For different reasons I didn’t get out on a trip in Februari. Since I did have my plan for 2016 to get out at least once a month I thought I’d take two trips in March to compensate. So in the beginning of March I took the car to Jönköping to the southern trailhead of the John Bauer-trail, witch is a ~50km long trail between Jönköping and Gränna and goes somewhat parallel to the lake Vättern, the second largest lake in Sweden.
When I left my home, about 1,5h drive from Jönköping it had been above freezing and no snow for quite some time. Therefore I didn’t expect any snow, and thought this would be a great opportunity to try hiking in trailrunners. Up until now I’ve used these big boots, and I love them. I never had a blister, and I’ve been running about 9km in them (when I forgot my gloves at a lake on the Norwegian side of Tresticklan national park.) and they felt as comfortable to run in as running shoes.
I did however want to try what it’s like to hike in trailrunners. Even though I love the boots, I wanted to try the “wet feet” thing where you know your feet will get wet, but you dry them in camp, and you have light shoes that dries quickly. I wouldn’t have to worry about rivercrossings and trying to keep my boots dry this way. From what I read about trailrunners you wouldn’t have to worry about blisters and breaking them in. I was stupid to think that I didn’t have to take the necessary preparations (like thin double socks etc).
I parked the car, and started walking. It was a layer of a few cm of snow, and quite quickly it started to melt through the mesh on the top of the shoe. After a while I got to the trailhead of John Bauer trail. Apparently I had walked a stretch of the South Vättern Trail.
I only walked about 4 km the first afternoon, before I found a nice meadow to set up camp. It was starting to get dark. For this trip I used the Luxe Outdoor Sil Twinpeak. I’ve been looking for a light 2-person tent and this was kind of cheap. I don’t know if I’ll keep looking or not. I do have my eye set on the HMG Ultamid 2 with a halfsolid inner from Bearpawwd. This however is a much to large investment at the moment. The Twinpeak has a full mesh inner, and I do prefer to have at least 1/3-1/2 solid inner to block the wind while sleeping.
I had to kick away snow to get the tent down a bit in the snow. It was fairly easy to pitch, and I inflated my mattress and fluffed up my sleepingbag. After that I started with dinner. I make my own dinners, and my favourite is risestew. Instant-rice, dried tomato-basil soup, crushed peanuts and oliveoil.
One foot had already gotten a blister at the heel. I forgot my Leukoplast, but had a little piece of blister-tape. I did realise that I should have had better socks, and use double socks as I do with boots.
I was a bit cold that night. I don’t know the temperature, but the cold didn’t come from the top, but from the sleepingpad not insulating enough. I’ll probably buy a Winterlite or something similar for the next winter.
I started walking after a breakfast of tortillas with nutella and coffee. The nutella had frozen over night so I had to put the bag down in the coffee-water to make it soft enough to spread it on the tortillas.
I had a plan to walk for about half the day, and then turn back towards the car. This was a multidaytrip and I had one more night on the trail planned.
My feet hurt though. I had now gotten a blister on the other foot. Since I didn’t have gaiters (something I use now) snow kept getting inside my shoe. My socks were to rough and also worn, witch made a lot of friction. I should have stopped, but I was just stubborn and kept walking. The snow got deeper the further into the trail I got, and this made it quite an effort to hike. Especially when my feet hurt the way they did.
After a few hours of walking I had lunch and started to go back. At this point all I could think about was how much my feet hurt. I felt stupid for not taking my boots, even though I really didn’t expect snow. I felt stupid for not using better socks, and two pairs of them. I didn’t want to use my sleeping-socks while walking since I wanted a dry pair to sleep in. Same goes with the socks dedicated as “camp-socks”.
It was starting to get dark when I got to my designated camp-spot. I had walked about 25km this day. The camp-spot was in a meadow a few hundred meters from where I camped the first night. I thought about keep going till I reached the car, and head back home. My feet were numb at this point so I could walk somewhat painless. I did however want to be out on a multiday-trip and therefore decided to set up camp for another night. In this meadow the snow was even deeper than the first one.
I set up camp, ate dinner and then went to sleep. I didn’t really enjoy myself at this point. My feet hurt, they were cold and I felt miserable. I boiled water and filled one of the waterbottles with it and put it in my sleepingbag. It took a long time before my feet started to feel warm again. The bottle helped though, and I didn’t feel chilled like I did the night before.
The next morning I skipped breakfast, packed up camp and started walking. Or really, it was more limping than walking at this point. I did manage to get to the car though. I had my usual craving for fatfood and stopped at Mc Donalds on my way home to have a burger breakfast. My heels looked awful at this point. I’ve never had so large and deep blisters on my feet before and it hurt wearing shoes for days afterwards.
In all, I liked the trail. I’ll try it again when there’s no snow. Even though it was far from a pleasant experience I got to try my pack for a real hike, and I really loved it. It was supercomfortable and lightweight. I got to try the tent, witch I only pitched once before, and I got to try hiking in trailrunners, and learn what I should do different.