Beginnings. . .
Having settled in to my usual room in my usual hotel in Boca de Huérgano, and having consumed several glasses of vino tinto to celebrate my arrival, I afforded myself a small lie in the following day. This day would be spent hiking to the spot where I saw my first ever wolves, a fleeting glimpse as they fled across a snowfield.
It was pretty much the same time of year, and exactly like back then there was a light covering/sprinkling of snow. Infact the only difference this time is that Doodle has taken a leave of absence (although I'm sure she's still following me), and also the wife had to stay at home to tidy.
Back then I was taken there in a 4x4, but from what I remembered it would probably only take me 1hr max on foot, allowing a bit of time for the odd photo. Now being an expert in the mountains, and appreciating how rapidly the weather can change I packed two coats (as well as extensive photography equipment), and I wasn't going to let the 20 degree heat lure me into a false sense of security.
Now it's worth pointing out that my starting height was roughly 3000 ft and where I was heading was 5200ft, an easy 1hr stroll.
An hour in, and still fairly near the bottom I decided 2 coats and heavy photography equipment had not been the best choice of company for this excursion. Any faint ambitions of thinking it would be nice to climb Mount Everest one day quickly dissipated. Never mind, I'd allowed myself plenty of time, and so I continued on.
The next minor hindrance came from the bushes, a gentle rustling, not much of a rustle to be fair (probably the wind), but just enough to think my life was now in danger from a wild animal. Even though from what I know there have been no fatal deaths caused by wild animals in this area, there obviously always has to be someone to go first. This was now me, and the battle was on. I gathered my composure, this lasted as long as it took me to remember that I'd forgotten to Google "how to survive a wild boar attack". Life can be so fickle sometimes I thought, my life decided on a Google search. I thought about lying down and letting the inevitable happen, but then I saw it, my savior - a stick. Now I was armed, with a stick, not a particularly big stick, but at least I was now armed. The 500lb pig would not stand a chance against my stick. With my new found courage I continued on my way, it surely wasn't much farther anyway (approx another 2hrs as it turned out).
It's amazing as the snow melts and recedes just what is below, below the snow there are hundreds of little lives waiting to get out, just waiting for the warmth of the sun. You never hear them complain about how cold it is, or when summer might arrive, they just get on with it - happy at their place within nature.
Anyway, the journey continues to the top, where I glimpsed those wolves, those wolves that had brought me back to this place time and time again. These the wolves that I have called the Doodle pack, they have been good to me and I hope that the hunting season has not been to harsh on them. There is a magic about wolves, a magic that we have lost but is still there - it's just buried under being human stuff. I didn't see a wolf, but then I didn't need to, I know they are around. I came across the partial remains of a deer, maybe it was killed by the wolves, or maybe it was killed in this winters record snowfalls. Either way it had definitely been eaten by wolves.
Life is funny like that sometimes, we all rush around trying to get from A to B (or in my case trying to see a wolf), that often we don't pay attention to the stuff in between. It's the stuff in between A and B that brings our lives richness. In fact it would be just as well that we never reach our B, as where do you go then (apart from C maybe)?
Enjoy the journey, breathe it all in, look around you, life is beautiful now not just when you arrive at where ever it might be.
Dedicated to my wonderful sister (who is the only one who will read this anyhow).