Last Tuesday it got sunny and I paddled kayak. On Wednesday it got cold and the small sound between island Lillskär and mainland was covered with ice.
Although it’s mid-December and despite temperatures between -10 °C and -14 °C there were still whooper swans around. Don’t they migrate south? In the morning they managed to paddle through last night’s fresh and thin sea ice. In the afternoon the swans had left. Perhaps they finally decided to fly south.
On Thursday it snowed. In the afternoon 10 cm of fresh snow had fallen and everything was white and bright, even in the night.
On Friday Annika and I had a day off and visited friends in for a long weekend. They live in Kusfors in the inland, round 180 km north. On the way there and there we found more winter. It was not very cold but it snowed quite a lot. I took some images from the car while Annika was driving.
Yesterday on Sunday we came back to our house in Obbola round 20:00. Our property was covered with 45 of fresh snow. Since it had been sub-zero all the days the snow was pretty fluffy. We had to do quite a bit of snow shovelling – but after taking a photo.
Today it’s Monday and a new working week has begun. I had a lot of meetings today and therefore no time to paddle kayak. Oh yes, the kayaks … where are they? I know they lie beside the wooden terrace. Here they are, well hidden under a thick blanket of snow, right beside the window of the winter garden.
But there are other things to do as well. For example opening the afterwork ski season in Olles Spår near Umeå together with Annika. The snow is still soft and the cross-country skiing trail still slow but the first time of skiing is always special and we are happy and grateful that we live in a place where winter is around us.
Now it’s half past nine in the evening and I’m blogging. Snow is falling and the thermometer shows -9.5 °C, the same temperature as the last hours.
And you? What kind of winter do you like? Or do you prefer other seasons?
Annika and I used the weekend to visit good friends in Kusfors. While it was still autumn home in Obbola by the sea, the inland experienced an onset of winter with 20 cm of snow and frost below -10°C. And so did we in Kusfors.
There’s a reason why it’s a good idea to change to winter tyres already in October.
Today: a short trip to Kusfors and Jörn with Annika and my best friends from Munich. After last night’s storm we got calm and sunny weather with temperatures between -10 °C and -20 °C today. In Kusfors we had a look at the old steam locomotive and visited friends of mine. In Jörn we had a picnic in the in the heated waiting room of the train station.
I live nearby Skellefteå, Sweden’s largest town without an active train station. Jörn, however has rail connections to Luleå, Umeå, Stockholm and Göteborg, although Jörn only has 800 inhabitants. I have to admit, that I’m a bit jealous sometimes.
Believe it or not, it is possible to travel back in time, at least some weeks.
Here in Skelleftehamn near the coast the ice on the Baltic Sea, the river Skellefteälven and all lakes is gone and all birch trees are bedecked with green leaves.
Yesterday I had a gig in the Skidstugan Stenabäck – a small ski hut between Norsjö and Lycksele. On the way there I could see the birch trees being less and less green until they were leafless again. As I said – like travelling back in time. But I was even more fascinated by the fact, that parts of the lake Stor kvammarn were still covered with ice.
Just at the driveway to the ski hut some reindeers were hanging around. I saw them again several times this weekend. The group was easy to recognise because of the white reindeer with the pale pink horns.
I stayed over night and so I got the opportunity to make a picture of the incredible evening sky. It looked like clouds burning in slow motion.
Today I took a short tour by car with R. who drove along some forest roads nearby. We saw a young moose standing in the forest and just beside the road a Western capercaillie probably looking for a hen.
Then I took my own car and drove home, not the fast and boring main roads but the smaller ones. I saw four more moose on three different places. Five moose total – a new record, but there all were quite camera-shy, trotted away and hid in the dense forest – one even crossed a small river and even if I couldn’t see her anymore I could still hear her feet splashing through the water.
One photo through the windscreen – just for the records.
|western capercaillie, wood grouse, heather cock||Auerhuhn/Auerhahn||tjäder|
One of the disadvantages of a long journey as I made it this winter is that you cannot meet your local friends for a long time. It felt like ages ago, that I was in Kusfors to visit my good friends Martine and Lasse, that I got to know the very first day when I arrived in Skellefteå five years and some days ago.
Kusfors is 70 km away from my home and it usually takes my exactly one hour car drive. Yesterday it took longer since I made some detours. There’s a nice minor road along the river Skellefteälven which still is partly ice covered – at the end of April!
Martine, Lasse and I made a short trip to Norsjö and Lasse showed us around. For example the beautiful wooden church:
Or the ski slope nearby. (We where quite lucky that we didn’t get stuck in the rough clay road when we went up and down):
Or the farm shop in Svansele, that is specialised in carrots and is open 24-7.
But my favourite spot and motive was the old abandoned mill near Norsjö – Norrsjövallens kvarn:
I definitely have to visit this place again with more time and better light, probably in the evening, or even in the night time. (Perhaps with some polar light? …)
Addendum: A black and white version of the last motive:
The present day I spent with my friends Lasse and Martine. Well, not the first part because I was awake earlier and went down through the forest to a small bay of the river Skellefteälven. The bay was covered with several thin layers of ice. I fell through with each step and the only reason why I dared to go there, was that I know that the water is quite shallow. The atmosphere is always a bit spooky – decades ago this place was a forest but I was cut down because of the water regulation. In summer you can still see the cut-off trunks standing in the shallow water.
After an extensive breakfast – ok, let’s call it brunch – we made a trip to two special places. Look at the next image which is probably the awfullest photo ever I published. But the history is quite interesting.
Let’s go back to the 20th of May 1900: Ludvig Lundgren just left the house in Kvavisträsk to visit Fredrik, his neighbour. A bad idea, because just this day the place was hit by a meteorite. Ludvig wasn’t hit directly but found unconscious just 50 meters away. He died some days later probably of the consequences of the pressure wave. This is probably the only documented case of a deadly injury connected with a meteorite impact.
The next photo (back and white for technical reasons) is a place hardly known even to the locals. It is hidden in the middle of a forest and probably almost undiscoverable without knowing the GPS coordinates.
This cave is connected to World War II where it was used as a hiding-place for locomotives. Up to eleven engines found place in this hole in the mountain. It was locked for many years but now both the gate in the fence and the big folding doors of the cave are unlocked and you can enter it. We didn’t have any flash lights with us but the three LEDs of our smartphones where bright enough to see floor and walls. It was both fascinating to see this place as terrifying.
It is always great to travel with Lasse since – as a journalist – he knows so many fascinating stories and interesting places. Without him I’ll probably would have continued to make pics of ice and snow. A welcome variation!
On the way back (and what a way with frozen tracks so deep that the car was steering itself and occasionally hit the ground) we saw a lot of reindeers. They don’t pay attention to cars, but as soon as you open a window to make photos or even leave the car they probably will leave the place. But quite often they will stop again and watch you carefully. That’s the chance for photos. (None of the pictures became really good, but I’ll publish them anyway).
Thank you, Martine and Lasse for yesterday evening and for this nice day!
Yesterday I had a meeting in Norsjö, which is round 100 km away. The meeting already started at 9:00 with a breakfast at 8:30 and ended 12:00 with a lunch.
I started quite early to make some fotos on the way to Norsjö, but the trip took longer than expected and I just made an extremely boring photo of a big lake, completely overfrozen and covered with two millimetres snow.
After the meeting I took a detour round Norsjön which was covered with ice, too. It started snowing.
I continued my way with another detour and crossed two rivers. First the minor Malån which was mostly ice covered, than the big river Skellefteälven that enters the Baltic Sea in Skelleftehamn, where I live. The Skellefteälven was completely open. That was the last photo I took yesterday. Even if it was only three o’clock it was already so dark, that I had to expose 3 secs (with f/9 and ISO 200).
By the way: älv means “river”, älven is the definite form meaning “the river”. Å is a minor river and ån is the definite form.