Monday, February 27, 2017

Marsfjällen: The Trek Continues

From the heart of the mountains, we went back to our "home", which was our tent in the parking lot.

I came out of the wild with new memories made right in the mountains that will stay in my heart for as long as it beats. My heart got inflated with new appreciation for such beauty in creation, a beauty that others may take for granted or may not appreciate at all because thoughts of what they consider as "better ones" blind them from seeing the uniqueness of each and every mountain that we climb.

This is one lesson that was impressed on me by the first phase of our trek. Each mountain is truly different, with a distinctive beauty that's all its own. We cannot say that this or that is better. A mountain hiking is not only about seeing or conquering the most famed ones that have been well-trodden by mountain lovers but also about finding their messages, seeking out the diverse life forms, listening to the "voice" of even the minutest of the organisms that thrive in them, and then letting their messages affect us positively.

As I immersed myself in the nooks, the crevices, the slopes, the sweeping, rolling wildness of the mountains, I savored every moment of being right in these very mountains, not wishing to be on the other supposed better mountains in other lands, not comparing their grandeur with the others, which would rob us of the joy of the moment and the delightful feelings of contentment. And that made the adventure worth appreciating and definitely worth treasuring, not to mention the spiritual upliftment that it brought about.

This lesson etched deeply on my mind, I went to sleep the night away, ready for the next day's new adventure.

August 4

This day's itinerary was to search for the powerful waterfalls in the area and have a picnic alongside it. We located it after a short walk, but the steepness of the trail down the base of the falls became an unnerving factor that thwarted our plans. And so we left the area after peeking at the falls through the trees, which was quite disappointing. But then, the rain started to fall, and that allayed the frustration that was increasingly growing inside me.

this is just the upper half of the falls

And if to make up for the biggest letdown of this day, a vibrant double rainbow appeared right before our eyes as we headed back to our cars! That firmamental beauty melted away the last trace of my previous disappointment. My eyes remained glued to that spectacle the whole time we were driving to our next destination, and I felt like chasing rainbows. Along the highway by the lake, we pulled over to take some good shots of it while the intense colors lingered. My camera went clicking away, while hubby kept shooting me in the act of shooting.

Ah....the lure of rainbows! How we admire them! They're just so exquisite and divine, yes, a beautiful reminder of a divine promise!

We moved on to our planned journey for the rest of that day, which was a fishing expedition in a nearby river. We had to drive a few kilometers from our base, park the car at the mouth of the woods that we had to traverse and hike one and a half km to get to the river.  That's where we were going to spend the night.

where we parked our car for the night

I took these two photos from a bridge leading to the hut where we would spend the night.

Our companions set up their tent among the trees while hubby and I decided to sleep in the wooden hut equipped with firewood to keep us warm all night long. The hut was snug enough for us to sleep in our sleeping bags, so we skipped the hassle of pitching our other tent that we carried with us.

That night, hubby and boss started fishing by the shallow stream, but it looked like the timing wasn't right because they were unable to catch fish.

As for me, I had a pleasant time watching the awesome beauty of the wild outdoor and capturing such beauty in different angles, the changing hues and the swirling mists above the surface of the river. 

"Stop and consider carefully 
the wonderful works of God."
(Job 37:14)

August 5

The day came beautifully. While hubby and boss tried fishing again, I went taking more pictures.

 Later in the morning, we girls went roaming about, exploring, looking for blueberries to pick, but the fields in the area were apparently "vacuumed" by the earlier fishers. So I aimed to search for cloudberries, accompanied by my boss' little girl, and I was able to pick a few ripe ones.

At last, I've had my unexpected sensory overload from this week's trek! I have felt the impact of these words on my whole being:

"Keep close to nature's heart....and break clear away, once in a while,
And climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirits clean."
(John Muir)

It was time to leave the place and get back to our base. Time for hubby and me to travel back to our city that evening. Time to part with our companions who wanted to stay one night longer.

We dismantled our tent and hugged our companions goodbye. It's been a fabulous adventure we've shared together.

Before wrapping up this chronicle of the week's adventure, I would like to include some of our Creator's wonderful works that I have gathered in the course of our hiking expedition.

We took a straight four to five-hour drive home. As the night deepened, the bright summer sky was gradually painted with tangerine clouds. At one point along the way, a night rainbow loomed before us, a vespertine treat that was worth-capturing. And then the ever-changing cloud formations just kept gliding swiftly toward us, then past us as we rolled toward home.

"Do you know how God controls the clouds
And how he causes the lightning to flash from his cloud?
Do you know how the clouds float?
These are the wonderful works of the One perfect in knowledge."
(Job 37:15,16)

Everything said and done, here's a thought worth pondering over.

"All the wild world is beautiful, and it matters but little where we go, to highlands or lowlands, woods or plains, on the sea or land or down among the crystals of waves or high in a balloon in the sky, through all the climates, hot or cold, storms and calms, everywhere and always we are in God's eternal beauty and love. So universally true is this, the spot where we chance to be always seems the best." (John Muir)

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Sunday, February 19, 2017

The Marsfjällen Trek

July 30 to August 5, 2016

The mountain hiking was my boss' arrangement for his family. But then, he invited hubby and me to join them, knowing that we too love hiking adventures. That meant that I had to apply for a week of paid leave again just a couple of weeks after my recent major summer vacation leave. No sweat! My boss was more than willing to approve my application just so we could keep them company.

And so, on July 30, we set forth on this exciting trek to the mountains that I haven't trodden before. My boss and his family led the caravan made up of his car and a trailer and our car. I almost couldn't contain my thrill for this new stroke of wanderlust, when for the first time, I was going to use my new hiking backpack.

This is a whole week adventure, but I'm trying to put everything in a nutshell, though I'm afraid this would be a giant nutshell due to the astronomical pictures that I have taken.

We arrived in a familiar place where travelers in these mountainous parts of the country stop by for a refreshing view and snacks or lunch. We've passed this a few times during our past travels but never had the chance to stop by this close for a picture-taking.

We proceeded to find the hikers' parking place where we had planned to pitch our tent. There were no parked cars at the time we arrived there, but they started to come and go later on. Some who hiked long distances had to leave their cars for a few days while others went on a day-trip hike and left the parking place in the evenings.

We, on the other hand, made that our base for the entire journey. My boss' family stationed their car and trailer on one side of the parking lot while hubby and I set up our pop-up tent on the other side. The parking place was kind of wild in that it had no complete amenities save for a picnic table with long benches. No water supply and toilets too. So we had to find a store to get our drinking water. No problem with food because we took with us an ample supply. As to answering the call of nature, hmm....we had to do it the "wild" way to the effect that what belonged to nature went directly back to the wild...☺✌

We went to rest in our tent that first night, my sleep a bit perturbed due to the chilly air that night. The day came with an uncertain weather condition, the erratic mountain weather that kept shifting between cloudy, rainy and a bit sunny. We decided not to go hiking that day but rather take it easy.

I saw this hawk perched on a tree in our camp. I couldn't get a clearer shot due to poor lighting. 

While our companions were lazing in their trailer, hubby and I took a drive in the vicinity to dispel a growing ennui from being stuck in our tent or car. We got to see the Trappstegsforsen in Saxnäs again and took more pictures.

That evening, hubby and boss sauntered to a nearby lake to see if they could catch fish. I trailed behind, scanning the area thoroughly, enjoying the scenery and shooting away.

FIRST HIKE  (August 1)

We were all set for a day trip to a nearby mountain, a sort of try-out first before taking a bigger leap. We took that trail that starts from the parking where we were based.

SECOND HIKE (August 2)

It looked like a wonderful day to hike this time as the passing scenery affirmed.

This time, we started out from Fatmomakke and followed the Marsliden (trail) with the Marsfjäll's "kåtan" as our target destination, about 7 km. away. It was pouring when we set out but the rain gradually abated in the course of our trek.

The trail was expectedly long but not formidable. The longer we've walked though, the farther the destination seemed to take. We've become exhausted and famished as the afternoon hastened to evening, but we just kept walking resolutely, sometimes stopping for a little rest and a drink from the creeks and rapids.

The sight of the "kåtan" or mountain hut up ahead perked us up, the exhaustion from the long strenuous journey quickly fading away. Our power was renewed, our spirits buoyed up. We just kept moving on, and then we were there at nightfall. A typical bright summer night.

This was supposed to be another day trip, going back to our base that same night, but which became impossible due to our being totally exhausted and time insufficiency. We had no choice but spend the night in the shelter without any sleeping bags, pillows or whatever stuffs that could keep us warm. The comforting thing was that it was not occupied that night, otherwise we had nowhere to sleep. And so the six of us crammed ourselves into this cramped space, reclining restlessly,  shifting sides, shivering. We kept the wood burning stove (kamin in Swedish) in the middle of the shelter ablaze the whole night, though at times, we neglected to put in new firewood which sent us quivering at times. We were so grateful for that "kamin" and an abundant supply of firewood that kept us warmed in this chilly summer mountain air. But I didn't sleep a wink due to the pain caused by lying down on a bare flat narrow wooden bench.

the structure in the upper right photo is a toilet and the one in the lower left is a storeroom for firewoods

The previous night's inconveniences were completely forgotten when we got up in this beautiful morning and luxuriated in the sunshine while sipping our coffee.

The following day, we unanimously chose to hike to one of those not-so-distant mountains before leaving the area and going back to our camp. We packed all our stuffs and left them in the hut while exploring the mountains.

"Let the rivers clap their hands;
Let the mountains shout joyfully together."
-Psalm 98:8

Summiting the mountain, I sat down on a rock and viewed the sweeping mountainscape in all its wildness and splendor. I looked down on the other mountains before my eyes, which are actually about 500 meters higher than our location. Kind of optical illusion or image distortion.

Having fed our mountain-loving self to satisfaction, we descended back to the "kåtan". Before we finished off cleaning the place after us, a couple of hikers arrived to seek shelter there too.

"He is watering the mountains from his upper rooms.
With the fruitage of your works the earth is satisfied."
- Psalm 104:13

The journey back seemed shorter this time. Back to Fatmomakke, we dropped by an outdoor museum and explored the amazing surrounding of a place where the early settlers chose to dwell.

At this point, I think I'm going to break this post after all in two parts instead of cramming the whole journey into one nutshell which I originally planned.

So stay tuned!  More exciting adventures and stunning vistas are coming up.

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