Mission accomplished

The reason why my summer vacation is split like this is that I wanted to find the alpine chamorchis (Chamorchis alpina). I think I still made a mistake, it felt like this week would be too early for it, but I had to try anyway. If I can’t find it now, I can take a weekend in August to come back for another try (does that sound obsessed?).

I knew that the orchid was very small, so I was getting a bit daunted by my task… Torkilstöten may not be big, but everything is relative. So I hiked up to the pass and starting searching. Very soon I came across a small thing growing next to a small-white orchid and I stopped to take a closer look at this what I thought was an unusually stunted, withered small-white orchid. Except it wasn’t stunted, it wasn’t withered, and it sure wasn’t a small-white orchid! Can you believe it, I had found my alpine chamorchis!!! After letting out a cry of joy, I got down to photograph it. Not so easy because the wind was really hard, it kept moving even this tiniest of orchids. I knew I wasn’t getting any good pictures but you know I really couldn’t have cared less.

Close to this first alpine chamorchis that I saw was another, even smaller – this was definitely early season for them. So that was two individuals and when I looked around me at the mountain landscape, I was wondering if I could find any more. It is certainly hard to spot it if it grows among anything green, this one I found was growing in a ”bald” spot so it caught my eye just enough to be curious to take another look. I continued my way towards the peak of Torkilstöten, now that I didn’t have the pressure of finding any orchids I just wanted to see the view from the top; this is as close as you can get to Helags by car and then it’s just the short hike up. The clouds had cleared a bit so I took a series of pictures for a panorama stitch. I wasn’t sure if it was going to work though, the wind was really hard so I suspected that it would cause enough vibration in the rig to blur the shots. But wind is not all bad. No bugs!

Alpine chamorchis (Chamorchis alpine)
Alpine chamorchis (Chamorchis alpine) with scale

When I started my way down, almost immediately I saw something…. alpine chamorchis? Oh yes it is! This time I took a shot with my bubble level next to it, to give an idea of the size. And close by, yet another orchid. So the grand total of alpine chamorchis I found today was four. But still… I can’t believe I found it at all. I’m telling you, it’s small, the tiniest orchid I’ve ever seen.

When I was walking down, I was becoming increasingly aware that my left foot was hurting. The leg had felt a bit stiff this morning but the morning’s short hike seems to have aggravated it. But as long as I can walk, no worries! All this worrying I did about the car, and then I injured myself, LOL!

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