Thursday, 19 September 2013
We've been tramping relative flatlands more recently, though the terrain of our Norfolk churches chronicle which will still take me some time to assemble did lead us into modest valleys. Nothing, of course, compared to the canyon of the Njupeskär waterfall and the river Njupån in Sweden's Fulufjället National Park, not far from the Norwegian border in what I suppose, technically speaking, is still Dalarna. Visions of our walk up to and above the waterfall kept me sane during nearly two hours of hideous, if painless, root canal treatment on Wednesday.
This is Sweden's highest cascade, topping 93 metres with a freefall of 70. It flows from the Rörsjo lakes on the c.900m high mountain plateau, which with its 900 million year old sandstone and diabase has been eroded for the past 200 million and kept more or less its current shape for 60 million. These are figures I can't really get my head around; one needs a book like Christopher Potter's You Are Here to put it all into perspective. Nor do I quite understand the principle of 'retrogressive erosion', but that's why we have the waterfall, its boulders and its canyon.
The first two kilometres from the visitors' centre, with its excellent Naturum, are accomplished by even the most timid or toddler-encumbered of visitors and take you past 400 year old larches and sparkling lakelets
along a boardwark near to the base of the waterfall. The sun only hits the cascades for a couple of early morning hours in midsummer.
Jamie coped with the spray and the boulders more nimbly than I did, so has the best shots close up.
We then retraced some of our steps and climbed towards Rörsjöarna
with the views north-east opening up all the time and the boulders covered with bright-green map lichen.
Clouds were rolling in and the wind strengthening, so we stopped for our packed lunch in a sheltered nest of rocks before pressing on for the plateau (third of Jamie's four pics).
J was content to sit and survey
while I clambered nearer to the upper falls
and Jamie once again got closer than the rest of us to view the cascade proper from above.
The Fulufjälllet plateau is famously unique in remaining ungrazed by reindeer, so the lichen called reindeer moss grows in thick carpets.
The terrain is also covered in dwarf birch and mountain heather
and boggy ground sometimes gives way to further lakelets.
One so wants to think of this sky-neighbour where mind-chains do not clank as untainted, but I read that due to acid rain the fish in the high lakes died out in the 1950s. Nowhere is quite safe from human fallout.
I'd like to have spent more time roaming the uplands, but by now it was late afternoon and we wound round the other side of the high ground above Njupeskär.
This is where I found my cloudberries. Indulge one more shot, with moss more in focus than my artfully sited discovery (not by any means the only one, but the most cumulus-like).
Back down we headed towards the waterfall zone, with lichened trees in profusion.
Here I had my first glimpse of the miniature fungi world - Roger Phillips' beautifully produced volume Mushrooms, a copy of which I'm now proud to own, suggests to me that the tallest specimens here might be Mycenae/bonnets, but then again they might be Hygrocybes/waxcaps -
which would give way to spectacular larger specimens on our walk the following day. To which, of course, I'll return, as it was a whole new landscape.