Hamra and Sanfjellet National Parks, Sweden Week 56 29th-31st May 2012
The "normal" approach to Hamra National Park is from the north west. We tried the scenic route from the south.
Having been a bit lazy translating degrees and minutes to decimal degrees we suffered the consequences.

This track eventually arrived at a wall of trees.

Recalculate, spot the error, turn round, and arrive.

Hamra was one of the first national parks in Europe. Created in 1909 to protect a patch of old growth forest.

It was expanded in 2011 and now includes wetlands.

This is from the tower at the middle entrance.

And from the platform at the northern entrance.
We think a mute swan with a crane behind it.
Definitely wetlands.

No chance of getting closer.

Boardwalk through the old forest was built the old way. Wooden dowels to hold it all together.
All sorts of little interesting things in the marsh.
There was a storm in 2001 which felled quite a few old trees.

The bit we noticed most about the old growth was the variety. As many firs as pines and a deeper undergrowth.

A recently felled and sawn tree. Just ripe for study.

We lost count.

Judging by the display at the entrance probably more than 100 years.

An intriguing device that required us to select the sound we wished to hear then wind the handle.

It confirmed that what we thought was a creaking branch was probably a woodpecker.

We didn't hear a bear or a moose.

Interesting woodwork in the new buildings.

At first sight a dovetail. Until I realised it had to be built one layer at a time and can't separate.

I have no idea what the cuts look like. Some interesting angles.

Nor how they are made!

There was a little sign of a motorhome stuck to one of the barriers. So we parked and stayed.

A couple of visitors each day.

Day 2 at Hamra. Off in the other direction through some more old growth.

We've become "experts".

Fire plays an important part in Swedish forests. This was set alight in 2001.
After an hour or so, along tracks that tested our navigation skills, we found the new shelter marked on the map.

The fireplace hasn't yet been used.

Lots of these flowers around the edge of the lake.

No bears or deer today.

Hamra lays claim to having the heaviest density of bears in Sweden but noone ever sees them..

We reckon that 3 bears must be more dense than 2 (Australians).

And very small berries in the marshy bits.
We surprised some Canada Geese as we completed the circuit.

Four in all.

Warily keeping just the right social distance from us.

A wood sandpiper spotted on our evening constitutional.
And so towards Sanfjellet National Park.

Via the "big bear" near Sveg.

More back roads. From Lindsel.

We saw the snow as soon as we left Sveg and began to wonder what we were letting ourselves in for.

Firewood ready for market!
Sanfuellet is series of rounded granite mountains. The peak around 1280 m.

We are part way up looking west towards Norway.

What is it with the females of our family.

First Rachael in Scotland, now Ali in Sweden. With feet in snow.

The granite is rocky.


Covered in bright green lichen.
The track took us up a small valley to a saddle.
And down to a small hut.

The Sododal Hut (Sododalstugen).

The track carries on to the southern entrance to the park, another 10 km.

We turned left to make a circuit.

Cladonia Stellaris.

It doesn't grow as fast or as high in this rather windswept barren place.

Its a lichen.

The plants we saw in other national parks would have been useful for making some of the trees used in model train layouts.

Normal growth rate is about 5mm per year. Here its probably a bit slower.

There is a bird in this photo!


Here it is again. In the middle this time.

Its a rock ptarmigan. Losing its winter white plumage.

Superbly camouflaged. Even though I saw it land it was hard to see. It kept rock steady (so to speak).

Onward and upward.The circuit took us around one of the mountains.
Over the rocky saddle to look west again.

We wondered what all the level crossing signs were for also.

Until we went through the snow and the orange paint on the rocks disappeared that is.

The walk was about 14 km, made more strenuous by the rocks and snow. We are a bit tired.

But fortunately, as confirmed in one of the old new scientists we've been catching up on, the journey home seems shorter.

Haven't a clue what type of bird this is.

Getting a bit desperate. The forests are full of birds we hear but don't see.

The park also has a high density of bears that noone sees. Maybe 2!

Though seriously, this whole area has lots of bears. We aren't sure but that may have something to do with the frequent houses on the valley bottom road, much more regular than we've seen and not next to a river.

And in this photo there's a fox.

We think an Arctic Fox though not in winter fur.

It crossed the road in front of us. Stopped for a look before disappearing into the forest. Wonderful bushy tale.

We did see what we thought were fox tracks in the park. Maybe they were.

It doesn't seem to matter which zoo in which country, the wild animals we catch fleeting glimpses of seem more alive, less lethargic, more aware, less pacing, healthier, less passive, than captive ones.

Struggling for words a bit so I'll try again ..... a few seconds viewing a wild animal and a terrible photo seem to be worth hours and a perfect photo in a zoo.

I wonder what the fox thought about us. 

Sanfjellet National Park doesn't allow camping in the car parks. It explicitly excludes "caravan camping".

So we drove down the road a few km and parked for the night.

Following morning we drove to the north east entry to the park.

Looks like we were lucky with the weather yesterday. Today its snowing. There's a mountain beyond the trees.

The snow stopped for a pause so we went for a walk.

Not as exciting as yesterday. Just below the edge of the trees.

But we managed to stand on a convenient park bench and see the snow across the valley.
It looks like the national parks are administered locally which may account for slightly different policies.

At the northern and western (yesterday) entries the car parks are outside the park and on the edge of nature reserves. The northern entry is also the site of a Shieling, an original pasture.

Thus, there's a collection of huts and fences.

We were on the other side of that mountain yesterday.

We'll drive down the road a bit to stop for the night.

And from our campsite. What better place to build a wind farm. On top of a windy hill.

Tomorrow is Ostersund. The last big town (about 58,000 people) for a while.

We'll stock up on fuel and food.

Plus visit the museum - lot's of Viking goodies, including the Viking equivalent of the Bayeux Tapestry.

Ostersund and North, Sweden Week 57 1st-2nd June 2012

jd Mon, 04 Jun 12 23:18:53 +1000
Hi Julian and Ali.

Didn't realise that you are on the move again. Look forward to reading more.

By the way, your spring comment in Haff, I thought it had a lean in the photo with your brothers M/H

take care.


Lisa Leake Tue, 05 Jun 12 15:04:13 +1000
So great to read of your travels. Really enjoying the scenery. Love that you're not doing the 'tourist route'

Susanna Tue, 05 Jun 12 18:10:44 +1000
Well, from what I've read and seen here, I love Sweden too!

Great job, Julian and Ali!

Sorry, comments closed.