March 2017
News from Norway

Dear lovers of the wilds, fellows, friends!

We’ve still got a lot of snow, but the sun has gained power again and the days get rapidly longer. The daylight span is changing so fast, that I’ve lost my sense of time. This is the most amazing part of winter, where the upcoming powers of spring already start working. The Chickadees twitter more vivid than a few weeks ago, the Black Woodpeckers have started drumming by day and the Tengmalm’s Owls calling by night.

The topics in this issue:

Backcountry Skiing Tour: Winter Wonderland Nord-Østerdalen (picture)

At The Height of The Skiing Season

It’s the actual winter dream: snow crystals glitter in the sun while floating down from a clear blue sky, and building a layer of feather-light ‘Alaska powder’ on top of the deep packed snow.

Lately, strong fön winds started changing snow to firn, but still some new snow is falling in between. The conditions couldn’t be better both in the forested valleys and all the way up to the mountain tops.

During our NORDIC WINTER Backcountry Skiing Experience in February, we still got to know the harsher side of winter. Clouds, wind and brisk snow storms reigned the week, while we roamed the woods and marshes – a real Nordic winter experience. Day by day we got more skilled in finding our way between spreading spruces or crooked birches, small hills and hollows, endlessly playing with the landscape. Winding our way through the forest, we found a lot of animal tracks: red fox and snow hare tracks, so fresh we knew the animals still around. And moose trails, which led us comfortably through the forest labyrinth. We spent an extrordinary night outdoors, in howling wind and driving snow, and yet feeling comfortable and safe in the warmth of our sleeping bags at the campfire.

A couple of winter weeks are still ahead, before spring takes over and the white splendour melts away. We’ll know to use this period of time, see:

 

2018 Winter Dates

The dates for winter 2018 are already fixed. Due to an early Easter, the decision was a bit hard to take. The good news is:

There will be one bilingual (English-German) fixed date next winter,
the NORDIC WINTER WILDERNESS CAMP Fire and Ice : Femundsmarka.

The BACKCOUNTRY SKI TREKKING TOUR Wild Reindeer Highland : Forollhogna will be available on request only.

You find the dates here:

 

Forest Camp in Sweden : Brown Bear (picture)

FOREST CAMP Brother Bear : Sweden

During their long hibernation, the brown bears give birth to their youngs. It takes them months to gain the strength and skills needed to leave the area and to move on, following their mother. Right then, we’ll build our forest camp out there.

Nearly half a year, the Scandinavian Brown Bears are keeping winter dormancy in their dens, sheltered from the rigours of winter. During this time, in February, the youngs are born. Now, in Marsch the youngs still don’t know much about the world. First in the course of April they will leave the den and start exploring it’s direct surroundings. Another month they will play there and grow stronger. As soon as they’ll have gained strength and skills, they will leave the area, following their mother.

This is the right time to build our forest camp. Through this timing we make sure to leave the bears undisturbed and yet to find lots of traces, which will tell us about their lives.

I’ve got a couple of questions if we actually would see bears out in the wilds. My honest answer is: most probably not. There are several reasons: First, it is not allowed in Sweden to deliberately approach wild brown bears. This is meant to protect both parts, humans and animals. Then, the researchers we cooperate with are bound to their scientific code of conduct: We won’t approach bears on purpose, as the bears shall not be accustomized to the presence of humans to prevent changes in their natural behavior – the scientists aim to study wild, not domestic animals.

So, there are two good reasons why we aren’t allowed to approach the bears. And even if we tried, I doubt that we were able to: there are’t many animals living as elusive as the Scandinavian Brown Bears. As soon as these attentive beings sense people approacing, they hide and withdraw. The bear researchers have observed and documented this behavior: they put their trust fully in the bears keeping hidden from us.

Yet encounters of bears and humans occur now and then.
The program includes some training in awareness and invisibility techniques, and in intuitive methods of connection. That’s why our chances to get aware of the bear before they do, might be higher than average. And who knows what kind of coincidences or synchronicities we’ll meet?

The Forest Camp Brother Bear is probably the one of my courses which is most dependent on nature’s spontaneous events . This is what it makes so interesting also for me, and I’m actually looking forward to it.

‘Brother Bear’ will be held in German as communication language, but you’re welcome as an English speaker as well (translation can be provided, if agreed in advance). For detailed information in English please take contact via my contact form:

For additional information about the Scandinavian Brown Bears, browse the Newsletter-Archives.

Forest Camp in Sweden: Bear Den (picture)

 

Update: Wolf Hunt in Norway

This winter, a big part of the Norwegian wolves was planned to be hunted. Thanks to the commitment of many nature conservationists, things turned out differently.

Already last year I’ve written about the escalating wolf affair, have another look at the Newsletter-Archives, if you’re interested. Strong protests finally moved the Norwegian minister for the environment in the last minute to change the hunting permit given by the predator management boards. This way, all wolf packs living inside the defined wolf protection areas were exempted from the permit, saving at least 37 out of the 47 wolves to be hunted following the original plans. And a huge nationwide discussion was initiated about how to deal with the wolves, which is an important step to a better coexistence between the species.

All in all this is a great success, which is also due to your commitment. Thanks so much to everybody taking action for the wolves, and renewing the ancient bond which connects us human beings with these wonderful animals.

Also other European countries are struggling for the the wolves, so Germany, Slovenia and Italy. Inform yourself about the events, and take action, if the wolves are dear to you.

 

On (not just) My Own Behalf

You know, how much I love keeping contact with you, and also to reach out to further people. I put a high value on it personally, and therefore, I’d like to ask you a favour.

As I aim to develop further programs which actually offer something new even to my long-term followers, Wilderness Life needs to get a broader audience. Since a while, I also try to reach out to more people via facebook and other online media. But I feel how much more I value the direct contact with you via e-mail – it is more personal, and it causes less side effects (fomo, fake-news…). Therefore, I’ll focus more on the newsletter, and therefore I’d like to ask you a favour: please recommend Wilderness Life and the newsletter ‘News from Norway’ to your friends, family and aquaintancies. You surely know folks who could be interested in the Norwegian wilderness or in my wilderness tours and courses. Be so kind, talk to them and ask them, if they wouldn’t like to register for my newsletter.

For every person who for the first time subscribes for my newsletter on your recommendation, I’ll donate 80,- nok (about 10 eur) to the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN). The IEN is a First Nations’ non-profit organization seated in Minnesota, USA. The organization aims to building the capacity of Indigenous communities and tribal governments to develop mechanisms to protect their sacred sites, land, water, air, natural resources, health of both their people and all living things, and to build economically sustainable communities. Amongst other things, the IEN supports the Standing Rock water protectors, about whom I wrote in the last issue, see also in the Newsletter-Archives. Through the donation campain I want to support the IEN and the many Indigenous groups who speak and stand up for treating the natural resources respectfully, and who finally serve all mankind. The campain will run until Easter (or until the end of my budget…).

So, ask your friends, family, colleagues and aquaintancies, and forward this newsletter to them! Everybody who’s interested can register for the newsletter here and support the Indigenous Environmental Network at the same time:

You find detailed information about program and profile of Wilderness Life on my website.

Have fun reading!

I wish you a good start into a nature connected spring!

Kind regards from a super-sunny Norway

Thoralf

Winter in Norway: Campfire in The Snow (picture)

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PS: I’m sorry for the speech mistakes you may have noticed: I’m not a native speaker and still training.