This Weekend we kick started the first Guide Training course in the Southern Carpathians. We had three local and greatly enthusiastic trainees come over and stay in the Camp. Waking up at 6 am with the sun rising, getting out of our warm sleeping bags, only to quickly jump into the icy trousers and shoes to rush out and light a fire to boil some coffee. It was a weekend filled with new insights and experiences. 
We watched a spider and were about to discuss the intricate structure as a grasshopper jumped into the web and met his destiny with fangs rushing towards him almost immediately. Spinning around in-between the feet of the spider and being covered in layers of silk, he stood not much of a chance from the beginning. 
We listened to some wood-pecking in the tall Beech forest surrounding the bison enclosure. And while figuring out it’s direction we were met with a beautiful Black Woodpecker flapping towards us and diving into a perch not far from us. After observing him though our binoculars we then tracked on along an old horse wagon trail into the forest and came along some large bear tracks in a particularly muddy section. We managed to age the track by looking at the recovered vegetation inside it and the dried up mud around it, making it an older track. But it still kept us on our toes for the last stretch through the thickets.
We had some fantastic encounters with the Bison as well, which is of course something we are focussing on. In one instance the Bison were about 15 meters away from us and as we remained almost motionless, we managed to blend into the surrounding, leaving them utterly unaware of us. The trainees and I listened with stupid grins and wide eyes to their booming breathing as they walked up along side us. 
And to our total surprise and extreme delight we caught a glimpse of two otters in the river, flowing past the bison enclosure. Actually, it was more than a glimpse as they came waddling and playing down the river towards us, while we stood on the bridge that leads into the enclosure. Again, we remained silent and still, and again, they didn’t notice us. They swam right under neath the bridge, and as we all turned around to look for them coming out on the other side, we threw our hands up with joy and again pulled some silly smiles. Mihai, one of the Trainees, managed to get a shot of one of them, despite the darkness. 

Will we be this lucky in the next training session? Who knows. You generally win some and you loose some. And this time we definitely won some. Looking forward to the next camp out.


by Georg Messerer