I had this great plan, a short hike in the morning and then wait for the weather to improve and do a longer hike in the afternoon. A slight problem though, the weather got worse in the afternoon. Since I don’t have any Internet connection or even a mobile phone signal at the cabin, I can’t check the weather forecast in the morning to help me plan for the day. Yesterday when I checked, it told me that afternoon would be better…
In early evening when the raining finally stopped I put on my rain gear and took off towards Fiskhålsgraven. I wasn’t interested in the ravine this time, but I was very keen on checking out the little brook that runs parallel with the trail. When I got to the brook, I was feeling less and less enthusiastic about the whole thing though. With the rain jacket and pants on, it was hot. I had covered my hands and face with mosquito repellent, but as the water trickled down on me from the trees as I walked through the thick forest to get a better view of the brook, I knew the repellent would be washing off. And when I stopped, the hordes of mosquitoes were all over me. Not very pleasant. So I found myself hoping that I wouldn’t find any photo opportunities, and when I did, I tried to find all kinds of reasons why the picture wouldn’t work anyway. It took a lot of will power to set up the gear and take a picture anyway!
I also found some ”new” ferns. Since I didn’t have the Powershot with me, I had to use the SLR for the ID shots. It meant that after I had used the polariser for the waterfalls, I had to remove it so I could take some snapshots of the ferns. And then I found some waterfalls, so it was back on with the filter. When I came across another fern that I needed to ID, I almost screamed out loud! I was anything but enjoying the conditions.
The best waterfalls are upstream and when I got to this one particularly fine spot, I forgot about my misery and happily composed my pictures. After all that walking through a wet and dense forest, it was slightly ironic that this spot was so close to the trail that I needed to clone out a trail marker in one of the pictures. The brook got less interesting again further up and the misery of the hot rain clothing and itching mosquito bites surfaced again so I didn’t think twice about turning back.
The Messlingen area is rather oligotrophic so there’s hardly anything of any botanical interest growing here (not including the lake, that’s another matter). However, this brook is maintaining its own little botanical world – perhaps not very many different species, but some of them are very numerous, I have probably never seen so much alpine blue-sow-thistle (Cicerbita alpina) before. Orchid-wise I found a few heath spotted orchids and one hot spot for the lesser twayblade, a very small area with dozens of this small flower. But the most interesting discovery however was the hard fern (Blechnum spicant), I know there is one spot a few km north from Loos where this fern still grows, geologically isolated. My guide showed it to me a few years ago and back then when I was a beginner with orchids, a fern didn’t really set my world alight. But I took a picture of it anyway and it helped me to keep the fern in my mind, so when I saw it now I knew immediately what it was. The interesting part of this discovery is that it’s not supposed to grow here, no more than in Loos. The 1992 flora inventory (Bengt Danielsson, Härjedalens kärlväxtflora) only gives 11 confirmed spots for this fern in Härjedalen and the closest one to Messlingen is east from the Grundsjön lake. So I’m pretty chuffed about my discovery!