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!

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.

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.

 

Planning this weekends hike

This weekend I’ll be visiting a friend in Gothenburg and we’ll hike the New Wildernesstrail together. This trail is not the same Wildernesstrail north of Växjö that I hiked earlier this year, but a quite popular trail, 42 km long that starts just outside of Gothenburg.

I’ll be getting off work at 7 am on Friday morning, sleep for a few hours and then drive to Gothenburg. I’ll have the bag packed and ready on Thursday evening so I’ll just have to grab the bag and go when I wake up.

I’ll bring tortillas and Nutella for breakfast, Lappsgojs (mashed potatoes with jerkey), Snabbhusman (mashed potatoes with smoked gammon), West African stew, Chicken noodles and rice with tuna for lunches and dinners.

This is my packlist for this hike. It’ll be the first real test of my new Hilleberg Enan, and my friend is going to use my Luxe Outdoor Sil Hexpeak.

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Maps are printed for the upcoming hike

 

This morning I made three more foodbags. I had planned to do chicken noodles for a while, but didn’t have the time to prepare them. But yesterday I put ground chicken in the oven to cook it, and then put it in my dehydrator to dry it. I prefer to dry ground chicken compared to slicing chicken breasts and then dry the slices. It’s a lot easier to get small pieces from the ground chicken.

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Chicken in the dehydrator
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Chicken noodles ready and bagged

I used 500 grams to make three portions. The recipe says 100 grams (around 30 gram dried) of chicken for one portion, but I prefer to make the portions a bit larger. I now have 33 portions of homemade freezerbag-meals and two store bought meals. This will last me through this hike, the planned Jotunheimen-hike in late August and it’ll probably last for the rest of my hikes this year.

I’m looking forward to this weekend and to get outside again. I’ll update with a trip-report when I get back.