Beacon Hill, pre-Xmas Party Hike, 16th December 2013

Report by Rod Hart, photos courtesy of Rod Hart & Charlie Guiot

Nineteen of us including our hike leader Carolee (plus Carolee's chocolate labrador 'Sundae') met at Eagle Ridge Estate and did a short pre-Xmas Party hike up and around Beacon Hill in Howick. Leaving at 10h45 we were back by 12h00. As can be seen from the following pics many wild flowers that Beacon Hill conservancy is renowned for were on show for us. I have left the comment against many of the flower pictures blank - hoping to fill in their official names at a later date (I am assured by Samantha that Father Xmas has Elsa Pooley's 'Field Guide to Wildflowers of KZN' on order for me...). Our group photo above is taken at the top of Beacon Hill.

Pic 1: 'Sundae' Carolee's chocolate Lab waits patiently for the walk
Pic 2: Outside the gates of Eagle Ridge Estates
Pic 3: ...and we are off towards Beacon Hill

Pic 4: As we detour off into the Mondi plantation we see these stunning deep pink Morning glory flowers (possibly Astripomea malvacea - common Star-ipomoea?)
Pic 5 & 6:In amongst the plantations tall gum trees
Pic 7: A daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare, the ox-eye daisy) alongside the path
Pic 8: The tall trees reflected in a muddy pool on the path
Pic 9: Out of the plantation back towards the road
Pic 10: Just off the road verge we find this stinkhorn fungus (Aseroe rubra)
Pic 11: The stinkhorn fungus has a smelly brown spore bearing slime on it which attracts flies which server to pollinate

Pic 12: Up the Beacon Hill
Pic 13-15: Views of Midmar
Pic 16: Group photo
Pic 17: Katy posing at the beacon
Pic 18: Katy eating bramble berries
Pic 19: Bramble berries

Pic 20: Pentanisia prunelloides
Pic 21: Assortment of wildflowers
Pic 22: Furry violet blooms, dotted with yellow stamens of the Cyanotis speciosa (Doll's powderpuff)
Pic 23-24: Assortment of wildflowers
Pic 25: Brunsvigia flower (Candelabra)
Pic 25b: Cyperus obtusiflorus (Geelbiesie)grass
Pic 26-29: Assortment of wildflowers
Pic 30: Flowerhead of the Brunsvigia (Candelabra flower)
Pic 31: Wildflowers
Pic 32: Kniphofia triangularis 'Light Of The World',Red Hot Poker or Torch Lily. Triangularis meaning 'having angles', is reference to the cross sectional shape of its leaf.
Pic 33-34:Assortment of wildflowers

Pic 35: Off Beacon Hill as such and into the plantation taking a turn to the left at the base of the hill
Pic 36: Fungi
Pic 37: Flower
Pic 38: Along the path
Pic 39: Another stinkhorn fungus is found (Aseroe rubra)
Pic 40: Another fungus

Pic 41: Crossing back onto the road
Pic 42: Flower
Pic 43: Aptly an eagle soars over us on our way back to Eagle Ridge Estate
Pic 44: Casual walk back