A little while ago I made an attempt at getting to Stensjön[a], but aborted the attempt at the edge of the burnt area. This time the temperature had been below freezing for a while and with virtually no snowfall, it was much easier to cross the burnt area.

 The Hike


The hike started off easy and never really became the chore that the last one turned into. In most places the snow was packed solid, with a couple of inches on top. Elsewhere it was just packed snow and that's like a freeway for hikers. The only real downside to this whole endeavour was the remarkable unremarkableness of the goal - Stensjön turned out to be a big loud nothing. I had expected, well, something more than a big white billiard table for my efforts. Having seen photos of Stensjön with the two little islets reflected in its still water I expected something similar; although having passed the frozen Bylsjön on the way, activating a single brain cell would have been sufficient to conclude that Stensjön, too, probably was frozen solid.

The great part turned out not to be the goal, but the journey there. The burnt area is really a big pile of fallen trees and hiking across it does give the feeling of being all alone in a wasteland. As you can see in the photos, the color palette is heavily dominated by blue, white and black. I think this area will be very interesting to visit once the snow has melted away and the forest floor starts to come alive again. The lack of tall trees should result in excellent light for getting down to ground level for some macro shots. Usually, the forest floor is in perpetual shade, making for photos with a distinct lack of oomph; when it isn't, there's rarely anything but tall grasses (yawn). When I shot The Small Forest[b], I had very little time to get all the shots off, as sunlight could only reach the ground through a narrow opening between the trees. So, without any real scientific backing of my hopes, I think this area will be a macro treasure trove.

My last stop on the way back was at Bylsjön, where I thought I'd do some astrophotography. If you look at the track log for that stop you'll see something that looks like a major GPS malfunction. It is not. I got to Bylsjön about an hour before sunset, and had to wait until about an hour after sunset before the stars became visible. In the evening the temperature fell quite a lot as the sun set, and the low temperature started to have an effect on the battery of the GPS - specifically, it was getting quite low. So I put the GPS in my pocket, trying to keep it somewhat warm in order to get the full hike on the track log. The "splat" of random lines you see is the result of the low temperatures having an effect on me: to wit, making me aimlessly walk around in order to stay warm. In the end, I just did a few long exposures for star trails. After an eight minute one, the result of which can be seen above, the camera's battery gave up. I could probably have gotten a few more shots out of it by warming it up, but by now the whole concept of "waiting for something in the cold darkness" had worn out its welcome.