Saturday, March 7, 2009

Rendevous with the DREAD SANGLIER!

Like the DREAD Pirate Roberts roamed the oceans in the movie, The Princess Bride, around here (in rural rhone-alpes region of France)... roam the DREAD SANGLIER! Sanglier... pronounced "sang-glee-ay" are a type of boar.

Now, when I first saw their large and ominous tracks in the snow... and I was first told of their existence... I thought... "Interesting." "A wild pig roams these frozen forests." and didn't think anything more.

They assured me they were only dangerous if they were with their young... then they would charge you... etc, etc. And still... I just thought of them as pigs. You know, a Miss Piggy on a bad hair day. Something to avoid, but not to fear...

until tonight. when I had my first real encounter! It all started innocently. I walked out of the chalet... the camp was empty. The sun had set over the mountains... but the twilight was reflecting off the snow and orange clouds above. The moon was exhilaratingly bright and the first starts were twinkling. I thought... "how beautiful" and decided to go for a little walk uphill to see the mountains in all their glory... (you see... there is a little break in the trees and you can see the mountains better... but you have to walk uphill a ways... away from the buildings and closer to the woods).

As I ambled along the road... admiring the general splendor... I heard a rustle rustle to my left in the forest... and there I spied... a boar of enormous proportions... grunting along in the snow! It was shockingly huge... with giant tusks... and a hunched back...

it didn't look piggy at all!

It looked at me and started running toward the road...(which, though not directly toward me... was still closer to me than he was before)...

EEEEEEEK! I wanted to shrilly scream, but reigned my emotion and started to back away... and the WILD BEAST ran across the road and up this shear hill with the prowess of a tiger and the speed of a gazelle... albeit and very fat and lumbering one. It's hooves made pounding noises on the pavement... as did my own kicks as I ran down the hill and back toward camp.

All in all... it was a dizzying experience... even as I write this I find that I have been holding my breath.

The other night, one of the missionaries told me about a man that he offered to drive home... he found the man walking from the village of Bourg d'Oisans to another village very far up the mountain...(the man was inebriated... and confessed he had recently lost his driving license... hmmm I wonder he had been walking from the bar in town up to his little mountain village three nights a week... a walk that took 2 1/2 hours!)...(I couldn't help but think that was extreme dedication). This man walked the busy mountain road that runs along a sheer cliff... THIS ROAD IS TREACHEROUS! It curves and bends and at some of the more dangerous turns... the road seems to be only barely wide enough for two cars. May I remind you, there is no side walk... there is barely space for the cars... let alone a drunk guy stumbling along at night.

Anyway, there are two ways for this man to get to his village... via the road or via a trail through the woods (the trail through the woods would take an hour off of his walk home). He walked the extremely dangerous road BECAUSE he was too afraid of the SANGLIER to take the wooded path. I don't blame him, now.

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