Above the polar circle – it can go swift once in a while

Mountain ecologist Jonas Lembrechts spent ten intense fieldwork days above the polar circle in Sweden and Norway, where he follows non-native plant species and their spread in the mountains. This post appears in a serie on this expedition. The story appears simultaneously in Dutch on Scilogs.be and in English on this website.

The other side of the mountain: much steeper, but probably our better option.

DSC_0055

Our rematch on the other side of the mountain asked a lot of dedication from our leg muscles, as we had to hike up (almost…) vertically next to the waterfall. This ‘stairway to heaven’ brought us in no time far above the treeline in a rocky wasteland, where plants had to have some solid roots to stay where they were.

DSC_0094

It is up there the reindeer feel at home, they can enjoy the beautiful view on the valley and the barren circumstances they strangely seem to like the most.

DSC_0042

We made much more progress than the day before, so in no time we reached the little hut at ‘the other side’ of the river: a cosy wooden chalet with ‘soft’ wooden beds where tired hikers could have a well-deserved night of sleep. If they managed to cross the river, of course…

DSC_0249

There we had a surprising meeting with this brave little snail, probably taking even more time than we to hike all the way up to the 1000 meter plots.

DSC_0039

With this progress, the day turned in another nice and beautiful hike. We jumped up and over rocks like trained reindeer, but we were getting used to that now anyway. Our plots at a thousand meters were luckily free of snow, and there even were some plants that survived the winter. Another win!

DSC_0123

After this, one more day to go in the field, and our trip above the polar circle would be over again. Every time again, it is uncertain if the wild nature and climate will allow us to do what we want to do, and it never goes exactly as planned. But experience is the best teacher, and an ecologist quickly learns how to improvise…

This entry was posted in General and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Above the polar circle – it can go swift once in a while

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s