Rockvallen rocks

Time to wrap up this holiday, but I had plenty in store for today. First, I drove to Ramundberget and hiked the 3 km to Klinken. The black vanilla orchid (Gymnanedia nigra, or Nigritella nigra) should be in bloom and I was very curious to see how it was doing this year, last year I had only found four individuals. It was certainly more than four this year – I counted 29! Maybe I counted 2-4 of them twice, maybe I covered a slightly bigger area than last year, maybe they were blooming earlier this year… but whatever way you look at it, the vanilla orchid had multiplied in numbers. What have I said about 2009 being a good orchid year?

Black vanilla orchid (Gymnanedia nigra)
Black vanilla orchid (Gymnanedia nigra)

After Klinken, I drove to Rockvallen. For two reasons, first, to have a waffle at Knallen, and second, take a look around the marshland because this is normally a good place for orchids and other flowers. For the hike up to Knallen I decided to travel light and left the camera bag in the car, only had the G10 with me. It was such a liberation to be walking without that heavy pack on my back! All my photo excursions would be so much nicer if I could shave off a few kilos from the bag. But it means leaving behind the camera and tripod, which doesn’t make much of a photo excursion… Anyway, I took the shortcut to the Knallen cabin which means that the trail was a bit steep in the end, but the view was magnificent so I was only too happy to stop for a breather so I could take in the sights as well. The hike up there is well worth it, not just for the waffles but really just for the view. 360 degrees of mountains, it’s hard to beat – I can really recommend it if you’re ever around Bruksvallarna!

The marshland starts right from the parking lot, so when I got back down I swapped my hiking boots for wellingtons and G10 for the heavy gear and started zigzagging around the marsh. At a risk of repeating myself, there were plenty of orchids – mostly early marsh orchid ssp. cruenta and fragrant orchids, but also heath spotted and lapland marsh orchids. Seemed like it was a bit early in the season though, I didn’t see much else in bloom yet… or it could also be that I was so blinded by the orchids that I didn’t have eyes for anything else. I have another week of holiday in the middle of July so I will visit Rockvallen again, it’s hard to beat it for ease of access anyway so you don’t have to kill your feet to find the flowers!

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