I am in the bottom of a deep, narrow valley and today the plan is to walk 11km to the top of the surrounding mountains to a town called Dsegh. Then after lunch another 4km down the mountainside to some 8th century ruins.
I mention the route at breakfast.
“Wolves” they said.
“No problem,” I said, “I have a Big Stick and a Knife.
“And jackals,” they said, “in packs, 6 or 7, now very hungry”.
Jackals?? Wasn’t this (sort of) Europe? I hadn’t read anything about jackals. But then nobody had written about the wolves either.
OK, so what do I need for packs of jackals? A chainsaw! I imagine being surrounded by slavering jackals, firing up my chainsaw and growling, “Come on punks, make my day”. But the nearest chainsaw shop was at least one, maybe two countries away.
So, only lightly armed – no chainsaw – I set out. It is -8°C, clear and sunny as I cross the bridge into the badlands. As if to emphasize that you are now on your own, some of the railings on the bridge are missing.
Through the gap a farmhouse, the last for a while.
I walk a few hours. Sunny, fresh, nothing trying to eat me, though I don’t see anybody else walking.
As I climb, snow on the surrounding mountains; it is quite beautiful here:
I reach the top: not as I was expecting, a mountain ridge but a high plateau covered in pastures. The valley I’ve come from is just a narrow gash cut into the immense plateau. From a distance it almost feels like you could jump across.
A lovely road and a beautiful climb. I start to wonder why I listen to these people. Maybe I will cancel that mail-order chainsaw.
(events 30 Nov 2012)