We’ve always talked about experiencing real winter in Tärnaby in Norrland. We have spent some fantastic summer days up here in the mountains in the north of Sweden but always wondered what it’s like when it’s -20° C, the snow is over a meter deep, and you can explore the fantastic mountain environment along miles of snow scooter trails. An early Easter and a few extra days off made it possible this year.
It is over 1200 km to Tärnaby. We met up with Marita, Mattias, Vegas and Humla in Mariestad on the east coast of Lake Vänern and headed to Orsa in Dalarna to spend the night in a very small cottage at the Orsa Camping Grounds. A beautiful sunset over the lake, sub-zero temperatures and ski-tourists in snow covered caravans.
Not sure who snored the most. Wasn’t me. Crisp, sunny morning. A brisk walk with Vegas and Humla before setting off on the final leg to Tärnaby. It’s a long drive. Saw some reindeer. The last 120 km from Storuman to Tärnaby along Blå Vägen (the Blue Road) are some of the most beautiful kilometers in Sweden. Uncle Börje had turned on the heating so we had at least 12°C inside when we arrived. It was the day before the full moon and the sky was clear and moonlight lit Ryfjället between the pines over lake Gäutan.
It took a bit of effort to get the two snow scooters started. Two years since they were last used. New spark plugs, a recharged battery and a shed full of carbon monoxide and we were off. Packed the sled with reindeer skins, Marita and two Bernese Mountain Dogs and headed out on the frozen lake Gäutan to find a spot along the shore to dig ourselves a comfortable place to sit and take in the views of Ryfjället mountain.
Back at the cottage we had Easter dinner with sill, eggs and salmon to the sound of a crackling fire. Outside the temperature plunged quickly as it got dark and the moon rose over Ryfjället. It was a perfect full moon that lit up the snow covered landscape. Only thing missing was the northern lights.
Another crisp morning. This time the snow scooters started immediately. Marita and the dogs crammed into the sled, Anna hopped up behind me and we headed up the mountains along steep, narrow and twisting scooter tracks to a lake and dug ourselves in on the shore facing the sun to catch the warmth on our faces.
We lit a fire and fried “kolbulle”, a kind of pancake with bits of salted smoked pork. Delicious! Some holes were drilled in the ice to do some fishing. Humla, the Bernese Mountain puppy, wanted to keep digging, probably to catch larger fish. We were out of luck, but it was an absolutely fantastic day to just stand around and enjoy the crisp air, the blue sky and the warm sunshine.
Back down the mountain and home to some good food and wine and a game of Sequence.
Up the mountains again but to a different place. Same fabulous weather. Found us a spot, lit a fire, grilled some sausages and cooked some coffee. Watched the dogs chase each other and just enjoyed the fresh mountain air and the sunshine. Not much more to say actually.
Our final day in Tärnaby was just as bright and sunny as the previous days. Decided to spend the morning in the snow lapping up the sun on lake Gäutan, near the cottage. From where we sat we had a fantastic view of Ryfjället, the iconic twin peaked mountain opposite the ski slopes of Tärnaby.
We left Tärnaby at midday and drove 600 km to Sveg where we spent the night. The remaining 600 km the next day were quite tough because it snowed quite a bit on our way south through Dalarna and Bergslagen. Thankfully we made it home in one piece. We had a fantastic Easter, thank you, Marita & Mattias!