Simona D'Auria

Winter hiking adventures

Getting outside for a winter hiking no matter what's the weather like is the best weapon against the winter boredom and the melancholy, along with candles and fairy lights....
Fog over an icy lake surrounded by the forest in blue shades and tones
Misty blues

Hello my friends! Hope you had a decent week and you are enjoying the weekend! 🙌

I have started this blog well over half of winter and I initially thought of a summary of all the best hiking tours and discoveries of this season, but it would be too much all in one post! I’ll pick up a few instead and I will talk about them randomly from now on.

Winter has been particularly cold and snowy this year, definitely colder than 2021. December has been the coldest month with steady temperature between -15 and -17 especially up here on the forest hills. I have developed a sort of allergy to the sun when I was 16 back in Italy and since then I have been quite intolerant to the heat, so these temperatures are a blessing for me.

Winter is definitely my favorite season!

I also love the photographic mood of cold temperature, frozen environments and of the white snow++ with its muted elegant palette, the cleanliness minimalism of its scenery and the silent stillness.

Immaculate snow scenery, somewhere near Kloten nature resort, Kopparberg.

In Sweden, winter is also called the “dark season” because there are only a few hours daylight, although we compensate that with an abundance of candles and fairy lights well before Christmas time. There’s a beautiful contrast between the cold, subdued colors outside and the warm, vibrant ones inside. I called it the light and shadow season.

The colder and more hostile is outside, the warmer and cozy is inside Sweden houses, like a fight against the winter “vemod” that in Swedish means sadness, melancholy.

This “vemod” as they call it, does not apply to me. This is the season where I have more energy physically and mentally. I light candles too and I adore fairy lights, but my secret weapon against the dark season is being outside in nature as much as I can.

The more snowy, windy, stormy it is outside the better for me and for my photography!

Yes, I love too being inside with a cup of warm coffee looking the snow falling outside the window and feeling safe and cozy. But this beautiful feeling can soon turn to boredom and lethargy if you stay inside for too long.

As for my photography, extreme winter conditions are just what it takes to help me creating a certain mood in my pictures. I like it dreamy and little dark.  

As for hiking, nature is so exciting in every season, but in winter it is funnier than ever although more challenging and maybe precisely because of that. You’ll definitely encounter some adversities like extreme cold, strong winds, slippery grounds or zero visibility depending on your location, and this is exactly what is needed to wake up your wildest survival instincts 🏕! Your ancestors have fought in the past with the harsh conditions of winter nature, and even if modernity and our city life has made us comfortable people, we still have a strong survival wild instinct just waiting to be re-activated and trained.

I particularly love winter hiking precisely because you learn everyday something about your being in nature and a lot about yourself. Every hiking experience, every unexpected event you have to face and overcome make you stronger and more experienced, a bit like in our daily life!

Blowing snow over Klosstjärnen, Kindla Nature Reserve, Hällefors

This past weekend, the plan was to reach a forest pond called Klosstjärn inside the beautiful nature reserve of Kindla, 900 ha of old untouched forests, rivers, lake and marshes.

It was a cloudy day and the winds were blowing really strong 😱 lifting the snow from the ground and sweeping everything away including my tripod and camera 😬 You had to scream to be heard and walking was like having to overcome a fury. Been able to take these pictures when everything was vibrating and moving was real luck! But it was also so much fun😊! The walk to the pond was supposed to last 4 hours round trip, but it actually took us 6 as walking through the forests on top of the hills has not been easy due to the icy sloping paths. You had to think very carefully where to put your feet, while the trees moved by the wind where bending and howling! We risked falling on the ground many times and losing our way, but we focused and used our brain (which is always particularly recommended 😉) and we finally made it out of the forest.

It was so much fun and a lot of good exercise, there is no better “step aerobic” than walking into a Swedish forest with its up and downs.

Once you’r back in the car you realize how much you managed to tune out from your conscious self as you began to reconnect with your everyday you, back to the normal life…

Then you return home, tired, very hungry and serene, and the moment you take off your boots is one of the most beautiful feelings! Take a shower, put on your warmest pullover and your soft slippers and enjoy your well deserved resting evening!

The morning after, after a good night rest, you’ll be amazed how much energy you will have gathered in just one walk! And you’ll soon begin to feel that you want to be out again … 🤠

Thank you so much for reading! Till next time my friends!

Take good care of you and get out for a walk, whenever you can and wherever you are. There is always something to explore!


Love, Simona 💙💙💙


Simona D'Auria

Hi! My name is Simona and I am a photographer and an illustrator in love with the natural world.

I live in Sweden in a small village on the forest hills, where I moved a few years ago leaving behind the busy city of London to pursue my artistic activity. ​This has been a long time dream that I eventually managed to fulfil. I have never regretted it!​​

Nature is my only place to be, hiking my way to explore it and photography is one of the means I use to record the fantastic stories I am so lucky to witness during my excursions. Many of these stories also turn into graphics or illustrations.