Sunday, 26 October 2008

Tree hugging in Biogradska Gora

The occasional waft of autumn leaves had left me wanting, so last weekend we headed north, into the mountainous, rugged interior of Montenegro. Four hours later, we were camped on a bed of fallen beech and maple leaves, beneath what was left of the canopy of the awesome Biogradska Gora, one of the few remaining virgin forests in Europe.

I had been there in the spring with my friend, Eleanor, so it came as something of a shock to see an almost entirely evaporated lake, Biogradska Jezero. The jungle-like virgin forest, brilliant green yet dark and dank beneath the heavy spring canopy had been replaced by a bright, sun-lit golden world. The silvery trunks of the beech trees had become fragile and slender without their lifeblood; their canopy of luscious, succulent green leaves. The forest floor which had been carpeted with white wild garlic flowers was now deep with fallen russets, oranges, yellows and painfully beautiful reds.

Every breath of wind sent clouds of leaves falling, like snow, from the highest branches.

I got my autumn fix; a heady, soul-cleansing few days and I yet again felt the urge to build a modest A-frame home in the mountains, for me and my brood (of Jack Russells).

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