Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Recalibrating heart, mind and soul.

Or maybe I should have called it "Moosing around"?

Today I purposefully went out for a walk again, for the first time in 2 months! I guess I led myself to believe that living out here in the country would minimalise the need to go out and roam through the woods.... How wrong I have been! So today I skipt the householdchores, left the garden alone and the firewood in peace. With the wife of to work and the kids of the school I took off.
I wanted to see what the woods around here looked like without the snow. Makes me feel a lot more at ease exploring new terrain without winterly conditions. I headed to the cliff or rockformation I showed in an earlier post at the beginning of the year. That was a referencepoint I knew and from there I would venture on onto new terrain. I kept to the "road" and paths. I'll have plenty of more opportunities to wonder off and get lost later. ;)  The "road" was almost entirely covered with natural debris, like needles, leaves, branches and mosses, but half way up to the cliff there was one patch of bright grey rock showing through and as I approached it I somehow could not keep my eyes from it and I could not just pass it by. I felt drawn to it and I had to get down and lay my hand on it... Touch it. Feel the land... reconnect. A shiver went through me as I felt the cold rock against my hand. Maybe my mind was playing tricks on me, but I felt different afterwards.
I passed the rockface I aimed for and a bit further up the hill the road split up. I kept left and immediately the underground changed. Allthough it was still recognisable as a wide, 2-tracked path, it became much more overgrown. The woods here are crisscrossed with loggerstrails, at least I guess that's what they are, and all of them are overgrown to some extent. Makes accessing the woods easier....
After a few meters I came across my first animaltracks for this day; if I am correct, these are the dropping of a western capercaillie or wood grouse, here known as tjäder (Tetrao urogallus)

Further on on the trail I found some more, but more decayed ones. eventually the trail led up to a sort of clearing. The only thing remaining war large pine, no undergrowth. I found my next animaltrack. Something had been digging up the grass...

These guys were bravely standing up
Beyond this clearing there was no more trail or path, so I turned around and retraced my footsteps. Just befor entering the denser wood again, a small opening in the canopy let in a beam of sunlight, setting this little scene ablaze. It was as if a patch of pure gold was lighting up in the sun....

I went further back, seeing moosetracks coming from one of those luggerstrails and went down the trail untill I reached the rockface again. It looked very different and I went to check it out more closely and I most say I was impressed by it! It wasn't just the view or the panorama, but the entire feel and atmosphere felt just right. I wondered around a little, marvelling at the accumullation of mosses and lichen, feeling excited (for no appearant reason) like a little child.

This it the kind of terrain I really feel at home in!

those colours....
 And then, suddenly, I found these..... Moosedroppings, right at the edge of the cliff! I had noticed a young birchtree being snapped off in a typical way, but thought nothing of it. After seeing these droppings I saw even more signs; moss being scraped off the rock, where the animal had treaded, young trees and shrub which had been grazed upon...
I dubbed this place "mooserock".

my wife thought this one looks like a painting...

After a while I returned to the road and into the woods. The wind had started to pick up again and the rockface left me quit exposed to it. The wind is still cold. I walked down the road again, untill I came to the crossing where the dalkarlsvägen meets the road. I mentioned that one, and this cliff too, in my first post of this year. But befor I reached that crossing I found yet another pile of moosedroppings and these were quit fresh! I also found fresh moosetracks, leading out of the woods, in the direction I came from. Fresh tracks and fresh droppings coming my way..... If I wes to follow them backwards I might find more.... So I went off trail, following the, to me, most logical route such a large animal would take and within 25 meters I came across a patch of grass, that was even more compressed than the grass around it. Allthough compressed by the snow, that stood up just a little bit more. This patch was firmly compacted. Could that be the restingplace of this animal?

Through the still open trees I could vaguely make out the road, so I went back again and followed it untill said crossing. It was still early (I always loose track of time fast, when out there) so I started following this trail for a while. I want to do this coming summer too, so a bit a scouting out the terrain is a good thing.
Within 50 meters I again came across moosedroppings, older ones, but I found others too. If I am correct, these are the droppings of a black grouse or locally known as orre (Lyrurus/Tetrao tetrix). 
there are 4 piles here

No idea what these are. Looks like something a bird might have thrown up. These balls were quit small, about 3cm in diameter and the greyish one was full of white hair.

I found some very unusual deformations on this shrub. Next to all stems had these bloated sections with small holes in them. No idea what these are or what caused them.
This is the trail, by the way....

Following the trail I came across many piles of moosedroppings, one after the other. Most of them older, but some fresher ones... and with different sizes. All in all at least 15 piles over a 3-4km stretch of trail! I also saw many young trees being broken in the typical way, when a moose feeds on them. Must have been a pretty big one, since some of the breaks where so high I could barely touch them and in some cases I could not! Some trees were a few cm's thick, so some force had to be used to bring them down and there was one area, a few 100 square meters, which had practically no young tree left standing....

 Another sign I found were yellow fungi, which only grow on places a moose had urinated, here together with droppings.

I kept following the trail, untill I came to another clearing, this time manmade, and as I stept away from the trees I was surprised by small blotches of colour everywhere.

And again some tracks. Hoofprints this time and fresh ones, too!

By now the weather had turned. The sun was gone, the wind had really picked up and I could feel that the rain was soon to follow. Time to head home again, which was a perfect excuse, because I was actually feeling quit beat after walking through the woods for a few hours. I'm in a pisspoor shape and I really need to work on that. The trail I followed was actually nothing more that a narrow path of grass and rocks between the trees and, given the tracks I found, I'm guessing it is more frequently used by moose than by man. These tracks are not made by one animal, judging by the varying size of prints and droppings. And given the large number of droppingpiles and broken trees this trail is being used very frequently; Moosealley.


  1. Nice litle report there Ron.
    I think your'e right about the droppings bein Tjäder (Tiur in Norwegian) and Orre.

  2. Great early-spring photography, Ron! The closer you look, the more you find. :)

  3. Beautiful photos from your day :) Lots of moosetrails everywhere :)) The white "shit" must be from a fox, I guess...