I’m sitting in the train to Umeå. We have a longer stop in Kiruna where the train changes direction. The other trains standing here are cargo trains that transport iron ore from the mines around. Temperature is -10 °C or lower and there are some centimetres of snow covering the ground. Winter finally has arrived in the Swedish fjäll.
I’m so glad to arrive home in Obbola tonight. I haven’t been there since July. Now I’ll stay until Christmas working from home for the Norwegian Polar Institute.
I’ve been however in Sweden in August, too. Not home but for a hiking tour with my sister and family together with my wife Annika.
This reminds me that I almost forgot to publish the last blog article about our hiking trip in the Jämtland. It will take more than seven more hours until I arrive in Umeå, so there’s plenty of time to start blogging now, as long as the mobile net allows. Earlier I’ve written about the cabins, some day trips, the trail and way marks. Today I want to show some photos of the landscape. Let’s go back three months in time. It is late summer in Sweden.
What I love about the Swedish mountains – the fjäll – is its variety. Not only in weather but also in landscapes. In the lowlands there are forests – mostly birch forests – but all Swedish cabins we visited lie above the tree line and here you have a wide view of the mountains, small and large lakes, rivers and streams, bogs and stone deserts. Let’s have a look.
15 August, our first day. The landscape is rising and we have left the forest behind. The trail between Storlien and Blåhammaren leads over many swamps and bogs and is wet and muddy.
16 August. We leave Jämtland and cross the border to Norway. The cabin Storerikvollen lies quite low and we descend through forests of crooked birches.
18 August. Still in Norway we take a resting day at Nedalshytta. I talk a walk along the lake Nesjøen. The water level is extremely low and so I can cross some mud fields that normally are under water. This landscape looks a bit hostile and is not typical for this region.
19 August. Again the terrain is wet and has many small lakes and water puddles. The mountains are hidden behind low hanging clouds.
We start hiking up the Ekorrpasset. Looking back we witness one of the most unphotographable landscapes I know. In reality it is an impressive view of a hilly terrain with uncountable lakes, ponds, streams and puddles. The photos however always look pale, blurred and boring.
Let’s not look back but ahead. The peak of the pass is more than 1300 metres high. That may not be much in the alps, but in these latitudes only few plant can survive these altitudes and so we walk through a desert of stones and rocks. Hidden in between some moss and the flower Ranunculus glacialis.
And let’s look aside. We pass the mighty Sylarna massif (1574 m) with its glaciers and rugged rocks. Impressive.
The Sylarna cabins lie lower. Grass and heather cover the ground presenting the landscape much more mellow, especially in the soft colours of dusk.
20 August. We leave Sylarna and continue to Gåsen. For that we have to hike through the valley of the river Handölan. Here we meet birch forests again. And some quite impressive rapids.
22 August. After a resting day in Gåsen we continue to Helags. The landscape is wide and broad. And where it is not too wet there are surely some reindeer around.
24 August. We are on our way to Fältjägaren, the last cabin of our tour. The weather is sunny and we are accompanied by the mountain Predikstolen (the pulpit) which shows itself from some of its many beautiful sides.
In the evening we stand outside watching the sunset and the incoming night. Soon the lakes are the only part of the landscapes visible. The rest is almost black.
25 August. Our last hiking day. On the other side of the valley we can see the gaps in the forests covering the mountain slopes. These are the ski slopes of Ramundberget where we’ll take the bus to Östersund. Back to civilisation.
And back to the present. I’m still sitting in the train. Where am I? Ah – half an hour left to Gällivare. Now I’m longing for a cold and snowy winter. But then I want to change ski boots with rubber boots and go for a hike again.