In the wilderness lies the preservation of the world.
Henry David Thoreau

The last wild day

Felix The first rays of sunshine glow on the two glaciers as I emerge from my tent and stretch. It is the start of the last full day in the wilderness. I go with a few others to the areas of the wilderness that have been sponsored for Wilderness International. It’s fun to “spraddle” through the bushes (spraddle = walking – a new word that Kai and Hannes like to say and all of us have taken into our vocabulary). Today Sami, our photographer, is taking a bunch of photos of us and our cameraman Boas tapes a few sequences in the woods. The work is fun but it takes a lot longer than we thought. Lunch is a feast today, because the food has to be eaten. For desert we have fresh pancakes with maple syrup (and I overeat). In the late afternoon I find myself shimmying over the Little Toba River on a rope that we have spanned across the river. The cool water reaches my hips but if I would not be attached to the rope then I would likely not be able to withstand the strong current of the glacial water. Once I reach the other side, I have to fight through a wall of brush, and behind this I find a complete surprise. I am standing at the foot of a completely new forest structure. Open-mouthed, I am looking at gigantic cider trees, Douglas firs and maple trees. In contrast to the other forests we have researched so far, there are many more ancient giants here. I cannot imagine that the hundreds of years of growth can be destroyed by a chainsaw. Tobias discovers saprophytes on the ground – white plants without chlorophyll – that complete the magical aura of the place. In the evening I sit for a long time with the group at the campfire on our last and very emotional evening. The thought that we have to leave the wilderness tomorrow and go back into civilization makes me sad. Later I walk towards the edge of the sand bank, lie down, stem my thoughts and soak up the quiet of this place. The fantastic starry night enthralls me and keeps me from sleeping. The sky is mirrored in the smaller and quieter river tributary. I have never seen so many stars and such a beautiful Milky Way. I go to bed very late. Translated by Pilar Wolfsteller Photos: © Wilderness International

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