Wednesday 6 July 2011

The forest is crying

Stage 5, day 2 (Friday, 3 June 2011)
Železná Ruda to Strážný (78 km)

The mournful title track of “The Forest is Crying” (an LP of Bulgarian vocal music I bought back in the 1980s) starts to play in my head as I emerge on the plateau of the Šumava National Park and take in the sheer scale of the devastation up here. Much of the former dense forest has been reduced to stumps. Logs litter the ground, ghostly pale after having been stripped of their bark. The silence is broken by the rasp of chainsaws as foresters fight to control a barely visible enemy: the bark beetle. It is a pest that is turning these “Green Lungs of Europe” brown. The forest is indeed crying.