Let’s conclude this three-part narration with donkeys, chamois, marmots, sparrows and lots of goats
As Autumn kicks in without patience I can’t do much but to quicken up the chronicles and end with some of the most beautiful encounters of these (now already remote) summer days.
All of the following pictures come from rushy awakenings at 4.30 a.m. to meet the animals in their reign when they are still kings, avoiding the fuss of people and meeting them in the most intimate way.
Arriving so early grants the chance to meet the wildlife nearby urban areas, the following chamois was shattered by meeting so early at 2 mins from the parking lot. The intimacy of such encounters returns the heartwarming feeling of sharing emotions like astonishment, fear, calm and curiosity; as well as the need for a damn higher telephoto lens.
One morning I got stuck on the trail because of a family of donkey was .
They were placidly having breakfast with some grass on the route and of course, the best meals come from the most forgotten places, like the only poing of the lower trail where there’s no way other than that to proceed on. So, instead of trying to push them back, I started to get close (with proper caution).
After this quick encounter, a slower and more curious meetup came with a marmot.
In this (past) month, the younger sprouts starts to get confidence in the field and explore every hole of the mountain. A teenager of those popped up from a hole and scaredly stared at me as I was exactly between him and his mom (I discovered that only after some time since I was completely focused on him and I didn’t move around much).
What comes next, is a composition of photos taken while he was studying me to get the correct time to run away. The sequence is in chronological order, and something I like from this is the kind of rythm that comes from the pictures. 2 and 4 share the grassy stroke on the bottom, wile 1 and 3 are fully rocky; 1 and 3 are in different proportion than 2 and 4 and the pace of right-looking marmot is changed by the last picture which looks back at the other, having a different position which adds also a layer of humor to the sequence.
These wanders have all been blessed with clear skies and steady winds to fight back the sultriness, opening up majestic views of the nearby area.
Sparrows are friendlier at these heigts, maybe they misinterpret us as far-relatives.
With all these great encounters I couldn’t resist to the push of a second take, and so, again 4.30 a.m. and again great, touching encounters.
Repeating a trail not only gives you more confidence on the path, it also gives the opportunity to find the hidden gems, like this statue of Holy Mary, dedicated to a girl who lost her life and loved these mountains. The Statue holds a baby and is oriented facing a nearby valley. There is a wide debate open on the fairness or not of having religious symbols on the mountains, and I don’t want to start anything on here, but the idea of having some man-made monuments on this nature-giants proves to me the deepen thought of being all part of the same music. There is no “violence” in that, it is just the history of men matching with the history of the mountain and leaving a concrete mark of this union.
Chamois (ah, they are named Rupicapra Rupicapra by science!) are not an endangered species, but nonetheless having the chance to encounter them is more of a luck rather than an habit. Walking after a small forest, the trail becomes rockier and as I heard some stony stumbles this big boy came out of nowhere and started a staring contest.
I thought all the Rupicapra bonuses were spent for the day, but the most valuable encounter was yet to come.
From nowhere, and with that I mean also without any rolling stone or rocky sound, this mother with her baby appeared on the trail.
They stared at me, I stared at them and it felt like touching them.
I felt the curiosity of the baby, the firm and inquisitive look of her mother.
There was complete silence around us, only broken by the sound of my camera eternalizing the moment on the sensor.
The following picture is definitely my favourite one.
Look at her, look at how she stares back info you and how it feels like she’s asking “Who are you?” “What are you doing?” “Are you harmful?” “What are you walking for?”.
There is an inquisitive feeling in this photograph, the animal forces you to reveal yourself, and you can’t do nothing but to try to find these answer.
Who are you? Are you harmful?
These animal are not endangered, but their land is restricting day by day, and we are walking among their kingdom bringing trash, noise, pollution.
Who are you?
Are you harmful?
After a couple of minutes they both went above the trail, stared again for some moments and then faded away behind the rocks.
For this day I was already willing to publish it under the name of “Rupicapra Rupicapra Rupicapra Rupicapra Rupicapra Rupicapra Rupicapras ” from the number of encounters (and you are probably glad I didn’t do so), but suddenly while I was
lost experiencing a new trail for descending a voice shuttered the silence.
A man was shouting from the opposite side of the valley and as he was screaming two dogs started to run and chase a herd of goats, which then lined up and came back to the chanting guy. It was surreal, I had a spectacle in front of my eyes.
All these goats started moving as one, nobody was left behind and nobody hesitated in moving toward their shepherd, a beautiful orchestra playing on the rythms of a chant composed of instructions to the dogs. He was screaming to them to go up-down-over-around-back and forth, and the two dogs rounded the herd and flowed among them.
How could I describe music to a deaf person? probably i would show him these pictures, and I would take him to see this sort of living clock made of horned and furred gears.
Autumn has already brought
- One freakin’ amazing wedding
- A day spent on the historical Sentiero del Viandante
And much, much more is coming!