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Erland Hagegård, Tenor
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Diary for July and September 2012
Karl Gärdin
Proofread: Not yet done !
 
"Both we and the time takes a break!"
In a song, the word is “One moment in time..” and one moment in time is how I would like to describe the experience of our stay in the North!
As always, the later years we spend part of the holidays up in Åre , Jämtland.
With Åre, I mean not just Åre city, but also the neighborhood around it, an area which is rich in experiences.
Experiences that touches your soul!
Experiences that force the time to take a pause, because the significance of day and time comes to an end and you just "are" in the emotional perpetual “now”.
When the day awakes and the Sun produces long shadows from Totthummeln and set the peak of the Reindeer mountain, on the south side of the lake "on fire" , then I go there, along the roads or climb the hillsides, and with an endless thirst, I drink the cool dew-wet morning air.
The early mornings often comes with mist, mist that when the sun rises suddenly lifts and on a distance looks like smoke from a fire.  A powerful phenomenon that must be experienced to be properly understood.
After the fog lifted, comes the slow breeze that brings the water to glitter when the Sunbeams are reflected in the millions of small waves whose shapes are constantly evolving, and with a seemingly indefatigable persistence are flooding into the rocks and grinds them smooth like silk.
Another sure morning sign is when we hear the night train to Storlien signal its arrival from the east.
 
With the camera in my hand, I walk on, constantly in search of what so many people hurry past and never notice.
Every morning the same thing up at 07: 00 am, and off, and then back home after about one-and-a-half hour. Then Kerstin is awakening and together we make breakfast. In Åre we eat on the balcony where we have the Reindeer mountain facing us across the lake and are able to see towards Åre and Åre valley.
On vacations we drink the coffee outside wherever we are. It is a nice tradition!
Every morning, every evening we wonder about the same thing:
"Howe come that we are so blessed, and are allowed to have it this good?"
It is with a lump in our throats and with great gratitude we realize it.
 
The journey.
 
The journey up to Åre, goes for our part always over Vemdalen and Klövsjö because there is so beautiful and in September I and my son Martin will spend a few days there to discover new places in that area, places we are otherwise normally just passing through.
When we passed Klövsjö, Åsarna and Svenstavik, and turned left on the southern route of Storsjön, we go up to Persåsen to eat food. If there is one thing I would like to advertise, then it will be Persåsen. This hotel where you'll find at least both soup, fish and/or meat with homemade bread and several different kinds of butter available for under $ 15! And even so it is mostly on Saturdays we get there. In addition, a fantastic service where they always arranged with food free from dairy products for me if it has been necessary.
There is also a stunning exhibition of both art and furniture. Furniture that in itself can be classified as art and a shop for crafts where you can “get lost” of both yourself and your dimes.
However, nice it is!
 
Marby Gammelgård is another good spot along the route where it serves good coffee and tasty waffles with cloudberry jam and cream.
Who can resist such things when they are so nice and offers you to make lactose-free waffles while we wait?
When you are intolerant against dairy products, you quite soon find the places that have good service and get you to feel as a "VIP" guest. That makes you come back again and again.
The area around Hallen are also a bit special for me because that is where I have my roots in Jämtland. From Höla and Högen in Hallen. The genuine Jämtlands branch of the family lived in Höla and the part of the family that emigrated from Våmhus in Dalarna to Jämtland, settled on Högen, where one of the houses still stands and are visible in the slope directly above the gas station. Red and beautiful!
From there five out of seven siblings emigrated to America, where in recent years we have  had several reunions. Left behind were two sisters, one married a man from Höla and settled in Ytterån where my father was born.
Finally that afternoon, we approached to what we now-a-days are calling 
"our beloved Åre ".
Jämtland is the place where we both have a large part of our "roots" and the place where I lived as a youngster and went to high school. The place where parts of the family still lives and that we are in contact with.
Jämtland is the county I love, miss and always yearn for and this year when we got here, we were greeted by a beauty scarcely possible to describe with words. Everything was later this year so all the flowers, both from early summer and the recent summer, now prospered at the same time, and with a force and volume that the local radio described as if we were "attacked" by them. It was the “priest collar” (Leucanthemum Vulgare) they spoke about, which this year was over one meter high, and made the fields shone white everywhere we went.
In the southern parts of the county were the roadsides filled up with small yellow flowers. It was almost as though I were a traffic hazard because I constantly was looking in all directions.  Afraid to miss something!
 
Åre
 
But, at last, we came to Åre and to the local store ICA, where we bought what we needed and headed home to the apartment we rent since a couple of years now at Nya Lundsgården, approximately one km west from Åre.
From the balcony on level six, we have a lovely view over the Reindeer Mountain on the opposite side of the lake, a lake which is a bulge of the river Indalsälven. We are also able to view the city of Åre and the Åre valley to the east. There, on the balcony, we ended up pretty soon after we carried our luggage and with a mug of coffee enjoyed the view and sunlight glittering in the Lake.
 
Oooooyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyllll!
 
It was my wolf howling of joy that Kerstin usually have to listen to when I feel a little extra happy as I do when we come up to both Fryksås, the chalets in Dalarna and to Åre. These are the two places we travels between on our summer and Autumn holidays.
What "music" can be more beautiful than the impressions, whatever they are, that fills you with life and endless joy?
If the summer was busy, with a lot of people who came and went, September come with serenity and silence, and it struck me that even "silence" is music. When I sat on the balcony and enjoyed the sun, the views and the coffee, I was "listening" to the music of silence and was filled by enthusiasm and emotions.
The tune was different, not played after notes as usually, but instead they were exchanged to thoughts witch flooded as the gaze drifted across the landscape.
This music was mixed in major and minor, harmony with discord, crescendo with the decrescendo, forte fortissimo with the weakest, softest you can think of, so soft, with such a silence that my ears barely could hear it.
But it was there, and it filled me with Life!
 
The remarkable thing is that, no matter how different, alternating in its character, the "music" is, nevertheless it is always somehow smooth as velvet, and can have the time to stop and when you finally look at the clock, perhaps an hour has passed without you really noticed it.
It was like that a morning in July when I went up to Ullådalen. My intention was only to go up to Ullåcabin and from its terrace enjoy the view but when I was there, it was as if something inside me took over and got me to switch from my walking shoes to boots and then walk down towards the river which up here always sounds like a thunderstorm.
For a moment I stood on the wooden bridge and saw the waters dance perform over the rocks and in a subdued wail throw themselves down the hill to Åre, where it finally flows into the lake of Åre which in turn is part of the Indalsriver.
One of my memories from that river was when I in early May 1970 planted spruce seedlings on a dry piece of land under a glaring sun.  When the work was over for that day, I undressed and jumped into the icy water. Perhaps it was only 3-4 degrees Celsius, but after the hot and dusty day it was merely a pleasant experience.
After a while with my thoughts there on the bridge, I continued up through the trees to where the mountains are. The Mull- and Forsa-mountains. This year with a lot of snow left on the slopes, just like the rest of the mountains around.
I didn´t have much time to spend because Kerstin and I had planned to go out for lunch together, but somehow, it is as if my body gets new life when I come up here and I more or less am running up the slopes. Hard breathing but not so tired.
 
After a while I sat down to admire the surroundings and an American hymn came up in my mind: "How can I keep from singing ..."!
How could I not be singing when my soul was shouting out loud of joy because of what I saw and felt?
 
Far away to the west I saw the mountains of Snasahögarna, Blåhammaren, Storulvån and others, filling the horizon with its snow-capped mountain sides. They were glittering in blue because of the sun mist and to photograph what I saw was not the easiest thing to do but I still enjoyed it and my eyes looked from one mountain to another.
To take my eyes away from them was nearly impossible. The scales have, ever since I was a kid, fascinated me and influenced me with its great attraction. It is in some way as if it is only here I fully feel as a whole human being. Why? I don´t really know and it is difficult to describe but when I am here, I feel as if all requirements are met.
When I am here, I feel no desire for anything else!
After a while, however, I realize that I was actually on one of these scales that would have seen the same like them I looked at if I had been “over there” and looked in this direction.  So I started to look at what was closer, there around me.
In sight, I had three cottages which were almost not visible if you didn´t come from the "right direction" because they lie hidden in hollows with small trees, mountain Birch and mountain osier, who hides them from transparency. At one of the cottages is a Swedish pennant swaying, and from where I am, it is almost the only thing visible above the bushes.
After a while I crawl down on my knees with my camera with macro lens to look at the orchids that grow there and almost unconsciously I bow in awe when I saw the incredible beauty of these tiny flowers.
Dactylorhiza Maculata!
The Swedish name for them is “The keys of Maiden Marie!”
Why they are called that I do not know but I am more thinking of small Princess crowns and I think of Thumbelina when I see them.  If I had a vision of her, she would certainly have had a Crown like that on her head.
Here, to the Ullådalen (Ullå-valley) Kerstin and I goes very often and to here, we bring our children with families when they visit us.
   
It is close, accessible but still above or at the level of the tree line, and with the magnificent scenery that includes heathland, lakes and high mountains. Not to mention all the cloudberries and fantastic fauna.
Even so this time and with a backpack filled with coffee and sandwiches, we will return several times during our vacation.
 
Excursions
 
A trip we always do is going around Kallsjön, the Lake of Kall on north side of Åre mountain. The nature that greets you, is almost divinely beautiful with the long green slopes where greyish, in many cases abandoned barns, began to tilt of old age. Here is the reddest red clover I seen and countless photographers have probably stopped in Krok to capture the views. If you have the time, I recommend that you take the little gravel road down to the lake where there is a party space at a big gravel pitch between the Mainland and the peninsula in the Lake. To come down at the level of the water and see the mountain of Åre rising high in the West is majestically!
 
  The old native house in Kall is another place we often stop at with its old genuine environment and to enjoy their tasty waffles and coffee.
Do I need to add that it is with cloudberry jam and cream?
   
Further West, meet Kallrör from where you can see the beautiful village Huså on opposite side of the Lake. There, in Huså, I spent many weekends in my youth when I followed classmates’ home from school.
Happy memories in which care and hospitality were a natural part of life.
In Huså is also the beautifully renovated Manor House which in my youth was only a shell where we youngsters stood and dreamed of renovating it and live there.
Today it is a restaurant where we usually take our Sunday dinners when we are on tour.
Beyond Kallrör  is the small village of Sul where Suljätten, the giant of Sul, rears his long nose, a bit above the tree line. A single mountain, quite easy to climb when you now-a-days take the car up to Lill Vallen and from there walk the three kilometers up to the top.
Many years ago, at summertime, you could get coffee and waffles at Lill-Vallen, but now it is only sheep that has anything to eat hear. If you don't have a backpack with you of course!
 
On the way back we stay for a while at Fröå mine, which for 150 years ago, was an entire village with a school and everything.
Today there are a few holiday homes in the surrounding area but otherwise Fröå is a tourist attraction, and not just because of the historical background, but also for its beautiful location with breathtaking views.
 
Another tour we do every now and then is the tour past Tännforsen, one of the biggest waterfall in the county,  past Medstugan, and a short turn into Norway and then back on the northern route across Anjans mountain station, Kallsedet, Grey Lake village, and Kolåsen, and then back to Åre through Järpen.
A very beautiful tour but where it would be wise to bring something to eat because it is 160 km around, and between Tännforsen and Anjans mountain station, there are no opportunities for coffee along the way.
   
On the Western side of Åre is Duved situated, whose Church is a great place to visit and a visit to the glass blowing factory is also a "must".
Further to the West are pleasant dining places in Storlien and a trip to Handöl where mighty waterfalls are well worth a visit.
Over one of the waterfalls were a very staggering suspension bridge whose railings were so low that I had to go with both knees bent otherwise I would have fallen into the water. I hardly managed to keep the balance. So when I took photos I had to go down on my knees.
At the other side of the bridge, I found a sign which said "On your own risk"!
I understood why!
   
The waffles on the Hanriis café were terrific!
Maybe you begin to understand we like waffles?
 
When the weather is clear, a trip up to the Blue-hammer cottage is a must because of beautiful scenery, much of cloudberries and serving in the cottage of both food and coffee makes it worth the visit.
If you go East, there are also many fantastic places to visit. One of them is “Hovdebua” in Bydalen where you are confronted with an incredible service and friendly people.
On the way we pass other sites worth a visit such as Åre chocolate factory, the waterfall of Rista and Circuit House in Mörsil.
A trip to Ottsjö Mountain hotel is also recommended and in summer that is one of the few places in the area where you can get food served. Good food, very good service and incredibly beautifully situated by the Lake and the mountains which looms to the South.
   
Between Ottsjö and Åre you have Edsås valley with many opportunities for hiking, fishing and relaxation.
A place we always return to!
A trip to Östersund, the only big city in this county, is also on the agenda, to visit parts of the family, and see a little bit of "our" town.
It was, in fact, in Östersund, were I many years ago took my driving license at Anderzons Traffic School.
   
Åre is a very nice with lots of wonderful shops and dining venues and one of the many places we ate at was the Mountain farm, the city's highest hotel and restaurant. To which one can travel either by car or you can take the train, named Bergbanan. (It´s hooked in a wire.)
In Åre city is still a part of the old buildings remained in the Totten village. Not just a museum but very much a living village where all the buildings are in use. A great place to visit.
   
One of the tours we did during July was to take the cabin up to the top of Areskutan  from where we walked a trail down the mountain.
   
A height difference of thousand meters!
When we in the lower parts was approaching the restaurant Fjällgården, where the slope is so steep that we had to go sideways down, otherwise we would fall heads down.
Do I need to say that the knees afterwards felt like spaghetti?
I also took the opportunity to look up and see the staff at the newly opened branch of the old family firm Gärdin & Persson to whose inauguration I received an invitation, and hopefully have the opportunity to visit in the middle of September.
On the whole, we have had a wonderful break and done everything we wanted to do.
That is freedom!
 
 
 
Conclusion
 
My desire to try to convey what I see, my experiences and what I feel, reminds me a little bit about how I in my childhood tried to look  into the TV-box to the people who I thought were there.
Now it's a bit of the opposite. Now I feel as if I am being in the box, in a different world and from which I am looking out, trying to meet the eyes of them who are seeking mine. And my desire is that our eyes would meet, if only for a moment and that someone would get the opportunity to see and experience Jämtland through my eyes and through my heart.
As I wrote in the introduction, it is sufficient with a moment because it feels as if a lifetime can be accommodated therein.
 
So rich is the experience I have gotten as a gift again and again and again.
Perhaps it is that way the dragonflies are experiences "their day"?
 
Take care of you!
 
“Credendo Vides”
 
 
Dawn in Åre
 
Karl Gärdin
2012-06-16
 
As the brittle rose bud turns to a flower
you became my treasure,
my richness and power,
and like the flowers in the slope,
your proximity, beauty, 
brings me hope.
 
So come,
Walk with me to the rivers flow,
look at the mountains white of snow,
look at the sky, birds flying through,
This is the gift, given to you.
 
Come,
walk with me in lights of dawn,
when morning mist leaves the lawn.
The morning is deliver,
a gift down at the river.
Thee Light become our awareness
when the sun disperse the darkness.


2015

Last part of it.


Sunday morning!
The fog is dense over the Valley and a damp mist pulls through the trees around the cottage where we live. When I go out on the patio, it's quiet, very, very quiet. Not even the birds that usually are twittering in the trees could be heard or seen. 

It's one of those days when you want to pull the sweater closer around you and nestles in a corner somewhere. 
But that's not why we are here! 
During the long six weeks I have been away on holiday, it has become more than two hundred kilometers of walking around in the mountains and this last vacation day is not going to be any different in that way.
The porridge is boiled and eaten out on the porch. Every day, whatever the weather is like, I have eaten my breakfast outside. In Are on the balcony and in the Bjornrike on the patio. The fact they are equipped with roofs does it pretty simple and painless.
When I´m done whit my porridge, Kerstin wakes up and together we drink coffee and talk about the day and what we're going to do. 
The morning is spent to resupply at the store on Vemdalsskalet, then we eat lunch in the cottage and when finished, we pack the backpack with coffee, sandwiches, cinnamon rolls and a few cookies and walk away.
We are climbing towards the East, up through the valley between the mountains of Hogfjallet  and Graahognan where we were flogged by a chilly wind and a light rain. The trail is very rocky and the creeks we need to pass over is now full of water, unlike in mid-August when Martin and I went the same way, they were totally dehydrated. Back then it was sunshine and around 25 degrees, now it's raining and only 7 degrees above zero.

After about a half hour, we arrived to a point junction where we turn off to the South, up towards Graahognan and to the so-called “Bear-kingdom” cottage located right in the tree line and that can be used by hikers in summer and skiers in the winter.
That cabin is the goal of this afternoon walk and after turning south the trail begins to be considerably steeper. Even here we have streams to pass, brooks that probably are the same we passed before but now a little further up on the mountain.

For Kerstin, who has heart problems, it is quite a tall order, but she takes it in her own pace and stop every now and then to catch her breath. 
When the mountain birches shrinks in height, I can see the cabin up on the hill. Here we have been every year we lived in Bjornrike  (Bear-kingdom) and it's a cozy cottage to return to.  I arrive a few minutes before Kerstin, taking off my backpack and sets off to split firewood to make a fire in the stove. 

From some birch wood I carve of the bark and use it to light the stove. Birch bark is thick and burns for a long time which is useful to get the woods on fire and soon both heat and light are spread in the cabin and it won't be long until the jackets are dried and we can sit there at the northern window and look out over the valley to the sound of the falling rain on the roof and a merrily crackling from the stove. In silence we are sitting there for a long time, enjoying the moment before we pick up our thermos and fill our mugs with hot fragrant coffee. That’s all you need to displace the thoughts on the bad weather and instead fill us with warmth and pleasure. 

After several pieces of wood on the fire, more coffee in the mugs and empty bags where sandwiches and cinnamon rolls past low, we are once more ready to let us out in the wet but extremely beautiful nature the mountains offers us. The day is coming to an end and so also our holiday but beautiful weeks, we have had and more is to come next year when we return. 
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