Return to the field of dreams. . .
So the day started off much the same as all others, dodging the odd horse munching grass along the roadside, something you are used to coming from St Ouen's.
And to be fair the it continued along the same lines as any other day, no wolves. But then this is not a problem. With beautiful scenery like this, and knowing that the wolves are probably out there watching you this is enough. On the way back to the hotel though I spotted these guys, lurking, just waiting for their next meal. Their meals are generally provided for by the wolves, it is the way nature works round here.
With my time in these beautiful mountains drawing to a close I decided that a return to the fabled "Doodle" pack's territory was called for, for this evenings wolf watching. The "Doodle" pack would surely not let me down.
So late afternoon I set out into the heart of their territory, to the field of dreams. The place where this all started, and the place it would never end. For all of time I hope that wolves tread these mountains. Without these wolves, these mountains are not proper mountains.
The climb up was amazing, although the snow was still deep.
Once at the top I was met by the most amazing view, these mountains never fail to disappoint, man could never create something close to this. Yet one more reminder that we are as much a part of nature as it is a part of us, we cannot separate ourselves, and we are fools to try.
At the top I found what I had been looking for over the last few days, as if by magic - fresh wolf tracks. Unmistakable, straight, and front and rear paws aligned, this makes the wolf such a efficient traveler in all weathers but especially so in deep snow. For me there could not have been a more beautiful sight, especially framed as it was in such beautiful surroundings.
The scene was now set, and expectations high. As it was still fairly early at 5pm for the wolves to be on the move I decided to have a little snooze in the 20 degree sun. It's difficult to explain the scene, but I was at the top of a mountain, in one of the still most wild places in Europe with just the sound of the birds. It was beautiful, you felt a connection that had long since been lost. It was almost hypnotic, one of those moments where you are aware that you are connected to something much bigger than you could ever comprehend in our human state. I had reached something people generally needed 10 yoga sessions to reach (depending on how much you are willing to pay), I was now firmly grounded. I was the mountain, and the mountain was me. I may jest, but it was amazing.
And so the snooze ended, and the business of looking for hairy things commenced. It was almost like it was written in the scripts. Just two years earlier I had been in the exact same spot, albeit in different circumstances. This time it was a two hour hike, instead of 10 minutes in a 4x4. This time I was relying on my own instinct as oppose to that of an expert guide or tracker, nether the less I was feeling confident.
The scene was set, we awaited the players.
The time ticked on. 3 hours in my crouching tiger hidden dragon position passed, we were now approaching "wolfie" time. For anyone not familiar with "wolfie" time, it can only be compared to "squatchy" time. For anyone who has not seen this ground breaking TV program (Finding Bigfoot) featuring "Bobo" then you have no idea what you are missing out on. These brave people, without a thought to their own safety go out and look for bigfoots. Although no one has ever seen one - they are real (apparently). Anyway I digress, back to things that are real - wolves. I could hear my own breath, I had already set the camera to video mode, at 300 yards I was too close for photos, the wolves would hear the shutter and flee.
The time passed, the anticipation mounted, the atmosphere bubbled. Then I heard it, with my back to another ridge I had contemplated the chance of the wolves appearing from another angle, but I hadn't expected it.
I heard the sound of feet on ground behind me, i didn't know what exactly to do. This animal could eat me for breakfast (and there would probably be something left for lunch also). I was stuck in between trying to hide motionless, or turning and facing this head on. I decided I was going to die brave, I turned and faced this fear - as my heart raced and my prayers went out, 3 bl*ody(excuse my language) ramblers appeared over the ridge. What were they doing there? It was crazy, 3ft of snow, in the middle of a wilderness at the top of a mountain. Is no where now safe from these people?
I left deflated, but not before taking a few more photos. It had still been beautiful day, and the wolves had learnt to live with these intrusions, and so must I.
On the way back down as the sun was setting in the distance over the village:
as if the wolves were laughing at me a full moon rose over the mountain.