Summary of 2018

This post was supposed to be written in December, but I’ve had a hard time focusing on the website this fall. Things have been tough, both at work and at home this fall, so I’ve been a bit low on energy.

I wrote about my plans for 2018, on January 1 last year, and I’ll give a summary on how it went.

  • To do a lot of canoe camping trips, and bring my kids with me. My youngest is getting big enough for me to dare to take her along in the canoe.

I did four canoe camping trips last year, and a few day trips too. C. joined me on one of my trips in Raslången, which might have been the best trip I did last year.

  • I’ll make another attempt at getting out on at least one overnighter each month of the year, and I’d really like to succeed in spending 10% of the nights outdoors.

I didn’t quite succeed with this one, this year either. I spent nights in the outdoors every  month but in December. I could’ve gone out in December too, but I was just too tired to do so. In total, with the road trip through Europe during the summer, I spent 32 nights under the stars on 16 different trips. Counting in the road trip I’ve camped in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Croatia and Slovenia. The nature in Slovenia was fantastic, and I’d really like to get back here on a hiking and/or packrafting trip.

  • A 3-day trip to Trestickan (I’m going on Thursday, but I’d like to get back there in spring or early fall too)

I spent my annual first-week-of-the-year-hike in Tresticklan. I had a really great time there, as always. I didn’t get back there again though, but hopefully I’ll get back this year.

  • A 3-4 day canoe camping trip at Halen-Raslången-Immeln this spring. This will be my first longer canoe camping trip, and I’m really looking forward to it.

In May I went on a 3-day canoe camping trip with C. Wonderful warm weather in a beautiful area. It was my first multi day canoe camping trip, and my first canoe camping trip in warm weather. I was hooked. Halen-Raslången-Immeln is really nice, and I plan to get back here a lot to explore more of the area.

  • A week long canoe camping trip in Femundsmarka this summer. I thought about doing the ACT in Greenland this summer, but I’ll probably wait for the kids to grow older before I do this trip, and do a week in Femundsmarka instead.

I went on a week long solo trip with the canoe on Isteren, next to Femundsmarka. The trip had its ups and downs, but I’ve more or less decided not to go on canoe camping trips like that again. There are a lot of beautiful, somewhat desolate areas closer to home, and if I’m going to drive for so many hours I want to hike in the mountains instead.

  • An Ultralight ultracheap hiking trip. This is something I’m really looking forward to trying. I’ve acquired a complete set of ultracheap lightweight gear while buying stuff for my family and also stuff I’ve bought for myself. I’ll post my updated ultralight ultracheap gear list in an upcoming post and it’ll be a fun test.

I didn’t get away on this trip as I had planned, despite that the Ultralight-ultracheap posts are the most popular posts I have here. I have all the gear, and the only thing I haven’t tried myself is the tent, that my oldest daughter has been using instead. But when spring comes I’ll try to get out on a cheapo UL-trip.

  • I’d like to do another social hiking trip again. It was fun to meet other hikers in general, and especially to meet UL hikers and discuss gear and stuff like that.

My plan was initially to hike parts of Coast to coast Sweden again. I couldn’t get away when the time came though, but I did meet up with Brian Outdoor in November, for a hike in Raslången. We’ve been planning a canoe camping trip sometime this spring, and he’s been meeting other hikers in Sweden on other social hikes. Perhaps we could get a group together to do a group hiking trip too this year. I’ll hopefully go to Athens this summer, and if so I’m hoping to meet up with Olympus Mountaineering for a trip together in Greece.

It’s been a great year, and I’ve had C with me on a lot of trips. I’ve been out on a bunch of day trips with the family, that I haven’t written about here. I bought and sold a foldable Ally canoe. I bought a GStove and discovered the wonders of hot tent camping. I hope this year will bring a lot of great outdoor experiences, with more hot tent camping, more canoe trips and more trips with my kids.

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Tresticklan – first trip of 2018

For a few years now I’ve had a tradition to go on a hiking-/ camping trip the first week of the year.

This time I had planned to do a two-night trip, and I really wanted to go to Tresticklan National Park as I really like the place, and hadn’t been there since May 2016.

Tresticklan is a ~29km2 National Park in Dalsland, just at the border of Norway. Together with Lundsneset nature reserve on the Norwegian side you have 55km2 of protected lands. The area consists of rift valleys, with vast pine forests, small lakes and ponds and bogs.

I have been in Tresticklan and Lundsneset two times before, and if you like solitude this is the place for you. It’s far away from any larger towns. The closest town is Ed, 15 km south of Tresticklan, with just under 3000 inhabitants. Apart from the occasional airplane passing by, you don’t hear any man made sounds. Being far away from towns also means that there aren’t that many visitors, at least in my experience.

I had taken a few days off from work, left the youngest kids at my parents and in laws so that my wife wouldn’t be left alone with the young tornadoes but also get some lone time, and left home early on Thursday morning.

The weather changed between rain, sleet and snow, and it was a 6 hour drive to get there. I can’t say I enjoy having to drive so far alone, and I can’t wait for self driving cars to be common (and affordable).

I got up to Tresticklan around 14.00. There was a small uphill from the main road to the road leading to the parking lot. The uphill was covered in ice, and my car slid down on the main road again. But with enough gas, and having the left wheels a bit in the ditch, I could get enough grip to get up the hill. The road wasn’t plowed though, and I almost ended up in the ditch a couple of times, even though I drove carefully.

When I came to the parking lot my car was the only one there. It was cloudy and snowing, and there was quite a lot of snow on the ground. The temperature was just below freezing, so the snow was quite wet. I put on my rain gear before I left the parking lot.

I knew from my earlier trips that it’s hard to find campsites for tents here. The rift valleys makes it hard to find level ground, and when you do, the ground is often to shallow to peg a tent, with rocks just underneith.

I hiked the trail west towards Lundsneset, and then turned south on western end of the circle trail in the middle of the park. I had camped here during my last trip, but I couldn’t find the location in the snow. I lost track of the trail several times, since it was covered in snow, and wet snow had stuck to the trees, covering the trail markings.

It was getting dark fast, and eventually I felt that I couldn’t keep hiking any longer, and had to set up camp somewhere. I left the trail and hiked straight up a hill, and found what looked like a somewhat flat place, with lots of undergrowth. I tried to compress the snow and the undergrowth to make it somewhat level, and set up the tent. It wasn’t level by any means. I had to put my sleeping pad in the wrong (shorter) direction in the tent, and stow my backpack and clothes under one side of the sleeping pad to make it level enough not to roll off it.

There was a heavy snow fall with wet snow, and I started to make dinner. I’ve seen one of the people I follow on Instagram bring premade rice porridge on her trips, and I had to try it, and brought it with me this time. I was a bit tired since I had barely slept the night before, and made just rice porridge and glüewine for dinner.

I had brought a twig stove with me. There is a fire ban in the park, but I had asked the authorities about it before the trip, and a twig stove was ok. But you’re not allowed to break any branches from neither living nor dead trees, which left me with already fallen twigs laying on the ground. Since everything was covered in wet snow I didn’t even bother. I used my gas canister stove, but since I had brought cheap gas it didn’t work well in the cold, and I had to hold the canister in my hands to keep it warm enough to give a flame. Next time I’ll be smart enough to bring either Primus Winter gas or my Multifuel stove.

Bringing rice porridge is far from UL, but it was super delicious. After dinner I crawled into my sleeping bag and watched Bright on Netflix. I didn’t sleep well, as the sleeping pad still wasn’t level, and it was pretty uncomfortable. I also think I might have set up camp on, or near someone’s toilet. There was a slight smell of… poop. But I was too tired and it was too dark and snowy outside for me to wanna move camp.

Next morning I tried to find the source of the smell after I broke camp, but didn’t find it. I was prepared for a nasty surprise under my floor, but fortunately it was clean.

After breakfast I kept hiking south. In the southernmost part of the circle trail there is another trail that leads down to the southern end of Tresticklan. I hadn’t been in the southern parts before, and decided to go as far south as I could before 13.00, and then turn back. I had planned to get back home early on Saturday, and wanted the next camp to be pretty close to the parking lot.

It was a lot of snow here, and sometimes it was knee deep. It was hard to follow the “trail” and I lost track of it several times.

At around 12.30 I made lunch at the shore of the lake Stora Pylsan. I took my time, enjoyed the solitude, and then turned back north. The forest was beautiful, with snow covered trees, freshly formed ice on the lakes and the tranquility you get when no other humans are around. I walked around with a big smile on my face, and really enjoyed my time there.

When I came back to the circle trail I followed my foot steps back towards the trail to Lundsneset, and then back towards the parking lot. When I came to a section between the lakes Lilla- and Stora Tresticklan i left the trail and hiked up a hill. There I found a perfect campsite, and was able to make a perfect pitch of my tent (unlike the night before).

It had been getting colder during the day, and I put on my fleece, down jacket, wind jacket and my down booties. Boiling water was a pain, and my fingers got numb from trying to heat up the gas canister. Despite me having under my jacket to keep it warm. I was however able to make dinner eventually. I also boiled water to keep in a bottle wrapped in socks as a radiator in my sleeping bag.

I went to bed and slept quite well during the night. As so often, I woke up around 4-5 o’clock, feeling cold. I put on my fleece jacket and went back to sleep. I think the temperatures dropped down to around -7 to -8°C during the night.

When I woke up I really had to struggle mentally to make myself leave the comfortable warm sleeping bag and get outside in the cold. I did it gradually, and boiled coffee while still in the sleeping bag. I had brought Growers Cup coffee, which tastes really good, and can be reused. I had brought one, and the refilled it with regular coffee during the trip.

I left camp around 9.30, and hiked through the forest in beautiful weather. I could see the sky for the first time this trip, and the air was really crisp and cold.

I walked the last stretch back to the car, and at the parking lot I met three peoplewith a dog, that was going to do a short day hike. My footsteps had been the only once I’d seen in the park, which means that during my time there I’d had 55km2 of beautiful forest all to myself. I really wish I could get back here more and I would have loved to stay here a couple of more nights.

It was a great start of the year, and I hope it only gets better.