SOLO EXPERIENCE 2020
Five days were spent exploring parts of a natural reserve in the Eastern Alps. According to the rhythm of nature, time flowed through day and night. Light and dark. Sun and stars. Adi, Tulku, Indi, Ciuk and I moved around with a toboggan, each day finding a different place for overnight camping. I owe my dogs a lot, maybe I owe them everything: the bond we share is strong and it becomes even stronger during this kind of experiences.
Humans have an inborn desire for knowledge and discovery, a deep attraction to what is hidden beyond the horizon. Nowadays, “old style” explorations have been in some way overcome by the speed of social networks that allow us to see and visit places in no time. However, exploring a new place with the desire for self-growth is still possible. Being immersed in Nature, in an unfamiliar place, is the first step to reconnecting human souls to the spirit of the Earth. A place can be protected and valued only by living and experiencing it with profound respect. This is the spirit that brought my dogs and me to the mountains and their hidden valleys and trails. The sled was stowed with the bare essentials: food supply, clothes, sleeping bag, tent, stove, water, spare dog-lines. Nothing more is needed in the wilderness. It’s like a game: trying to leave useless loads behind, including lots of the things we consider fundamental in everyday life. Are these things really important? I feel rich and peaceful when I have a shelter, the starry sky above and the ancient mountains around. Mundane thoughts vanish: nothing is more important than the present moment. When I’m alone with Nature and her forces, I just feel in the right place.
Humans are going through a sort of atrophy: cities are cages for their bodies and souls.
This was an environmental exploration, as our ecosystems are facing a very delicate situation. We lived through the experience with the sled, sliding up and down the valleys leaving nothing but soft traces in the snow. It felt like home: isn’t the Earth our only home?
It was a climate exploration, in full harmony with the Adventure Natural Project. I was at 2,000 metres (6,600 ft) when I noticed that the Cold was the “great absent”: we barely hit -12°C in a place where -20°C should be easily reached. Good snow could be found only over 1.800 meters. Daytime temperatures rose constantly a few degrees above zero. I definitely noticed the effects of climate change: warmer temperatures, snow-scarce winters. I keep wondering: will there still be winter here in a few years?
A small detail caught my attention: the higher the altitude the grater the respect for the mountains. I met people trekking, snowshoeing, mountain skiing. Some of them paused along the way just to gaze at the mountains. I will never forget a young couple with two children: they were enjoying the view all together, quietly. They stopped to truly experience a natural place, they lived the present moment in harmony with Nature. I reckon that the future for us will be going back to the natural rhythm of Time. This is the way to live an authentic existence.
My Siberian Huskies pulled the sled with no hesitation. My spirit ran with theirs along the same track. They were mentally prepared and they never gave up, not even during the most challenging passages in which I totally relied on their instinct. I trust my dogs and I can feel they trust me too. This exploration was also an inner voyage: even if lots of questions will still remain unanswered, I am grateful for the vast meaning derived along the way to find the answers. I thank my sled dogs for being part of this journey.