“Adventure is a path. Real adventure – self-determined, self-motivated, often risky – forces you to have firsthand encounters with the world. The world the way it is, not the way you imagine it. Your body will collide with the earth and you will bear witness. In this way you will be compelled to grapple with the limitless kindness and bottomless cruelty of humankind – and perhaps realize that you yourself are capable of both. This will change you. Nothing will ever again be black-and-white.” –Mark Jenkins

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Time of death somewhere between 8pm last night and 6am this morning!

Inside the main hide - Desag
I am ashamed to say I contemplated not even getting up this morning, my stomach was so painful, but I reminded myself why I was here and how little time we had on this beautiful mountain. Sometimes you just have to have a word with yourself and man-up. Before long we were trekking back up the steep slopes to the main hide and I was snugly wrapped in a blanket with plenty of layers and hot milky coffee, pondering the GoPro and what footage it may have captured - it was still too dangerous to retrieve it at that time.
Lunchtime snail shoot in the Desag valley

As the bears arrived we were happily clicking away and watching their antics through the glass when we noticed one of the bears stick it's hand down into a hole under the tree roots in front of us and pull out a black shredded strap... immediately reaching for the binoculars we watched in horror as the remains of the GoPro were dragged from the hole and dropped on the ground! We couldn't get much of a view but it was clear the little black Hero had not survived the night. The question then was whether or not the card inside it had - this required Zoltan to make a stealth trip out to retrieve it shortly after the bears had left around 8am and a patient wait to get it back to the hotel and see what could be done. I rushed back to my room and grabbed the remote drive and laptop, whilst Keith went to his to grab his card reader. Then we spent an agonising amount of time waiting for the files to be transferred so we could view them... and bingo!!!! It might just be the most expensive footage I've ever shot, but well worth it. Will upload in due course.
Off-roading through the Beech forests in Zsolt's 4x4
We had lunch in Zetea village again, this time peasant soup without the meatballs, bread and water.
Since we weren't leaving again until 3pm, we decided to spend the time trying out a few slow shutter speed shots in the stream next to the hotel... even found a beautiful snail to model for me - poor thing.

Our second hide session of the day was at what I shall call the "water hide" and we went with Zsolt Babos, the forest ranger in his 4x4 truck as it allowed us to go off-roading through the high Beech forests. Excellent fun, if a little painful for someone of my physique!

Getting ourselves down to the "water" hide
After a fairly long and giggle-filled wait, we were treated to a Fox, a huge wild boar, plenty of bears and a buzzard circling around the road-kill deer carcass that Zsolt had hanging in a Birch tree.

As the light faded we packed up to leave, but our exit was halted by the arrival of two more bears, followed by another two!! A little nervous that we really had to go, but the bears had not long gone ahead of us, we asked Zsolt what form of defence he had on him and he promptly produced a pocket penknife, followed by a torch! ... apparently bears don't like torchlight flicking through the trees, so we loaded up our gear and tiptoed out the back and through the trees to the truck. The best hide session yet.

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