Jotunheimen, Tuesday

Day one

Day two

When we woke up at Tuesday morning in was raining and the wind was blowing like crazy. Fredriks hiking pole, that he used as a center pole in his Sil Hexpeak bent from the force of the wind. We had bad experiences from last year hiking in foul weather, and decided to wait out the bad weather in our tents. We saw one hiker passing our tent on his way to Spiterstulen, and he had a grim look on his face while forcing his way forward in the rain and wind.

Eventually we heard more and more voices. A lot of people came from Spiterstulen heading towards Glitterheim. The rain stopped to, and a little after lunch we decided to break camp. By then we saw kids who couldn’t be more than fourteen years old hike alone in jeans and sweatshirts while playing on their iPhones with bored looks on their faces. It felt wrong to hunker down in our tents any more.

We changed our plans and decided to skip Spiterstulen. Our initial plan was to hike to Spiterstulen and then continue to Gjendebu, Memurubu and then back to Gjendesheim over Besseggen. This was a bit longer than we had time to, so with the weather looking bad, and half a day spent in a tent, we decided to hike back to Glitterheim, back over the ridge and then reach Memurubu from there. This route would be one day shorter than our initial route, but it felt more relaxed than having to race forward to get back to Gjendesheim in time to be back in Sweden by Saturday.

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Glitterheim, with Glittertind covered in clouds

We hiked back to Glitterheim, were we only stopped for a few minutes using the toilets and throwing trash. I also used a payphone to call my wife. We hadn’t had reception since mid Sunday and I had sent her a text with our planned route, and that we would be out of reception for a day or two as I thought Glitterheim would have reception. This was not the case so I thought it would be wise to call her so she wouldn’t worry. She didn’t answer though, so I left a message on her voice mail.

We carried on and passed the bridge over the stream below Glitterheim, and were back on the trail leading towards Memurubu. We didn’t hike far though, but set up camp with views over Glitterheim, and the cloud covered Glittertind.

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Our campsite for the night

The campsite had a good flat surface to pitch the tents, lots of rocks to anchor the guy lines and was close to a stream. The bad thing was that the place was littered with dried cow dung. I managed to pitch my tent in a clear space, but Fredrik complained that he had poop in his vestibule.

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My Hilleberg Enan. In the zip-lock bag I tried to wash my underwear. It worked great

Since we put up our tents relatively early in the evening I took this time to try to wash my underwear in a zip-lock bag as I had read on a forum that you could do that.

I used water from the stream, a pinch of washing powder and some of the hot water left over from dinner. Then I just shook and squeezed the bag for a while before pouring the water out (not in the stream of course). Then I filled it with fresh water a couple of times and squeezed the bag a bit more. I hung them in a guy line to get the worst moisture out, but I knew the underwear wouldn’t be dry the next day. I planned to walk with them on anyways, to let them dry from my body heat. This night it was windy to, but not as much as the night before.

Stay tuned for the last two days of the hike.

Jotunheimen, Monday

Day one.

As I wrote in my pre-hike post I had started to get a cold the week before the trip. I had used everything I could find to make the effects of the cold as mild as possible. By Monday I was starting to feel a lot better.

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It was cloudy, but gradually the skies cleared up a bit

We woke up to better weather than the day before. I was really happy to be up in the mountains. Especially since last years failed trip (more of that in some future post). I was worried that the trip would be canceled or postponed considering my new job and the cold just before the trip. There is something special about the mountains that’s hard to explain in words. But I feel kind of like Bilbo when he says to Gandalf that he needs to see mountains.

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Fredrik packing up before we leave the campsite

We started to hike towards Glitterheim, and soon reached the bridge we had set as a goal the day earlier.

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The bridge over the rapid

The bridge consisted of two steel wires with a net on which wooden boards laid loosely. The boards weren’t fastened to the sides of the rapid, but the bridge hanged loosely over it. It was somewhat scary to walk across it as it wobbled a lot.

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View over the lake Russvatnet

After the bridge the trail turned up and we gained altitude. After a while most of the vegetation disappeared and only scattered patches of grass remained. The whole area, including the trail, was covered in boulders. The higher up we got, the more boulders there were. It was strenuous on the feet to keep balancing on boulders. I had set a goal to reach the ridge before we had lunch and had really underestimated how long it would take for us to walk up there. Fredrik was silent, but I could see that he wished we would have had the lunch earlier. I asked him several times but he said that if the goal was the ridge we would wait until we reached it.

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View near the ridge
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The boulders got worse the higher up we got

We finally got to the ridge and had a nice view over the valley beneath Glittertind. We had a short lunch break. At this altitude it was both windy and cold. We packed up again and started our decent towards Glitterheim.

We filled up water in a stream that had its source near the trail and then continued down the mountain.

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Glittertind, with the top covered in clouds. If you look closely you’ll see Glitterheim

We sat down and had a coffee break before we reached Glitterheim. While sitting there we met a German who was going the same way as we did. He stopped and we chatted for a while. He had planned to go to Slovenia, but ended up taking his VW Campervan to Norway instead. In Norway it had broken down and he then hiked between the cabins.

Fredrik is by no means a lightweight backpacker. Nothing wrong with that, since we all hike the way it suits us. But the German guy saw our packs and said that he thought it was unfair that Fredrik had to carry all the load. He thought we had shared gear, but we explained that we had separate gear but I just liked to keep it light and small. He wasn’t the only one to comment on it though.

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A picture taken the day before, showing our packs

We hiked with him to Glitterheim where we stayed for a short break. He would sleep there, and we would continue towards Spiterstulen. We said good bye and then continued. We hike for while longer and when we found a good spot near a stream we decided to make camp there.

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Another campsite with great views

The weather was really nice, but windy. The campsite was by no means sheltered and the wind blew hard. It was exiting though to set up the tent in windy conditions. I did want to test the tent and see how it did under these circumstances. We made dinner and then went inside our tents. I finished reading Mitt år som nomad and started to read Wild by Cheryl Strayed. I’ve read it before, but I liked it, and I like to read books about hiking while hiking.

I listened to music when I read and I felt really at peace. Hiking is the best way I know to recharge my batteries and relieve myself of stress.

Posts about Tuesday to Thursday will be up shortly.

Jotunheimen, Sunday

I was able to get my schedule together for the weekend. I went on the first part of my old classmates reunion on Saturday, and after that I drove to Gothenburg to meet my friend Fredrik. In Gothenburg I met a man who bought my old Bergans tent that I do not use anymore.

After that we packed Fredriks car and started to drive towards Jotunheimen. We got away quite late, and didn’t leave Gothenburg until 17.30. We took a dinner break before we reached the Norwegian border and then kept going. The roads up to Jotunheimen are small, and the drive took a long time.

When we started to get close to Jotunheimen the temperatures dropped as we gained altitude. It was down to 1°C. We came to the parking lot near Gjendesheim and decided to pay when we woke up instead. We took out our gear and set up our tent in the birch woods a couple of hundred meters behind the parking lot. I looked at my clock when I crawled down in the sleeping bag. It was 03.45.

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Our campsite for the first night. Neither of our tents were pitched perfectly, but we just wanted quick roof over our heads for a few hours of sleep. Fredrik borrowed my Luxe Outdoor Sil Hexpeak

We woke up at around 10.00 and had breakfast. We packed up our gear and headed back to the parking lot, where we payed the fee of 500 kr for one week. After that we walked the paved road from the parking lot to the huts at Gjendesheim. In Gjendesheim there are also boats that ferry people across the lake Gjende, below Besseggen. Many people take the ferry and then day hike Besseggen.

We only had a loosely thought out plan on how to hike, but had decided to either start, or end the hike with Besseggen, which has fantastic views. On Sunday the skies were gray, so we decided to save Besseggen for the last day and headed towards the hut Glitterheim, located below the mountain Glittertind, the second highest mountain in Norway.

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View overlooking the lake Gjende. To the right is Besseggen, hidden in clouds.

We left Gjendesheim at around 11.30. The map said that it was a 7 hour hike to Glitterheim, but we knew from experience that those times were meant for Norwegians, who are basically born with skis or hiking boots on their feet.

The trail starts with an ascent up the mountain. My body was not used to hauling a pack full of weight, and I was still tired for getting to little sleep, so the first part of the hike was strenuous. I did however have a much smaller and lighter pack than Fredrik, so I guess I shouldn’t complain. This was my packlist for the week.

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Boiling water for lunch

We hiked for a couple of hours before we had lunch. I had a portion of rise with tuna, as I had on my hike on Vildmarksleden a couple of weeks earlier. This time though I added a bag of Varma Koppen shrimp soup to the meal, and it tasted a lot better.

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Me, with a weeks worth of gear on my back.

We went on and first passed the lake Bessvatnet, which you could also reach on Besseggen. It rained on and off, and I switched several times from my very breathable wind jacket to my rain jacket.

We went on further, and passed eastern end of the lake Russvatnet. We stayed for a short coffee break when we met a shepherd. He had been living in a small hut in Jotunheimen for three months, tending to 1700 sheep that spend their summers on the hills. We talked for a while with him, and discussed the trail and how we had planned to walk. He also told us that boat that ferries people across Gjende had ferried 30 000 people on July alone. Besseggen is almost a highway with the amount of hikers on the trail each day.

We left the shepherd and kept going. We had set a goal to reach a bridge before we would set up camp. We didn’t reach it though. It was slowly starting to get dark, and we passed a good open space and decided to set up camp there.

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My Hilleberg Enan with my socks airing out on the guy lines.

We set up our tents and unpacked our gear. Fredrik had first planned to sleep without the inner, but while setting up the fly he saw a gigantic (at least according to him) spider under the fly, and decided to go with the inner after all.

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A nice view before a good nights sleep

We had dinner and then went to bed. I laid in my tent reading for a couple of hours before falling asleep. It was a good first day. Mostly good weather, and only occasional rain.

Stay tuned for part 2-5 which will be posted the coming days.

Vildmarksleden outside Gothenburg in August

This post wasn’t easy to write. Mainly because I didn’t like the trail and didn’t know what to write.

As I said in an earlier post I promised myself not to walk trails like these again, but instead drive the extra hours I need to get to national parks and more remote places where the scenery is better. But in a weak moment my friend Fredrik and I decided to hike Vildmarksleden (New Wilderness trail) just outside of Gothenburg. After the hike we decided to slap each other the next time any of us got the idea to hike trails like this.

On Friday morning I got off work at 7 am. I slept for a few hours and then drove to Gothenburg to meet Fredrik. We stayed at his place for a couple of hours before heading off at around 17.00. He lives in walking distance from the trail head Skatås, on Delsjö nature reserve. Delsjö area connects to Knipeflågsbergens nature reserve.

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Fredrik about to climb a hill

These areas had great nature and was beautiful to walk in. The downside was that it was a very crowded area because of the proximity to the city.

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Me, at the top of the hill.

We walked for about 10-12 km and stopped at around 21.00. We found a spot in the forest. Work had been done in the forest and cut down branches were all over the place. We cleared a spot and set up camp. I used my Hilleberg Enan for the first time. The setup was easy, and I was surprised how roomy it felt. I had lend Fredrik my Luxe Outdoor Sil Hexpeak, but the weather was good so he used a bivybag instead.

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My Hilleberg Enan pitched for the first time in the woods. In feels like a great tent after my first night of using it

I didn’t sleep so good that night. I have been working nights for three weeks since I got back from my vacation and I have a hard time turning back into sleeping at night again. I tossed and turned quite a bit despite being very tired.

We woke up at 9 am and had breakfast. Tortillas with nutella of course :-). We packed up camp and started hiking again.

There was a slight rain that came and went. Every time we started to take out our raingear it stopped though. We went to the midpoint of the trail and had lunch. We met two guy who dayhiked the trail from Hindås. They said that the trail was beautiful on the half they had hiked already.

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This was kind of weird. 30 meters from the trail, in the middle of the forest, we found this table with flowers and champagne-glasses with what looked like newly poured champagne. We didn’t see anyone around though.
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Tuna with rice and sambal olek. A really boring dish. I’ll try to mix in some sort of powder soup in the future.

We went on again, and this time the rain kicked in for real so we put on raingear. The rain kept falling until we stopped walking at the end of the day.

The forest we walked through was spouse plantations and, of course, marshes. We tried to keep our spirits up, but both of us felt that this wasn’t our cup of tea. As said, next time we’ll take the extra time to get to a more beautiful place.

We took a shortcut on an old section of the trail. Since it wasn’t maintained it was wet and we had to walk straight through marshes. But our feet were already wet from the rain and the wet grass. I still use my Inov8 and the feet will get wet.

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Fredrik in the marsh with the rain pouring down.

We walked for about 25 km and was looking for a spot to set up our tent. But we came across a newly built lean-to shelter before we found a good spot. It was really nice, with a view over a small pond. There was dry firewood stacked on the inside, and a fire ring and benches in front of the shelter. Neither one of us wanted to walk any further, and even though I wanted to try my Hilleberg a bit more the thought of drying out the clothes and warming up in front of a fire was more appealing.

We packed up our sleeping mats and sleeping bags and then started a fire. No bushcrafty fire starting, but cardboard, paper towels and denatured alcohol to get it going. We just wanted a fire quick and the wood was a bit damp from the humidity in the air.

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Fredrik having drying out by the fire

We dried our clothes and ate dinner. The clouds scattered and we saw the sun for the first time that day. Despite the rain, and the lack of scenery on the trail, the evening turned out pretty good. A camp fire makes wonders for the moral, and we sat for a while and just watched the fire.

We went to bed early. Unfortunately I slept bad this night to. The hike that was supposed to give me new energy just made me more tired. But I’m still glad we got out.

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View from the shelter

We hiked for about an hour to Hindås where Fredriks fiancée picked us up and drove us back to Gothenburg.

Despite the boring scenery, the rain and the lack of sleep I’m still glad I got out.

On another note, I started my new job this week. I have already checked with my new boss if I could take vacation on week 35 so that I could go on my planned trip to Jotunheimen. This was not a problem, so in 2,5 week I’ll be off to the mountains in Norway as I’ve longed for during the entire year.

I’ll probably write a pre-hike post before I go, and I’ll definitely write a trip report about it when I get back. Me and Fredrik have also loosely planned a hike in Tresticklan i October. I’ll try to get out once on my own some time in September to. It’ll just be an overnighter though. Hopefully I’ll feel that I’ve used my tent enough after that to do at least an initial review of my thoughts of it.

 

Tresticklan and Lundsneset in May

Finally, after almost two month without a night outside, the schedule and life at home allowed me to get out again. I had been watching hiking movies on YouTube, read blogs and scrolled through Instagram photos a lot during these months. My feet were itching to get out again, and my mind craved solitude and the peace you only get in nature.

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My gear for this trip

As said in my Pre-hike post, I planned to hike with my buddy. Things came up for him, and I ended up hiking solo after all. I didn’t mind though, since I like my solitude. I’ve been stressed out lately, and I really looked forward to disconnect from everything and just relax in nature without cellphone reception 🙂

It was roughly a 5h drive to Tresticklan and I left home a bit after 08.00. The car GPS showed me all sorts of different routes, one longer than the other, but I had a pretty good notion on how to drive since I was there with my daughter last October.

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Entrance to the park

I arrived there a little after 13.00 and set of. 6-7 cars where already parked there. There is a trail that goes straight through the park to the cabin Budalsvika on the Norwegian side of the border. In the middle of the park there is a 5km loop trail that goes around the park and back to the trail to Budalsvika.

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Lunch with a view over Stora Tresticklan

I had lunch at a rock overlooking the lake Stora Tresticklan and then started walking the loop trail. A couple with a dog day hiked a bit ahead of me. We passed each over a couple of times. When I reached the southern end of the loop trail I continued along a trail that wasn’t marked on the map. I went on until I reached a march with no foot-bridge across and then turned back. I didn’t see the couple again.

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On the loop-trail

When the trail started to go back north again I followed another trail about 1km south. That trail goes all the way to the southern border of the park, and was the one I planned on hiking north-bound if I had hiked with my friend. I turned back, finished the loop trail and headed towards Budalsvika and the Norwegian border.

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I really love my Exped Lightning

I didn’t have anywhere special to go, or any time limits, except that I should be back home sometime on Sunday. When I reached the Norwegian border I started looking for a spot to set up my tent. It was late in the afternoon, too early to set up camp, but still late enough to start looking.

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The Swedish-Norwegian border

 

The ground in Tresticklan and Lundsneset consists of rift valleys and the soil is very shallow on many places. On most places with deeper soil the ground is covered with blueberry bushes or calluna witch makes it hard to find camp spots. The rift valleys also makes hiking in east-west direction harder than north-south since it’s a lot of ups and downs. The park consists mainly of pine trees. The trees are old, and there are a lot of dead standing trees all over the place. The dead trees, and the shallow soil makes a lot of trees falling, and you see both live and dead trees fallen over the trail. Something worth taking into notion when choosing a spot to set up your tent.

 

I found a good spot on the Norwegian side of Boksjön, a litte bit south of Budalsvika. But I still thought it was too early to set up camp and started hiking a trail going south. I had the first camp spot in mind if I wouldn’t find a better one. After a while, up on a ridge, I found a good spot to set up camp. The soil was pretty shallow, but there were some rocks to anchor the pegs that didn’t get stuck in the dirt.

I made dinner and laid in the tent and listened to the birdsong. The weather had been shifting between sunny and cloudy, but had mostly been good. I guess the temperature were around 15C. Kind of the perfect temperature for hiking.

I read “A walk in the woods” on my ebook reader for a couple of hours before going to sleep. This was my first night using a Quilt and I had been looking forward to trying it out. I’m not completely sold yet, but it was nice. I did have trouble getting it to stay in position when I tossed and turned though. I really want to try it again when the temperatures are close to freezing to see how it does in those temps.

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Airing out the Cumulus Quilt 350

I slept really well. I was happy to be out there, and I felt peaceful. I woke up to a choir of all sorts of birds. The weather was a bit better than the previous day. It was still cloudy at times, but the sun was out more that yesterday.

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It’s hard to get a picture of the view but this was a nice place

I kept walking on the ridge and found a spot with a great view over Boksjön. I hadn’t walked far from my camp site but I stayed there for over 20 min just looking at the scenery and listening to the birds singing.

I kept walking the trail. It was steep decline down to the lake. The trail continued straight through a marsh and into a forest. Halfway in the marsh I lost the trail. I had to check my map several times and bushwhacked through the forest until the trail was visible again. Apparently I was on the trail all along, but it was poorly marked and I don’t think these parts were used a lot since it was grown over. The maps for Lundsneset were pretty good though. The marked trails had km-marks on them so I had a good notion on how far and how fast I was walking.

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Great way to back-flush the filter

I found a great spot at Boksjön to filter my water. I used a sports water-cap to back flush the filter witch worked out great. The cap is a lot smaller and weighs less than the included syringe, and it works just as well. The water was incredibly  clear and with no evident taste at all Every time I filtered lake water before it’s always been at least a little taste and color of humus. But the water here was as clear and tasteless as tap water.

I hiked the trail until I came to a road, and then turned back again. I went back to the lake and had my lunch there. After lunch I hiked back towards Budalsvika. I had hiked parts of a loop trail, and took the other way back to Budalsvika.

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My camp on the second night

I went back to Sweden. It was a bit early to set up camp, so I started hiking the loop trail on the Swedish side again, in the opposite direction. I found a great spot about 30 meter of the trail. It was shallow ground on some places, but fortunately there were rocks scattered to anchor the tent. I guess other hikers had used them for the same purpose.

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A nightly visitor

It was a truly wonderful evening. The weather was perfect, and it was warm outside. I sat on a rock reading for a couple of hours before turning in. The night wasn’t wonderful though. It started raining a lot during the night, and the sound woke me up several times. Condensation (I hope) dropped down in my face. I saw a slug climbing the outside of my tent. Two more were on my shoes and then two more inside my pack. I flicked them away and got up.

I had a breakfast of tortilla with sausage and tortilla with Nutella. I didn’t bother with coffee since it was raining pretty heavily, and I didn’t want to use the stove inside the tent. I packed up and left the campsite.

I had managed to keep my feet dry for the most part of the trip, but this morning during the walk back to the car they got wet instantly. The rain stopped, but the trail was really wet. It was less than an hour walk back to the car. I packed up and left Tresticklan. On my way home I stopped by Burger King and filled my body with delicious fat-food. A tradition I have to keep after every hike 🙂

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Healthy? Nah, but good for your spirit

I’m really glad that I got away on this trip. I’ve had a lot on my mind lately, and really needed the solitude and to disconnect from work and everything that occupied my mind. I felt really peaceful and relaxed while out hiking and it was a trip that gave me new energy. The scenery is beautiful, and I don’t think I’ll do any more hikes through spouse-plantations just because they are conveniently close to home. It’s well worth the drive to get to more interesting places.

When it comes to gear I think I’m pretty close to a perfect pack. I can’t say enough good things about my backpack. I really like it more and more. The thing I’ll change will probably be the tent. I want to get a sub 1kg tent, and as said in earlier posts I’m looking at the Locus Gear Hapi, with a solid inner. The Tarptent Notch is also on my list, witch is cheaper, lighter and with a smaller footprint. We’ll see what I’ll end up with.

Next hike will probably be in Tiveden Nationalpark.