...because you thought Sweden was Switzerland!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Nature near you

It may not seem like it when the thermometer reads 8 degrees C outside at noon, but autumn is a really good time to be out. Provided that it doesn't pour down rain, it's a perfect time for biking or hiking. The air is clean (pollen- and mosquito-free!), it has a little chill – but the sun might show up to share a little warmth and even light the autumn trees bronze! It's a beautiful season, and it's a pity to spend much of this precious golden time indoors, especially since the days are getting shorter and there wouldn't be much to see out in the darkness in a few months' time.

One thing that I absolutely love about being in Sweden is the ability to move around in nature in a place near you live. "Tame" nature or "wilder" nature, just pick a place and a bus to take you there, and in less than 20 minutes' time from leaving your cozy apartment, you can find yourself hiking on a forest path or making your own forest path. And we've been doing one of either of that for the past three Saturdays.

I haven't been bringing the camera in our longer 6- or 7-hour hikes where would have been a hassle to carry a camera bag, but to give our feet a rest last Saturday, we took what we thought would be a somewhat shorter tour near Jursla, a subdivision north of the city located at the foot of a mountainous forest. I'm happy I brought the camera with me because there were so many things to see and it had been the most varied hiking tour we had so far. Aside from just walking up and down for hours, we also got to see out from some lookout points, visited an old iron age house ruin, and even had to climb up some rocky hills. Marcus used the compass more actively to look for routes along the roads less traveled; we crossed bogs and we struggled through twigs, branches and undergrowth. The whole tour didn't take much shorter than our other hikes as a result. We crossed a smaller distance but had to pass through more "jungle".

Pictures of dense forests tend to look all the same after a while, especially when you're not in them to experience how forests really are different from each other. Some forest ground are mossy, some are wet and slippery, some are dry, some are littered with rocks, some feel nice and bouncy. Different shades and shapes of moss, small plants and mushroom grow in different places. Forests also have different light, and indeed different temperatures depending on what trees are growing and how tall or spread out the trees are. There's really nothing like experiencing it. And come to think of it, it's strange to feel lucky to have an opportunity to walk in nature when the history of civilization is more or less that of people wanting to live out of it.

Without further ado, here are some pictures of the fun parts of our tour. No pictures of jungle though, but just the parts where we dared to take out the camera!

At the edge of the forest (in Kvillinge, north of Norrköping)

Coffee breaks (yes, even hikes have fika) are a good time to take out the camera! As a rule, we take a break every 50 minutes to take a warm drink and something sweet, and to change socks.

Going down a smallish cliff where a rope was affixed for hikers' convenience

Sometimes, there were no ropes, but hands, feet and a good balance do the trick.

Ruins of a fornborg (Iron Age hill fort – the link takes you to a wiki article; more on Swedish fornborg here). There are three such hill forts near each other in the Kvillinge-Jursla area.

Yxbacken ski slope north of Jursla, on a very windy day. Our last stop before going down and taking the bus back home


Norrköping municipality's website has maps and descriptions of nature reserves and hiking paths in the municipality here. If you live in Sweden, your municipality may have a similar list. "The green map" that shows details in the geography (altitude, landmarks, roads, paths and land use), which can be bought in outdoor-gear stores should also come in handy if you're considering to do a longer hike for the first time. Get good boots!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! Really nice photos! I went for a walk in the forest here near Umeå and my forest pictures didn't turn out at all. You do some serious hikes!

I also got the chance to try the Ballerina Pepperkaka, and yes, they are additive... The other one I tried (chocolate orange) just isn't as good.

9:03 AM

Blogger Ahoy! said...

Hej Joyce! How are the forests around Umeå? (I remember you blogging about what some students thought about a university you were eyeing, that it was near a forest... was that Umeå university? Hmm on the other hand, there's probably forests near ANY Swedish university, with the possible exception of Stockholm Uni).

On the pictures: sometimes, I put the camera on vivid mode, but most of the pictures I put in the blog are sharpened for web and/or color edited in Photoshop, depending on how blah they look :-D

I don't like orange cookies in general so I haven't tried that flavor. But if they ask me, they should really reintroduce the banana Ballerina!

10:31 PM


Post a Comment

<< Home

<<< Browse older posts (via sidebar list)