Spring overnighter in Skåne

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.

Second two-night trip with my daughter

I had planned to do an overnighter or a two-night trip with Corinne, my two-year old, in the end of this week, as it’s a holiday on Thursday and I’ve taken time off from work on Friday. The plans changed however, as my wife needed to study last weekend and needed some peace and quite at home. My son was already away, so I decided to take my youngest daughter on the planned trip a bit earlier instead. My oldest daughter wanted to stay home with her mother instead.

I had planned to quit work a bit earlier on Friday, pick C up from kindergarten and then drive to Skåne in the early afternoon. In the end it didn’t work out as planned, and we ended up driving down in the early evening instead.

My planned location was a two hour drive from home, and we arrived at the parking lot at 19.30.

It was still sunny and bright when we arrived, and the fresh green leaves of the beech forest almost seemed like they where glowing.

I was instantly struck by how beautiful the forest was.

We started to follow Skåneleden, but after a short while we took off into the forest instead. We found a nice flat spot and set up our camp. There where blueberry bushes underneath the floor, and old parts of the bushes where really sharp. I was a bit worried about my inflatable sleeping mat, but it did survive the trip.

This was the first time I used my Storminstove system, and I really liked it from the start. It felt really efficient, stable and safe to use around C. I had brought a Toaks frying pan with roughly the same dimensions as my pot, but it didn’t work good. More on this later.

We had bought a couple of burgers on our way down, so I just made tea and we ate snacks when our camp was ready. We explored the area closest to the camp and then went to bed. C fell asleep pretty quickly.

We both slept good and woke up to the birdsong the next morning. The sun was shining and it was a beautiful morning.

We made a breakfast of tortillas, sausages, cheese and smoothies, and coffee for me.

After breakfast we packed up and left. We where going to hike off trail from now on.

When you’re used to the dark dense spruce forests of Småland, beech forests like these almost feel exotic.

We took a lot of breaks, and C walked a lot on her own. But she likes to ride on the shoulders, and a lot of the times I had her up there.

We hiked until we came to a small stream, where we filled up on water. After our water supply was restocked we searched for a nice place to make lunch. This time I had brought home dried meals, and my West African stew was a success.

I had really hoped that C would take a nap after lunch, because I was really tired myself. Unfortunately she was anything but tired so there was no nap for any of us.

We hiked for a little while longer, but when we found a beautiful spot for a camp at 15.30 we stopped there and set up our camp, despite the early hours.

When our camp was up we had a lot of time left until sundown. We had a lot of snacks and explored the nearby area. C got to set the pace and we walked where ever she felt like.

When it was time for dinner I made falafel with couscous and Ajvar, from a premade falafel mix. I think I had too much water in it, as it got too runny, and the frying pan didn’t really fit the Storminstove, as it was just a bit too narrow, and the frying pan slipped down into the stove.

In the end my falafel became a mash of burned parts mixed with uncooked batter. It still tasted ok, but I won’t try to make it on the Storminstove again. I never seem to be able to get the good at frying stuff on lightweight stoves, and I’ll probably just stick to freezer bag cooking on my hiking trips.

C felt really tired pretty early in the evening, and since she hadn’t had her nap that day I thought it would be good idea to put her to bed. It wasn’t.

When we had changed into our sleeping clothes, and crawled into bed she was anything but tired. She roamed around the tent like a small barbarian about to sack Rome, and had no intention of going to sleep. At first I was super tired, but when she eventually had fallen asleep I couldn’t sleep. I ended up tossing and turning the entire night instead.

The next morning we aired out our gear when we had breakfast. We packed up, and then took another route back to the car.

The forest was almost radiant in the bright morning sun. We passed another family that had been camping a few hundred meters from us, and then continued on a trail back to the car.

The trip had been great, and the forest was really beautiful, with the bright green spring leaves, the countless small hills and and the soft leaf covered ground. And since it was pretty early in spring we weren’t bothered by bugs.

The last morning C said that she wanted to sleep at home next night, so I guess two nights in a row is enough for her. But today when I picked her up from kindergarten she asked if we could sleep in a tent tonight again, so the interest is still there. Next time I’ll probably go out on a solo trip, but I can’t wait to get out with her again. It can be hard work, but it’s rewarding to see how much she enjoys playing and camping in the forest.

Tweaking gear and shedding weight

It’s no secret that I really like my Tentipi Olivin. It was love at first sight, and I don’t regret buying it. It is however a lot heavier than my the Hyperlite Mountain Gear Ultamid 2 that I owned before I bought this shelter.

The Ultamid, with pegs, all the guylines attached, polycro groundsheet and polestraps weighted just under 1000g.

My Tentipi Olivin with the 3F UL Gear floor weighs 2325g.

The gram geek in me just couldn’t let that stand, so I looked at ways to reduce weight.

There are 12 perimeter anchor points, and 6 guylines. I had 18 Y-pegs, but changed 6 of them to Toaks Shepard Hooks. They weigh less than half of a Y-peg.

I also ordered Hyperlite Mountain Gear polestraps to use my trekking poles instead of the dedicated center pole. The centerpole with its bag weighs 484g. The polestraps weighs 36g.

I’ve switched the original tent bag for my Luxe Outdoor stuff sack that weighs 22g instead of 67g.

I’ll also skip the bag with the repairkit and the pitching aid, which saves me 29g.

With this setup my shelter weighs a lot less:

  • Tentipi Olivin fly: 1161g
  • HMG polestraps: 36g
  • Pegs + bag: 214g
  • 3F UL gear floor: 320g
  • Tent bag: 22g
  • Total: 1753g

I could save 220g more if I use my polycro groundsheet instead of the silnylon floor.

That’s it. With a few simple moves I could reduce 572g from my shelter system, with another 220g easily removed if I want to.

It still not a UL shelter if you count it as a one person shelter. But it’s still quite a lot lighter than before. I’ll try this new setup the next time I’m out.

Other than that I ordered a Hyperlite Mountain Gear stuff sack pillow when I ordered the pole straps. The stuff sack pillow weighs the same as the old stuff sack that I used to store my down jacket in, but I can skip the inflatable pillow, which sheds another 49g of my base weight. Hopefully it’ll also improve my sleep, as the air pillow isn’t that comfortable.

Over and out from the gram geek.

Stora Mosse in March 2018

Last weekend I drove to Stora Mosse National Park for an overnight trip. I hadn’t planned to be out this weekend, but my wife had seen how stressed out I was from work lately (lots of co-workers have quit or gotten burn outs which leaves an ever increasing work load for us that are still there), and thought that I might need some hiking time to wind down. She knows the outdoors is the best way for me to reduce stress and recharge.

Right up until the point where I sat down in the car it was still undecided where I should go. Stora Mosse National Park, Norra Kvill National Park or Raslången Eko Park was the places I had in mind. Eventually I decided to go to Stora Mosse, as I had only been there on a day hike before, and wanted to do an overnighter there.

Stora Mosse National park is located just north west of Värnamo, about an hours drive from Växjö, and was formed in 1982. Almost the entire park consists of mire, and it’s the largest untouched mire in Sweden, south of Lappland. Together with Brokullen och Långö Mosse it’s almost 8000ha of protected land. There is a system of pine forest “islands” within the mire, and there are 40 km of hiking trails in the park. Some of them are possible to use with wheelchairs or a baby stroller, while other trails cross the mire on 30cm wide foot-bridges. If you want to leave the foot-bridges it’s possible to use snow-shoes to hike in the mire. From 2013 it’s also allowed to camp in certain areas in the park. Detailed maps can be found here. If you’re lucky you might spot one of the White-tailed eagles or Golden eagles living in the area. You get here by road 151 between Värnamo and Gnosjö, and the road cuts right through the park. In the middle of the park there is a visitors center, but be sure to check the opening hours before you get there.

I drove up pretty early and arrived there a little before 11am. It was roughly a 1 hour drive from home. I decided to hike in the southern parts of the park, and had planned to camp near Lövö.

The temps where slightly below freezing, and it had been cold and snowy for a few weeks. This meant that the mire was frozen over and I didn’t have to walk on the foot bridges. I did however follow the trail. There where ski tracks on the foot bridges and I walked beside them to not ruin the tracks. I worked up a good sweat while hiking in the deep snow. I turned right at the first intersection of the trail, which meant that I would be hiking through the forest instead of going through the mire. Hiking in the forest was effortless, compared to the sometimes knee deep snow in the mire. I hiked for about 1,5 hour before I stopped for lunch. It felt good to be out in the forest again, and I was really enjoying myself.

After lunch I kept hiking south, but stopped once in a while, rolled out my cell foam sleeping mat and just laid down, watched the trees and enjoyed the silence. The forests here reminds me a bit of Tresticklan national park, with the old scattered pine trees. After a while the ski tracks stopped, and I kept hiking on the trail. There where no other foot prints, so I was alone in these parts of the park.

After a while I passed the campground near Lövö on my left, but continued south to hike in a circle. I hiked the circle trail, past the hut at Lövö and then came back to the camp site from the other direction. It was only around 14.00 but I set up my camp anyways.

It took a bit of effort to flatten out the deep snow, but eventually I got it flat enough to set up my tent. I inflated my sleeping mat, rolled out the sleeping bag and made cup of coffee.

After that I decided to keep exploring the park. I went back to Lövö and hiked the trail towards Anderstorp.

I came to an observation tower at the edge of a forest, and climbed up. For being in the middle of Småland, the views where amazing, and you could see for several km.

I kept hiking south for a short while, but quickly lost track of the foot bridges.

I turned back to my campsite and made dinner once I got back.

I slept with the top vent and the door fully open, and had no condensation at all. I had a pretty good nights sleep, even though I toss and turn a lot.

As usual, it took some mental effort to get out of the sleeping bag. I like winter, but now I’m really looking forward to the warmer seasons.

I made a nice breakfast of chili Brie and salami in tortillas. It was delicious.

After breakfast I packed up and left my camp site.

I hiked back towards the car, but stopped once in a while to lay down on the sleeping mat, look at the tree tops waving in the wind and enjoy the last silence before I got back to the city.

On the parking lot I met the first people since I left home on Saturday morning. A group of maybe 10 Danes where preparing for a day hike.

As usual, I had a great time in the outdoors. I really like the simplicity of hiking life, the serenity of the silent empty forest and the monotony of hiking. My mind wanders as I move silently through the trees. It was a great trip, and I can’t wait to get back out on another trip soon.

Post-hike gear review

Most of the gear I used during the Jotunheimen-hike have been used for a few trips now. The frying pan and the pillow got used for the first time. I’ll do a short review of the gear, and my thoughts of it after the trip. I feel that I’m close to getting the perfect gear for my needs.

Backpack – Exped Lightning 60 + flash pack pocket
This is a great pack that weights just over 1000g. It has one large storage with a roll-top closure and waterproof fabric. The pack isn’t waterproof though since the seams aren’t sealed.

Inside there is a mesh pocket where I store first aid kid and the repair kit. Underneath it there is a solid pocked that is reachable from the outside through a zipper. I store electronics and extra batteries here. There are also two mesh pockets one the side of the backpack and on the side of the waist belt. I also bought the flash pack pocket which is a bigger mesh pocket to have on the outside of the pack.

The pack is dimensioned to handle up to 24kg. I’ve had it up to 15kg and it is super comfortable. You hardly feel the weight on your back. I really love this pack and would definitely recommend it

Tent – Hilleberg Enan with foot-print
This was only the second trip that I used my Hilleberg Enan. I’ve said in earlier posts that I’ve been looking for the perfect shelter, and considered  a lot of different tents. I finally ended up with the Enan. It might not be the perfect shelter (I don’t know if there is one) but it turned out to be a very nice tent. It first launched in 2015, with a fabric called Kerlon 600, developed just for this tent. Hilleberg changed the fabric to the stronger (and heavier) Kerlon 1000 in 2016, partly because Kerlon 600 turned out to be very hard for the seamstresses to handle.

I bought the 2016 version. It weights 1200g (1452g with the foot-print). The fabric feels very thin, but it very strong. It’s a tunnel-tent with one 9mm DAC Featherlite pole in the center. The design is built on Hilleberg Akto but is a lighter 3-season version. It is also similar to Tarptent Moment. It has built in ventilation in the short-ends, with sil-nylon flaps that can be used to close the vents in poor weather.

I really liked the tent. I thought I might find it to small, but with the footprint and the big D-shaped door open I had a lot of usable floor-space. It was also strong, and handled severe conditions with rain and strong winds in exposed areas. I would recommend it, but I know many lightweight hikers prefer mids. I for one is happy to not have to crawl around the center-pole anymore. I might change my mind again though and end up with a mid again sometime.

Sleeping bag – Cumulus Quilt 350
I bought the Quilt earlier this spring. I had never used a Quilt before but only used sleeping-bags before. I still can’t make up my mind on what I think about it. On one hand, I think it’s a bit of a hassle setting it up with the straps around the sleeping mat and getting it tight enough, without being to tight. It’s also had to not get a gap where cold air get in when I toss and turn at night. On the other hand I love the lower weight (585g) and how easy it is to get in or out of it (just push it down). I have a Panyam 600 from Cumulus that I use when I hike in the winter, and I’m really pleased with the sleeping bag. It hardly leaked any down. The Quilt however leaks quite a lot of down. I don’t know how much is normal, and I’ve understood that some down products leak a bit in the beginning, when the feathers comes out. I’ll see after a few more uses if the leaking stops. The quilt had only been used 4 nights before this trip, and it appeared to leak less in the end of the trip. I do recommend Cumulus, but if I were to buy a new Quilt I’d probably try Enlightened Equipment since I like their strap-system to fasten the Quilts.

Sleeping mat – Exped Synmat 7 UL
I’ve had this sleeping mat for a couple of years. It was the first UL product I bought, and actually the thing that got me in to UL and interested in lightening my pack weight. It weights 450g and it’s 7cm thick. I had cellfoam mats and inflatable 2cm pads before, but this sleeping mat is a dream to sleep on compared to those. It is super comfortable and I wouldn’t want to sleep on a cellfoam mat again. When it’s time to get a new one I’ll probably go for the Hyperlite and save a 100g more. I definitely recommend this mat.

Pillow – Exped UL Airpillow
This was the first trip that I used a pillow. Before this trip I’ve just used my fleece-jacket piled up. It only weights 45g and I like to have a designated pillow so I can wear my clothes on my body if it would be to cold in the Quilt. At first I inflated it to hard and it wasn’t that comfortable to sleep on. After that I let some air out and it was a lot better. There are two points on the pillow where you can tie shock-cord, and I’ll probably do that to get it to stay on the sleeping mat. I like the pillow, but it was still less comfortable than I thought it would be.

Exped Schnozzle pumpbag UL M
I use this bag, both as a drybag to protect my sleeping gear from water, and to inflate my sleeping mat. It works great for both things and I really like it.

Sleep baselayer
Just a regular cheap synthetic baselayer. I use it so that I always have a dry fresh layer of clothes to wear when I go to sleep.

Stove set – Fire maple 117T and Toaks Titanium pot
Both the burner and the pot is made of titanium. I’ve had both for a while now and they work without any issues. I like that the burner is made of titanium. It’s light, 98g, and it cools down fast after you’re done using it. I prefer using a spider burner instead of a top mounted burner. I think it gives me more control and stability.

The pot I use got a bail handle. When I bought it I planned to do more bushcraft style trips and wanted the bail handle for times when I have a campfire. Haven’t been a lot of those, but I do like the pot. It’s light, 133g, and large enough for coffee and water to the food.

The windscreen is a cheap titanium windscreen bought of eBay. Very light and does what it should. Not much to say about it.

Baby wipes
I can’t say enough good things about it. I can’t remember which forum I read about using it, but nowadays I bring them on every trip. Before putting on my sleep baselayer I clean my body with baby wipes to clean off the days sweat and dirt.

Headlamp – Black Diamond Cosmo
It’s a light headlamp that only weights 87g, but I’m not entirely happy with it. The hatch to close the batteries seems flimsy and I wonder if it would be waterproof in hard rain. It also tuned on accidentally in my legpocket several times. It was ok, but I’ll keep looking for a better one that’s still very light.

Battery pack –  Brunton Revolt 4000
It’s a good battery pack that does what it should at 139g. It feels sturdy and has enough juice to keep my cellphone charged.

E-book reader – Adlibris Letto
My luxury item. I always bring it, and I really like to lay in the tent and read after dinner. It’s light, and can store countless books. Definitely recommend an E-book reader if you like to bring books on your hikes.

Camera – Canon Powershot S95
I bought this camera used for only 600SEK. It’s small and light, but I expected more from the camera in terms of image quality. But it’s ok and I’ll keep bringing it.

Camp socks – Sealskinz
I brought these to have dry waterproof socks to wear at camp. My feet stayed dry almost the entire trip though. They were a little wet one time after we set camp, and that was the only time I used the Sealskinz on the Jotunheimen trip. They do their job, and it’s nice to have warm dry socks on if the shoes are wet.

Fleece jacket – HH Workwear
At 500g it might not be the lightest option out there. But it is super warm and keeps you warm even in wet conditions. The weight is almost the same as if I should pack a down jacket and a thinner fleece.

Rain gear – Montane Minimus & Itab packaway pants
Lightweight and a small pack size. I haven’t tried it in hard driving rain yet, but so far it’s done it’s job without any issues. I recommend it. The rainpants are cheap, but lightweight. I’ve heard good things about them, but I haven’t used them that much so I can’t say much about how waterproof they are in the long run.

Gloves – Hestra work glove
A thin leather glove that only gets better with age. I’ve had my pair for a long time, and after every use I saturate them with leather balm to keep the leather soft and waterproof. I can fill a bottle of water in an ice cold lake without getting my hands wet. I bought a pair that was large enough to wear a pair of thin knitted wool gloves under them when the weather is cold. I really recommend these gloves. They’re great.

Hiking poles – Black Diamond Expedition 3
When I was looking for a new tent I expected to buy a tent that used the tent poles to erect, and wanted to have sturdy poles. I also plan to buy skis, and these poles are 4-season poles that can be used with skis to. They are sturdy and easy to use with the flick-locks and Black Diamond costumer service is great.

Wind jacket – Karhu Ultrarun
It weights nothing and cost nothing but still blocks wind to keep you warm. I bought it for less than 200SEK (~20€) and it’s great. The only downside is that there are no strings for the hood. Other than that it’s a great jacket at a great price.

Knife – Buck 327 Carbon fiber
I’ve had this knife for a few years now. I basically only use it to open food bags so I can’t review any harder use. It’s very sharp and very light.

Trailrunners – Inov8 Roclite 295
This was my first longer trip using trailrunners instead of hiking boots. It was great, and with the weather being good most of the time I kept my feet dry for the most part. When they got wet it only took about an hour of hiking to get them dry again. In the sections of the trail where there was a lot of sharp boulders I would have wanted thicker soles, but other than that they were great. I used Inov8 gaiters to keep dirt from getting into the shoes. I really like my boots, but for hikes in the snow free season I’ll probably keep using trailrunners.

Shemagh
I bought a shemagh on eBay and use it instead of a buff on my hikes. It’s lightweight, and works as a substitute for a buff, but also like a towel to wipe off condensation on the tent.

I didn’t review every single gear I used, but this is a summary and short review of most of the things I used. In general, I’m really happy with the gear I  have today.

Jotunheimen, Thursday

Day one

Day two

Day three

Day four

As I wrote in the last post the night was awful. Neither one of us slept good. I was up one time during to check the guy lines and despite the wind the skies were clear and the stars were beautiful. I didn’t stay outside long though considering how cold and windy it was. By morning the wind was still strong, but not as strong as it had been during the night.

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Fredriks Luxe Outdoor Sil Hexpeak getting hammered by the wind

We had breakfast and then packed up and left our campsite. Fredrik was thankful that he had used two hiking poles for the tent, considering that the wind had bent his pole when it blew a lot less than during this night. We hiked up the ridge and enjoyed the view. We’ve hiked Besseggen once before, in 2010. That time it was fog the entire day and we didn’t see much of the view. This time though we had mostly good weather and could see for miles.

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View from the ridge

We knew from the start that this was a popular trail. And even now, in low season it was crowded. The views from this trail is spectacular, but you can’t expect to have any privacy. I’m kind of a loner and prefer solitude while hiking and this is not something you get on Besseggen.

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Clouds were moving in

We were happy that the weather turned out good and that we got a chance to see the views instead of just fog, like in 2010. Clouds rolled in though, but apart from some drizzle it didn’t rain much, and we had mostly good weather.

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View over Gjende

Eventually we came down to the lake Bessvatnet. There is a ridge here with Bessvatnet on one side at the same elevation, and on the other side there is a drop of about 400 meters down to the lake Gjende.

We stayed here and had lunch. The place was pretty crowded, and on the narrow ridge leading up to the top om Besseggen we saw a lot of people.

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Lots of people about to ascend the top of Besseggen

We started hiking, and immediately I felt that something was wrong with my stomach. I’m lactos intolerant, abut most of the times small amounts of lactos isn’t an issue. This time though the lactos in the mashed potatos might have been to much. There was nothing to do about it since the pathway was narrow, and had lots of people coming both up and down. The path is steep at times, and you have to do actual climbing to get up. Many people send their backpacks with the boat between Gjendesheim and Memurubu and just carry day packs. By now the wind blew hard again. Fortunately it blew in our backs, pushing us against the mountain while climbing up. We saw a guy with jeans, a leather jacket and vans passing us on a flatter passage with his hands in his pockets and a bored look on his face. The climb was sort of an adventure for us, but I guess you don’t need any mountaineering equipment to make it.

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Overlooking Gjende and Bessvatnet

When we got closer to the top the clouds rolled in and we were covered in fog. There was still a lot of people, but it was more distance between them and you couldn’t see that far any longer because of the fog. The area was very flat though. I realized that I couldn’t keep walking any more because of my stomach, and took the opportunity of the fog to “release the beast”. I walked of the trail, found a pretty large boulder and got to it. While I sat there I heard voices closing in on me. At the same time I saw the sun, and saw that the fog was disappearing at an alarming pace. Despite the boulder I wasn’t that sheltered since the area on top of Besseggen is very flat. I was very quick to finish my business.

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Looking down at Gjendesheim at the shores of Gjende. You can see people on the cliff to the left

We carried on, but after a while my stomach started acting out again. This time there was no fog around so I just had to keep hiking.

Eventually the trail started to descent towards Gjendesheim, and around 15.30 we got down to the hut.

The hike had been strenuous and we were both tired. We rested for a while in the hut, used the bathrooms and then walked to the parking lot. On the way to the parking lot there was a sound of rain on our clothes. But it turned out to be countless flies. Hundreds of them. They covered our packs, jackets and pants. It felt like something from the movie The Mummy.

When we got to the parking lot the plan had first been to pitch our tents and then drive back to Sweden the next day. But since we got back so early we decided to drive back right away.

I drove to Oslo where we changed drivers and Fredrik drove the last stretch to Gothenburg. We got there at around 23.30. I still had 2,5-3h to drive though, and was envious of Fredrik that could go to bed. I was really tired, especially since I hadn’t gotten much sleep the night before. Fredrik offered me his couch, but I wanted to get back home. I bought the largest coffee Mc Donalds had to offer and stayed awake without issues.

The trip had been great. The views were spectacular and the weather was mostly good. All of our gear worked out the way it should. I feel that I’m starting to get close to having the perfect gear for me, and it makes hiking that much more enjoyable. I can’t wait to get back to the mountains again. I’ll go to Jotunheimen on my own sometime to. I really like hiking with others, but I also like hiking on my own.

This was the last post from the hike. I’ll write about my packlist and my thoughts of the gear I used in a future post.

Jotunheimen, Wednesday

Day one

Day two

Day three

The night between Tuesday and Wednesday was quite windy, but we slept ok. We woke up to a great morning with only scattered clouds in the sky. We were glad that we had decided to change our route and skip Spiterstulen and Gjendebu. It would be one day less of hiking, but we would feel more relaxed and enjoy the hike more. While we were doing our morning chores two women passed us on their way up towards the ridge. The evening before we had seen three guys in a tent a couple of hundred meters away from our campsite. They had left too by the time we got up.

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The view I woke up to on Wednesday

The underwear I had washed in my zip-lock bag were still wet. I didn’t care much though, but put them on to let them dry on my body. We filled up our water bottles, made breakfast and then broke camp.

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We finally saw the top of Glittertind

This morning was the first time we actually saw the top of Glittertind. The other days it had been covered in clouds, but this morning the weather was excellent and the top was visible.

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Nice weather while hiking back up the ridge

We started to hike back towards the ridge. From time to time we saw the two women that had passed our camp earlier in the morning. We saw that they met someone, and after a while we met him to. It turned out to be a Swede with his dog, hiking down towards Glitterheim. He had planned to hike basically the same way we had planned, apart from the fact that he actually would try to reach the summit of Glittertind. Something we didn’t prioritize.

We chatted for a while and then continued up, back to the boulders. The trail felt shorter going back, and we passed the ridge and got to the trail intersection. This time we turned towards Memurubu.

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Descending towards Russvatnet

The trail crossed a rather large stream, but when we came to the bridge it was broken. The wires were there, but nothing more. There was a sign pointing us in the direction of the new bridge, that was places further down the stream, a lot closer to Russvatnet.

We came down to the bridge and found the two women there, so we stopped and talked to them. It turned out they were Swedes too. We then continued on the trail from the new bridge, but quickly lost the trail. We had a good notion on where the old trail should be, and bushwhacked through the landscape to get there (no bushes were whacked though). It took a lot longer than we thought it would, and we saw the two women following the shoreline far below us, and they were a lot faster than us.

Eventually we saw two girls further up, and thought they were on the trail so we set course towards them. Apparently they weren’t on the trail, and had set course towards us. We chatted a while and the asked about the directions towards the bridge, and gave us the directions towards the trail.

After about 45 minutes we reached the trail as it was heading down towards the shoreline of Russvatnet.

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It was windy when we walked alongside the shores of Russvatnet

We hiked a lot faster when we reached the trail. The women we talked to earlier were now far ahead of us. I guess their way from the bridge was a lot better.

By now it was really windy. My beanie almost blew of my head and I had to keep wear the hood of my wind jacket for it to stay on my head.

We had set a goal to reach the ridge above Memurubu before nightfall and set up camp there. The next day we would hike Besseggen, and we didn’t want to start the morning with a long ascent. We were quite tired as we had hiked far in headwind.

Eventually we came close to the ridge, and found a somewhat sheltered place with water where we could set up camp. In reality it wasn’t sheltered at all, but the other flat surfaces near was even worse.

While Fredrik started to set up his tent I started to hike the last stretch up to the ridge, to see the views overlooking the lake Gjende. Halfway up though it started to rain, and I turned back.

I set up my tent in horizontal rain. The wind was really powerful. We anchored our tents with at least two rocks in each peg, and double poled Fredriks tent with two hiking poles, as the wind that had bent the pole a couple of nights earlier had only been a fraction of the wind this evening.

When we had set up camp and anchored the tents we hiked up to the ridge. But the wind was almost strong enough that you could lean forward without falling so we turned back down to our tents.

The wind blew hard, and I was really afraid that one, or both of our tents would rip in a seam. I had set up my tent in the correct direction, with the foot end against the wind. The wind kept compressing that half of the tent, but the pole stood strong, without moving a lot.

I could hardly sleep that night. The wind kept blowing with the same force. It howled and roared and the whole tent shocked from the force. Halfway through the night the wind shifted direction and became a straight side wind. Not the best thing for tunnel tents. The tent fabric massaged me the whole night, but the pole kept staying strong and didn’t move much despite the hard winds.

I’ve never slept outside in winds like that before and it wasn’t the most relaxing experience. But in retrospect I’m glad I did it, and got to test my test my new Hilleberg Enan in bad conditions. It handled it without any problems, and I think it was unnecessary for me to worry from the start. I trust the tent do keep me save, even in harsh conditions.

Stay tuned for the last part of the trip report. I’ll also post a short post-hike gear review.

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.