Northern county Värmland and Dalarna was covered with snow in the end of November. Some lakes hiding black ice. We were waiting new lakes to freeze as the temperature was below zero and the weather forecast promised really cold weather. By studying the satellite we headed to lake Tisjön, Dalarna the 1st of December. Were we right in our expectation?
First joy on diamond ice
Another group who had caugth the moment
Giant boulder hiding among the pine trees
Fairy tale landscape
Rhime roses growing
Osprey nest covered with snow
Beautiful stop in the sun
Beautiful contrast between frosty birches and the black ice
After som hectic weeks with guests from abroad we were ready for another new exploring adventure. This time we were heading east to our neighbour country Finland. It has been a dream for many years getting to know and to paddle in the “Country of the Thousand Lakes”. We didn’t have much time, but time enough to realise that there are lakes enough for a life time. An eldorado for kayakers. We just spotted the right time for nature showing up in its “Golden costume”. Our destination was huge Lake Saima.
Some of the millions and millions of Silver Birches
Birch bark - art of nature
Punkaharju - the road meanders on the ridge between the lakes
View from the ridge over a little part of Lake Saima
Leaving Oravi Canal for Haukivesi
Towards Linnansaari National Park, hoping to meet a Ringed Seal
Huge rock - bowlder reminds us of the ice age
A little stop on an island for some hot tea and sandviches
Sedge is on fire
Forest is on fire
Between some of the islands in Linnansaari National Park
End of the day on Haukivesi
Red yellow palette - like a fire
Aspen trees preparing for winter
Bye bye Finland
We arrived to and left Finland in sparkling autumn colours. What a visit!
We will be back for sure – and then for a longer trip.
Nordic EcoTours has its main geographical area from Lake Vättern to Lake Vänern and onwards westbound to Skagerrak. This summer we wanted to extend “our territory” and explore new water systems. In July we headed to Lake Sølen, Rendalsfjällen in Norway – a place we have visited before, both winter and summer. A place that we love. Lake Sølen has a circumference for about 65 km with a few islands in the south west and south of the lake. This time our departure point was close to Fiskevollen, Norway’s oldest inland fishing village, which is situated in the north part of the lake. West of the lake the massive Midtre Sølen with three summits rises – its highest peak is 1755 meters above sea level.
On our way to Fiskevollen
Old chalets by Skånborket
Nice view towards the summits of Sølen
Base camp on a sandy beach
Kayaking in blue waves
Interesting meeting - changing experiences
In total harmony
Pond Water crowfoot - sheer water plant
Happy and relaxed paddler
Green Sandpiper (Tringa ochropus) protecting her chicks
Yellow Wagtail - a characteristic bird in the mountains
Hiking in the mountains
Tiny heath in a harsh landscape
Purple Saxifrage - little jewels
Alpine Bartsia - grows on calcareous soil
Summit 1755 meters above sea level
Back home to our little island - the smallest of Vioddholmene
End of the day
The Sølen area is a magical location for kayaking, fishing and hiking. A place where you relax, recover and replenish your energy. We are willing to join you in an outstanding experience.
Summer 2019 gave us loads of great nature experiences together with new wonderful people from various parts of Europe. Following is a summary of some golden moments.
Summer evening in the reeds
Where are the beavers?
On top of the beaver lodge
Fast asleep in the silent evening
We never give up searching for beavers. Spring and early summer are the best conditions for beaver scouting.
A short walk for launching
Under the giant cliff
Food is important for an entire experience
Enjoying the last rays of the sun
We had a Full Day Archipelago Paddling booked for our French guests. The wind conditions was not with us, so instead of paddling singel kayaks in the sea we trailed our tandem kayaks to a lake in the forests and all ended up with a wonderful kayaking experience in wilderness.
The entrance is under the water
One of the many beaver lodges
Giant log on top of the beaver lodge
Satisfied after a stunning evening paddling with beavers around
All our tours are “On request”. Beaver Safari in Bohuslän made us scout for beavers in land. And we made it! A skating tour last winter “hinted” us to the right lake.
Heading towards the first beaver lodges
We are looking at fresh beaver gnats of birch twigs
Silent evening close to the beaver lodge - sadly no sign of activity right now
The moon is leading us back home. Magic night!
Silent search for beavers in their habitat. Calm, peaceful and many traces from beavers and beaver huts – but just one splash this night.
A tandem kayak is convenient for sharing the exercise
Mighty cliffs - the wind intensifies
Time again to paddle with our devoted “Girl group” – mostly from Norway. The wind cheated us again so we had a quite tough expedition this year.
A coffee never tastes better than after some hours on sea
Seabird 2019 - waiting for next year's adventure
Practice makes perfect. Good paddlers in heavy wind!
The kayaks are waiting for a ride
First pause on an island - a small snack and some history
Towards open sea
Here we are!
Norwegian “Kick Off” starting from our boat houses.
Use of floats makes the ride safer in open wavy sea
Peaceful strait - a nice stop
Almost back home - hot coffee, sandwiches and apple pie are waiting in the boat house. A good end of a wonderful day together.
Refreshing Sunday paddling is a good start as Team Building ahead of a new work week!
Krokstad Herrgård – situated close to the estuary of River Byälven/Lake Vänern – is a perfect starting point for exploring and experience the beaver habitat from the kayak. An impressing oak alley, in bright green spring colors, invites us to Krokstad herrgård. The late May evening was sunny, a bit chilly but probably too windy to make the beavers in the mood to show up.
The entrance to Krokstad Mansion
Strolling through the park and arboretum towards the river.
We had the pleasure to scout the surroundings together with family Say from France and Switzerland. A short walk down to the river before its time for preparations before embarking.
Three double/triple kayaks and one single kayak is awaiting for the safari. The triple kayaks are really stable and to paddle these you don’t need any paddling experience – perfect to be able to concentrate on wildlife, birds and search for beavers.
On the move
Beaver canal in the reeds
Time for photos
We crossed the river and went behind “Ile des Castors” – habited by a beaver family last year – now the hut is abandoned. It made it possible to paddle into one of the narrow “beaver canals” to watch their hut.
Towards the sunset
In the Beavers habitat
Windy and sunny. Expectant. Even the birds were withdrawn this evening though we observed and heard thrushes, wagtails, some geese and mallards.
Time for a little forestwalk
Just before landing
Where are the Beavers?
No beaver but a trumpeting crane
On the old abandoned hut
Observing the crane
We decided to go ashore for a short walk and to investigate traces from beavers. Now the sun set and suddenly we heard a sound we had longed for. Three souffles from a bittern marking its territory in the reeds. It is a sound that is similar to blow in a bottle. That sound followed us now and then all the evening.
Darker and darker ...
Next morning - new adventures
After a small “picnic” with hot tea and some snacks we continued paddling south towards the huge Lake Vänern. In strong headwind we paddled towards a canal behind an island – but sadly no beavers. We had the luck to be in near contact with a crane – who probably had its nest in the weeds – grey lagged geese, gulls and sterlings. Now and then the european reed warbler sang wonderful tunes for us. On our way back in the dark we heard the spooky sound of a Tawny Owl.
No Beaver Safari is like the other. Even though you don’t meet beavers it’s always a treat to be out on the water in near contact with nature. BUT – in our very last minutes a beaver showed up – just with a big SPLASH – but a sign of a beaver. To share these moments with people you have never met is a great gift for us. Thank you family Say!
We couldn’t resist to continue our discovery along the north east coast of Lake Vättern. The weather was with us so instead of what we was thinking making a short trip morning trip we were out all day – discovered the coast south of Tokanäset, passed Lemunda Bay and the exciting “Mill stone coast”, rounded Island Åholmen, had a wonderful swim by the sandy beach Lilla Hals and returned home in the evening. Full of new energy and impressions – again!
New day - what will happen today?
Open waters - here we go!
A pair of Goosanders - we got in touch with many of them all day.
We followed the shore line and were amazed by the remnants from an industrial era about 100 years ago – mill stone making.
Forgotten mill stones produced by sandstone. Hard work in vain.
Lemunda harbour - ship trade of stones to Finland and Russia
Lemunda Bay - sandy shallow waters
The sandstone shore line and the bottom below the water surface was “decorated” by loads of mill stones for kilometers. This masterpiece is now like a huge installation of arts which reminds us of very clever and hard working people. Sadly many of them died too early because the effects of their work.
Thankfulness for being a part of great history - but sad for unused work
Perfect spot for a pause in the morning sun
Sandstone - sedimentary rock created millions of years ago
Pine forest has replaced the open area - now covered with bilberries
Ready for departure
We can’t get enough of this clear, drinkable water!
Struggling alder tree - a survivor in the water zone
Under water mill stones
Fascinating giant boulder
Couldn't resist heading towards the (for us) unknown island Åholmen.
We were very excited to investigate “our” new island. And we got a great reward – birds showed up we never had dreamt of.
The island was covered with trees and as we had hoped the opsrey's nest showed up in a pine tree
Two gulls and a crow were busy irritating the osprey
To our great surprise we observed eiders - in fresh water. Unbelievable for us!
Two females with their six chickens showed up. And out in the water we saw and heard four males courting one female.
An inviting sandy beach was our our next goal.
Looking back admiring our beautiful island
Listening to the eiders in the distance and resting after a nice swim
Way back home
Back to the boulder
With the afternoon sun in the back we had a wonderful trip back.
We paddled into a shallow, sandy bay with water lilies coming from the bottom and loads of fries - an interesting loop.
Over and under water
We can't get enough of these creations
Clouds in mirror
Back home to well known waters and islands
Total length of this trip was 28 km – in a relaxed paddling.
Quietness, peacefulness – Lake Vättern offered one evening and one whole day in perfect weather conditions for kayaking. Almost no wind and warm temperature. This time of the year you are on your own – except from wonderful company of birds. We left Medevi, by the north east side of the lake, and paddled northbound to Nature Reserve “Råå Uddar”. Following the shoreline in a choir of singing birds we finally had a stop at an island before we returned home in a spectacular sunset.
Can you discover the Red-breasted Merganser?
Island in Nature Reserve Råå Uddar - inhabited by a Greylegged Goose family
Fascinating mix of polished stones
Spring is in the air!
Bloody Geranium in evening light
Solomon's Seal - related to aspargus.
The Swedish white beam in buds
Flowering pine - sending out loads of pollen
We left the nature reserve in a beautiful sunset.
Sun hits giant boulders - a heritage from the ice age
Turning point by rocky island
Blue berry hill in evening light
Organic life cycle together with geological cycle
The purple hour gifted us with with an additional memorable treat.
Our different seasons offers a variety of nature experiences all year round. Spring is here – the ice and snow is gone, nature wakens up. The air is full of singing birds, the buds changes into flowers and leaves and our beavers continue their life cycle. Soon the new “babys” are born. We were out looking for our “friends” and we were anxious to find out how they had survived the winter. They were still there, though they had moved some kilometers south the river.
Can you start a beaver safari from a better spot than Krokstad Mansion? It is situated by river Byälven, close to Lake Vänern . The park was glowing in different green colors in the evening sun. We paddled down the river in a slight head wind. In the reeds we got in contact with one beaver. Just a big splash, but so exciting! Beneath the surface pikes, pike-perches and fries were active. Loads of geese were swimming around with their goslings. And the goosanders were around – both in the sky and on the water. The king and queen of the reeds – the marsh harriers – were hunting above us. The cranes were trumpeting from the fields in the background. The air was filled with singing birds.
When we reached the horizon of the giant lake Vänern we turned back around some islands. There in the channel we had an exiting time following the beavers in their evening swim. They were not really shy – more curious. Now and then we heard the special sounds from the bitterns in the reeds – like someone blowing in a bottle. When the sun set the wood cock appeared flying its route over our heads to protect his territory. Moments of thankfulness to be just here.
On our way back in the stunning evening light we visited some abandoned beaver huts. You can never stop to marvel these intelligent, unobtrusive animals. They create pieces of engineer buildings and pieces of art. The more you follow the lives of these animals the more respect you get for wonders of life!
Nordic EcoTours are looking forward to share these moments of nature together with you!
Lucky us! Just when our guests from UK, Sicily and Germany arrived the weather cooperated with us and blessed us with marvellous skating conditions. The thick, black ice was polished by a thin layer of water.
In the borderland between Sweden and Norway small lakes gave us unforgettable memories.
During our 3 to 5 days together we skated on five different lakes.
The foggy weather made our days to a mysterious experience – sometimes like a fairy tale.
The temperature was above zero every day so we were lucky the sun didn’t shine. It would have destroyed the ice.
For two days we had company by a Norwegian family – their first nordic skating experience.
All members of the family made really good improvements.
Getting the last out of February on skates!
Nedre Bolsjön – Lower Lake Bolsjö – gave us two wonderful skating days. The ice is struggling against sun shine and temperatures above zero.