Ups and downs

I went to the hospital to see a specialist yesterday about my back.  The good news is that he does not want to operate at the moment because there is so much positive improvement with my training (the operation would have been to fuse two of my vertebrae together).  However I have a degenerative disease; inherited from one of my parents which means that the tissue between the disks breaks down and eventually I will have to have the operation.

In the picture below the healthy disks are thick and have much grey colour between them.  The last three disks (especially the middle one which causes most pain) has almost nothing between the vertebrae.

back xrayLast week my employer terminated my employment because I have been sick so much and can’ do my job in my current condition.  I think it will be a challenge to find full-time employment again up here.

Last weekend we were at the cabin.  Teres wallpapered the veranda that I built a couple of years ago



I had left my fly tying equipment at home, but found a hook, some feathers left over from Easter and some fine fishing line and inspired by an article in the latest issue of “The Bushcraft Magazine” I decided to make a Pike lure.  I had no clamp to hold the hook, so improvised using my Leatherman Wave and a little vice

leatherman fly tying vice-1I was very pleased with the end result, and in fact we caught a 40cm Pike with it, but I dropped the fish before Emma could take a photograph!

leatherman fly tying vice-2

Emma kept both herself and Kelly entertained while in the forest, by crushing up Blueberries and painting stone art with the juice.

emma stone art lapland

emma stone art gallivare

blueberry juice fish

Kelly even made me a stone cake

kelly art nattavaara

On Saturday night the temperature dropped down to -6 C, the first frost of the autumn!


Removing chimney stack from sauna

We had planned to use the sauna at the cabin as a guest cabin, but unfortunately it has become unusable.

The brick chimney stack inside the sauna is built on the ground, and the base of the chimney has been moving down the slope towards the lake, causing the whole sauna to tip.

Last weekend (with a lot of help from Teres’ father) I removed the brick chimney stack.

Here is where the chimney stack used to be inside the sauna.

This should prevent any further movement of the sauna during the winter, and then next year we will lift up the sauna to make it level again.  Then when we have money, we will convert the sauna into a guest cabin with beds, a small stove, kitchen area and toilet.

Vuollerim 6000 years stone age museum continued

Here are some Birch bark containers

This is a small pouch made from a goose foot

and some nice coiled baskets made from Club Moss/Ground Pine (I’m planning to make one of these)

We also visited the dig site to see one of the buildings they excavated.

The dwellings are a long way from the current course of the Lulea river

but at the time the dwellings were occupied the Lulea river flowed next to the dwellings here

We decided to camp out for the night in the forest, using a parachute as our tent

It was a very pleasant evening fishing with a beer

After a cold night we had bacon sandwiches for breakfast

Vuollerim 6000 years stone age museum

On Friday we visited the stone age museum in the village of Vuollerim.  The museum is called Vuollerim 6000 years

and is close to a stone age settlement that was discovered there in the early ’80s.  This is the site of one of several buildings that were found

The pits you see had a variety of uses, from storing food, preparing food or fire sites.

This is a reconstruction of the turf dwelling outside the museum

and here are three pictures from inside the building

and the kitchen area

There is a very impressive display of reconstructed items found during excavation of the area;

winter clothing (the climate here was thought to have been a couple of degrees warmer and so there were no Reindeer, instead the people were trading for skins)

clothing made from Salmon fish skins (tanned with human urine)

Some hunting tools

A nice birch bark arrow quiver


Rådjebalges/Gränsleden Guiding Course – Part 7

Hundreds of mosquito’s came into the laavu during the night.  I was fortunate enough to have a piece of insect netting material to put over me, but the others were not.

We awoke at 7am, made fire and cooked breakfast

After breakfast we were soon packed and on the trail again.  Very soon we located an old camp with an old fire site from in a kåta, defined by a ring of stones

The camp site was located in an area surrounded by rock on all sides and so sheltered from the worst of the weather

We also found an old turf kåta and discussed the idea to repair it as shelter for people walking the trail, where they can either sleep or just make fire and cook coffee.

Late morning we encountered a heavy thunderstorm and heavy rain.  The rain continued when we stopped for lunch and so it was challenging conditions to make fire.

Per-Erik demonstrated that a piece of Juniper stem split into quarters and the centre which has a high turpentine content removed

can be ignited very easily, even in the wet.  And it was not long before we had a small fire going

We arrived back in Ritsem at 7pm and for me it was a great relief as I had been suffering with pain in my hip and back.  I am now seeing a chiropractor who found that my pelvis was twisted and had to be re-aligned with my back.  This may unfortunately mean I cannot attend the second week of the course from Norway back to Ritsem…..we shall see.

The soul of my boot also split along the route and so I had to buy new boots when I arrived home.  Per-Erik has used many different makes of boots and his recommendation was a pair of Viking Hunters

At least when I arrived home Teres had some good news for me……..I’m going to be a dad/pappa!!!!!….:>)

Rådjebalges/Gränsleden Guiding Course – Part 6

We walked up a rocky slope, through Mountain Birch forest to join the trail

We walked for about 1km and then took a short break to talk about this new section of Rådjebalges/Gränsleden

In the middle of the afternoon we stopped to make coffee and eat some food.

Per-Erik explained that Sami people remove their boots whenever they stop to allow both the feet and boots to breath and dry, reducing the risk of blisters.

We located two old burial sites but I decided not to photograph them.  We also found sites where would have been staying and milking the Reindeer.  Here is one

The pale area of ground on the left of the picture is where the kåta would have been situated and on a flat area of lush green grass in the top right corner of the picture they would have milked the Reindeer.  It was over looking this area that we decided to set up the laavu and make camp

The laavu was soon up and water gathered from a nearby spring

Within a hearth made of stones a fire was made and we made coffee and cooked food

and here is the view from the laavu as I prepared to sleep

Rådjebalges/Gränsleden Guiding Course – Part 4

We also found Rosenrot (Rhodiola rosea) which was referred to as natural viagra for the Sami people and has many other uses.

Can you guess what family this little plant belongs to…

Its a willow and  the Latin name is Salix herbacea and its English name is Dwarf Willow and it has adapted itself to the harsh life in the fjalls.

We also found a Lemmings burrow

but the old droppings outside suggested it is not currently used

One reason for this may be a Rough-legged Buzzards (Fjällvråk in Swedish) nest that we found near by.  We also saw Golden Eagle, Golden Plover and Ring Ouzel.

This pile of stones is a typical way marker for old Sami trails

and although not as obvious in this picture, a well worn trail was clearly visible

Lunch was a chance to chat

and take in the views

At the end of the day it was back to the cabin to pack and prepare for two days away walking the first 20kms of the Rådjebalges trail.