“Ooh That Smell”, the title of one of my favorite songs by the supremely talented grandfathers of southern rock ” Lynyard Skynyrd” , was a tune I felt was more than relevant to be booming out of my headphones as I trundled along the tracks looking for wild Lynx to film these past few days. I was beginning to hum, and I don’t mean hum to the song, I mean me personally. Well what did I expect after a week of trekking in the rain, damp socks etc, dangling from the array of bungee cords I have crisscrossing the inside of the roof, in a feeble attempt to bring a little order to the chaos currently existing in the rear of my Toyota Previa.
I set my alarm for 5am this morning, sat bolt upright to reach for the watch dangling from one of the aforementioned bungee cords and was met by my non too dry hiking sock which I can assure you did not smell or taste too good when it perused across my open mouth, I was unfortunately yawning at the time.
I lifted the corner of a scrap of fake Giorgio Armani fabric acting as curtains, to reveal an overcast sky and threatening rain, not the sort of day that would dry my world, inside and out. Tea and Porridge heaped with honey from my friends hive was consumed, and I was ready for the days adventure. The La Lancha trail was peaceful with only myself and Richard, a Lynx enthusiast from Ireland I had a met a few days prior, scanning the valley and surrounding hills. He had a flight to catch that evening so our time was limited and after a peaceful walk along the trail with no sightings, we headed back in the direction of Vinas de Penallana, the one donkey town where the Los Pinos Hotel and it’s less than salubrious neighbor and my favourite hangout, ( much faster internet ) the El Rancho, are the centre of life in this neck of the woods.
I was feeling a little frustrated at seeing sod all that morning, and not looking forward to the storm gathering on the horizon, but a chance encounter with a tour group in a couple of 4×4’s, whom had chatted with the day before while watching Lynx, flagged the car down and informed us there was a lynx lounging around on a large boulder about a 10 minute drive up the road on the right,however what this kind man did not know was that 10 minutes up the road on the right, there are copious granite boulders, but undeterred myself and Richard, now in a somewhat chirpier state, set off in search of a large boulder with a Lynx on top.
We plodded on, and as luck would have it, I asked Richard to pull over at place I was familiar with and had seen Lynx years before on my 1st trip. I slowly walked towards the rocks while Richard set off, camera in hand, around the other side to see if we could spot the cat.
We met up back where we started, but then I decided to take closer look at the rocks right in front of us, I did not need the binoculars, and as you know you cannot always see there wood for the trees, and this was the case at that moment, because I just caught the rump and short tail of a Lynx slink slowly into the space between the giant boulders. I moved back to Richards location and he was ecstatic when I told him we had lucked out and found the right rocks in a sea of the bloody things. Two minutes later it appeared on the top of the highest boulder, GPS collar and mini antenna attached, but still a beautiful sight, and one of the few that survive in the wild.
Richard managed a picture, I managed sod all as I was faffing with camera setting etc, but I savored the moment, and we left happy. We said goodbye and I decided to spend the rest of the day back in the vicinity of the boulder, in the hope of capturing another glimpse and possibly some footage. Part 2 of the days adventures will be posted tomorrow, as I am having a great deal of trouble staying awake, and the thought of spending another night with an assortment of smelly socks and other items that fill my world at the moment, is having a negative effect on what is left of my thought process, so goodnight from the beautiful Sierra Morena.