Fantastic hike Sunday up Platteklip Gorge on Table Mountain. I went with my pal James who is a MSc student and Kirsten, our new ICPMS operator (I think?) from East Germany. Lucky for us it was a cool day with intermittant swirling fog. It felt a lot easier than when I hiked up with Sila in the blazing sun!
There was a lot of water and little springs everywhere, which made it so nice to wash my face half way up. The trail is brutally switchbacked - climbs about 700m in 3 km up the nearly shear cliffs of Table Mountain Group rocks. Here's a pretty waterfall in the lower section, Graafwater Fm. terrigenous seds.
Here's James and Kirsten taking a breather behind a boulder. The number and size of boulders littering the path and the area around it is ... um... sobering. Anyone remember the house on the highway out of Red Lodge, MT? Anyway, everybody takes breaks on this trail. We leap frogged up, passing each other on breaks, with a few other groups and families. Quite social actually.
After reaching the top of the severely steep trail! I turned to wait for the others and had a wild hallucination. Actually no, this is a Himalayan Tahr, a type of goat which was (how many times will I use this phrase?) originally introduced by Cecil John Rhodes for his zoo. Here's a WWF article explaining why the invasive tahrs must be eradicated, since they directly compete with native species which could be reintroduced, such as the klipspringer. Here's an article from National Geographic explaining that the tahrs must be saved, because they've been there 70 years at least and anyway, the Dali Llama agrees.
The website says they're only 90cm at the shoulder, but doesn't that make James really really small?
Fog was quite swirly at the top but we crossed out to McClear's beacon to see the diamictite. This has been interpreted in the past as a glacial till but I am SO COMPLETELY SURE IT IS NOT A TILL that I won't shut up about it. My current idea is that it is just a intra-formational catastrophic deposit (I think tsunami, James suggested jo¨kulhlaup (a flood caused by the failure of an ice dam) or similar outburst. Can't rule out storm surge. Now spending "spare time" digging in the lit for diagnostic features of tsunami deposits. A detailed look at the diamictite is certainly in order. Old papers report ice wedges in this deposit - I can't find them but must look again!!