Wednesday 31 August 2011

The Unicycle Diaries 7: The Bison That Time Forgot

After my first Lonely Planet assignment in Poland in winter 2006, I pitched this bison-related story idea to a number of publications. Nothing came of it, but I thought it'd make a good backbone for a picture story here...

I’ve never felt much like Little Red Riding Hood... until this very moment.

Having left the minibus at the turn-off from the road to Białowieża, a small village near Poland’s border with Belarus, I’m trudging along a road caked with thick snow. My footsteps are the only thing audible, though even they are muffled by the crunchy white layer beneath my feet.

It’s the middle of the day, but the sky is a strange muted grey and the bare spindly trees look like extras from The Blair Witch Project. And I know there are wolves in these woods. And I know the European Bison Reserve must be just a kilometre or so ahead. But my hindbrain isn’t so sure this is a good idea...

On my first Lonely Planet assignment in Poland in the midst of winter in 2006, I journeyed through the snowy forest to see the last wild European bison in a reserve near a tiny eastern town. What I discovered was snow, bison, wolves, tarpans and the village that time forgot.

The Unicycle Diaries is an occasional series wherein I use excerpts from diary entries or story pitches to create a snapshot of a past journey. For previous instalments, click on the Unicycle Diaries topic tag below, then scroll down.

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