River trail a popular one

Today we joined the throngs enjoying the Silvermine River Trail – I say that because more people passed us in both directions than we have ever seen on this trail, which features often on our calendar. Everyone had the same idea today, perhaps because Silvermine never disappoints in scenery, fynbos, streams and dam, and particularly safety. The only parts of the reserve that give views of civilisation (by that I mean roads and buildings) are the peaks, and it is easy to forget that home is only 15 minutes away by car as you sweep through thickets of proteas, leucadendrons, keurboom and restios.

The dam keeps the stream tinkling year-round, and the meander through the trees provides a buffer from the summer southeaster which is making itself felt as November approaches. November is renowned for its 10-day gales from the south east, swirling grit and litter in equal parts across the Peninsula, and is not something to look forward to, despite it being the Cape Doctor that clears away the city smog. Today the wind was chilly but not fierce and was a welcome addition to the return trip to the cars as the cloud cover had burned away and the sun shone eagerly across the mountain slopes.

The trail can be very uneven in places, with the sandstone layers tilting at an angle that requires concentration for those not so fleet of foot, and as I had forgotten the finer details of the walk after a bit of an absence, I didn’t wear hiking boots and found myself lurching left and right like someone who had had a good pub lunch. Perhaps it didn’t help that I was wearing my new bifocals and kept misjudging my step, but at least I could see the leaves on the trees and identify a Dusky Flycatcher from a distance. Others struggled similarly and a few of us took the tar road from the dam down to the car park as a smoother route. Of course, nothing is ever perfect and the downhill used other muscles and caused a few crunched toes in shoes, but the fynbos is particularly beautiful along this stretch and we were able to admire it without having to look at our feet. Tiny blue lobelia and the purple and white spikes of muraltia brightened the roadside, while elegant watsonias in a multitude of colours stood sentry along the way.

A delightful morning in one of the most accessible recreation areas on the Peninsula was made special by the company of good friends who share a love of nature, good humour and laughter as the best medicine.

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