Vildmarksleden (Wilderness trail) in late march

In the end of march I decided to go on the second trip of the month. The weather had been warmer for quite some time so I didn’t expect any snow. My plan was to try trailrunners in snowfree conditions. This time though I used both gaiters two pairs of these thin woolsocks. I also wanted to test myself and see how far I could walk in a day with the lightweight gear that I have now and still enjoy myself.

I set out to Vildmarksleden in Klavreström, about 40km north of Växjö. I have hiked this trail a few years earlier and didn’t like it. But I thought the 37km was a decent length for an overnight-trip, it was fairly close to home and I wanted to see if my impressions of the trail would change.

Sadly, it wouldn’t. Despite the name Vildmarksleden, witch means Wildernesstrail, it feels like far from wilderness. In consists mainly of sprouse-plantations, clear-cuts of sprouse-plantations and marshes. Long stretches of the trail is forest-roads. It has some beautiful passages, for example a stretch near Älghultssjön. But unfortunately the beautiful passages are in minority.

Anyways, I parked my car in Klavreström and headed out around 11.00 with the following packlist: https://lighterpack.com/e/3vgxg4

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A part of the trail next to Älghultssjön

I walked to around 14.00 before I made lunch. I had my homemade Lapsgojs, mashed potatoes with meat.

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My dinnerplace
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Lapsgojs is soaking and the ghee will be added later.

I while after lunch I actually got lost. A lot of trees had fallen during storms, and on a poorly marked part of the trail I got lost. I couldn’t see where the trail was going, and by the calculations of where on the map I was I thought I’d just bushwhack a bit and then get to the trail. Unfortunately I had overrated the speed I was walking at and was at another sections of the trail than the one I thought. The terrain was similar though with clear-cuts, heights and marshes. I bushwhacked for about an hour and went right through a marsh before I reached the trail again.

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Despite being a clear-cut this was actually a nice section of the trail.

I kept walking to 18.00 before I set up camp. I remembered from the last time on the trail that there would be a nice clearing where I could set up the tent. I was very tired and my body was aching when I reached the clearing. At that time I just thought I was tired from walking all day. Something that would prove to be wrong.

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Couscous-stew with brocolli and salami for dinner
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The clearing where I spent the night in my Luxe Outdoor Sil-Hexpeak

The moment my water for the dinnerbag boiled the skies opened in an icy rain that turned into hail. I ate inside the tent and quickly went to bed. I curled up in the sleepingbag and watched an episode of Kampen om tungvattnet (the saboteurs) and then went to sleep.

I woke up the next day feeling miserable. I skipped breakfast and quickly packed up. The tent was covered in ice.

I walked the ~12km left of the trail and got back to the car. When I got back home I discovered that I had a fever, and I was sick for about a week. I guess it has something to do with age after 30 :-). It’s not like a few years ago when you were sick for a day or two and then got back in the game.

After this hike I realised that I still don’t like Vildmarksleden. It’s ok in length but it really doesn’t offer that much when it comes to beautiful nature.

Next trip will hopefully be in Tiveden or Tresticklan nationalpark. I’ve been in both before, and the scenery is gorgeous if you like lowland-hikes.  I had planned a trip with a friend for the coming weekend, but unfortunately other things got in the way so I have to postpone it. A tripreport will come as soon as I get a chance to get out again.

Multiday on John Bauer-trail in March

For different reasons I didn’t get out on a trip in Februari. Since I did have my plan for 2016 to get out at least once a month I thought I’d take two trips in March to compensate. So in the beginning of March I took the car to Jönköping to the southern trailhead of the John Bauer-trail, witch is a ~50km long trail between Jönköping and Gränna and goes somewhat parallel to the lake Vättern, the second largest lake in Sweden.

When I left my home, about 1,5h drive from Jönköping it had been above freezing and no snow for quite some time. Therefore I didn’t expect any snow, and thought this would be a great opportunity to try hiking in trailrunners. Up until now I’ve used these big boots, and I love them. I never had a blister, and I’ve been running about 9km in them (when I forgot my gloves at a lake on the Norwegian side of Tresticklan national park.) and they felt as comfortable to run in as running shoes.

I did however want to try what it’s like to hike in trailrunners. Even though I love the boots, I wanted to try the “wet feet” thing where you know your feet will get wet, but you dry them in camp, and you have light shoes that dries quickly. I wouldn’t have to worry about rivercrossings and trying to keep my boots dry this way. From what I read about trailrunners you wouldn’t have to worry about blisters and breaking them in. I was stupid to think that I didn’t have to take the necessary preparations (like thin double socks etc).

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My Inov-8 Roclite 295

I parked the car, and started walking. It was a layer of a few cm of snow, and quite quickly it started to melt through the mesh on the top of the shoe. After a while I got to the trailhead of John Bauer trail. Apparently I had walked a stretch of the South Vättern Trail.

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Jönköping, and the southern tip of Vättern. Snow and grey skies.

I only walked about 4 km the first afternoon, before I found a nice meadow to set up camp. It was starting to get dark. For this trip I used the Luxe Outdoor Sil Twinpeak. I’ve been looking for a light 2-person tent and this was kind of cheap. I don’t know if I’ll keep looking or not. I do have my eye set on the HMG Ultamid 2 with a halfsolid inner from Bearpawwd. This however is a much to large investment at the moment. The Twinpeak has a full mesh inner, and I do prefer to have at least 1/3-1/2 solid inner to block the wind while sleeping.

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My home for the night. I kicked away 10-15 cm of snow to get it down to the ground.

 

I had to kick away snow to get the tent down a bit in the snow. It was fairly easy to pitch, and I inflated my mattress and fluffed up my sleepingbag. After that I started with dinner. I make my own dinners, and my favourite is risestew. Instant-rice, dried tomato-basil soup, crushed peanuts and oliveoil.

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Making dinner

One foot had already gotten a blister at the heel. I forgot my Leukoplast, but had a little piece of blister-tape. I did realise that I should have had better socks, and use double socks as I do with boots.

I was a bit cold that night. I don’t know the temperature, but the cold didn’t come from the top, but from the sleepingpad not insulating enough. I’ll probably buy a Winterlite or something similar for the next winter.

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Airing out the sleepingbag
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Full-mesh inner, not my favourite. But the tent has lots of room for one person wintercamping

I started walking after a breakfast of tortillas with nutella and coffee. The nutella had frozen over night so I had to put the bag down in the coffee-water to make it soft enough to spread it on the tortillas.

I had a plan to walk for about half the day, and then turn back towards the car. This was a multidaytrip and I had one more night on the trail planned.

My feet hurt though. I had now gotten a blister on the other foot. Since I didn’t have gaiters (something I use now) snow kept getting inside my shoe. My socks were to rough and also worn, witch made a lot of friction. I should have stopped, but I was just stubborn and kept walking. The snow got deeper the further into the trail I got, and this made it quite an effort to hike. Especially when my feet hurt the way they did.

After a few hours of walking I had lunch and started to go back. At this point all I could think about was how much my feet hurt. I felt stupid for not taking my boots, even though I really didn’t expect snow. I felt stupid for not using better socks, and two pairs of them. I didn’t want to use my sleeping-socks while walking since I wanted a dry pair to sleep in. Same goes with the socks dedicated as “camp-socks”.

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The snow was really deep on many places
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My pack, the Exped Lightning 60. I really like it.

It was starting to get dark when I got to my designated camp-spot. I had walked about 25km this day. The camp-spot was in a meadow a few hundred meters from where I camped the first night. I thought about keep going till I reached the car, and head back home. My feet were numb at this point so I could walk somewhat painless. I did however want to be out on a multiday-trip and therefore decided to set up camp for another night. In this meadow the snow was even deeper than the first one.

I set up camp, ate dinner and then went to sleep. I didn’t really enjoy myself at this point. My feet hurt, they were cold and I felt miserable. I boiled water and filled one of the waterbottles with it and put it in my sleepingbag. It took a long time before my feet started to feel warm again. The bottle helped though, and I didn’t feel chilled like I did the night before.

The next morning I skipped breakfast, packed up camp and started walking. Or really, it was more limping than walking at this point. I did manage to get to the car though. I had my usual craving for fatfood and stopped at Mc Donalds on my way home to have a burger breakfast. My heels looked awful at this point. I’ve never had so large and deep blisters on my feet before and it hurt wearing shoes for days afterwards.

In all, I liked the trail. I’ll try it again when there’s no snow. Even though it was far from a pleasant experience I got to try my pack for a real hike, and I really loved it. It was supercomfortable and lightweight. I got to try the tent, witch I only pitched once before, and I got to try hiking in trailrunners, and learn what I should do different.

My packlist for the trip.

Tent-modifications part 2

Part one is here.

The parts I ordered from extremtextil arrived this week. I tried to sew on my wifes sewing-machine but I really couldn’t get it to work. I’ve tried many times with different things, but it always ends up with a big pile of twisted thread. I decided to sew by hand instead. It might not be the most professional sewing, but it worked.

I didn’t get it to work with clips for the lower tiepoints of the innertent. I couldn’t get a good pitch, so I decided to keep using the small titanium-spikes, and settle with the three rings 50 cm up to get the inner to get a tighter pitch and the dryline.

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The dryline, with the inner lowered.
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The attachment-point on the right side of the tent
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The attachment-point in the middle of the inner. The middle seem has been the one that sags the most.
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The attachment-point on the left side of the tent

I wish I could’ve got the attachmentpoints to the fly to work good, so that I didn’t have to use extra spikes for the inner. But in all, I’m pleased with the result. I won’t have to worry about a sagging inner hanging down in my face anymore, and I have a line to dry my wet socks.

Januari, a short overnighter

As I wrote in my last post my plan for 2016 has been to go out on at least one overnight-trip per month. It doesn’t have to be a long adventurelike hike, but a night in the tent is sufficient.

So in the beginning of januari I set of to the northen trailhead of Sigfridsleden (Sigfreds-trail). The trail goes from Asa in the north to the lake Rottnen in the south and is 90km long in total.

I had no plans to hike the whole trail, since this was just a short overnighter, and a chance to get a night outside. It was also a chance test my new backpack, the Exped Lightning that I’d bought in december, but hadn’t got a chance to test.

I arrived in Asa around 15.00 and parked at the hostel next to the church. From there I started walking south on the trail for just about 2,5km where there is a great campspot with views over the lake Asasjön. I was here almost exactly 1 year before so I knew beforehand where to set up camp.

When I’d set up my tent and started to prepare dinner it was already dark outside.

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The dinner was Westafrican ricestew, a recipe from the book Fjällmat, witch I highly recommend

 

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My tent, the Luxe Outdoor Sil Hexpeak

For southern Sweden, and with the mild winter we had this year it was a cold night, with temperatures around -6C to -7C, or so the weatherreport said. My sleepingmat was the Exped Synmat 7 UL witch proved to be a bit cold for the temperatures. My sleepingbag was the Cumulus Panyam 600. The bag it self was warm, and I didn’t freeze from the top. The cold came from the ground and up through the sleepingpad. I should’ve brought a small cellfoam-mat to insulate more. I slept fairy well though, even though I was a bit chilly in the early morning witch made me toss and turn a bit.

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My camp for the night
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Boiling up some coffee-water. The trekkingpoles are used as tentpoles, multiple use to lighten the weight.

For breakfast I boiled up some water for coffee and had tortillias with nutella. The nutella had froze though so I had to put the bag of nutella in the hot water before I could smear it on to the tortillas.

After breakfast I packed up camp and headed back to the car to get home. It was a short, but nice trip and I like to camp in colder weather since I really don’t like the bugs that come out in the warmer seasons.

(BTW I’m not payed (unfortunately 🙂 ) by any company to write, but I will link to gear that I like in my posts.)