanata  and many others  added to the beauty surrounding us.

For those of us fortunate enough to participate in these walks, it certainly reaffirmed that we live in one of the most amazing places on earth and that the floral wealth right on our doorstep contributes in no small measure to this fact.

NA DIE VUUR

Vroeg in November verlede jaar het ‘n groep van 14 stappers die Vogelgatreserwe binnegegaan om  die blomme, wat in dié gebied  deur die groot vuur van 2012 verbrand is, en nou geblom het, te besigtig. ‘n Maand later is ‘n soortgelyke stap na “The Burn”  noord van De Mond se Kop, onderneem. ‘n Mens kan maar net stomverbaas staan oor die oorvloedige rykdom van sommige spesies en die verskyning van skaars plantsoorte wat na sulke brande hulle verskyning maak.

Die Vogelgatstap het in gedeeltelik bewolkte weer begin en ons het die paadjie na die “Venster” direk gevolg terwyl ons langs die pad baie interessante plante gesien het. Die eerste aangename verrassing, egter, het vir ons oorkant Die Luiperd gelê  waar velde rooi/oranje Pillansia templemanii groot gedeeltes van die rotsagtige hange bedek het.

Met die Slingerpad agter die rug, het ons nog templemannii verbygestap wat egter bleker oranje van kleur was. Kort voordat ons Vogelpoel bereik het, het ‘n klein lappie  Gladiolus carneus met hulle delikate blomme ons eenvoudig die asem ontneem. Groter verrassings het vir ons gewag aangesien ‘n groot stand Disa racenose vir ons naby “Cluster Stream”  bekend gestel het aan ‘n spesie wat baie van ons nog nooit gesien het nie. Tussen ander meer bekende plante, was ons gelukkig om luisterryke spesimens van Lachenalia peersii en Corymbium cymosum te sien.

Ons staproete het ons by die verbasingwekkende nuwe Siphut uitgebring en die terugkeer na Basiskamp is in vinnig verslegtende weer met ‘n stormsterkte wind en koudgedrewe reën aangepak. Dit het gedien as ‘n teregwysing dat ‘n mens altyd voorbereid en toegerus moet wees vir enige gebeurlikheid waneer jy jou in die Wes-Kaap se berge begewe.

Gedurende Desember het ons met die Slingerpad langs, agter Voëlklip, en dan met die Jeep-paadjie tot by “The Burn” agter De Mond se Kop gestap. Ons het in hierdie gebrande gebied verskillende spesies raakgeloop wat groot opgewondenheid onder die botaniste in die groep veroorsaak  het. Besondere plante soos Pachites bodkinii en Disa bivalvata is hoogs gewaardeer, maar selfs die algemene Lachnospernum umbellatum en Lanaria lanata, en vele ander, het bygedra tot die skoonheid wat ons omring het.

Vir dié van ons wat wat gelukkig genoeg is om deel te wees van hierdie uitstappies, het dit net bevestig dat ons in een van die merkwaardigste plekke op aarde leef en dat die blommerykdom op ons drumpel in geen geringe mate bydra tot hierdie feit nie.

Text and photos by John Groenewald    January 2014       Translated by Andre v d Spuy

About roncorylus

He who wants the kernel must crack the nut
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2 Responses to After the Burn

  1. Anina Lee says:

    Thanks for the news and lovely photos.

  2. The Editors of Garden Variety says:

    So incredibly beautiful!

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