Much has happened over the past three days.
We have mapped countless dens, scoured the woods for bear sign, and covered hundreds of kilometres in three or four groups to do so.
We have become proficient data collectors for Andrea who is pleased with our progress. As a reward, we met at a local beauty spot for a picknick yesterday after a day’s work. And how beautiful it was – swirling waters, rapids, sunlight trickling through the trees and blueberry pancakes.
We have walked through beautiful flower meadows in the sunshine, across bogs in the drizzle, negotiated our way through pathless forests, treading across thick carpets of moss, lichen and blueberries, perhaps where no human foot has been for centuries – at least this is what it often feels like.
We have seen vast expanses of forests, dusty logging roads, beautiful, hidden lakes and picture-perfect Swedish villages deep in the forest. We have seen capercaillie, moose and, yes, a bear too, crossing the road in front of us as we were driving back from a day’s work.
We have dug a bear skeleton out of a bog to be handed over to the Swedish Veterinary Institute for analysis.
And back at base, where we are looked after very well by Elfie, the datasheets pile up, as do the hair scat samples, to Andrea’s delight. May it all help her in her work to conserve bears in this fascinating part of the world.
Tomorrow is half a day and then data entry. And then it will be the end of this inaugural expedition already. Time flies when you are having fun and I will let the pictures speak for themselves…