Actually, strictly speaking, it was two. (I’ve just always wanted to start a blog post with a heading like that!)
Meet Bill (the brown one) and Mona (the grey one):
They came clippety-cloppeting onto our stoep early this morning to join us for breakfast. I was so thrilled to meet them, that I welcomed them with an apple each. And they stood patiently, heads lowered, eyes half closed, yawning, one hind leg bent in relaxed pose, while I stroked them and talked to them.
They even gave a little back-tightening stretch, arching their backs upwards and their heads into the air, eyes closed blissfully, almost like Tuffy does! I had no idea horses did that!
In case you are wondering where we are, because this sure don’t look like our home in suburban Cape Town – we are spending the weekend at Jamaka Organic Farm (see website). These are the links to the posts I’ve written about it:
- There’s a Horse on my Stoep
- A Long Weekend in the Cederberg
- More Photos of our Trip
- Wild Flowers in the Cederberg
This is our little house, in the middle of the veld.
Yesterday afternoon, when we arrived, we tried to find the start of the River Trail. But the only way to get there was to cross the river to the other side … and the crossing, though perfect for a 4×4 vehicle, was both chillingly cold and covered with pointy gravel that dug into one’s bare feet.
Richard, unwilling to take off his hiking boots, tried to balance his way across on the rocks, but had to turn around because there weren’t enough large rocks to make it all the way across without getting his boots wet. Meanwhile, I had taken off my boots and waded all the bloomin’ way to the other side, because I was sure Mom and hubby would follow me if I led the way confidently.
So I had to splash my way back to the other side. Drat. We continued walking along the river until we found a couple of rocks just at the edge of the water where we could have a little picnic of apples and water. 🙂 Delicious!
The evening ended, in typical South African fashion, with a braai and salads, beers and rock shandies. And watching the sunset from the stoep. Heavenly!
This morning, after breakfast with Mona and Bill, we decided to do the River Trail properly. This time, we DROVE across the river crossing with the car. Poor Julietta (our car): her belly was still full of sand from yesterday’s gravel road escapade, and then it got all tickled and scratched by bushes and grasses in the narrow tracks, and now we almost flooded her from below… But she tackled it all courageously.
We found the start to the ‘Upper River Trails’, but the sign seemed to lead DIRECTLY ACROSS THE RIVER.
The water was fairly fast moving here and there weren’t enough rocks to balance over without immersion in the water, so we decided to give it a miss for now and to head up a little bit along the Rooiberg/Wolfberg trail. That path at least was well laid out and clearly visible, winding its way up between rocks and fire-blackened bushes. A devastating fire had swept through the valley earlier this year, as evidenced from the charred trees and bushes all over the hillsides, and even down near the river.
Small flowering plants were springing up everywhere though. I’ll post some pics another time, there were just so many!
And the view was glorious. You can see the dark trees along the river valley below, and a couple of orchards with the chalets in the middle distance. The main buildings and office of Jamaka are on the right side.
We decided to turn back instead of walking all the way around the Rooiberg, which would have taken us about 3.5 hours. We weren’t mentally prepared for such a long excursion. (Meaning that we hadn’t taken our thermos of tea or sandwiches for a picnic on route.)
We thus headed back almost all the way down, until we hit the connecting path to the River Trail, which we followed aaaallllll along the cliff face until we reached the river once more. It took us a while to find a suitable crossing place that we could wade across. It was a little deeper than anticipated, though, so our jeans did get a thorough soaking in the briskly cold water. But it was FUN!
And when we finally got ‘home’, Mona and Bill were waiting for us on the stoep, swishing their tails to swat away irritating flies and gazing at me with their liquid eyes, clearly hoping that another apple or two might come their way. I promised them my last apples for Sunday morning.
I wonder whether they’ll come around again later?