Sunday, July 22, 2012

OUT - A walk with a twist

It has been a few weeks, but I got out again, yesterday. Work, massive amounts of rain and guests from abroad kept me from having my regular dose of greentime. My system was seriously overloaded, so I went out without any plan, just to relax. 
When I hit the known trails I was stunned! The huge amounts of rain we had in the past couple of weeks transformed the tracks. Practically no soil remained as it had been washed away. There was mostly bare rock with clear water running over them. The lush growth of plants and, above all, ferns gave these old loggertracks the look and feel of natural mountainstreams. Not that I mind... at all.

I came across many puddles and small ponds, where the water had accumulated on the tracks. In those I found a variety of waterloving wildlife, mainly frogs, damselflies, dragonflies and offcourse mosquitos.

It took me a while, but after about an hour or so, I found myself moving in a different way and on a different level again. The first thing I noticed was that I was moving as silently as possible, leaving as little tracks as possible, too. The next thing I noticed was that my sences changed. I heard and saw more clearly. As I came out of the woods to cross a clearing I saw quite a few birds and I stopped to look at them. As I stood there looking at them, they came nearer, leaping from one tree to the next, just to check me out. They weren't alarmed by my movements, when I took my binos to look back at them. After a while they lost interest and went back to the business of feeding. I could clearly see them going over the branches, looking for insects. I was able to identify at least one of the birds and it is at moments like this that I really wish I had a decent camera. Or at least one with more capabilities than my Cybershot-thingy.
I crossed the clearing and headed into the woods again. I found a squashed/trampled blue beetle and some broken, small mushrooms, so clearly something moved through the area recently.

A freshly squashed beetle

tiny mushrooms ( Lycoperdon perlatum). I found several broken clusters nearby.
Higher up on the hills the water had less eroding power, so there was much more mud. This mud was completely saturated with water and ankle deep, so quit unpleasant to walk through. There were many tracks; the usual deer and moosetracks. I did noticed that there were several sized moostracks going in both directions of the path, while the deertracks crossed the paths, but never followed it. A little further up I saw that 2 differently sized tracks merged. Mother and calf?

I found several of these along the tracks.

the ruler measure 16cm from top till bottom.

Another frog. I did here dozens of them hop into the ponds as I walked passed them.
Now here comes the twist to this tale.... The terrain was quite rough as you might have guessed by now and it became muddier as I neared the top of the hill. In some cases I had to leave the track to bypass a piece that was really bad. Than I came across a piece where there was at least 30cm of water on top of a very muddy looking surface. As icing on the cake a large tree had fallen across the trails, too. So I had to go around and over.... The around-part wasn't too tricky, the over-part was a little tougher, but the getting down-part was where things went wrong. I climbed onto the tree, which was about 60cm from the ground and as I stepped down onto what I thought was solid ground, the ground gave way! And on touching the ground deeper than I had anticipated, so did my right ankle... I thought I was stepping onto the mosscovered ground, but it turned out that under the moss there was nothing there. There was a hole some 30cm deep. Not much, but it was enough... I had to take a few deep breaths and was very glad I wore my high armyboots. These absorbed a great deal of the impact. After a short while I thought everything was fine and I started to move again. My ankle was a bit sensitive, but nothing too bad....

what can I say..... There's just room to breath.... really breath...
I walked the last few hundred meters to the top of the hill and decided to take a breather. I was getting hungry and thirsty, my back and shoulders were soaking wet and my ankle.... well.... it pounded a little.
I took my time, fixing lunch and doing some gear "reviews". For this trip I took my Dutch daypack, because my Swedish canvaspack is just to large for daytrips. I knew there was a reason why I didn't bring the Dutch pack much, anymore, and now I knew why again. As I said my back and shoulders were soaking wet. These were the areas the backpack made contact with my body. The synthetics did not allow for the sweat to get away. Also the fit is too tight, even for my skinny little carcass and with the chestbelt closed it feels like being suffocated slowly..... Too bad, really as it is a very versatile pack. If it were a little roomier and made of canvas it would be my alltimepack!

me wearing the kit

many blueberries

the Swedish army cookingset in its natural habitat...

boiling eggs..... and some freshly picked berries

A look into the pack. I'll give a more indepth review of this pack in a future post...

A fantastic book! I brought it with me, because I noticed many mushrooms were coming up allready.

something grew out out of the berry and I lost appetite...

making coffee

ahhh... lunch!

the view from my "lunchtable"...
After I made lunch, fumbled around with my gear I just sat there. I had picked up the mushroombook, but somehow I did not get to reading it. I just sat there, back to a tree, wind in the face, listening to birds and insects. I do not know how long I just sat there, but after a while I came to my senses again. It felt like I woke up, but I am absolutely certain I did not sleep. I guess the wind took my thoughts with it, clearing and emptying my mind. I felt deeply peacefull and a deep feeling of gratefullness filled me. I also felt that the wind had picked up and had a chill in it, almost as if autumn was approaching already. Maybe this chill brought me back?
So I wanted to get up and collect my stuff... and I got a bit of a unpleasant surprise! My ankle felt stiff and painfull. Great... It'll be fun to go back down again..... I called my wife to tell here what happened, where I was and that I was heading home. Up here my cellphone worked brilliantly, but further down the hill it's far less good.
I kind off limped back down the hill again, a lot less silent and elegant. My boots and pants were wet and dirty and on the way down got even wetter and dirtier. Big deal..... I splashed around like a bear in a mountainstream, hunting for salmon and was glad to leave the muddyparts behind me. The bare rocks further down gave me a firmer footing and, because they were only recently exposed, were not covered in algae and slippery.
The way down and home took much longer than up, because I walked slower and more carefull, stopping regularly. Good opportunities to look around.....

more mushrooms on the way home

this is what was left of the loggerstrail

He/she was there, too.... I am always exited to find him/her up there and than to see it floating through the sky, hearing it's "keeoww"-calls. It always strikes a nerve with me.

I took this picture of thistle and bumblebee, while standing up straight and it was above my head!

forest as forest is meant to be... at least to me.

me being home.... Up there the wind and soaked boot/sock/pants did some cooling too.
Well, I made it as you can see. The damage seems to be limited. The outside of my right ankle is a bit sore and stiff, but I can walk on it. Guess I was lucky. That should teach me to bring a stick the next time, so I can probe for little surprises....


  1. Well, that certainly was an unwelcome "twist"...ouch. Glad to hear it wasn't very serious.

    Other than that mishap, it looks and sounds like you had a very peaceful and much-needed trip to the forest. I love how nature puts me into a different state of mind. I really feel aware and alive.

    You always manage to see and show so much on your outings. Keep it up. :)

  2. Hej WW,
    It isn't even half of what I see that I show.
    Some things just can not be photographed, either because it is simply impossible to capture the feel, mood, detail or light.... and on many occassions, because my camera will not be up to the task