It's been a very contrasting few weeks, what with my trip to snowy climes, and then the pathetic attempts at snow here!
I had been skiing on the Italian/French border, which had featured lots of snow (unlike last year's heatwave!). I always love the journey on a chairlift - taking your mind of loss of feeling in increasingly-numb extremities through trying to identify the wild animal tracks. Evidently, lots of mountain hares and foxes present - a sign of a healthy ecosystem.
One day there was a complete deluge of snow, where we opted to go for a walk along one of the mountain paths. I love the way the snow coats pretty much every surface, including seemingly vertical tree trunks. One tree we stopped by, though, had the most amazing lichens attached to it. Amazing forms and colours - easily overlooked.
There were many signs closing paths due to 'wildlife management' - with the tell-tale illustration of a stag. In fact, we saw several herds of fallow deer. In high numbers, their browsing prevents the regrowth of sensitive woodland plants. Without the wolf to control them, it's down to us instead!