757.5 – from Mosvik to Skelleftehamn by car

Last week I’ve been in Mosvik (Norway) to visit friends. Yesterday I drove back home, not directly but with a detour via Nordli and Røyrvik (Norway) and Stekenjokk, (Sweden).

According to google maps the direct way is 671 km, taking 8 h 38 min. With the detour it is only 67 km, but 1 h 46 min longer. That says a lot about the small and steep gravel roads near the Swedish–Norwegian border …

For me the journey didn’t take 10.5 hours, but more than 15. For one thing I don’t drive fast, especially in Norway and for another thing I took many smaller rests for taking pictures as well as a lunch and a dinner break. I left at 9 o’clock; at quarter past midnight I finally was home again. Total distance by car: 757.5 km.

See my travelogue of the journey by clicking the first image and navigating through the images. Swipe on touch devices and click or use arrow keys on other computers.

By the way: After nineteen articles without any photo with snow, this is the first article showing at least some patches of snow again.

Picking cloudberries

One week ago I still was in Mosvik in Norway. On Saturday we went out to pick cloudberries. These berries that look a bit like orange raspberries are rich in taste and very healthy due to the high amount of vitamin C and trace elements. There’s only one disadvantage: They can be quite hard to pick.

First of all they prefer wet and swampy soil. Then they ripe in July, the heyday of mosquitos and biting horseflies. Then they grow quite solitary – one berry here, one over there.

H., J., F. and I were quite lucky last Saturday when we collected two buckets of these little delicacies for it rained almost the whole day. And much rain means less mosquitos. When we came home, A. directly started to make jam from our collected cloudberries. One glass of jam I took home. It is still closed and I will save it for later. I love cloudberries!



Noctilucent clouds

19 days ago it was dark enough to see the first star. Since then it got a bit darker each night and tonight – which is a clear night – you can see the first constellations as for example Cassiopeia.

It would be dark enough for the first polar lights of the season but there aren’t any this night. Anyway I spotted something even better in my opinion since it is not often that you can see it so lucid as tonight: Noctilucent clouds, which are clouds so high up in the sky that they are illuminated by the sun the whole night through. Cirrus clouds, the highest “normal” clouds exist in altitudes of round 4 – 12 km, noctilucent clouds however occur in altitudes round 50 km! And I think there are really beautiful.


Noctilucent cloudsLeuchtende NachtwolkenNattlysande moln

A weekend in the Skuleskogen National Park

You just leave Umeå by car on the E4, head southwards to Örnsköldsvik and continue a while, leave the E4 in direction Köpmanholmen and Näske and continue to “Entré Nord” (entrance north). You park your car, shoulder your backpacks and follow the signs. And soon you stand amidst the fantastic forests of the Skuleskogen National Park.

Annika got visit of her friend Johanna last week. A good opportunity for us to spend a weekend together in the Skuleskogen National Park. Since our planned tour for Saturday was not so long, we started our hike not until 12 o’clock. In addition to the usual stuff as rain jacket and spare clothes we had a lot of food and water with us. Much water, since we weren’t sure if we would find any near the cottage – much food as potatoes, sausages and a lot of salad because we just wanted to have a bit of luxury.

The first part of the trail through the forest was fantastic, almost magic. Old trees bespangled with lichens, big rocks coated with green moss and from the left a pale light signalising that the Näskefjärden – part of the Baltic Sea – is not far away.

And “not far away” means: just a few meters.

Annika and I looked forward to take a bath, but first we wanted to reach the cottage on the islands Tärnättholmarna to leave some of the heavy luggage there. When Annika told me about the beautiful cabin on the inshore island of the Tärnättholmarna I wondered how we would come there. Is there a bridge? Do we have to take a boat? Wade? Jump? Swim across? Anyway my wonderings were useless: Since the glaciers of the last ice age had melted any,  the land has been rising again – still 8 mm a year! This phenomenon is called post-glacial rebound. That’s why the Tärnättholmarna have been islands in older times, but nowadays are connected with the mainland by a broad band of sand.

It’s not far away to the cottage and we reached it within a good hour. We left most of the food, most of the water, some spare clothes and our sleeping bags and continued much more lightweight. (Beside of me, who had 5 kilos of camera equipment with me, but that’s my problem and most of the time I don’t complain …)

We continued the forest trail southwards. It’s an easy way but not the most interesting part of the National Park in my opinion. Anyway we walked still along the shore and the beaches were sandy and the water was clear and the sun shined … . Time for Annikas and my long yearned-for bath. The water was chillier than expected but so refreshing!

After we have dried in the sun we continued our Saturday hike, now heading north. Here the trail climbs round about 265 meters, if you take the eastern variant. That may not sound much but the change in the landscape is really impressive:

Starting just 200 meters away from the sandy beach you walk through a dense forest of primeval old, large trees. Sometimes the trail is covered with cobblestone-like stones, sometimes with a maze of tree roots, sometimes it just leads over jogged rocks. All of the sudden, the path turns right, leaves the forest and you stand on solid red granite rock. You look up and see more rocks and – yes! – that’s your way up! You follow the marks, sometimes by walking, sometimes by climbing up the steep or rugged passages.

Finally we were up on a rocky and bald plateau and had amazing views over the mountainous forests in the west and the Baltic Sea with its many islands in the east. Unfortunately it was quite cloudy when we went there and I hardly took any pictures. Between the next two photos lie 34 minutes and about 50 metres in height. The descent however is far away from being easy. You have to climb down through rocky terrain with a gradient of 50%.

And then you stand at the upper entrance of the famous Slåttdalsskrevan. Wooden stairs are leading down into that ravine where the trail continues downwards. Inside the ravine it’s so dark, that the contrast to the sky is too high for my Nikon D-800. Either the rocks are just black or sky is just white.

After leaving the ravine we still had to climb down, now again surrounded by forest. After a while we came to the lake Tärnättvattnen. The sky brightened up again and the view of the lake mirroring the blue sky was just marvellous. Johanna, Annika and I agreed in staying at that place overnight, when we should be there once again, even though that cottage is much smaller than our choice.

Now we were not too far away from our todays destination: The cottage on the peninsulas Tärnättholmarna. But even 2.5 kilometres can be demanding if there is another steep and rocky crescent. And so it was. If this passage was in the German Alps there would have been several warning signs about the necessities of alpine experience. In Sweden however you rely on the people, that they know, what they do. It seems to work well.

That’s how a part of the descent looked like when looking back:

I was really exhausted when we were “home” at our cottage, that we shared with two really pleasant Swedes. Annika proofed her abilities of outdoor-cooking while Johanna, though being a total beginner, showed her strong woodchopping skills. The only fault: the sausages were quite disgusting. I shouldn’t complain, it was me, who chose them … . After our outdoor dinner at the fireplace and some talk we all went to bed, glad to stretch the tired back and limbs.

The next day? Nice, smooth and relaxed: A breakfast with yesterday hard-boiled eggs, homemade bread, hot chocolate, and Västerbottens Ost, a local cheese. Strolling around the peninsulas – eating blueberries – sitting on the rocky shore beside the Baltic sea – eating some more blueberries – taking it easy. Taking an outdoor lunch with roast potatoes (with the rest of the sausages) and salad. I took a short nap and after that we packed our now quite empty backpacks, cleaned the cottage and went back to the parking place, where we arrived one hour later. The most challenging part of the day was my car drive back to Umeå, i was so tired!

It was a fantastic weekend. Thanks for the nice company, Johanna and Annika!

Some Sunday expressions in and round the cottage:


A cruise from Skelleftehamn to Bjuröklubb

It doesn’t happen often, that you can make boat trips from Skelleftehamn, were I use to live. Only one week once a year the Laponia Rederi from Luleå comes down to Skelleftehamn for some cruises. Last Saturday Annika and I took the opportunity to attend a five hour cruise to Bjuröklubb, where I’ve been quite a lot, but never by ship. When we arrived in good time before 11 o’clock people already started entering the small ship.

We boarded, too and thereby lowered the average age some years. I sniffed around the boat and got the permission to enter the bridge for some photos.

Five minutes before schedule the ship put out to sea, cruising along the industrial peninsula Rönnskär.

While Annika and I were standing on the top deck looking at the sea, the islands, the sky and the waves, all other people stayed inside and started focussing on the main topic: the lunch buffet. Anyway I have to admit, that especially the salmon was extremely delicious, and the bread as well.

I once thought about making a kayak trip to Bjuröklubb, an exposed peninsula and the easternmost point of the county Västerbotten. It would take me some days, since for one thing I’m slow and for another thing I would follow the coastline and never dare to take the much shorter direct route long away from the mainland. The ship, however was fast and took the “directissima”. Therefore it took only 90 minutes to cruise there.

At the small harbour we all went ashore and the ship continued to a larger harbour nearby where it waited for us. We got a guided tour and went up to the lighthouse where we left the croud for a good reason: Just that day was the International Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend, the only day where the lighthouse – which is still in use – is open for visitors. I went up, waiting for the other visitors – max 4 at the same time – to leave and made some photos. Not only the cut glass mirror construction was incredible but the colourful reflections of the sunlight, too.

Since we already left the group we took a hike to the other harbour, where we entered the ship again. Why it took us more than half an hour to walk for just some hundred meters? Well, there were blueberries, there were raspberries … and we picked and ate a lot of them.

The crew untied all the ropes connecting the ship to the land. I’m sure they are nautical terms for those ropes, you are free to post their proper names in the comments. Then the ship started, fetched the other passengers at the other small harbour and headed back to Skelleftehamn. Annika and I sat on the upper deck and enjoyed sun, clouds, wind, and waves as well as the view on the islands Skötgrönnan and Gåsören.

Ninety minutes later we arrived again in Skelleftehamn, where we came off the ship, while one of the crew played farewell music on the accordion.

Conclusion: A relaxed cruise and the opportunity to play tourist in my adopted homeland for one day.

The first polar light of the season

When Annika woke me up, a strong and colourful polar light covered the northern sky. In the short time it took to go in for getting my camera and tripod it already got much weaker, but it was still strong enough to take a picture with a quite short exposure time.

The first polar light of the season is always something special, especially when it’s still August. Almost unbelievable, that only one month ago the nightly sky was so bright, that you hardly could see a single star.

To see the Northern lights from your own garden is still pure luxury. Now I’m looking forward to the next time …

(ISO 800 · 14mm · f/2.8 · 5.0 sec)