At last

I’ve been in desperate need of a vacation, and now I finally have it – one week in the mountains in the autumn colours is just what the doctor ordered.

In preparation of the vacation, I had been studying the maps quite intensively. After all these years, I’m still finding new things, like this oddly name lake Uggtjärnen north from the Ånnfjället mountain. My maps told me that there is no trail to the lake, but satellite images told me otherwise – I could even see the sharp lines of duckboards in some places. After some more investigation, I finally found an old map where this trail was marked so I plotted it in my GPS to make sure I could find my way even if the old trail would disappear in the forest.

The trailhead to Uggtjärnen is marked from the road, it’s a small sign but if you just pay attention you can see it. And the trail itself was just fine, there was absolutely no need for the GPS so I really don’t know why it’s not in any of the current maps. When I got to the lake, I even found a wind shelter which is also not on the map. Very strange. Both the trail and the wind shelter were in good condition, no signs of decay that you sometimes see in trails and constructions that actually are on the map.

You always need some luck with the reindeer encounters. Yes it's tight on top, but any higher and I would have white sky in the frame.
You always need some luck with the reindeer encounters. Yes it’s tight on top, but any higher and I would have white sky in the frame.

I had some great expectations about this lake. I figured it would give an opportunity to shoot Ånnfjället with the lake in the foreground, it would only work later in the day when the sunrays would reach the northern side of the mountain. It was a null point today, because as calm as the day was (when driving here, I saw that the big lake of Lossen was dead calm, I’ve never seen it like that!), there was just enough wind to break the surface of the water. And it was overcast anyway, but it looked like there would be some sun later so all hope was not lost.

Now I was really lucky - I saw them before they saw me and they actually approached me so I could fire off a few frames before they finally figured me out and ran off.
Now I was really lucky – I saw them before they saw me and they actually approached me so I could fire off a few frames before they finally figured me out and ran off.

It’s only about 3 km to Uggtjärnen and I had plenty of time, so I continued hiking north-east from the lake towards the Anåkroken peak. It was absolutely lovely to hike up there, my chosen route (there was no trail here, marked or otherwise) took me along the tree line so sometimes I was walking among the crooked mountain birch and sometimes out in the open. The sun was coming out just as predicted but the light was moving fast, so normally the light was gone by the time I had set up the tripod and camera for something that had looked perfect the moment before. No complaining though, my new mantra is that experience comes first and pictures second, and there was certainly nothing wrong with the experience!

Intense reds
Intense reds

The Anån creek starts from the slopes of Ånnfjället and I needed to get over it. I thought it would be easy so high upstream, but it wasn’t and I suck at long jumping so I found it a bit tricky. I had to walk up and down for a few times but I didn’t find any easy spots, so I had to pluck my courage and make the jump. It was either that or wade over, which I didn’t find an appealing option either as the water was surprisingly deep and flowing fast. But even before I got to Anån, I came across some water which I didn’t understand at all. It looked like it was flooding because there was certainly no waterbed here and water was flowing over grasses and bushes that I’m sure were growing high and dry earlier this summer. Very unusual, because everything else I’ve seen indicated that water should be low, I saw many dry waterholes and dry brooks on the way. But then when I was walking upstream in search for a place to walk over (it was not very deep, just very wide), I found a small pond and a beaver hut. Never expected that – the pond was above the tree line and the nearest trees were further downstream. Live and learn.

View from the top of Anåkroken (3-frame stitch)
View from the top of Anåkroken (3-frame stitch)

And here’s some more trivia. The peak I reached today, Anåkroken, literally translates to ”The An creek hook” (where ”An” is a name!). I never quite figured out what the hook is (well, never really thought about it), until now that I was crossing the creek (or brook as it still was up here). It flows east at first, then swings north and finally turns west to the Anån valley. And the Anåkroken moutain is there where the creek makes the big turn.

Anåkroken (stitched from two images, one where the foreground was lit and other where the mountain was lit. The light was constantly on the move!)
Anåkroken (stitched from two images, one where the foreground was lit and other where the mountain was lit. The light was constantly on the move!)

The light continued to be as shifting as it was earlier but by the time I was back at Uggtjärnen, it had become almost completely overcast. It looked like there would be little chance of a nice sunset, and I was actually genuinely hoping for a dud because my feet were killing me and I was absolutely starving. So my options were to wait for the sunset and suffer the hunger pains, or drive to the hostel and get something to eat. My stomach won, and I was relieved to see that the sunset was indeed a dud so I didn’t miss anything.

But oh what a great day it was!

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