Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Det Blåser

It seems the weather gods did not receive their copy of my itinerary, which very clearly stated that I would be taking today off to go hiking. It did not include a request for gale-force winds (what's a gale, anyway? just how forceful is that) and sideways rain that turns into snow when you get to the trailhead. None of that stuff was in the memo, but here it all is. Hrmph. A boring afternoon of typing, instead. Lucky me, I'm staying at a B&B (two nights in a row! temporary heaven) that has a nice cozy living room and the free-floating Internet.

This morning I did brave the weather to check out Atoklimpen. It's a crazy-looking mountain, traditionally a Sami holy place. ("Ato" means "that there" - a mountain too sacred to be named!) There's a little cottage and a grass hut at the foot of the hill. The cottage looks humble but secretly wields massive political power. It was built in the 1920s, back when the nomadic Sami were forbidden to build permanent structures. They were only allowed to live in tents. They built it anyway, and the fight over the cottage eventually changed the law. Hut power!

The place is still used for corralling herds of reindeer; I took a little stroll along a pathway past the cottage, which was low enough to escape the wind and rain, and came across a mini-herd. More baby ones, hopping around. You're supposed to let them graze in peace and not go too close, but from far away the babies looked pretty cute.

Oh! Most exciting news of the entire trip so far, and I almost forgot! Yesterday, I saw a moose. Up close! It trotted across the highway right in front of my car, at a leisurely pace (but still too fast for me to pull out my stupid camera in time). I think it was a girl: no antlers. It glanced over at me on its way by, then disappeared into these woods:

P.S. A moose! It was not an elk! Sweden gets confused re moose and elk, partly I guess because "moose" translates as "elj" (because I guess moose are called elk in Britain?). Which makes me confused, too. But dang it, I know what I saw. Moose!

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