|I've just returned from a great trip visiting my son in Sweden. Part of my time was spent in Stockholm, part in western Sweden near the Norwegian border on a wooded farm by a lake. The woods in both areas are mixed, consisting of pine, spruce and fir, along with birch and aspen. I'll leave out tales of eating, drinking, and running back and forth between an incredibly hot sauna and an incredibly cold lake, and get right to the climbing.
The pines are called “tall”, and are, I believe, Scots Pine. They grow taller than our Scots Pine, commonly reaching mature heights of 100'. I had never climbed them before, but liked that the trunk is often uncluttered for most of the
height and the open canopies provide many anchor opportunities. The bark is gray and begins peeling off about halfway up, something like a river or paper birch, as you can see in one of the pics. Since they grow taller than all the
other species around, I wouldn't be surprised if this was some sort of adaptation to ground fire.
The pics are on a “tall” in a natural wooded area within walking distance of metropolitan Stockholm and my son's apartment; a wonderful secluded area
with no one else in sight.
In western Sweden, my friends take care of a section of woodland separate from their farm. They thin a section of forest primarily by cutting off the lower branches on the conifers, in addition to taking some smaller overcrowded
small trees. This opens up the forest and helps keep any potential wildfires down and away from the canopy. The ground is much wetter there than here in Colorado, so they are able to burn the slash on the spot. They start by setting a
heavier log on the ground and the first boughs on top. This is lit and kept going all afternoon by the bottom log and additional boughs. It's a family affair, with hot dogs and beer. All this took place near the “tall” that I had selected for the climb. After cleaning out the tree a bit, I took each family member up. They all did great. And all were treated to spectacular views of lakes and hilly forests stretching for miles in all directions.
In Sweden, hikers and campers are permitted to go anywhere, even on private land, as long as no damage is done. Near my friends’ house is a spit of their land extending into the lake containing a beautiful mixed grove of mature trees. Although German campers often monopolize the site during the summer, some day a group of us should go there. Here, in addition to many very climbable
björk (birch), there is a magnificent old “tall” that I unfortunately didn't have the time to clean out or climb that would make a great climbing, camping, hanging out tree. And it’s not far from the sauna.