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My Autumn Weather

Monday, 29 June 2009

Ain't no mountain high enough....

Since I couldn't make up my mind how I would like to spend my 12 days summer break, my friends made the decisions for me and they are going to take me along on their 10 days series of rock climbing in the Dolomites Italy, which they will be doing as part of their fitness training before they climb their next four thousander peaks in late summer. I probably will not be doing all the 10 days series of rock climbing but sitting at the foothill searching for bugs and wild flowers to photograph.

Last Sunday they decided to put me on some kind of fitness training to make sure that I will be ready for the coming so called adventure and able to carry my own gear and equipments. These friends are serious rock climbers, which means they have more than enough gears to carry on their own and I must be prepared to handle my own things because there is no such thing as porters or sherpa over here. Since I don't like doing weight training, I decided that it is best that I get used to my heavy camera equipment and my climbing gears all thrown in together in the back pack.

Even though I am fully equipped as though I am a professional rock climber with all the hard wear gears, I am never really serious about this sport.I use to follow them, male and female in the group but I really am into photography, laid back and often distracted and got lulled behind those wild flowers and insects in the meadows and always too slow for for everyone else's pace. This butterfly is attracted to the orange colour on the backpack.

Another reason why I haven't done much rock climbing was due to the recent trend which made everybody wants to go climbing and that had turned the mountain wall into a circus full with people trying to scale their way up and the treks became congested with trekkers and climbers, their backpacks and their 60 meters ropes. Traffic congestion exist even in the wild back country treks. I'm beginning to believe that there is really no place on earth which is not yet discovered by tourist.

For my friend Maki who was once worried about me doing this sport; I did the advance climbing course ten years ago and all the top rope and rescue techniques skills just incase of emergencies. I also did it to be sure that I know what kind of risk I putting myself into.

To start my fitness training, we decided to warm up by going on a long walks at the nearby rolling hills of Germany's Black Forest. This nature reserve is really a beautiful forest with very tall old trees and vegetative leaves so huge, they reminded me of the tale Brobdingnag or the tropical rainforest. The rain from the last couple of days did made the river treks very muddy and slippery. My very short dog was totally covered with mud and looked more like a giant rat than a silky terrier. I had to let him swim twice in the river to free him from the mud that was caking up and encasing him. Pooch is a good swimmer. I've even let him swim in the sea when we go sailing but this particular river, the current was strong. I don't want to lose my dog so he had to swim with the leash on but both dogs had so much fun splashing in the water to cool down. I haven't seen so much mud on a trek since trekking in Borneo's Mulu National Park many years ago. The humidity was high, maybe because of the warm day, and also the river and the amount of water on the ground after all the rain several days ago. My biggest relieve was the absence of the blood sucking leech that are all over the place in the tropical rainforest.
The long walk turned out to be extremely l-o-n-g, because the signs and directions are not really that clear for first timer in this forest. We ended up walking 24 kilometres, while the dogs doing double that because they were running back and forth all the time. By the time we got out of the forest to the main road, we were still 7 kilometres away from where we had left the car. 2 guys had to walk all the way to the car and came back to fetch me and the rest who decided to "baby sit" me who was already "finished" like a flat tyre. My foot was steaming hot in the trekking shoes. The sportiva trekking boots are perfect, its just my feet that are not.
I was so thirsty with only one litre of water for an unexpected 24 kilometres walk. Parched would be a better word to describe my thirst. I refused to drink the spring water after someone jokingly said there's something wiggling in his drinking bottle! The first thing we all seek out once out of the forest and back into civilization was to find something that can quench thirst. While walking like muddy zombie looking for a restaurant in a small village of M√ľnchingen, I saw this kid sitting in a trolley pulled by his father. He is so cute and didn't even blink an eye while I took his pictures. He probably couldn't tell if I am a human or some kind of mud monster.

Along the treks, I saw this Martagon Lilies growing at some spots. One of the flower in the picture is missing. I suspect the wild deers did try to eat it but they probably don't like the taste of it and left the rest of the flowers to bloom giving people like me and you to enjoy the lilium beauty in the wild.

Back at home, my own garden lilies are also blooming. The first two are very fragrant with perfume that wafts in the air. The lilies stamen can stain light coloured clothings and difficult to remove.
Each plants that exist in this world seemed to have been created to complete a chain that support other kinds of wild life. Lilies and the beetles are probably made for each other. This larvae spend most of its time eating the foliage of the lily plant and covered itself with its own feaces probably as camouflage from the prey birds .

This yellow lilium are not fragrant but they make a striking contrast against the blue campanula Kent Bells and a sea of green foliage

Lilium are also very cold hardy and always come back year after year. They multiply easily with tiny bulblets around the mother bulb as well as along the stems. The bulbs requires light, well drain soil.

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