Post by ukpacker on Feb 13, 2020 7:46:18 GMT -8
March 2019 I rented a chalet in central Scandinavia and used it as a base for snowshoe camping trips and day walks in an area the tourist board seems to have recently labeled as Granslandet, which means border lands. The area is a collection of nature reserves and national parks around the Swedish/Norwegian border, in Sweden ; Toffsingdalens NP, Rogen and Langfjallet nature reserves and in Norway Femundsmarka and Gutulia National Parks. It's an area I first visited in summer over 20 years ago but maybe because we so rarely see significant snow in England I find the winter landscape's of Scandinavia stunning. Granslandet is about 300 miles south of the arctic circle so mid winter would see virtually no sun, my winter trips there have only been mid February to mid March. Temperature range during this period has been huge, over 5 trips I have experienced + 10 C to -30 C
and I had no idea that snow conditions and therefore ease of travel could be so variable and that's the biggest issue with this sort of thing. Being ready for the cold is an obvious requirement and not difficult to prepare for but variable snow conditions are much harder to deal with.
Trusty Soulo in Langfjallets
Storan River between Toffsingdalens and Langfjallets
I travel on ski trails or snowmobile trails and where the snow is firm enough I go off trail, this is usually easy enough above the tree line where winds harden the snow surface but in the forest a hard enough snow surface to travel over without a trail is granted at the whim of the temperature gods
and they can quickly withdraw their favors.
I spend a lot of time and fuel melting snow and cook in this flask, 1/2 filled with pasta and stuff and twice the volume of boiled water results in cooked pasta after 1/2 hour. I prepare lunch in the morning so at least I can have unfrozen food which may even still be hot at midday.
another gratuitous pic of my tent.
People used to try and farm here, these days it's just reindeer herding and tourism.
Langfjallets and Toffsingdalens
Gutulia national Park Norway contains a preserved summer farm at Gutulivollen, in good firm snow conditions it's a few hours walk from the cross country skiing trails. One building is left open as a hikers shelter.. One of the buildings here has graffiti scratched by US airmen as they waited to be smuggled into neutral Sweden by Norwegian resistance during WW2.
While staying at the cabin for two nights it began snowing for 24hrs non stop so getting back to the trail dragging my pulk through soft snow was very slow going, most people would not do this sort of thing on there own at least with other people the rotating leader breaks trail . But who wants to hang around while I take photos?
Femundsmarka in Norway.
This sort of thing has it's risks, water under this hole was 6 foot deep, I got out easily enough but it took me about an hour it seemed to retrieve a snow shoe from the lake bottom. So take care if you try this sort of thing, there's lots can go very wrong!
Thanks, that's all folks have fun in the snow & stay safe.