We saw only one puma this morning. What a waste of my time.
It was the male from the pair we saw together on our first afternoon here. He was walking the crest of a striped sedimentary hill, the morning light aflame on his flank, and behind him last night's snow on the Paine range.
Often I think that my best snow leopards in Ladakh are not those which are relatively close; rather those which we see moving, being in the grandeur of their landscape. So it was today with this puma. Yesterday we saw several cats at very close quarters. We had our fill of their faces, their savage cold eyes and their swooping tails. Our puma today was hundreds of metres away but he was part of his tremendous landscape, walking at ease, freezing to stare at a guanaco, crouching to the dusty soil.
There were black-necked swans on the steely lakes this morning, and with them coscorobas. A Patagonian hog-nosed skunk pottered about his snuffly business by the road and long-tailed meadowlarks puffed their scarlet breasts in display. The sun shone and our faces shone with it, happy to be here in this icy toe of the world, dipped into a far southern sea.
|The view from the dining room at our hotel yesterday|
|Camello yesterday afternoon, photographed by my friend Helen Pinchin who,|
on account of very slow wifi, has been kind enough to send her gorgeous
images at very low resolution
|Camello by Helen Pinchin|
|My own iPhone and Swarovski attempt at|
photography with this morning's male