We spent the Christmas/New Year holidays at the house. When we arrived the inside temperature was 3 degrees Centigrade but slowly, and with a great deal of wood burning, we managed to get it up to a livable temperature. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the extreme winter like we did last year- we only had snow on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and then again on New Year’s Eve with a tiny bit remaining on New Year’s Day. The rest of the time was dense fog, heavy rain and buckets of mud. When it did snow we had a complete whiteout, which is extremely disorientating when you’re walking in the hills miles from anywhere.
We celebrated traditional Christmas Slovak style on Christmas Eve at my sister-in-law’s house and then traditional English Christmas at our own house on Christmas Day. New Year’s Eve we spent at the house and celebrated both Slovak midnight and British, as usual. This year we didn’t bother with fireworks and instead played around in the freezing garden with sparklers.
On Boxing Day the village hunting society had a big group hunt with beaters but they were completely unsuccessful, apparently due to the sheer number of wolves in the forest this year frightening away game. Upon hearing this I decided to go wolf tracking up in the hills, following the logging road as it winds up and through dense forest.
My wife and I actually went twice. The first time was on New Year’s Eve starting at around 10am but as it was still snowing no dawn tracks were visible. However, this turned out to be a good thing as the following day, New Year’s, our tracks were the only human evidence visible for the entire length of the logging road as no one else had been up there. It also meant that any animal tracks visible had to have been made within the last 24 hours.
For the first several kilometres, perhaps 3 0r 4, we only saw tracks from fox, badger, red and roe deer. But high up along the snow-laden logging track we finally found evidence of wolf.
The wolves had come out of the forest on the downslope, walked perhaps 15 or 20 metres along the trail, and then crossed back into the forest on the upslope. I made my way into the forest and set up my trail camera. I will leave it there for some time and hopefully get some results.
What was especially good about there not being any human evidence along the trail was that it eliminated dog as the creator of the tracks. plus it was clearly a small pack. We covered a long distance just to find such a short wolf trail. And the forest was especially creepy, stark and mist filled. It couldn’t have been more Gothic. Creepy as hell.
How did you spend your New Year?
2018 has begun and I’m still unsure what project to start next.