This article is part of the series “2022-08: Jämtland and Trøndelag”.
If you want to hike you need either a good map and a compass, or a GPS, or you have an area with designated hiking trails. Then you in most cases have only two issues: find the right trail and follow it.
Easy, isn’t it? Yes, but wait – what’s that?:
Why are there two trails to Storerikvollen? Check the symbols. One shows a skier, the other a hiker. That’s the first think you have to know: There are summer and winter trails in the Swedish mountains. The latter ones are often a bit less hilly but can lead over bogs and lakes. So choose the right track. Quite often they go together for a while and then split up again. That’s where you have either to check a map (take an up-to-date one) or follow the right waymarks.
The waymarks for summer trails use stones and red paint. In Norway it is a red T, in Sweden it is mostly a red dot. Mostly they are painted on large stones, rocks or on cairns – heaps of stones. The advantage of cairns: they are easier to spot when it is foggy.
In wintertime most summer waymarks are hidden under a deep snow cover. Then it is the time of the winter waymarks: Red diagonal crosses.
The poles can be several metres long because of the snow, the depth of which can vary greatly. When you have snowstorm conditions in winter you sometimes just can spot the next cross. When you’re lucky. I took the following photo on 20 February 2020 on a ski tour. Two hours later we experienced average wind speeds of 25 m/s. Then you start to love the waymarks that guide you through the storm.
Back to our August Jämtland tour this week. We could watch some people replacing the old winter waymarks by new ones. An important job, probably done on a voluntary base. Voluntary work is so important in Norway that it has its own word: dugnad.
I guess the best sign posts we found in Nedalshytta in Norway. One “summer signpost”, one “winter signpost” and even ratings for the trails from green to black.
It’s always nice to meet some signposts on your way, but not all of them show the distances. I like the last one. The letters are holes in the metal sign, so it won’t snow over so easily in winter time.
But not all signs are about following the trail. They can show you the Swedish-Norwegian border. Or the way to the toilet. Or the toilet – often a “privy” – itself. Or where to park your dog in case you have any.
And some of the signs or marks are quite creative. I almost missed this “in-tree” waymark in Norway. Perhaps more funny than helpful.
But the clearest sign we directly spotted on our first hiking day in Storlien:
The words say henan, dittan and hittn which are apparently words in Jamska, a group of Jämtland dialects. They mean something like here, →there and →here. I cannot express it better. Anyhow this is an article about signposts and waymarks, not about linguistics.