The shortest trip

Last weekend I got out a short overnight trip, from Friday to Saturday. I had packed my backpack the evening before, and when I got off work on Friday I went home, changed my clothes, got my backpack and drove to Helgö.

I choose the same spot as I did on the overnight trip in early November. I parked at the entrance of the nature reserve and hiked on the trail for a short while, then turned away from the trail and into the forest.

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After a short while I got to the same spot that I had camped in on my last overnighter on Helgö.

The ground was covered in snow, and I quickly set up my tent. This time I used my Luxe Outdoor Sil Twin Peak. I have sold a lot of gear this last month. Two old backpacks being sold, my Hilleberg Enan and my Luxe Outdoor Sil Hex Peak to.

I did like both my Hilleberg and my Sil Hex Peak. But I’m planning on buying a Hyperlite Mountain Gear Ultamid 2. And when I do, I’ll use that on my solo trips. Together with the Twin Peak the whole family can go hiking together. The one-person tents would just be collecting dust. I’m trying to clean out my gear closet and only keep what I need and what I will actually use. (I guess I could sell a few of my many stove-sets to)

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When I had set up my tent I realized that I had forgot to bring my cell-foam mat. And since I had planned to bring my cell-foam mat I didn’t bring any sit pad.

I made a quick dinner before I crawled down in my sleeping bag. Many times when I sleep outside I can hardly keep my eyes open when I’ve crawled down in the sleeping bag, even when it’s early. But this time I actually stayed awake for a few hours reading.

I went to sleep, but woke up in the middle of night from the sound of an animal outside of the tent. From the rhythmic thumps it made I suspect it was a hare or a rabbit.

I woke up several times during the night, feeling cold from the ground. It felt like the sleeping mat didn’t insulate enough.

When I started packing up my gear I realized why. The floor in the tent wasn’t completely waterproof, and my body heat had melted the snow under the tent floor and the sleeping mat had been soaked in the middle. The sleeping mat itself should be waterproof, but I guess the insulation gets compromised by having it in a puddle. The next time I’ll use this tent I should bring either Polycro or have my cell-foam mat under the sleeping mat.

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Before I packed up I stayed in my sleeping bag boiling water for coffee. It was nice to get some warm coffee before I left my cozy sleeping bag. After breakfast I quickly packed up and headed back to the car.

It was just a really short overnighter. Driving out after work, hiking for 15 minutes or so, setting up camp and leaving directly after breakfast the next morning. It wasn’t as relaxing as I had planned to.

Next weekend I’ll probably get out on an overnighter with the local outdoor group on Facebook. I have also planned to hike Sigfridsleden from Asa to Växjö one weekend in March. It’s 53 km and I think it’s possible to do it comfortably from a Friday afternoon to a Sunday. I know I made a previous statement of my feelings towards these low-land trails in dark spruce forests, but I’ll use it as an exercise for the summers longer hikes.

The hiking year 2016

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The New Years Eve is closing in, and it’s time to sum up the past year. My goal for the year was to get out on at least one overnight trip every month of the year.

I didn’t succeed with this though, but I did get out on quite a few trips.

January:

Februari:

  • My third child was born, so hiking was not a priority in Februari.

March:

  • A two night trip on John Bauerleden north of Jönköping in the beginning of March, that nearly ruined my feet.
  • An overnighter again in the end of March on Vildmarksleden near Åseda. I got sick during the hike and spent the next few days in bed after this hike.

April:

  • I didn’t get away on a hike this month.

May:

June:

  • No trip this month either.

July:

August & September:

  • A two night hike on another trail called Vildmarksleden, this time east of Gotherburg. It was a wet rainy experience and not a trail I’ll visit again.
  • The “big” trip this year begun in late August and ended in the beginning of September and was a week-long hike in Jotunheimen in Norway. It was a great trip with mostly good weather. It was very windy though. But I can’t wait to get back to some real mountains again.

October:

  • In late October I finally got out on a trip. I had planned for a two night hike in Tiveden, but really poor weather made me change my mind, and despite the long drive I ended up with a short overnighter.

November:

  • In the beginning of November I got out on an overnighter on Helgö, just outside Växjö. It was one of the first cold nights, and I woke up to a white layer of snow. I did have some serious condensation on this trip.
  • In the middle of the month I got out again. This time on an overnighter in Lerike, at the north end of the lake Helgasjön. Everything was covered in a thick layer of frost, and the nature was absolutely stunning. I tried to make a short video of the trip, but it got quite short since I had forgotten to bring a larger memory card. I haven’t decided if I’m going to publish it or not.

December:

  • No trip this month, but in the first week of January I plan to be out in the wild again.

When it comes to gear I both added and changed a few things. My biggest purchase was the Hilleberg Enan. I actually like it better than I thought I would. I was afraid I’d find it too small and cramped, but it felt a lot roomier than expected.

I also bought a down quilt from Cumulus. This was my first time using a quilt instead of a sleeping bag, and I’m still not sure if I like it. I might end up selling it, and buying a Liteline 400 instead.

I also bought an Exped Winterlite sleeping pad. I really like my Synmat 7 UL, but as soon as the temperatures drop below freezing I find it too cold. It was comfortable and warm, but the mummyshape takes some getting used to.

During the fall I started to stock up gear for my planned ACT hike. After the trip to Jotunheimen I realised that I would have a hard time fitting 12-14 days worth of food in my 60l backpack (it’s not like it can’t be done, but I’d have a hard time making it work). The hike takes somewhere between 9-11 days, but I might also start at the Ice cap, with will add 40 km to the trail. I also want to do some more advanced outdoor cooking than just eating my freezer bag meals. It also seems to be really hard to get gas canisters in Greenland and a multi fuel stove seems to be the best way to go. For this I purchased an Exped Expedition 80 backpack, a Trangia 27 ULHA and the multi fuel burner X2 to the Trangia. I did put some thought down before I bought the Trangia, considering it’s weight and volume. But in Norway, where I was constantly above timberline and with really strong winds most of the time I did miss having a sturdy stove with a better windshield. Cooking was a pain in the ass when the windshield almost blew away and much of the heat escaped because of the wind.

I’m constantly trying to improve my gear and find the perfect gear for me and for the designated trip. I try to conserve my shopping in my everyday life, but when it comes to outdoor gear, I think I have a problem. 🙂

All things considered, I had a great hiking year. I do want to get out a lot more than I do. But it is a balance between familylife, work and my need to get out on hikes.

Next year I’d really like to buy a pair of Åsnes Sondre and get out on a winter trip. I also have loosely planned to buy a canoe, and if so, it’ll most likely be an Esker Wood Ki Chi Saga. It was love at first sight, and I’ll go to their showroom next year and look at one up close. There aren’t that many good hiking trails close to Växjö (if you don’t like dark spruce forests), but Småland is littered with lakes, and with a canoe I can do a lot of trips in beautiful scenery close to home. It’s a really big investment though and I don’t know if I can prioritize the cost.

I wish you all a happy new year, and I hope that you have a lot of great trips in 2017!

Short overnighter on Helgö

My last hike, in Tiveden a couple of weeks ago, didn’t go as planned so I still had the need to get out again shortly. So this weekend I decided to take the Friday off and do a short overnighter on Helgö, just north of Växjö.

The weather report predicted nice weather on Thursday evening and snow during Friday morning. Perfect weather for a night outside in other words.

I got off work early on Thursday and hurried home. I still had summer tires on my car and quickly changed them for winter tires. My backpack was already packed so all I had to do was to take a quick shower and then jump in my pants and drive the short distance to Helgö.

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The sun was already on its way down when I started hiking

I parked at the entrance of the nature reserve at around 15.00. There were two other cars parked there, but I didn’t see any people. The sun was low, but I hiked for a while.

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I was on Helgö the weekend before with the family and a lot of leaves had fallen in just a week

I followed the southbound trail from the entrance for a couple of hundred meters and then left it and bushwhacked instead. (No worries Länstyrelsen, I didn’t whack anything). Being a relatively small nature reserve and so close to Växjö it was nice to get off the trail and just hike through the forest. I first hiked through a deciduous forest and then left it for a forest with old pine trees.

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There are lots of different types of forests on Helgö. This patch had mostly pine and a few sprouse trees and a lot of moss.

I had no special goal, but just hiked where I felt like. Another good thing about leaving the trail. I hiked around for about an hour before I turned back to the deciduous forest where I had passed a nice open area where I could set up camp.

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Great camp spot with a lot of flat surfaces to choose from.

The area had lots of open spaces and I choose a nice one and set up my tent. I had my Exped Synmat 7 Ul sleeping pad, but I think it’s too cold when it gets below freezing so I brought a thin cellfoam mat to have on top of it. I have ordered an Exped Winterlite but it hasn’t arrived yet. I also used my winter sleeping bag, the Cumulus Panyam 600, for the first time of the season. It’s a great sleeping bag and now that the temperatures drop below freezing it’s time to store my quilt until next spring.

I made dinner and sat in the tent watching the forest. There’s an airport nearby, so every now and then the tranquility got ruined by passing planes. But for the most part it was calm and relaxing. I continued reading Chris Townsend’s Out There but was soon to tired to continue. A little after 19.00 I fell asleep.

I woke up at 01.00 when I heard loud noises. I head the sound of hooves in the leaves, and something heavy jumping and then a thump as if it threw itself down in the leaves. This was just outside my tent. At first I was a bit worried that it would be a boar. There are lot’s of them in Småland, and they can be dangerous. But as the animal was outside my tent I heard a roe deer bark in the distant, so I came to the conclusion that it was most likely a deer outside my tent too. I wanted to take a peek outside, but I didn’t want to startle it. Eventually I fell asleep again and woke up at around 07.00.

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The view I woke up to
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The snow transformed the forest

When I woke up I saw snow in the small gap between the foot-print and the fly. I opened up both the inner- and the outer door to get a view of the forest. I wasn’t ready to get up yet, but laid in my sleeping bag for more than an hour just looking at the forest and the snow falling.

It had been a great night, but there hadn’t been even a breeze the entire night. This, combined with wet leaves made a perfect match for condensation. Despite the fact that I had both short-end vents open the inner roof was filled with water drops from condensation.

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There are worse places to spend the night

Eventually I got up and made breakfast. I boiled water for coffee and had a few tortillas with peanut cream and hazelnut cream. I took it slow and enjoyed the solitude and the tranquility of the forest. I packed up, left camp and headed back towards the parking lot. After a few hundred meters I heard branches breaking, and then I saw a roe deer that came jumping towards me. It stopped when it was 50 meters from me, stood still, started walking in one direction , stopped again and then changed back to the other direction and quickly disappeared into the woods again. It was a nice way to end the short trip.

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.

 

Pre-hike planning

As earlier said I had plans to get out on a hike at least once a month this year. Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to get out in April, and until the comming weekend I haven’t had a chance to get out in May either. I’m currently taking a hunters license and spend weekends on the shooting-range. That, and work every third weekend leaves me with a full schedule.

This weekend though I’ll hike in Tresticklan nationalpark. The park borders Norway and Lindsneset nature reserve. It’s a 5,5 hour drive from home and I plan to leave early on Friday morning and get back home on Sunday.

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The initial plan was to meet up with a friend in Gothenburg and then drive together to Tresticklan. Unfortunately he discovered that he had a meeting planned on Friday and would join in the evening instead.

My plan then was to drive to the southern entrance of the park and solo-hike during the day and then meet my friend at the main entrance. When I studied the detailed maps from Lantmäteriet, and asked in a forum, I discovered that there were gates on the roads since it’s not a public road all the way to the entrance. It’ll be a 4-5km walk from the gate to the park, on what’s supposed to be a really boring gravel road. My other option was to drive up on a small logging-road to the east of the park and then bushwhack through the forest into the park and to the trail. Then it’ll be about 1km walk from the road to the trail and probably in a more scenic environment. I’ve more or less decided to go with that option.

Well, this was the plan so far but of course it changed. My friend and his girlfriend have been house hunting during the year. Yesterday they got an offer on a house they’ve been looking at, and it is likely that they’ll have to spend the coming weekend with things concerning what hopefully will soon be their house. So for now it’s a good chance that I’ll end up doing yet another solo hike. It’s a bit unfortunate, but even though I looked forward to seeing him and hike with him I don’t mind to much. I do like my solitude and hiking alone does have it’s benefits. Choosing your own pace, when and where to take a break, set up camp or leave in the morning. We’ll see how it ends up. Hopefully he’ll come, but if he don’t I’ll have a great hike anyway. All that’s left now is to plan the food and buy some snacks. I’m really looking forward to try my new Cumulus Quilt 350 since I haven’t used quilts before.