I find group at the top of “the vertical valley”. The hill is very steep and really takes the steam out of you. After twenty minutes of walking uphill, we are warm but still have cold cheeks since it is only a few degrees out. And there they are. Seemingly waiting for us. They’ve spotted us long before we spotted them. It is completely silent around us, except for some birds chirping away in the background and small snorts and squeaks from the infants who wrestle with each other on the ground. They are getting big now, approaching 9 months and becoming more and more independent with every day.
A few feet from me Oz and Rebecca are sitting basking in the sun. They remind me of Swedes during early spring. Faces turned to the sun, eyes closed and hands folded to keep warm. The only difference is that Oz and Rebecca cup their feet as well…
Dakota is curious about my binoculars lying on the ground and looking wide-eyed at me. She follows my gaze and sees how and when I will react and pick them up.
The ground is still virtually covered in grass with the exception of small patches of snow here and there. In them you can find small foot and hand prints. “Must be cold”, I think, and look appreciatively down at my boots.
In my backpack, along with all the equipment for data collection, I have some lunch with me and a thermos of hot tea. That will do very well until five o’clock.
It is a day just like every other day, but right now I find myself reflecting on the moment and I feel a sense of being privileged to be there with them, on a normal day just like this one.