Tuesday, January 8, 2013

OUT - Nyberget reconnaissance

At last I gave myself a swift kick in the butt and went out. There was this great sunrising I was witnessing from my livingroomwindow and all of a sudden I was eager to experience that "live" and "up close". I ran to get some gear, jumped into my clothes and within 10 minutes I was out. The sun was about to rise above the hills and cast its rays into some clouds that were forming around the top. Added to that was a veil of groundfog, making it all look surreal and yet wonderfully exiting.
As this was my first hike around my new livingarea I didn't do anything special, just hike along the road, paying attention to where I was and where I was going. Since we've had a warm period for the last 2 weeks the ground has been repeatedly thawed out and frozen up again, making the going tricky. Lumps of ice, a thin film of water on or under the icy surface and slushy snow meant that I really did need to keep an eye on where I was putting my feet. And within a short time I found myself looking for tracks again..... and did I find some! I was pleasently surprised by the large number of tracks I found. Besides the usual suspects, such as hare, deer and fox I also came across moose (I allways think of that as a little special, allthough there are plenty to go around, I guess). And I didn't just find one moosetrack, I found several. Different size or going side by side in the same direction and at one point I came across a site where the snow was trampled over a large area, but more of that later.
I also found tracks of dogs, at leat 1 dog next to his masters' footprints, but I also found some that were a bit big to be a dog; 5 inches in length, toes widespread, long stride..... Could it be???


As I was enjoying the scenery, the fresh air, the lack of civilisationnoices and the sun on my face, i came across a sit where there was a lot of birdactivity. In one of the birches next to the road a large number of this little feathered creatures had gathered and made their presence known by flying about and chattering at each other. They seemed to had singled out one perticular branch, where they gathered. This one was directly above the road and they were not distured, when I moved closer, not even when I was directly under them, no 4 meters away! I could watch them for as long as I wanted. I watched them as they were feeding on the birchseeds. I was delighted to be so close to this spectacle.

I also noted a lot of general bird activity all around me, but especially some woodpeckers were very active and one did get very close and I watched him for a while too. I guess the warm weather brings the grubs to life....

No idea what made these tracks.
Here's the site, full of moosetracks I mentioned earlier. It literally had been trampled back and forth. There was a track clearly showing an animal turning, by draging on of its feet in a circular movement through the snow. I could make out at least 2 different sized prints, but as these were no fresh tracks, there was little else I could make out. There were some small pines, but these had no signs of being grazed upon.

and in the middle of this winterwonderland there was this one, single bright red lingonberry (cowberry) 
Moving ahead I came across more caninetracks, these being even bigger than the 5-inchtracks and moving in the same general direction. I could not help but following them, noticing how shallow their imprint was and how clearly visible with much detail, so the animal had moved here recently. It had a long stride; a good 6 feet inbetween! Further down it was obvious it had struggled with its footing as it slid over the frozen underground. Maybe it had been running and tried to come to a halt.
the footprints are my boots; 6.5 of them (European shoesize 409
Right next to the skidmarks i found this pile. It had the same prints all around it, but somehow it doesn't look like a dog's "doing". There's something about the texture and consistancy that states otherwise....

I travelled a little further untill I found a nice sunny place at the shore of the lack. a good place fot a little brake and some coffee!! I set up everything, had some water on to heat, grabbed my food and opened up my coffee- and sugartins.... Ohh the horror!! The sugar had become one solid lump and the coffeetin was empty!! There was no tea of instantsoup either. I did not check befor I left.... And to me, a lunchbreak on a day like this somehow isn't complete without a hot beverage. So I had to settle for some heardbread, a piece of saucage, an apple and a few more sipps of cold water.
After this luxurious lunch, which still was sufficient, I went up another trail, seeking out higher ground. After a while I came across this roadsign.

Appearantly there is an old path leading through our area (yet judging by the sign it isn't forgotten), so I took a picture of it and googled it, when I came home. It is somesort of path, leading from Mora to Stockholm and was used by people in the old days to leave the province of dalarna and head for Stockholm, in search for a better life and is divided in several sections.
Here more to it (if you don't mind reading Swedish) dalkarlsvägen
I allready have decided that I will do some of the sections in the area, maybe even link a few and make it a walk with overnighters.
As the day came to an end, (well, not the day, but more the man) I thought it was a good thing to finish it with some views of the area I may now call "my backyard". I am most certain that I will enjoy it here and this was only the first reconnaissancemission!

At the end of the day I must confess that I was very happy to be able to break the deadlock of the midwinter timeout. I feel refreshed and re-energised, even though I have a blister on one of my heels, sore upperlegs and stiff shoulder- and neckmuscles. I am so badly out of shape..... It'll take a few more of these to get this squeeking carcass up and running smoothly again...
The weather was deceptively springlike today; temperatures hovering around freezing, and in the sun above. It's hard to believe it is just januari.... But it looks like winter is coming back and with a bit of luck we could still have another three monts of it.... But somehow I doubt that. It just doesn't feel like that anymore. The smell and the sting of winter has gone from the air. We might still have cold periods, but a severe winter, I don't think so.


  1. It is sad that we are losing our winters.
    It looks like you have some great property to ski on!

    1. It doesn't look like we've completely lost them just yet. King Winter is about to return here, but it is nowhere near the winters they used to have around here. That's a fact.

  2. Great get out Ron. Those tracks certainly make you think about who you're sharing the woods with. I wolf or moose encounter would surely get the heart a thumping. those were some great sunrise shots too. Enjoyed the report.

    1. I'd love to see either one of them, but realy up close is not absolutely necessary. I'll keep my distance... ;)
      Glad you enjoyed it!

  3. It is good to get out once in a while.
    Had a nice trip to the woods outside Oslo to visit the guys from BCUK camping up there.
    Could be wolftracks. Difficult to say. When it is thawing a track set in snow can easily double its size if the conditions are right, and still look like it is fresh.


    1. That's the cool part, Skaukraft. The tracks were not melted! The edges were crisp and clean, almost like my own, and showed not much signs of being melted. The edges and imprints weren't as rounded as I think they would be after being warmed up.
      It doesn't show in the pictures, though.

    2. Exciting stuff Ron.
      I've howled at the moon in areas I know there is wolf, and got an answer.
      Sneak out one clear crisp winter night and try. You just might get an answer...


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  5. Beautiful pics of a beautiful area, Ron! Looks like there could be some good hiking in your future. You are a lucky man. :)

    I'm not very familiar with animal tracks, but maybe it is indeed a wolf. Or perhaps a running lynx? I think their tracks are supposed to be pretty large in comparison to their body size.

    In any case, I'm happy to see you out and about again!

    1. It is definately a canine track. Lynx don't expose their claws when walking.
      The best way to separate a wolf track from a dog track is to look at the route they choose through the terrain. Wolfs walk/run in a straight line (energy efficiency is the key-word), and choose the path that demands as little effort as possible. Dogs on the other hand zig-zagg all over the place. The stride length of a wolf is also longer than for a dog, except maybe for very large dogs lige Grand Danoise, Irish Wolfdog and such.

    2. Great info, thanks!

    3. In that case it most definitely was a wolf. Long stride - check, large print - check, straight line through the terrain - check.
      The toes in the print are spread out, allthough the actual imprint was not as deep, so the paws and toes were not spread out because of weight.
      And we live on the edge of a known wolfpackarea.

    4. Then I would say it is most likely to be wolf tracks.