National Geographic : 1952 Apr
from centers of population. Into a covered wagon he heaped everything needed by peo ple remote from civilization and markets, from thread and needles to salt and brandy, from sheep medicines and extra clothing to coffee, sugar, and bacon. Oversight of the most trivial thing would call for a day-long hike, down dales and up high hills to the nearest village, Bousieyas, ten miles from his shepherd's cabin, which stands in the shadow of 8,396-foot Cime du Voga. Night Treks Avoid Scorching Heat The trek started the same morning the little local newspaper announced "Thaw on the Alps!" Because the animals must be acclimated slowly to freezing mountain nights, the drive is made in 13 marches ranging up to 15 miles in length. To evade the scorching heat at the outset, the flock traveled mainly after dark (p. 551). At 7 p.m., on the first day of summer, we set out. Bastian, 67-year-old bailey, or chief shepherd, set the animals on their long trek with the sacrosanct formula, "Brrrr, veni, veni pitchoun!" (Now, move along, little ones.) Accompanied by his faithful dog Lamir, half wolf and half shepherd, Bastian was to lead the whole way and keep the pace at a steady mile and a half an hour. He warned me that such a slow pace, best for the flock, would be hard for me, for it is unnatural and tiring to cut the length of one's step by half. Lamir barked at the hocks of the six trained rams that would lead the flock. When shorn, they had been left with three tufts of wool on their backs, to allow the shepherds an easier grasp if the flock should suddenly stam pede in fright.