Little leaps in an Alpine meadow

Ever since I worked at the Smithsonian, and met scientist who work on the arctic/alpine environment, I have been perplexed and a bit skeptical about the whole idea. How could it be that if one just climbed the nearest mountain anywhere in the world high enough to get past the "tree line", one would find oneself coming to the arctic?

Well, this week I got to test this theory out for myself, by taking a hike up into the alps. I certainly wasn't very convinced as we started the walk, especially because there are a lot more bugs in the alps, huge ants, chirping crickets, you name it. But as I climbed up next to a waterfall to get some freshwater, an Icelandic colleague pointed out the blueberries growing in the heath. I'd just been in Norway, and tasted the blueberries there, which didn't taste anything like the ones in Iceland, so I wasn't expecting much. But I can report that blueberries in the alps do taste just like Icelandic blueberries, and then I noticed that the little black sour berries are there too. So I may be coming around to the idea that the arctic/alpine equivalency isn't totally crazy, because I had indeed decided it was.

I appreciate also that the Swiss alps have cattle grazing on the sloping hillside wearing gigantic bells, which is pretty darn cute.


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