After deciding on exploring Majella’s plateau at night I started walking on the trail at noon and met the last people at 5 in the afternoon: after that the mountain was all for me. I walked on and on; explored ridges and crossed saddles; looked down to the deepest valleys of the massif and up to the fast-moving clouds. When I took a break on a stone, a flock of loud white-winged snowfinches oblivious to my presence was combing the ground in front of me, searching for seeds among the dried out alpine plants.
I can’t hide I am really fond of Apennine chamois and they have been one of my favourite photographic subjects for the past 11 years. While developing together with PAN Parks the idea for a photo project focusing on the unique features of the Majella National Park, one of the very last wilderness areas in Europe, I picked the Apennine chamois as one of the protagonists. Nevertheless, showing the animal itself is not enough to get a picture that would convey a feeling of wilderness; it was mandatory to portray the essence of the species AND the context it lives in, showing both the adaptation of it and the rugged environmental conditions. Therefore, I was always on the look for a good opportunity to take the picture I had envisioned.
By mid-July, despite the intense heat and a subtle pain in my right knee, I could still set off for the altitude plateaus of Majella for a four-day exploration. The weather was fine and the alpine flowers at their maximum splendor. Burdened by the weight of 35 Kilograms of my backpack, I went on slowly and sweating a lot. Two and one-half hour later I was at the gates of the wilderness areas, setting “camp” in the bivouac “Fusco”, right in front of the majestic Murelle Amphitheater. Five bottles of water, 600g of bread, cheese, two bolied eggs, six tomatoes, two cans of beans, nuts and chocolate: that would have been my menu for the next four days. After some hours of rest, as the sun got lower in the sky, I took my photo equipment and went looking for chamois and other wildlife.
At the end of May the snow melted on most of the sun-exposed slopes in Majella. Only the deepest canyons and the plateaus above 2000 metres of altitude are still under the white cover. Elsewhere the green of the new foliage and the colors of flowers dominate the landscape.