A few months ago I stumbled across a pretty pale pink flowering shrub on the Empati mountain run route. I mentally made a note of it’s location meaning to go back and photograph it. I never got round to doing that until this morning.
I decided to explore the same path today. Well, all was well at first but eventually the further I went the higher the grass seemed to get until eventually I was doing a kind of ‘breast stroke’ with my arms just to part a way through! I could have turned around but I had come this far already and it seemed silly to give up now. I tried very hard not to think of what could be slithering or crawling around my feet and bravely pressed on.
At last! I found my shrub but alas it had long finished flowering. I did triumphantly manage to get some seeds though. I think my shrub is a kind of ‘River Indigo’ although I can’t be sure until I see the flowers again. I shall sow the seeds in spring and hopefully they will germinate!
As I had made it this far I decided that I may as well climb out through the last steep stretch of the route. Just before this climb out there is the biggest cabbage tree – ‘Cussonia spicata’ or ‘Kiepersol’ that I have ever seen. It must be as old as the mountain. It is the ‘Magic faraway tree from Africa’. It’s trunk is huge and it’s branches twisted and gnarled. The bark is flaking off in big pieces like old skin being shed. The ends of it’s branches form a strange candelabra like structure of spikes, some of them withered like witches fingers with age.
I was starting to feel a little claustrophobic in the long grass however and did not linger to take photographs. I will do so when I’m not alone up there. The higher I climbed the shorter the grass became again and finally I was climbing through the forested section near the top. This little area is deeply shaded, cool and damp. There are a no of beautiful lacy ferns and bright green moss, ‘fairy grass’, growing like a thick velvety carpet on some of the rocks.
Here I did stop to take it all in. This ‘other world’ where time has stood still. These ancient rocks and trees were here long before me and will be here long after I am gone.
Finally I was out into the bright sunshine again. I made my way back down, feeling content and frankly quite chuffed with myself.
Not the original African ‘magic faraway tree’ – but a lovely one along the road up the mountain.