Nice of you to present a preview already in October, and got really started in early November, but in January you were much too warm. Fortunately I could realise two fantastic ski tours in February and March, but back home in Skelleftehamn I needed my rubber boots more than a winter jacket. So for my taste you – winter – was much too short!
Before spring takes over Annika and I decided to make a short trip to Solberget in Lapland. A good place to isolate oneself in the times of Corona, since we lived in a cozy construction trailer. It was only two full days we had there but we got cold sunny weather (almost -20 °C in the morning) and a lot of snow in the forests and on the bogs. Perfect skiing conditions.
The other day we skied to the old farmyard Slättberg that still has an owner but slowly goes to rack. A pity since the place is so nice. In 2013 I had dared to enter the main building, now the floor is partly gone and I kept outside.
In Skelleftehamn we had some warm days with +10 °C and almost all sea ice has gone. Only in sheltered parts as the boat harbour Tjuvkistan or the sound at Storgrundet some ice is left. But I do not dare to enter it any longer.
So I’ll thank you for the season, winter. But next year you’re welcome to send your (c)older brother.
I have stopped counting how often I’ve been at the wilderness retreat Solberget in Swedish lapland. First of all it’s a nice place with great people, then it’s the week of the winter market in Jokkmokk, which is round 90 km away. Finally I just had to make a stopover here since my stove that I need for a ski tour was stored here.
Wednesday – a small ski tour
On the top of the hill Solberget I get to know Steffen who has spent some days in the mountain hut. It’s his last day and we ski down together. The way back is not long and so we extend our tour. Do we stand on a small bog or a frozen lake, when I make this photo? I don’t know.
Thursday – winter market in Jokkmokk
I’ve been here several times. This time I only stroll over the market and hardly make any photos. The only exception: The artist Yana Mangi, who gave a phantastic concert in the small old church in Jokkmokk.
Older photos from the winter market for example here, here and here.
Friday – ski tour on the Vihtukkajankka
It’s been long since I’ve been on the Vihtukkajankka. Together with Steffen I make a ski tour onto this mountain. First it’s cloudy but soon it clears up. Skiing through the snowy forest is sometime like visiting an art exhibition.
And here I have slept the last days:
Saturday – a foggy day
Acually I just wanted to be lazy but the fog was so beautiful that I skied down to the large bog Päivävuoma/Solmyran to make some “bog fog” photos.
This is my favourite photo from that day:
I close this article with a small riddle. The next photo is no photomontage but a single shot. Where am I?
Just 300 km from home – bright sky and temperatures round -25 °C – finally a winter as it should be in Northern Sweden.
I shot theses photos in Solberget tonight. Here I will stay some days and visit the winter market in Jokkmokk.
While parts of Bavaria and Austria have been buried in snow masses – partly there’s more than 250 cm of snow in the valleys and 350 cm in the mountains – we got plus degrees and storm squalls yesterday evening.
Yesterday the bay Kallholmsfjärden was still covered with a solid layer of ice. Today the wind and high water broke this sheet of ice and blew it away. At lunchtime the bay was covered with drifting ice floes. Some hours later the ice was gone, probably drifting to Finland …
I want this (left image) but I got that (right image):
I have to admit that I’m frustrated. I moved to Northern Sweden for real winter experiences, not for this kind of roller coaster weather, that makes the snow dirty and the streets slippery. The photo motives are ugly, I cannot ski, I cannot even walk onto the ice anymore. I just want to snip my fingers and be in Filzmoos or Reit im Winkl or somewhere else where it’s really snowy.
There’s only one realistic way to solve this: I need a teleporter. Or a time machine. For this I need a crazy scientist, that will build one for me. To pay him/her and all that crazy scientist equipment I need money. There is a way to get a lot of money without work: a Trisslott, the most famous scratchcard in Sweden. The same amount three times and you win it. OK, let’s see …
Well, that didn’t work. Four amounts only twice. As usual. I guess, I have to deal without a teleport.
Day 4 of the winter journey 2018
This morning was cold, clear and crisp with temperatures round -25 °C. The snow glittered and the sun slowly started to illuminate the snow covered trees. Today Annika would travel back to Umeå and our main plan for that day was to not have any plans at all.
Dirk, the owner of Solberget asked me however if I could have a short photo session to make pictures of his reindeer sledges in action – one of the attraction of the wilderness retreat. And I gladly accepted. Here’s a first selection of the photos i made.
When I later took Annika to the nearest train station Nattavaara the temperature dropped to temperatures round -30 °C. Good to know, that the small station in Nattavaara has a small heated waiting room where you can wait for the train.
Her train was several hours late (I’ll come back to that topic later …) but thanks to internet and mobile app we already were informed about that delay and hadn’t wait too long until the train arrived in Nattavaara.
Annika will be away for two weeks until we’ll meet again and start our main winter journey. Meanwhile I’ll do a ski tour with Jonas, a good friend from Germany who should already have arrived the day before. Which he didn’t. Well, the train delays – I promised you to come back to that topic.
Due to a snowstorm in Gävleborgs län all trains to Northern Sweden had been cancelled. Jonas had been stuck in Stockholm. He couldn’t take the train the next day neither since it was fully booked. Therefore he was forced to wait another day and then take the night train with a scheduled arrival on Monday, 7:38. This train however was stuck in Vännäs for many hours due to technical problems. Instead of arriving on Saturday, 12:40 as originally planned he arrived on Monday, 17:00. That’s more than 52 hours delay!
But finally he arrived and tomorrow we can plan our ski tour which we’ll probably start on the day after tomorrow, 7 February.
Day 3 of the winter journey 2018
Just two images from a wonderful ski tour up the hill Solberget.
Day 1 of the winter journey 2018
After a first day on the winter market in Jokkmokk Annika and I enjoyed the cozy sauna at Solberget, my very favourite of all saunas I know. I was really tired after the sauna but just had to make some photos of the beautiful surroundings in the moonlight.
And while I made photos of the window of the sauna hut even the polar light increased a bit.
Today Annika and I will head to the Jokkmokksmarknad again. Yesterday we got a lift, today we’ll take my car.
I made this photo two weeks ago in Solberget and I think it’s a nice contrast to my last blog article here. Both photos show the Swedish winter but there are quite different. I like both the cold and sunny type of winter as snow fall.
What do you prefer?
I have stopped counting the times I was in Solberget, the beautiful wilderness retreat in Swedish Lapland. This time I was asked if I want to join a three day first aid course in Solberget. Since my last one was long ago I accepted gladly.
The course, arranged by the German Outdoorschule Süd, was both intense and fantastic and I’m glad that I was able to participate. I stayed another day after the course to make a ski tour. It has snowed quite a lot in Lapland in November and round about 60 cm of snow covered the forest soil. I started the tour at 8:30 – an hour before sun rise. The air was crisp and cold with temperatures round -15 °C. I borrowed a pair of wooden Tegsnäs skis. They are long and broad and fit to every boot which makes them ideal for the powdery snow in the Northern forests. I crossed the street and entered the narrow forest path that leads to the hill which bears the same name as the wilderness retreat: Solberget – the Sunmountain. I crossed the Solbergsvägen, which was covered with a half metre of snow and soon went slightly uphill through the old forest with its mighty spruce and pine trees.
Even though I didn’t take the smoothest way up it didn’t take long until I arrived at the top of the Solberget, which is 459 meters above sea level. I ignored the cozy mountain hut and went straight to the old fire lookout tower which provides a unique 360 degree view over the landscape.
As fastly as I arrived at the tower as slowly I climbed it, since the handrails and the steps of the three ladders were covered with a thick layer of hard and crusty snow. Finally I was on the top of the tower, just in time to see the sun rising above the hilly horizon.
I stayed on the tower for more than an hour, happy to see the snow covered trees in the warm and ever-changing light of the low hanging winter sun. First the sun got free of the clouds and started to illuminate more and more of the scenery. The colours changed from a pale pink to shades of orange and many other colours I don’t have any name for. After a while a cloud layer approached from the north changing the mood of the landscape again. At the end almost the whole landscape was shadowy beside of the fog that still hung above the swampy areas in the southwest.
Finally the sun vanished behind the cloud layer. I climbed down the three ladders of the tower and continued my ski tour. First I headed southeast, then I turned more and more to the right while I descended the hill. After a while (and a bit of squeezing through the pathless thickets) I reached the Solbergsvägen again, however more in the south. This part of the path was completely untouched beside of a track of a hare that you still could guess under the fresh snow of the last day.
After a while I came to the turn-off to the swamp Solmyran which I followed a bit. The sun was low again and illuminated the snow in bright orange colours, while the snow in the shadows looked more blueish. There are many colours in winter, you just have to go out to spot them.
The photographer and his studio:
I can highly recommend both a stay at Solberget and the first aid courses of the Outdoorschule Süd. In February you can combine the two, if you can speak and understand German.
Day 31 – 38
Today when I look outside the window, I realised that winter finally has left Skelleftehamn. The patch of snow that I stood upon ten days ago to view the Northern Lights has melted away and some trees start to show their first little leaf buds.
Well – it looked different when I was in Solberget in Swedish Lapland two months ago, where a first aid course of the “Outdoorschule Süd” took place. The week was filled with many actions – both course units indoors and outdoors and leisure, too. If you are one of the course participant you will realise, that I left out quite much. That’s because I tried to keep the text very short – it’s more keyword style – and focus more on the photos.
Arrival day: an incredible starry night with even a bit of faint Northern Lights
Course unit outdoors, training recovery position (“Stabile Seitenlage”) – course unit indoors, training cardiopulmonary resuscitation (“Herz-Lungen-Wiederbelebung”) – and a beautiful coloured evening sky.
How to move injured people: a lot of teamwork is needed – frost patterns again – Lars, the Sámi, tells us about the reindeer herding
How to evacuate injured people from an observation tower – reindeer sledge ride. (No people were harmed)
Ski tour to Polcirceln, where we’ll stay to nights. I slept in my tent since the two cabins are really small.
A misty morning – another “real life case”: hypothermia – a beautiful dusk. (No people were harmed)
Ski tour back to Solberget – another fantastic dinner, this time: salmon.
The last day – many serious studies as: How many people fit into the igloo (Answer: all!) or who wins the snowball fight
Thank you, Angela and Stefan from the “Outdoorschule Süd” for a great week!