Winter. Follow us on this beautiful winter day, the exact same walk as in summer (no 2. of our virtual walks) but a totally different experience. The degree of silence in Kyrkhamn was on this day even more extraordinary.
From central Stockholm, it takes 25 minutes by car to reach the starting point of this hike. But you can also take a commuter train and bus and walk from the bus stop to the starting point, which would take you about an hour from Stockholm central.
This is a short afternoon walk in mid January. It's sunny and cold, very cold. -12 C. (10 F.) and we have a light breeze. The key to an enjoyable slow walk this time of the year is to dress warm. If you aren't warm, the walk will be stressfull; your body will tell you to move fast. Dress warm, keep warm, take a deep breath and set a side a few minutes to follow us on this virtual walk.
Add sound to the experience. If you have decent speakers on your computer/pad or headphones, you can turn on the sounds of nature. Click below, to hear the sounds from this walk.
The snow on the trails add a crunchy sound to the entire walk.
Find a pace that is a bit slower than your normal one. The goal is to experience every step of the walk.
We reach our first stop, a small inconspicuous opening in the forest. The snow dampens all sounds, it is really quiet.
Too cold to sit down, we stand still. Take a few breaths and listen.
Look up and around you, snow covers the trees and the low winter sun reaches the tops.
Information and knowledge about the name of the trees, flowers and the history of the area can be interesting, but on this walk we skip that. Guide to Silence walks are about being present in nature.
We move on, follow the white trails and get closer to the water.
And suddenly we get a wide view over the partly ice covered lake.
Big scenery like this give us a sense of awe and humility. Stop and take it all in.
Look the other way. Frosty trees and blue skies.
Frost on branches. Nature's own art.
Is the awe accompanied by inner stillness?
The breeze from the water makes it even colder and we have to keep moving.
We walk slowly and carefully with attention to every step down the cliff. A chance to practice presence and focus.
We reach the water level, the water is steaming.
The sun feels warm in our face.
Behind us a frozen waterfall.
We continue our walk along the water and stop for a while.
Ice-flowers are formed on the branches that dip into the water. Listen to the sounds of the waves and the ice.
Take a deep cold breath.
Frozen nature smells different.
The lake, the sun, the sound of the waves and a crow in the background.
The simple act of being in nature can bring deep contentment and a big smile.
We turn back up from the water, and keep the pace slow.
The slow pace might keep your mind from rushing off to everything you have to do this afternoon.
Back on the wider part of the trail. This slow afternoon walk took us less than an hour. The cold weather makes the stops shorter and the need to keep moving more urgent. The walk was about 1,6 kilometers (one mile).
If you want to try the fall version of this walk you find it here.
I hope you have enjoyed this low-tech virtual walk and if you happen to be in Stockholm contact me and I will give you a guided tour in the real fantastic nature of Stockholm (but remember it’s going to be a guided tour in silence and you will not learn anything about trees, geology and history, but maybe something about silence, stillness and....).
Sound facts: On this mid January day we had background sound levels between 27 - 34 dBA. That is really quiet, under 30 dBa can be defined as "bedroom quiet" (the sound level we need in our bedroom for a good nights sleep). You can hear the breeze, the waves, the steps on the trail and maybe a crow. In this area we also get occasional planes and boats but usually only as short noise disturbances and quite far away.