Jinxing it?

 

Wednesday Thoughts

Bears

    As you probably have read earlier I am obsessed with bear and moose safety. With all the wild animals that walk around the watershed I've taken many classes on bear safety and how to act in order to prevent a bear encounter. A few weeks ago there were two bear attacks on two separate days at two different locations in Alaska, both with a deadly outcome. Both including a black bear. It made me think about the fact that I have no clue what to do if worse comes to worse and you are attacked (read the bear is actually eating on you and it is a predatory bear). We do have the bear spray, but if for some reason I would not be able to deploy the bear spray and the bear actually got to me? Or you ran in to one of those predatory bears that is in it for a meal, what do you do? I know they say fight for your life, but how can you fight for your life if you have nothing to fight with but your bare hands, arms and legs? I have heard other stories about people being attacked in their tent, well I know this is extremely rare, but I started storing a knife in the tent for a while, and then I forgot about it. A knife that would allow you to cut the tent open if you needed to. I used to wear a knife in the field to, but then I forgot about that too, it was usually in my backpack if I did bring it. 

 
 

Fieldwork

    W has been in the field too, countless times, many times alone. I think W has seen a bear from afar in the past while doing fieldwork, and I saw the back of a black bear once running away from me when I was on the ATV in the field once. Another time something was luring behind a tree as a friend and I came walking quietly after a long day in the field, we spooked it, it was huffing behind a large tree before it took a large leap to the side and ran up the hill. Still no clue if this was a bear or a moose. Lesson learned, be loud, and then be even louder. It's easy to forget about this after a long day working hard in the field, or when you are working with your head down in the stream it's easy to not make enough noise, plus you will most likely draw a curious bears attention to you, because many of them are just curious. With W's field season coming up and what had happened in Alaska I wanted him to buy a knife, a knife to have as a last resort, if for some reason there was no other way but to fight for your life. We talked about bear safety too, repeating what we already knew, again. I know W thought I was being ridiculous, but with what had just happened I felt first off very saddened for the two peoples families, but also very scared and wanted to be sure there was a way to fight for your life. I've had people laugh and make fun of me for my intense worry about bears in the field in the past too, but at least I want to be up to date with the bear safety for my own safety.

 
 

Jinxing it?

    W bought a knife, a large hunting knife, I mean not too large, but enough to be able to potentially make an impact. At least something to have in the tent if you would need to get out fast, or to have on your belt in the field. After a few hours of the first day in the field for W he texted me and said he had to pull his bear spray. Which is insane because that has never happened before, he has never had an encounter like that before. This time he wasn't even alone. But the bear was a curious black bear, those are the worst. A young curious black bear who would not move away even though they made sound and made themselves larger. Eventually he moved away enough for them to feel safe and retract too. Did I jinx his field season? A couple of days later they were going to cross a stream to another field site and W decided that they should walk downstream a bit, and then try to cross. Well luckily they did because they manage to spot two grizzlies across the stream about 50m away from them, something they would have popped up right in front of had they crossed earlier. Yeah I really jinxed it didn't I?

 

Last time I camped in Yellowstone National Park

 

    Fingers crossed that those were the only bears for this field season, as I am sitting on a plane on Friday to Jackson WY to spend 10 days in the field in Yellowstone, and some of those camping!

 

Let's Camp Again

Memorial Day Weekend

Camping

 

Memorial Day

    Memorial Day is a big day here in the states, it is a federal holiday to honor and remember the people who have served in the united states armed forces.  Back in Alaska we always went camping or went out for a small adventure, but I haven't really done that in a while so we decided it was time for another trip! A lot of people go camping or hiking during this weekend, or have large family gatherings and BBQ festivities. We took the opportunity to go on a camping trip in the North Woods. 

 
 

North Woods

    We drove almost 5 hours north (about 279 miles, or 450km) until we arrived to the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. Don't ask me to pronounce that name because its literally impossible and it sounds very funny when I try to. Memorial day weekend mean that a lot of people are on the road, driving towards their final destination. There were quite a lot of people on the roads during the first few hours but then the traffic decreased significantly and almost disappeared as we got closer and closer to the North Woods.

 
 

Camping

A lot of people on the road also mean that the campsites might all be full. There are quite a few campgrounds in and around Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. You can book some of these campsites at certain campgrounds, but the one I had looked at you had to book several days in advanced, you literally could not book it online 2 days before?!? which is ridicoulous...anyway, there were plenty of first come first serve options, but, as the name entails, first come first serve. The final camping option is dispersed camping, which is allowed in National Forests, as long as you aren't close to anyones property, or close to a real campground. However, we realized that finding dispersed camping in Wisconsin might be a lot harder compared to Montana. Either way, we got a late start and figured, worst case scenario we just sleep in the car. 

 
 

Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest

    We arrived at one of the campgrounds that I have looked at during the drive, and we decided to take a left and go through one of the loops, and voila, right by the lake was one open spot at 5pm on a Saturday! W went on a short mountain bike ride, and I set up the tent!

 
 

Ticks!!!

   The temperature this weekend was so high, but that mixed with frequent rain showers made for a  very humid climate. While I was setting up the tent I discovered an insect I haven't seen for years, because we don't have them in Alaska (well they are extremely rare), I killed it as best as I could and saved it so I could get a confirmation from W. Well, W came back and I showed him and he said yup, totally, a tick! And then we started going through W who had been biking through bushes on the trail and, we found several more ticks on W, and the coming days we found countless of ticks, I seriously think we removed about 50 or so... We did get a wonderful weekend though, filled with good food and mountain biking!

 
 

    Have you been camping yet this year?

Those Summer Nights

Sunset in Denali National Park, Alaska

 

21.76 Degrees North of Here

The Land of the Midnight Sun

    When I lived in Fairbanks, or Squarebanks as I used to refer to it sometimes, the winters were long, dark and cold. But the darkness and the cold was all forgotten come spring, and when summer arrived with the endless summer nights we never thought about winter again. I used to chase the sunsets and sunrises, but that became harder in the summertime of course. The sky has always amazed me, how it can change so quickly, and how incredible colorful it can be, that along with the backdrop of mountains is so powerful. I never want to live in a world without that feeling, that feeling I get when I stare into the wilderness in awe and think to myself how extremely lucky I am that I get to experience this, right here and right now. Can you imagine that there are people out there who do not appreciate these wild places? 

 
 

    Where do you enjoy a sunset the most?

 

False Spring

 

Adventure Tuesday

    A few months ago we had unseasonable warm weather, well it had been warmer than normal, and we decided to visit Devils Lake State Park. I was there this past summer, on a super hot day, so going back there in February was very different. Devils Lake State park is about an hour away from Madison, just north of Madison, which is probably also one of the reasons that so many people visit the park in the summertime. Of course fewer people visit this park, or rather any park, in the wintertime. As the name entails, this park surrounds a large lake and there are beautiful bluffs on either side of the lake. You can walk around the whole lake or just do a shorter hike on either side. In the summertime you can swim in this beautiful lake, that is also one of the reasons why so many people come here in the summertime. The water is so clean, compared to how both Mendota and Monona gets in the summertime.

 
IMG_4675.jpg

-our feet sank down into the wet snow

as we started walking on the Grotto trails

 

    We decided to pick the route that would lead towards the Balanced Rock, which is a popular destination. Our feet sank down into the wet snow, as we started walking on the Grotto trails, not too deep though, just enough, enough to make an indent and enough to keep you dry. We continued walking and eventually cut across towards the cliff, and the rocks, to continue uphill. Now we had to use our hands from time to time, because part of this trail was very icy, icy from the warm weather that had melted all the snow. I was thinking to myself that maybe we should have brought crampons, or something alike, but we continued. Part of the trail consisted of boulders (talus slopes), and other parts were nice steps, well, nice ice covered steps and the higher we climbed the greater the view. As we reached the end of the steep parts I was wondering how we were going to get down, because it's easier to go up, compared to down when it's pretty icy. 

 
 

    We continued on top of the ridge, through the grotto and stone formations, continuing on the trail that eventually took us through the hardwood forest. 

 
 

    One of my personal goals for this hike was to take some pictures of the balanced rock. As we approached the trail that was suppose to take us down to the balanced rock, and then continue down towards the start of the trail, we saw frozen water, ice. We stood there for a while, looking down towards the boulders of different sizes and the mixture with hard ice and snow on top of them. We were trying to come up with the best option, should we or shouldn't we? I knew that if we decided to get down this first set of rocks, it would be impossible to get back up with all the ice covering the steps, and I had no clue how the trail was farther down. But we went for it. 

 

    Part of this path was very icy, and we actually slid down on our bums for parts of it, since that seemed safer than to try to walk on all the ice. These talus slopes are so cool, lots of large boulders to climb on. By the time we got back down to the parking lot it was almost pitch black. 

    I guess Wisconsin isn't that bad after all :) It is definitely growing on me. All of these beautiful places you can go to, fairly easy! Do you have a favorite place close to where you live?

My Summer Bucket List and my Summer Plans

Backpacking in Yellowstone National Park

 

Summer plans

    A couple of other bloggers, Swedish bloggers (Livet från den ljusa sidan, Fantasiresor, Äntligen Vilse, and probably a few others), have written about their summer plans this summer, and I figured that I could share some of my plans too. At the end of this list of my summer plans you will also find my summer bucket list, because there are a few things that I really should try to do, or do more of this summer! 

Where are you going to spend your summer?

    This summer is turning out to be pretty eventful, even though I did not have high hopes about this a few weeks ago. It turns out that I will travel to Puerto Rico on Thursday, I booked the ticket not long ago which feels a bit crazy. It's not going to be a vacation though, so not really running around on the beach, not that that is my style anyways, but it will be about eight days full of fieldwork, collecting soil samples all over the island, and also measuring tree diameter and looking at other ecological parameters.

 
 

    In July, I am going to go to Yellowstone, yay, because I love that area. We are also going to go to the Tetons. Again, this is not a vacation trip. I am volunteering for W and his field crew, so we will do fieldwork during the 10 days that I will spend there. We are going to measure the amount of downed wood in burned areas, but convert it to amount of carbon, and also calculate the amount of seedlings. I will fly in to Jackson, Wyoming and then fly out from Bozeman, Montana (MT), and hopefully get one or two days with my mother in law and her sister if those stars align. 

 
 

    In August my dad will finally get to come and visit me in Madison, Wisconsin (WI). But I am super sad that my mom is now dead, and that she will not be with us on this trip we planned for a while :(  We are going to drive from Madison, WI to Bozeman, MT, because W and I are going to have our wedding celebration around there. We will travel to Yellowstone again, I know but I love Yellowstone, do some hikes around Bozeman and then have our wedding celebrations somewhere in the mountains :) After that we are driving back to Madison, and we are going to attend another wedding in the woods of Wisconsin, sort of like a summer camp wedding. After that, we will travel to Chicago, and then my dad will fly home to Sweden again. 

 
 

    In between all these trips I am going to be here in Madison, WI, because I just started working full time instead of 50%, and I extended my contract so I will now work here for another year, yay! Although, with this comes the disciplin of actually also finishing up my dissertation...

How long will your vacation be?

    Well, my vacation will be around a month! Which feels terrifying, somehow, but I will of course not be completely on vacation, because remember that dissertation that should be done?

Would you like to travel somewhere else, other than what you have planned so far?

    YES, I would! Of course, to no ones surprise I would love to go to Alaska too....but yeah we just went there, so that would be a little too much and I would honestly not have enough vacation (or money) to be able to do that.

 

Alaska

 

What will your Midsummer be like?

    Oh, I don't know, I am really bad at celebrating midsummer. We did celebrate a few times in Alaska though.

 

Midsummer in the mountains

    One of my favorite memories of midsummer, or the actual longest day, was a few years ago when I went hiking in the mountains, in Alaska, and it was so beautiful and magical, but it wasn't really a real Swedish midsummer.

    I have bought matjessill though, and I have snaps in the freezer. I will maybe try to make some pickled herring too! There is a Scandinavian group here in Madison that has a yearly midsummer party, we went there last year and I think we will try to go there again, unless we go camping somewhere :)

 
 

What does your best summer days look like?

    Oh my best summer days, would probably be hiking somewhere where I can get a view, sitting around a bonfire with friends who play music, and talk through the night under the midnight sun. 

 
 

How do you approach a rainy day?

    Well, I grab my rain jacket and my rain pants too if I have to. And that is about it. There are no bad weathers just bad clothing, right? No, not always, of course here in Madison we can get really really bad downpours, and lightning, you better stay inside then, there is no use going somewhere if you are going to get that wet. In Alaska if it was a fieldwork day, it was a fieldwork day, and no weather could change that, and that will  most likely be the case when we are doing fieldwork this summer too... 

 
 

How will this summer be different from last summer?

    This summer will be a lot different! Last year I moved away from the cabin in the woods, and we drove all the way here, all the 4200 miles or so...and then W left for fieldwork and I tried to get a job, it felt like forever, but I did. Before I actually managed to get a job I was pretty sad and lonely, because I had left one of the most beautiful places on earth. But I survived and here I am today! I had a lot of free time on my hands so I walked/biked around a lot in Madison. This summer I will not be so lonely, and it seems like it will be pretty busy.

 
 

Who are you planning on spending your vacation with?

    Family! My dad is coming, how awesome is that, and W's family, and also all of our friends that are coming from far away places to MT in August. We are stoked!

Do you have any trip planned after the summer?

    Hmm....well, maybe Alaska, we will see how that goes...time will tell.

Summer Bucket List

    I do have some things I would like to do this summer, but I am not sure I will have time, but here it is, my summer bucket list for 2017

  • I want to learn how to sail, or at least get on on the water with a sailboat...
  • I want to learn to fly fish, and then I want to go fly fishing here in WI, and maybe also in MT when we are there.
  • I want to go camping and hiking, well backpacking a lot, I am not sure we will have time for that though, not any long trips.
  • I want to get into road biking, which would require me getting a road bike somehow
  • I want to get into mountain biking, which I have already started so I guess I am half way there!
  • I want to start running long distances, and more trail running again....which might be a bit tricky because it is so hot here!

    I think that is all I have on my bucket list for now, maybe I'll add more to it later on :) What are your plans this summer, and do you have a summer bucket list?

 

We got a battle in front of us

 
"I hope that the United States of America is not so rich that she can afford to let these wildernesses pass by. Or so poor that she cannot afford to keep them." - Margaret (Mardy) Murie

Wednesday Thoughts

    Sometimes this world makes me scared, scared that all this will somehow disappear, just like that. But as soon as I am out there I forget about all the worries of our free world, all I can think about are all of these massive wilderness places that are put aside for us, only us! This wilderness is ours, and we should prepare to fight for every last little bit of it from this government that don't seem to value these places as much as we do. 

One place where we can do this is at: Earth Justice

You can also take action on the climate agreement that the US is planning on pulling out from, on Earth Justice website, Take Action

Another depressing thing is that opening ANWR to drilling in 2018 will be one of the priorities in Drumps budget

You can read more about this long battle: War of the Arctic Oil

 
 

Again, I am sharing this powerful video about ANWR: