Taking a shortcut through a swampy, snowy forest

For once, there was snow around Christmas, after it, and it would seem that it will last all the way until after New Year’s before it starts melting again. Since it’s so rare to have so much snow around this time of year nowadays, I thought I should go out to take some pictures of the woods and the lake nearby. I picked up my stuff, got appropriately clothed and started walking.

First, before wandering to the skiing paths in the forest, I decided to go towards the town. Why? Because the trees around the road were bent by the snow; it looked pretty damn cool. After I was done, I started heading back towards the forest.

After a short while I reached the start of a skiing path and started going along with it, taking pictures of whatever I thought looked cool (as in, everything (because there’s snow everywhere (it’s a joke))) and listening to a Living Japan podcast episode on Muslims in Japan.

As I walked along the path, I noticed a lot of animal tracks on the snow. I even followed some of them deeper in to the forest, but never really found anything interesting. Things kept on going relatively smoothly until I reached the closest lean-to; that’s where I had to start scrubbing the camera lens to get decent pictures. Needless to say, the frequency of the lens scrubbing increased as time went on. From the lean-to, I decided to start exploring new territory, so I head for another lean-to – it was a mistake.

Having walked for over an hour in the snow at this point, I was starting to get a little bit tired. Regardless of the slight exhaustion, I kept moving  on until I reached the edge of the area that was familiar to me.

Raahe Winter 43

As I reached the intersection between a path going back and the path to the other lean-to, I noticed a single set of ski marks going towards it. I didn’t think much of it, and I just started following them. That is, until I felt a crack under my foot and sank ankle deep in to swamp water.

I was startled a bit and started having second thoughts about following this route. In the end, however, I thought to myself “Screw it, might as well do it” and kept on going until I got past the swamp. “What kind of an asshole makes a path go through a swamp without bridges or planks or something” I wondered out loud before moving on.

Exhaustion started getting to me a little bit as I walked up a hill, following the ski marks. The marks went on for a while, but they ended at a large skiing path. I cursed under my breath a little bit, looked at the map and noticed that I would have to go further south to reach the lean-to. I decided against it, and started walking towards the east. The path to the east had a set of foot prints coming towards me, so I decided to keep following them – another damn mistake.

Yeah, not going to go that way.

Yeah, not going to go that way.

As I kept moving east, the snow just kept getting deeper and more untouched until I reached another intersection. The foot prints were coming from the north, but since there was no clear path anywhere towards the lake, I kept following them.

I followed the foot prints until they just suddenly ended in the middle of the forest. I was confused and annoyed, so I just decided to head east again, this time with nothing other to follow than the direction itself. I kept moving eastwards through the untouched forest, slogging through annoyingly deep snow, until I found tractor tracks.

Suddenly tracks

Suddenly tracks

I followed the tracks north in the hopes of finding a way to get back to a road or even a path because I was starting to get sick of sinking knee-deep in to the snow and swamp water – no such luck. I found the end of the tracks in the middle of nowhere, so I decided to keep going eastwards, directly through the forest.

More tracks

More tracks

After some more sinking in to the snow, I found another set of tracks that I followed southwards until I ended up getting back on to a road. A short break was had before moving on to the lake to take a few more pictures before heading home.

The walk back home seemed painfully long, but at least nothing happened on my way there.

I’m still thinking of going to a couple of other places to take some pictures, but I think I’ll take the car for those.

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