A couple of weeks ago C and I got out on a trip in Skåne, near Söderåsen National Park. We stayed outside of the park though, to be able to camp freely.
Söderåsen is a two hour drive from home, and we arrived around noon. Weather was great, and though there still wasn’t any leaves on the trees, it felt like spring was in the air.
When we arrived at the parking lot, we met another couple that was going on a day hike. We started to hike down the trail, but they soon passed us, since we hiked in C:s pace.
We came down the canyon, passed a stream and then continued up on the ridge on the opposite side of the canyon. When we reached the top we left the trail and hiked off-trail along the ridge instead.
The forest was really beautiful, filled with really old deciduous trees. Even though we hiked on the ridge it was hilly. On one small valley the ground was pierced with rabbit holes and tunnels. It was interesting for both of us to find the different entrances and imagine what the vast network of tunnels beneath us looked like. The forest was also filled with lots of dead trees, with fungus growing on it.
Camping is still more important to C than hiking, and after a couple of hours she wanted us to set up camp. We found a beautiful spot, where we had nice views, and somewhat close to water.
Once again I’ve bought a new tent, in my never ending chase for the perfect shelter. Basically everything else in my gear is dialed down to be almost perfect for me, but when it comes to shelter I never seem to find the perfect balance between weight, size, comfort and the more subjective “homey” feeling.
This trip was my first try of the Hilleberg Niak. Considered a 1,5 person tent, it’s aimed at solo travelers who wants a lot of space, someone bringing a dog, or a parent with a kid. At 1700g everything included it’s an acceptable weight for a gram geek like me, while offering a lot of protection from both weather and bugs.
C was less than impressed though. All of fall and winter we’ve been camping with a big tipi and a wood stove to keep us warm. A small 2 person backpacking tent didn’t impress her.
We made lunch, put up the hammock between two trees and just hung out.
Below us in the canyon, a stream was flowing. I wanted to resupply our water, and in a valley next to our camp there was a way down the canyon that wasn’t as steep as on all the other places.
Getting down to the stream was an adventure though. The ground was covered in slippery leaves, that also hid rocks and holes. After a slow and controlled descent we finally reached the stream and filled up on water.
I was a bit worried about how we’d be able to get up again. But after a lot of work we managed to get back up to our camp.
The rest of the afternoon was spend around camp and in the hammock.
When it was time to go to bed we made dinner, brushed our teeth and crawled inside. It sure was more cramped than we where used to, but I think this will be a good backpacking tent for us.
C had a restless night, and wanted to sleep on my sleeping pad. My sleeping pad is a narrow Exped Winterlite HL M. I can’t say it was a comfortable night, as it felt like she was trying to push me out of the tent.
We woke up to bird song the next morning. C wanted to get up and play, but I preferred to stay in my quilt and continue sleeping. But you can’t really control a three year old who’s filled with energy, so it was time for me too to get up. But I did stay under the quilt when I boiled water for coffee and prepared the tortillas for breakfast.
When we where done, we packed down camp. I wanted to hike some more, but C wanted to get back to the car. But I managed to persuade her that we would hike back on the opposite side of the canyon, instead of taking the shortest route back.
We continued along the ridge to find a better route down to the canyon than the one we used to get water.
When we came across a crest we startled a group of 30-something fallow deers in a valley. They run up the next hill, stopped to watch us, and then left over the next crest. It was an impressive sight, and they had been pretty close to us.
We continued along the ridge, and when we reached the place where we had camped last year, we stumbled upon the herd of deers again. This time they didn’t see us, and we slowly sneaked closer to watch them. Eventually they saw us, and ran away across the ridge. When they had come pretty far from us they turned down on a trail leading to the canyon, and one by one they passed between the trees. It was like something from a Disney film.
We took a closer trail down to the canyon. We then crossed the stream on a fallen log, and continued on a trail. We walked up to the opposite ridge and continued back towards the car. The trees where even larger on this side. The place felt magical.
C was beginning to get tired on the last stretch, and wanted me to carry her at first. But with a little play and admiring the surroundings she continued to hike back to the car.
It was a great trip, and I really love this place. I want to get back here soon again.