Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Scouting for new grounds and botanical treasures

The other day my dear friend Olli asked if I was interested in scouting out some new grounds and look for rare or endangered species and boy, was I! Currently I am at home on sickleave and I feel cooped up to much already. We had been experiencing a period of serious thaw and pre-spring weather, so I was a bit edgy and restless.
I can not disclose to much on the area (an abandoned military depot) we went to, since it is off limits, but the facility itself was not our primary goal. The shielded area however meant that finding rare fungi, for anything else is not visible this time of year, had a good possibility of success. And we pretty much succeeded in every aspect! The base was cool, we found some very intrigueing animaltracks and a number of endangered and rare fungi/mosses. But that is Olli's terrain, since I am a complete novice in that field. However it was kind of fun to see and hear Olli becoming a tad nerdy, when he found something.
Of the facility in question we refrained from taking pictures, since that is prohibited, but I did find some online, so want to share a glimpse... even if it is a summer image and not as recent.

The area is open to public, allthough the depot itself is closed... sort of. The fence around it is anything but intact; parts cut open, parts collapsed and I believe certain parts not fenced off at all. Still I felt a little uneasy, since we were trespassing, despite having no bad intensions. The law abiding citizen is deeply imbedded in me, it seems. ;)
Right from the beginning we found something very intrigueing; a hole cut in the fence. But it was not the hole, but the tracks through it that puzzled us; moosetracks. A moose had crawled through the holw, but left only footprints. And a few strands of hair. Judging by the size of the prints and the length of the hair It must have been an adult moose, yet the hole was just up to my waiste! How could it not have left more marks in the snow???
Once in we quickly saw we had not been the only ones. There were relatively fresh tracks of someone having walked his dog there, but we were a bit startled that we found out someone had been clearing snow on the far side of the depot! It hadn't been done to recently and one would expect that the first thing one would do was clear the area around the entrancegate, but that was untouched?!? All in all weird. We crossed the area, since we were actually heading for another area, the shoreline of a small lake behind the depot and that was only reachable this way. We left the buildings alone, but looked in amazement and wonder at certain features of the depot, wondering what would lie behind those sealed entrances. Later, while searching the net, I found some answers.... All over the depot we found tracks and signs of animals; fox and moose mainly and there was one set of tracks that must have been a cow with her calf. They must have gotten in through the non-fenced in part?

After we had left the depot behind us and had reached the shoreline, Olli figured it was time for some coffee, so we settled... sort off and started looking for firewood. Here too signs of visitors were clear; a used firepit and someone had taken the trouble of constructing a chair out of rocks!
We got a bit sidetracked while looking for firewood, reading animalsigns and looking for fungi, but eventually we got a fire going and I made coffee. It was time for lunch and a lot of talk and during this break I got a few messages.... Johan, from our local group, had been busy. He has been quite busy lately, making leather items, sheaths mainly, and he had made another one... Just for me!
He had been looking at the Mora Garberg I was given for my birthday and had decided that it did not look well with the other items on my belt. It did not match "my style". So he made one that would! He actually had planned on surprising me, but was unable to contain himself. He sent me some pictures and a short video:

And yesterday a small package arrived... I am soo pleased with it! Thanks Johan!! It now rides on my belt and you will see it appear on a blog near you soon.
After lunch we packed up and headed out again, leaving the depot behind us and working our way uphill. I spotted a bright yellow spot and thought someone had spraypainted it. Turned out to be a type of lichen, but just that one spot!
The terrain got more and more difficult and loads of blowover trees did not make things any easier. Olli found a few interesting species of lichen and fungi and we climbed and slugged our way aroud the base, back to the starting point. The way in had been far easier. We circled the depot and I wonder if we would have found our way in if we had gone round it in the first place.
Either way we had a great day and loads of exercise too! The snow had been deep in places, covered in a hard crust which more often than not could not bear us. Showshoes would have been handy, but inbetween the trees there was not much snow left.
And speaking of which...... I did not go home emptyhanded. Just before we said goodbye, Olli shoved a pair of snowshoes into my hands. He figured he had enough, where I was lacking...
This sure was a day of receiving. And not just of goods, but of friendship mainly!

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