Tuesday 6 November 2007

The last hike of autumn?

Despite being nuts about skiing, the snow-free months out here are wonderful too, especially when we get what counts for a heatwave in these parts, in November. Last weekend we were able to walk above 2500m, stopping for a long picnic and a doze in the sun. A couple of north-facing shady sections had tricky ice to contend with where a stream had diverted itself down the path and frozen solid, but otherwise it was like a mid-summer stroll. The big stags have calmed down in the forest (it was crawling with them during rutting season, and they bellowed into the night) and this time we saw just one with a harem of eight females. Bet he sleeps well. There was also a large chamois, who hissed at us and then ran straight down the mountain in beautiful bounds, springbok-style but over steep rough mountain terrain. Very impressive, though on the plus side he didn't have a pride of lions in hot pursuit trying to tear him limb from limb. I imagine that must be quite off-putting for his African cousins.

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