I’m slowly starting to plan for the “big” trip this summer. Me and my childhood friend Fredrik go on one longer trip in the mountains each year. We’ve been in Jotunheimen in Norway a few times, and last year we spent 8 days in Sarek, in northern Sweden.
I wrote earlier, on a post about my plans for 2018, that I wanted to do a canoe camping trip in Femundsmarka this summer. Fredrik wasn’t interested in canoe camping though, but wanted to do a hiking trip instead. I can’t get away on two 7+day trips this summer, so I’ll have to postpone the Femundsmarka trip. I’ll try to do a 3-5 day trip in Halen-Raslången-Immeln this spring, so at least I’ll get one longer canoe camping trip done. These lakes are only about an hours drive from home.
The trip with Fredrik wont be as far away as last year (where we spent a total of four days in the car) but we’ve planned to hike for a week in Hardangervidda in Norway.
Hardangervidda is the largest mountain plateau in Europe, and the national park is the largest in Norway.
From what I’ve read, the terrain isn’t as dramatic as Jotunheimen, which is covered with steep mountain tops. Hardangervidda is covered with treeless moorland, and not that much change in elevation, at least on the east side.
There are numerous trails in the park, and I haven’t even begun to plan a route yet. I don’t even know if we’re going to follow any trails, or if we should make a whole new route instead. As I’ve understood, the terrain makes it pretty easy to hike off-trail, and the thought of doing that appeals to me. Maybe we’ll make a route to begin with, but end up just choosing a new direction each day, like we did in Sarek.
This is my Lighterpack for now. I do like to tinker a bit with it, so this might change from when I write this post. (This is my Ligherpack for Sarek last year. Despite a much heavier shelter this year, the base weight doesn’t differ that much.)
As I’ve wrote in previous posts, my big trips this year was planned to be the Arctic Circle Trail between Kangerlussuak and Sisimiut in Greenland. I had really been looking forward to it, and basically everything was planned, except buying the plane tickets. The thing is though that I’m also going on a week-long hike with my childhood friend Fredrik, who hiked with me in Jotunheimen last year. Three weeks away from my family this summer was to much, and I decided to postpone the trip to Greenland. It actually felt like a hard choice to make as I was dead set on getting to Greenland, and my planning had to start from the beginning again. My wife has told me though that we’ll make sure I can go to Greenland next summer instead.
I still wanted to go on a two-week hike, but Fredrik wanted to hike for a week at the most. To make this work, I had to come up with a route that would make it possible for me to start hiking a week in advance, meet up with Fredrik and then continue together. I also needed to make sure there were shortcuts to our meetup point if weather or my physique would keep me from reaching it in time.
If I could make this work, I would still get the solitude I wanted the first week, and then a second week of hiking with a good friend. I started to look at Sarek, but I’ve never been there, and from answers in Swedens largest outdoor forum I came to the conclusion that it would be hard to put together a 1+1 week trip that didn’t include Fredrik flying out with a helicopter to a meetup point. I knew before even asking him that this wouldn’t be an option. I also felt that hiking for the first time Sarek, with no marked trails, shouldn’t be done with a timeschedule like that.
Eventually I looked at Kungsleden, the Kings trail, and the possibility to meet up at Nikkaluokta and hike to Abisko together. My plan was to start south of Nikkaluokta about a week before Fredrik. The starting point had to close enough to reach Nikkaluokta in time even if the weather forced me to have a rest day or I would hike slower than I had planned. But I also wanted to be able to take a longer route if I hiked as fast, or faster than planned.
After looking at the maps and searching for places to get to by bus I planned to start at Vakkotavare, in the lower left corner of the map. I would then follow the green line to Singistugorna. Here, I could turn east and hike to Nikkaluokta (the red line). This route should take approximately 3 day. But my initial plan is to keep following the green line until 2,5-3 km before Sälkastugorna. Here I’ll turn east along Gaskkasjohka. I could turn south again and take a shortcut to Kebnekaise mountainstation and then hike to Nikkaluokta (the orange line), keep hiking to Kaskavagge and there turn south to Kebnekasie mountainstation (the yellow line). But the plan is to hike around the mountain Palkastak and then hike south along Visttasvaggi until I reach Nikkaluokta (where the red and green line meets in the right part of the map).
The planned route, following the green line, should take somewhere between 6-7 days. The rest of the hike, between Nikkaluokta and Abisko should take somewhere between 5-6 days.
I have also done a few gear changes. A few very large gear changes. I did spontaneously bought the Exped Expedition 80 backpack, but I realized that I didn’t want to go the heavier route, but instead will try to fit two weeks worth of gear and food in my Exped Lightning 60 pack. If I come to the conclusion that I’ll need a bigger pack I’ll probably just go with the Hyperlite Mountain Gear 4400 Southwest instead. A sub-1kg 70l backpack.
But I’ll do my best to get the gear to fit in my 60l backpack. I thought I’d use this summers trip to test it. Otherwise it would be easier to have just one weeks worth of food in the backpack and then post a food cache to Nikkaluokta and restock for the second week. We’ll see how I’ll do it.
Anyways, I’m a bit embarrassed to write about it, but I sold the Expedition 80 pack without even using it. I don’t want do start using heavier gear again, and I think I’ll be fine using the Lightning. I also sold two old backpacks that haven’t been used for a long time, my Hilleberg Enan and my Luxe Outdoor Sil Hexpeak.
With this setup my shelter, with polestraps, groundsheet, tent pegs and bivy will weigh ~900g. And it will be large enough to use with my wife or with two of my kids. Hopefully this will subdue my gear ADHD and I’ll stick with what I got.
The boots are newly waxed and the backpack is filled with gear. I haven’t been out since mid November, But tomorrow I’ll finally get out again. The winter has finally come to southern Sweden and there is a thin layer of snow on the ground. Yesterday morning the temperature was -8°c.
This trip will be more of a campingtrip than a hikingtrip. I’ve only planned to hike a couple of kilometers and then set up camp. I’ll just spend tomorrow relaxing, reading and maybe I’ll try to get a fire going. I’ll also use my new multi fuel stove for the first time. I was considering getting out tonight, and spend two nights in the woods. But with work it would have been almost dark by the time I would be out. I’ll go first thing tomorrow instead. It will be great to be out in the woods again.
In a few hours from writing this 2016 will end and 2017 will begin. I’ve never really cared much about New Years Eve as a holiday. For years I’ve been working nights either on New Years Eve or started early the morning after. But I do like to make plans for my life in a year to year basis, and I have started to lay out the plans for my outdoor life in the next year.
Plans for 2017
I plan to get out on at least one overnight trip every month. I didn’t succeed with this in 2016, but I’ll make another attempt this year. I got better hours on my new job, with no work on weekends, and that will probably make it easier to get away.
I want to spend at least 10% of the years nights sleeping outside, under the stars, in a tent, in a lean-to or otherwise out in nature. That’s 36 night, and shouldn’t be impossible to do.
Travel to Greenland and hike the Arctic Circle Trail. The planning is nearly done, and I’ve done some gear purchases, put away money for the plane tickets and notified my boss about vacation for the planned weeks.
Lots of day hikes with my youngest daughter since I’ll be home from work with her quite a lot up until August when she’ll start to go to kindergarten.
I’ll start with some more advanced, yet lightweight, outdoor cooking this year. I’m getting tired of eating the same freezer bag meals as always, and it will be fun to expand the culinary experience.
Buy a canoe and have overnight canoetrips on both Helgasjön and Åsnen. Åsnen is the second largest lake in Småland, and parts of it will most likely be transformed to a National park in the near future. This goal however is depending on whether I can afford to spend that much money or not.
Work on getting a hiking trail around Helgasjön. I’ve been in contact with the local authorities and it’s been up for discussion, but they won’t fund it right now. But I know there are more hikers around Växjö who’d like a trail there, and I’ll try to get more people to push for it.
Make the blog more active and write at least once a week, preferably two times a week.
Start making movies of my hikes and movies with gear reviews.
This year I also want to seriously start planning for a shift in my life, with more passive income than today, and find ways to cut down on office time and maybe find a way to make an income from my outdoor interest. I have both Angeliqa Mejstedt from Vandringsbloggen and Philip Werner from sectionhiker.com as role models. Both of them have a larger outdoor experience than me and have a really large number of readers, but you got to start somewhere 🙂
These are the plans I have now for the next year. Some will be easier to succeed with than others but in general, I’ll try to spend more time in the outdoors and focus more actively on finding alternative ways to make an income. In a year or so I’ll summarize how well I did in reaching my goals.
Happy new year everyone. Let’s make it a great one!