March 2019
News from Norway

Dear lovers of the wilds, fellows, friends!

In a sudden the days have become light and long, the sun rays strong. But starry, frosty nights show that winter still prevails, and the snow masses do not yet release the earth. The many tracks in the snow make you feel the hunger that drives the animals, the longing for greens and the crave for meat. While last year’s reserves dwindle, the hope for the coming spring is now carrying on life.

The current topics:

FOREST CAMP Brother Bear Sweden: Tracking, Animal Imitation, Wildlife Biology (picture)

FOREST CAMP Brother Bear : Sweden

It is already certain: In the middle of June, a group will meet in the Swedish forests and trace the brown bears that live there. At the same time, researchers will conduct field studies with the bears, and I hope to get brand new insights directly from the source.

The Scandinavian Brown Bear Research Project has been running this type of study for over three decades. The research interests are the behavioral biology of brown bears, their ecology, specially regarding the interaction with human activities, and the unique physiology of the bears. Therefore, the researchers do not only know the individual bears, but also their family relations and a lot of amazing ‘personal’ details about them. And each year, this profound knowledge is growing.

Because of the studies going on alongside with the course, I agreed a programme change with the researchers: We’ll bundle their contributions right at the beginning of the course and move out to the forest camp a day early. So we gain a whole day in the forest to pursue our own projects, and we can look forward to brand new reports from their field studies.

As said, a group of participants has already formed. Some places are still available.

‘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).

Here is a short description of the progamme:

For detailed information in English please take contact here:

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

Wilderness Survival Camp in Norway: Survival skills (picture)

WILDERNESS SURVIVAL CAMP Human – Nature

You want to experience real wilderness and deeply connect with nature and the pulse of life. In this wilderness survival camp you learn both the practical and mental skills you really need to survive and live in raw nature. I have now chosen a wonderful campsite specially for this project right at the heart of a vast wilderness area.

Our training ground is a wide hilly landscape high above the valley, covered with light pine forests. The campsite is close to murmuring streams and clear lakes. Up here, at the foot of treeless, rocky peaks, valley dwellers used to find a safe haven in troubled times.

In this terrain we find versatile challenges and training opportunities for our wilderness and survival skills. I am looking forward to taking these steps together with you. Immerse into the wilderness and rewild! Are you going to join?

Everyman's Right: Starting point for wilderness adventures! (picture)

Everyman’s Right

Canoeing and trekking are seen as a fundamental right here in the North: the Everyman’s Right allows everybody to roam freely in nature. On the basis of mutual respect, you can (almost) everywhere redeem your right and experience pure Nordic wilderness. This summer, there are several opportunities to do so.

Since ancient times, people used to move freely in the land, regardless of its ownership. When travelling i the North, it was sometimes simply necessary to camp somewhere in the vastness of a barely developed country. And who could have been able, or just wanted to controll this habit? So, for a long time the matter was an unwritten customary law.

It was only in the course of the last century that people began to concretise this right, and finally a law was passed with the Norwegian name Allemannsretten (‘Everyman’s Right’). It contains a bundle of regulations on what exactly is allowed and what is not, but you do not have to be a lawyer to find your way around it. For the law is based on a simple principle that is understood by common sense: respect, of nature as of people, whether visitors or owners. Your visit is allowed and welcome, if you don’t disturb anyone and leave no traces, and if you move on after latestly two nights. And: it applies in spite of the obsolete name for all genders.

If you’re interested in further details about the Everyman’s Right, feel free to ask me!

By the way, also the summer tours ‘NORDIC SUMMER Canoeing Experience’ and ‘NORDIC NATURE Nomadic Experience’ are based on the Everyman’s Right. Join in!

Skiing tour in Norway: Rest in the wilderness (picture)

Look Back at Winter 2019

It was a mild winter, I can already say, even if there are still about six white weeks ahead. For the ‘NORDIC WINTER Backcountry Skiing Experience’ that meant advantages and challenges at the same time. A look back at an exciting tour and an unusual winter.

Located high above and separated from the warm ocean by rugged mountains, Nord-Østerdalen belongs to the coldest stretches of Scandinavia. But the ocean is not far away. So it can happen that the continental winter cold is swept away by western winds and replaced by warmth from the Caribbean. Of course it loses much of its power during the long journey to the North, but the mild temperatures are still noticeable.

This has happened twice this winter, and these events are planted into the memory of the snowpack. Plus seven centigrades at Christmas, where it could have been minus 40! The warmth made the snow of early winter slump and turned it to an ice crust close to the ground. In fact, I couldn’t go skiing until mid-January – after new snowfalls – without risking scratches on the ski soles. Once more, a heat wave hit in mid-February. The loose snow, which had piled up on the Chritsmas ice lamella, collapsed again and crusted. After that, it got cold again, and temproarily no new snow came.

That was the situation during the ‘NORDIC WINTER Backcountry Skiing Experience’. Skiing on Crème brulée. We could exactly feel where the warm wind had attacked, and where its breath hadn’t reached. In the forest, in valleys and on leeward slopes, the snow had remained cold and fresh. In windward and higher altitudes, however, the snow was hard-frozen. Of course we wanted to ascend, up to the highlands and to the peaks. And how relieved we came back from there, laughing at our clumsiness on the ice. That, by the way, was the big treasure of this group: the experiences we made together, perceived so differently, and benevolently shared with each other.

Only on the departure day it started to snow anew, a nice opportunity for a farewell ride in the loose fresh snow. Only now, weeks later, it starts to thaw again – under the powerful rays of the spring sun.

Wilderness Life: Nature Connection Videos (picture)

Nature Connection Videos

Last autumn, a filmmaker accompanied me on a course and produced some videos. Why nature connection matters, and how we can connect with nature, are the questions that he explores in the short films. He also filmed a tutorial, that will train your eyes.

Many thanks to Bart Voorsluis, who shot and produced the videos.

Have fun watching!

Why Nature Connection Matters

How to Connect with Nature

Wide Angle Vision – A Sense of Sight Exercise

By the way, the videos were taken at the BACK TO THE WILD Wilderness Immersion: Meldal in September last year. Of course, the films also give a special insight into this kind of event. There are three dates in 2019, for men in May and September, and a mixed group in August. If you got inspired by the videos:

Last but not least,

I want to thank all of you for making Wilderness Life better known. Please continue to help and forward this newsletter to all who might be interested!

Everyone is invited to sign up for the newsletter here:

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I wish you a wonderful springtime full of nature connection! All the best!

Kind regards from Norway

Thoralf

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