Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Parkrun News

On Saturday, Grant and I drove to the venue to take part in the weekly Parkrun event. I always have my camera and with this I'm getting to know several regulars.
 People gather around in the sun 
Our friend, Anthony arrives and greets the ladies
The valley's vivacious beauty therapist, Jessica, and her two children
A fluffy four-legged participant
Anthony's brother, John (green hat) and Grant chat. The gentleman gazing downwards is 86 years old and regularly does the Parkrun
Serious contenders warm up for the run
I just managed to snap these two lively dogs 
The starter, Diane, reminds us of the rules 
And we're off! 

This week I thought I might challenge myself to better my time of 50min 2 secs last week. 
At the 1km marker I checked the time: 10 minutes! 
Turning around, I quickly snapped these people behind me
I try to take in the scenery as well as walk
At the 2km marker, nine minutes had elapsed since the first marker
Another beautiful scene of the first dam with the Drakensberg mountains in the background
I took 10 minutes reach this 3km marker

As I mentioned last week, reaching this 4km marker below, is always a reason to rejoice! 
At 4km I checked my time: 10 minutes
These young parents had finished and ran back to meet their two young sons
I was behind the young dad carrying his youngest when we approached the finish (9 minutes from the 4km marker)

As I presented my bar-coded card to be clocked in, I asked the official what my time was:



I'd managed shave off 1 minute and 59 seconds from my time last week. (See how honest I am? I could have said two minutes! LOL!)
Anthony clocks in about a minute after me

Once I'd had a cup of cold water, I walked back up the track. I saw Anthony haring off again (is there no end to this old man?) and meeting up with the 86 year-old who was coming along the last kilometer. Not far behind them, I caught Grant and John on camera.
Anthony and Alan Leggart 
Grant clocked in at 1hour and 16 minutes - three minutes faster than last week ! John and Anthony coming up behind Grant
A young Jack Russel ran the walk with his mistress

As usual, this was a lovely day of fun and healthy exercise. 

I'm linking to Our World Tuesday here

Monday, January 30, 2017

My heart

Our six beautiful grandchildren in Mozambique

Boys from left: Joshua, Israel and Elijah; Girls  from right: Eryn, Keren and Bethany
Eryn, our oldest grandchild is a beautiful gentle teenager. Loves all things in nature too (Elijah looking on)
Bethany, Samuel, Elijah, Israel and Keren - on the beach


Sunday, January 29, 2017

All the kitties

Hi Bozo and Mum's blog readers; this is Ambrose and this time I have photos of all the Hedges kitties. 
Aunty Chappie and me early one morning

Dad Ginger and Unca Shadow also early on that same morning
Mum took the dogs walking while it was still dark

Afterwards she and our yoomen dad went to a B E E G hill and climbed it. Then she took THIS photo!
Now WHO is THIS? Luckily she told me it's a tiny kitty at another place
When they came back. Unca Shadow checked the car to make sure that little kitty wasn't in it!
All clear from Unca Shadow - NO tiny kitty around
Our favorite time of the day - afternoon sunning ourselves at the rondawel

For more cute posts about pets, please click here

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Wildlife Saturday critters

Walking back from the mountain hike this week, I heard baboons barking. In the forest, I saw a movement high up on a rock to my right. 
A pair of baboons

These are the Chacma baboons and some of the most widespread primates in South Africa. They are highly intelligent. See here

Walking the last few hundred meters with the octogenarian hiker, her one Labrador stopped and sniffed at something in the hedge.
A tiny, but feisty little kitten
Don't tell Ambrose I took photos of other kitties! 
A Spurwing Goose on the roof of a chalet
A peacock male (not SA wildlife)

I'm linking to Saturday Critters with Eileen here


Friday, January 27, 2017

Waning crescent

Waning crescent; visibility 19%; age 25 days. 23 January 2017
Above images taken at 4.43am 23 January 2017 over our rondawel

Waning crescent; visibility 12 %; age 26 days. 24 January 2017 at 4.50am (taken on our early morning walk) 

I'm linking to Skywatch Friday here

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Champagne Valley Walking Club

Another activity our friend. Anthony has encouraged us to join, is the Champagne Valley Walking Club. 

Grant and I started hiking in the mid-80's when we lived in Kwa-Zulu Natal for a spell. We were coaxed by our then-14 year-old son, John to do the Drakensberg trails. At the time if was just me and Grant and John and Angus but we did every day hike in the book. 

Later on, we progressed to hiking up crags, down through the valleys and over the high Berg passes;  staying overnight or even two nights. 

While Grant and I were in Africa, we didn't get to hiking much - the last time we actually did a mountain walk,  was in 2013 with John and Debbie and the grandchildren.

If you click on the link I supplied above, you'll see these walks are designed for all. You can hare it up the pathway to the tea-spot or you can stroll along, stopping to look back over the valley and catch your breath at the same time. 

The walk we did on Tuesday (which is when the club meets and walks) was rather challenging for us. It was a short, very, very steep climb which tested your lung capacity and your leg muscles to the limits. Fortunately we start early - 7am - and the first and hardest part of the walk is along contour paths in the shade. 
A quick photo before we drove to the meeting spot way over  t-h-e-r-e  
below the mountains behind us
Getting ready before setting off
A modest incline lulls you into a false sense of comfort
I looked back and took photos of the walkers behind

For the next 55 minutes, I didn't manage to take photos - I was challenged to get up the steep paths and along under the Matterhorn.  Stopping to catch my breath, I quickly snapped several of our group coming up on the path below. 
You can see Anthony second in the photo - Grant was a little way behind him

Doggedly putting one foot in front of the other, I heard steps behind me. I turned and asked the gentleman if he'd like to pass. He introduced himself as Craig  and said I was going quite fast enough - thank you very much - and setting a good pace for him. It turned out this was his first walk in the Berg and he was determined to make it to the breakfast stop. Having him for company made my walk much more pleasant and after another steep 10 minute climb up the forest path,  we came upon a beautiful and refreshing sight. A high waterfall was gushing down into a pool. The three people ahead of us were already sitting on the rocks and cooling off. 
A high waterfall gushes into a pool just beyond these rocks - the perfect breakfast stop
A fellow hiker kindly photographed me against the backdrop of the cascading waterfall
I only realized when I downloaded these photos, that I had water drops on my camera lens
Then it was time to head back down again... My up-route walking partner, Craig and another businessman in the valley, Graham were ahead of me
Although it's often harder to descend (one thing being your knees get hammered), I found was a lot more confident and energetic.  I took many more photos than on the way up
I looked back up the trail and photographed the rest of the group coming down

Back in the forest, I caught up to the leaders and noticed there was a third hiker and a dog. When I eventually pulled alongside them, I was introduced to the other person, an 82 year-old Ms Carter who lives in the valley. She hadn't done the whole walk and a second Labrador came running back from ahead in the path.

From quite a way up, you could hear the barking of baboons echoing against the mountains. Walking along the path through the forest, I noticed a movement on a rock above me...
...a pair of baboons watch us from their high vantage point
The octogenarian hiker ahead of me as we near the end of the walk

So there we were: our first walk with the Champagne Valley Walking Club. 

As they say: life's tough in the valley ! 

Here's hoping you're all having a wonderful week!