Winter Hikes

And here is my advice – go slow and take the pleasures an sceneries as you go.

John Muir. Travels in Alaska

Last weeks it has been snowing more than usual. A polar or arctic air mass was spreading across central Europe and it was very, very cold.

I visited an area of woodland and ponds for a couple of days. I could make some peaceful and lovely hikes through the woods, – mainly bare oaks and beech trees-.

I had some nice encounters. Once, I heard some noise thirty meters in front of me. It was a family of wild boars feeding amongst fallen leaves. As they saw me, they ran away. On the way back at dusk, I followed a track between the wood and fields, and suddenly, I saw a loose group of attractive roe deer in the middle of the farm land. Like springs they jumped and ran very fast to the other end of the field.

After I had dinner, I had some energy to read some pages of Travels in Alaska, of John Muir. It is the first time I read Muir. It’s incredible how he can transmit the beauty and majesty of nature.

As the twilight began to fall, I sat down on the mossy instep of a spruce. Not a bush or tree was moving; every leaf seemed hushed in brooding repose. One bird, a thrush, embroidered the silence with cheery notes, making the solitude familiar and sweet…

Having read this paragraph, I went out of the camper van. I didn’t hear any bird, but not a bush or tree was moving and every leaf seemed hushed in brooding repose. The solitude was peaceful and gratifying.

The night was very cold. The temperature reached – 10ºC. To get up next morning was extremely difficult. It was still, no clouds and the sky had some blues and purples.

I hiked towards some marshes. Before I could see three common cranes, I heard its typical and loud trumpeting call. A birdwatcher I met later, explained me that, because of the climate change, some cranes don’t make their autumn migration towards the wintering sites.

I spent some time looking the cranes. From time to time, they were surrounded for ravens.

I took seriously the advice some traveler gave to Muir: I went slow and took the pleasures an sceneries as I went…

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