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A fox who wanted food

Posted: 2006-09-14 14:04:11, Categories: Travel, Romania, 689 words (permalink)

A fox trying to get food from my bicycle panniers in the Apuseni mountains I was camping in a beautiful place by a small river in the Apuseni mountains, Romania, close to the Padis mountain hut. I had spent a good part of the afternoon climbing uphill narrow and bumpy gravel roads, resulting in a record low 9.0 km/h average speed during the 37 km of cycling that day. After that I had put up my tent, cooked a dinner and was looking at maps and writing my travel diary in the tent.

Around ten o'clock in the evening I heard small noises next to the tent. I opened the zipper and popped my head out without seeing anything special. After a few minutes the noise came back, this time clearly indicating that something tried to get inside the tent. I put on my shoes, grabbed my headlamp and went out, finding a pair of eyes staring at me in the moonlight about 10-15 meters away. It was a fox which had just stolen the plastic bag containing my half-full tuna can. Running towards the animal and making some noise made it run away in the forest, without dropping the catch.

I went back in the tent, but after about an hour heard noise again. Oh yes, I had some salami inside one of my bicycle panniers a few meters away from the tent. It was properly wrapped inside two plastic bags and then packed in the pannier, but the smell was certainly strong enough for the fox to notice. Quite persistent was the fox - I took some photos using flash just meters away and it was still trying to get inside the pannier. Moving yet closer and making noise made it to run away.

Experienced trekkers are probably already trying to hide their smile behind their beard. It's common wisdom that food shouldn't be stored inside or right next to the tent. However, having mainly camped on campsites where it's convenient to gather all your gear as near to you as possible, or having been lucky when camping in the wild, it just didn't occur to me that time. I was glad it wasn't a wolf or a bear, but also happy that due to the mistake I got some nice pictures of the fox. :)

My next step was to carefully pack all the food and related items such as the trash bag and hang them up to tree branches as high as I could reach, away from the tent of course. The fox came still back at least once, but after not getting anything eventually gave up.

Besides the fox, I saw some impressive gorges and caves in the Apuseni mountains. More about them when I get my pictures sorted, which never seems to occur in a timely fashion. I've also been in two cities, first in Oradea right after the Hungarian border and now in Cluj-Napoca at the western edge of Transsylvania.

Riding through the Romanian countryside I'm clearly an odd sight, even more so than in Poland or Slovakia. On the roads shared by pedestrians, horse carriages, hens, ducks, dogs, cows and nowadays also an increasing number of cars, a touring cyclist doesn't exactly blend in the crowd. I've taken the habit of waving my hand and saying hello in the local language to the people standing next to the road and looking curiously at me.

Traffic on the main roads and in cities has been a bit wilder than in the previous countries I crossed, with the exception of Kaliningrad, where it was comparable. I need to pay attention, as it only takes one bad accident to end the whole trip, but I haven't found it too bad yet. Small roads have been fairly quiet. People have been friendly and I've liked it a lot this far. The only sad thing has been the large amount of trash carelessly thrown in the nature. Most of the young Romanians I've met mention it too, it seems to disturb many of them as well. Maybe that's an indication that it'll change in the future. I hope so, the country is too beautiful to be spoiled by trash and other pollution.

2 comments

Comment from: Urpo Kaila [Visitor]  
An exellent photo and a nice story about the fox! All the best, Upi
2006-09-16 @ 09:49
Comment from: Florin [Visitor]  
Hi! Great story! I’m from Romania (Cluj-Napoca) and I was just planning my next trip to those mountains, that’s how I came across your article. I’m glad you liked it here. If you come visit again, chime in, I’ll be glad to show you even more spectacular mountains in the North (Maramures county). Best wishes, Florin
2007-06-14 @ 22:06

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Copyright Arto Teräs <ajt@iki.fi>, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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