May 18 - Day 10
Next morning was sadly packing up day... We took our time - as we always seem to do, and for the first time (and thankfully the only time) we had a bit of a family argument over packing... I am generally the chief packer because I am usually the only one who can our multitude of 'stuff' to even vaguely fit into the car. This time however there was the added challenge of needing to pack camping gear at the bottom because we wouldn't be using it for the next week, and clothing, food, and collecting gear needed to be accessable. needless to say, it didn't work, and tensions rose.... After the kind HR came over to intorduce herself and chat, things calmed down and we started again
that everything would just fit in! It did eventually! Collecting equipment was relegated to a lower level of 'accesability' which was a bit of a mistake, but the main thing was that everything was in!
With that we were on our way to a timeshare in Knysna for a week of work, fun, and catching up with old friends! We had already decided to go via Prince Albert and the Swartberg Pass. On our November trip mom and I had camped in Prince Albert before heading to KaNP and thoroughly enjoyed it, despite not finding the plant I was looking for. So now it was dad's turn to see the place. Along the road I spotted some Gomphocarpus filiformis
in fruit, and as I didn't have a specimen of it in fruit we stopped to collect it - now you see why packing the collecting gear deeper in was a mistake... We also usually put our days collections in the fridge to keep them fresh until pressing them in the evening, but the fridge was at the bottom of the mess in the canopy... So we used a pair of sowing scissors (I was knitting in the back when mom drove...) and shopping bag from the depths of mom's hand bag and put the collections safely in our coolbag hoping for the best! - It did work out for me
Once in Prince Albert we discovered the dairy was closed which was a pity as we had banked on stocking up our cheese and milk supplies there, but no matter. We went on to meet up with an old friend of my parents from there varsity days, and just as luck would have it, she knew about the plant I had been looking for in November, so arrangements were made for her to collect it for me later this year when it is flowering
With stomachs growling we went off in search for lunch, and lucky for us found a place that stocked the dairy's produce as well - phew - we wouldn't have to go without our cheese and milk!! and honey, a variety of jams, and of course, olives!
I was then allowed to tackle Swartberg pass - which was absolutely stunning, and a bit nerve wracking with its blind corners. The folded rocks
were amazing. To try and imagine the forces that created these is nearly impossible.
Finally we were at the top and could enjoy the view
back over from where we had come. The Swartberg mountain range had just been visible from the drive we did the day before in KaNP, so somewhere in the distance in this pic lies KaNP
Over on the other side on the way down was this view
of where we were going (sort of)
And then we happened upon this beautiful Psoralea
With Swartberg Pass having taken us 3 hours to complete, we upped our pace dramatically and headed straight for Knysna. We arrived after dark - how unusual
- and unpacked as best we could leaving the back in a bit of a shambles. We had pies for supper, and then off to bed after treating ourselves to a bit of Discovery channel (We don't have DSTv at home so this is always a treat).