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The Days After

55 days, a bit more than 2000 kilometers. All in sandals once more. That is section two of my E1 adventure in a nutshell. Distance wise more, time wise less than I was expecting. 


How come? Well, while the first three weeks are basically a continuation from last year, with plenty of pathless sections in rather mountainous terrain. At times navigation is challenging, especially during adverse weather conditions. Progress is good but 40 to 50 kilometer days are not really possible. The terrain soon gets flatter, completely different. The skiing town of Sälen, in fact, marks that very clear border, where I dive from mountains into the forest. Gone are the sweeping views, the river crossings, the exposure to the elements. The change is sudden. It takes me a while to get I used to the different environment. 


More road walk follows, my pace as a result getting higher, I don't need to take anymore rest days. Walking in the forest becomes like a blur. I can't recall each single day. They all are simply too similar. The vindskydds, a wonderful discovery, are becoming the highlight and motivation of my days. Usually located near a lake, I spend many night in them. Sheltered from the elements. I love them, have them mostly for myself. 


Without really noticing it, I am approaching Halmstad with big steps. It's only after Göteborg, still hiking in the forest, when I realize that I am actually really close to the finishing line. I don't feel like finishing though. It just doesn't feel right. If I finish now, all I remember is forest. And the location of Halmstad is bugging me a bit too. Somewhere along the coast. Nothing special about it.


But what can I do? Continuing south? I've got the time, I've got the energy. However, I just have to leave the forest, the ticks as soon as possible. So heading down south in the middle of Sweden is not sounding appealing at all as it's mostly through forest. It's only when I meet Julia, who draws my attention to Skåneleden, a coastal trail starting just south of Halmstad and following the coast for roughly 300 kilometers all the way to the south.


The discovery of the trail makes the decision to continue easy. It would add an additional element to my hike: the coast, something that I, as a landlocked Swiss, love. And it does not disappoint: Open views, plenty of beaches and seaside towns in warm late summer weather on nice trails are accompanying on my last week along the coast. It were these things I was missing and so, as getting closer to Smygehuk, I start feeling ready to finish this summer's hike at Sweden's southernmost point, where I arrive at exactly 100 trail days after starting in Nordkapp in 2020. 

Having crossed the Scandinavian peninsula all the way from top to bottom feels great, better or how should I say, a bit more epic than crossing it from Nordkapp to Halmstad as I initially planned. 


Yes, there was a lot of forest. Yes, there was a lot of road. While plenty of stretches might not have been as spectacular (or, let's be honest, as boring) as part one up there in the far north, it has still been a wonderful journey. Mostly great, warm weather, plenty of lakes to swim in, the fishing villages and beaches. And the vindskydds too, my personal highlights. And of course the locals, which were always friendly and helpful and sometimes went out of their way to assist me. It's the people that give my hike that special extra. In Norway as well as Sweden. 


Speaking of these countries: which one do I prefer (I'm don't put Finland into this evaluation as I only spent 3 days hiking there)? 


It's clearly Norway. It set the expectations for Sweden so high, leaving Sweden with basically no chance. On the one hand it's the open, more breathtaking landscape. The midnight sun. The clear, blue lakes, whos water you can drink with no need to worry. Towns and road are few and far between, which lead to that wonderful feeling of remoteness - solitude (out of 3500km I walked 3490 by myself as there wasn't anyone to hike with). A feeling that I somehow lost in the Swedish forests. I had to be careful that it didn't turn into loneliness. There were more people but at times I found it hard to connect with them. Something I never encountered in Norway, where I consider the people as more open. Many times I was told that people in the north are open, friendlier. And I can definitely agree. 


So what now? Good question! It's been roughly a week since I arrived in Smygehuk. I teamed up with Julia and continued on Skåneleden for 80 kilometers. It felt good to walk with some company. Now I'm on my way north again. The Koster Islands to be precise. I spotted it on the map during one of these long, bright nights up north and I thought I have to visit them. It's the only thing I planned on doing after my hike. Everything else, I will simply let it happen. I will see where my travels take me until I have to return to Switzerland in early October. 


Last but not least some stats for the first 100 days to be taken with a grain of salt:


Days: 100

Kilometers: 3500+ (I did not always count them exactly)
Average: 35km/day
Zero days: 5 (section 1: 4, section 2: 1)
Longest day: 65km
Shortest day: 8km
Hiking trail: 75%
Road (gravel, tar-sealed, forestry,...): 25%

Most challenging things: remoteness of the trail, ticks and mosquitoes

Rainy days: 10
Sunny days: 50
Cloudy days: 40

Nights in tent: 50
Nights in hut: 10
Nights in vindskydd: 30
Nights in hostel/airbnb: 8
Other nights (bivy, tower): 2

Mosquitoes killed: 3578
Ticks removed: 73

Bears seen: 0
Reindeer seen: 1255
Trees seen: 788'546'644

Hardest days: Day 24 (a wet one) Day 60 (a rocky one) 
Favorite days: Day 1 and 2 (walking in the midnight sun), Day 27 (Padjelanta), Day 95 (the beach)                             
Julia leading the way on Skåneleden
Julia leading the way on Skåneleden
65kg. The same. Always. Every day.
65kg. The same. Always. Every day.
Nötholmen Vindskydd
Nötholmen Vindskydd
Koster the way to Koster!
Koster the way to Koster!
Nord Koster
Nord Koster
One for Fredy
One for Fredy
Jelly fish to complete this seasons blog. Ha det bra!
Jelly fish to complete this seasons blog. Ha det bra!
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Day 100: A Good Number To Finish With

Torup to Smygehuk

Distance: 40km

Two hikers who, with their headlamps, flooded the vindskydd with light just before midnight as well as a cat that gave me a scare when it jumped into the vindskydd made for a not very relaxing night.

The day starts with a bit of lovely beech forest, followed by open farmland and the beach again. It's windy. Mostly sunny with a short downpour, which is leaving me completely soaked. I get it all today.

It's during my last 7 kilometers along the Baltic Sea, when I start feeling emotional. I take a trip down the memory lane, thinking of my first steps at the Nordkapp, with the midnight sun in my back. At that time I had no idea what would expect me on my journey. Now, 100 trail days later I think I can nearly consider myself as a Scandinavian hiking expert. At this point, I don't want to go too far into all the experiences I was lucky enough to gain. It's too late, I'm too tired. But I will write a little summary within the next few days.

Smygehuk. Until very recently I never heard of the place. Now I am here. There's no possibility to go further. Unless I was a fish. I arrive at around 16:00 with all the shops about to close. A déjà vu of my finish last year in Skorovas, where I arrived a tad late as well. At least this time it's sunny and if it wasn't for the wind pleasantly mild. I savor the moment, take some photos, explore the place, which is not as busy as expected. I'm not too emotional anymore. While exploring I also check for suitable camping spots. Plenty of good ones but I don't think it's exactly legal to camp. So I wait for the night to come, spend my time planning, trying to fill the emptiness, which instantly opened up once I arrived. It's always the same. Being on the trail, I have had a goal at all times. Now it's different. What am I going to do tomorrow? Day after tomorrow? So many questions. So difficult to find answers. I haven't really finished but am already missing the simplicity of the trail life. But of course, I am also looking to exploring Sweden in a different way than by thru hiking it. 

Last trail ice cream!
Last trail ice cream!
Open farmland
Open farmland
The Baltic Sea
The Baltic Sea
Destination Smygehuk
Destination Smygehuk
Getting closer
Getting closer
That seems about right
That seems about right
Southernmost point of Sweden
Southernmost point of Sweden
Camping right there
Camping right there
It was a pleasure, Sweden!
It was a pleasure, Sweden!
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Day 99: Bye Bye Motivation

Saxtopsdammen to Torup

Distance: 45km

A question has been occupying my mind for a while now: on a cycle track, do you walk right, with the traffic, or left, against the traffic? On a road with cars is clear that you walk on the opposite side and I think it's worldwide the same.

On cycle tracks however, I am never so sure. I try to observe the locals but they don't seem to have a clear rule either. Which is the same as in Switzerland. So I walk sometimes left, sometimes right but never entirely sure if I so it the right way.
Today as well. With a particularly high percentage of cycle tracks.

The morning is warm but grey. High humidity and poor visibility. My skin feels sticky soon after leaving the vindskydd. A bit of rain later fills the air with even more moisture.

The hike is completely unspectacular. With the exception of the Lomma, which, with its busy harbor, is quite interesting.
It's also where I leave the west coast for good. At least on this hike. 
I'm heading inland. A lot of industry until I finally reach open farmland and soon afterwards Torup, a super busy recreational area. 
The vindskydd is free though so I make myself comfortable.

Today, I was suffering. Especially in the afternoon. As always on my second to last day on a long hike. It's purely a mental thing. Probably, my brain is already seeing me in Smygehuk. It's so close. 
Close yes, but I am not there yet. Tomorrow I will be there. Hopefully. Another 40 kilometers. Should be manageable. And the last day usually goes much more smoothly again. Then the sign post (or whatever is expecting me in Smygehuk), which I will touch later that day is motivation enough to keep me going. 


About to leave the Kattegat Sea
About to leave the Kattegat Sea
A last look back
A last look back
Lomma Harbour
Lomma Harbour
Cycle trail to Torup
Cycle trail to Torup
Torup vindskydd
Torup vindskydd
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Day 98: I'm Ready

Rydebäck to Saxtopsdammen

Distance: 30km

I get waken up by a service vehicle cleaning the beach from washed up algae and other dirt. After the two long days, I take it easy today and stay in my sleeping bag until sunrise. Another beautifully warm, sunny day lies ahead of me. It's so warm, I can change straight into shorts and shirt without feeling cold. A small luxury. The first half of today is along the cost. Exquisite hiking once more. At around nine I take a stroll out a pier for a morning swim in the 18.7 degrees warm, clear water. I feel like being somewhere in the Caribbean. At one of the harbours, I refill my water bottle at a tap. A couple of minutes after drinking the water, my knees start feeling wobbly and my head dizzy. Must have been the water. Luckily, the unpleasant feeling goes back to normal as I am  approaching Landskrona. 

After Landskrona, the hike is quickly getting dull. No more coastal walk. I feel sorry for the people in the small villages I pass. Very close to the sea, yet they are separated from it by a noisy motorway with no direct access to the coast at all. And they got the aircraft noise from Copenhagen Airport... 
So I am not expecting to much of today's shelter as I am getting close. But... I'm positively surprised. Great location by a artificial, clear lake. I chat with a local, who tells me that the area once was used to get sand for cement, which then was used to build the bridge between Sweden and Denmark. Now it's all back to nature with only the hole remaining, which is now filled with water. Perfect for a swim after a hot day on the trail. 

The last 10 or so kilometers have been hard. Nearly 30 degrees, initially along a busy road followed by forest, my legs not in their best shape. Also my back seems to feel stiffer with every step. It's also then, when I realize I am ready. Ready to finish section two. And the timing is perfect. Two more days, if everything goes according to plan. Then I will arrive at Smygehuk. I have no idea what will be expecting me there. Tons of tourists like at Nordkapp or Cape Reinga? Or just a small note saying it's Sweden's southernmost point? I don't really care. 
All I do now is looking forward to be there. 


Alabodarna
Alabodarna
Pier with an Aida cruise ship in the background. Haven't seen these ships for a while now.
Pier with an Aida cruise ship in the background. Haven't seen these ships for a while now.
Inviting...
Inviting...
... for a swim
... for a swim
Landskrona
Landskrona
Saxtopsdammen
Saxtopsdammen
Fire going. A must when there's wood.
Fire going. A must when there's wood.
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Day 97: Well Fed

Josefinelust to Rydebäck

Distance: 50km

I don't sleep particularly well. The ground is not completely flat and I keep shifting.

At around four I have enough and decide to get up. Another mild morning makes it rather easy. With my headlamp on full power, I make my way down to the beach and up again to the trail, which is taking me to the Kullen Headlight, where I arrive at dawn. It's only me and I enjoy the solitude. Just me and the rotation beacon. I'm wondering whether the ships out there in the mist are actually using the light as reference. I guess not. Newer technologies will have taken over by now. 

Mölle is my next stop. A lovely fishing town. The locals are wandering through the streets with their bathing robe on. Going for a swim seems to be a popular thing to do.
It's all flat from now on. In Viken, I get invited for tea and pastries followed sandwiches by a local cleaning his mailbox. Of course I accept. I think it's a win-win situation. I like being fed like a hungry lion and the people feeding me are hopefully happy about my healthy appetite. 
He has a wonderful garden and offers me some fige. I had no clue they would grow here. As he has been living in this town for over 50 years, he has numerous extremely interesting stories to tell. So for example that the ex CEO/inventor of IKEA, 3M and TetraPack are living in this village. Or where I can see seals (which I would later on spot indeed). 

With plenty of figs, I am on my way again. Denmark is only around 3 kilometers to my right. Trees and buildings clearly visible. In less than a year, I will hike that coast. I'm wondering how will I feel then, looking over to Sweden. 
I take a direct route through Helsingborg, a rather big city. I simply am not a city boy and feel more and more uncomfortable in them. So I am rather happy once I reach the outskirts of the city. Raa to be precise. Another picturesque fishing village.
From there it's another 4 long kilometers to my vindskydd as I start feeling my legs. They are tired after 4 long days. 

The amazing vindskydd is well worth the effort though. Located right by the beach yet very private, hidden by some bushes. 
A local family barbecuing invites me for some sausages. I can't resist. 

Sunset is a spectacle. The first proper sunset since I joined the coast. 
Well fed and happy I'm looking forward to a good night's sleep. 
Climbing down from my overnight spot
Climbing down from my overnight spot
A look back to the Kullen Light
A look back to the Kullen Light
Tea Time
Tea Time
Wind mill at Viken
Wind mill at Viken
Helsingborg
Helsingborg
Raa harbor
Raa harbor
Sunset at Rydebäck vindskydd
Sunset at Rydebäck vindskydd
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Day 96: I Wish I Was A Fish

Torekov to Josefinelust 

Distance: 65km

Clouds were rolling in overnight, keeping the warm air beneath them. Therefore, getting up on this mild early Wednesday morning is quite pleasant.
I leave Torekov during blue hour, the harbor town still fast asleep. Me, however, I am on a mission. I've set an ambitious goal for the day: Josefinelust, some 65 kilometers away. In fact, I can spot it on the other side of the sound. If I was a fish, I would be there by lunch time. Unfortunately, I'm not so it will take me a wee bit longer. Yes, it's mostly flat, easy going terrain mainly over pasture with some beach in between. However, with the days getting shorter, I can't waste too much time. Especially since I am not a particularly fast walker. A walking speed of more than 5 kilometers an hour is not realistic.
I make good progress, I even go for a quick swim. While I pass through all these villages rather quickly, it never feels like I'm rushing. To be honest, they all look very similar anyway. After a dull morning, the sun comes out during the afternoon.

My body feels quite alright. Even after 60 kilometers nothing is aching. And since I have some extra minutes left, I do a little detour climb the highest point of the Kullaberg peninsula. A mere 188 meters above sea level! From there it's a quick walk down to the shelter. Which is occupied. Bummer. The 'drinking' water, which is supposed to be there is not drinkable according to a sign. Another bummer. I don't feel like camping next to the shelter (it wouldn't be allowed anyway). Too many people and motor homes. Stupid. Just stupid to put a vindskydd right next to the parking lot. What were they thinking.
After 65 kilometers, more than 13 hours on the trail and with daylight running out quickly, I have to quickly come up with a plan B. I decide to climb down to Josefinelust Beach and try my luck there. In fact, as it's getting dark, I will have to stay there, no matter what. Luckily, I find a rather lovely spot high above the beach. Not enough space for the tent but for a bivy it is suitable. As I couldn't fill up water, it's going to be a dry camp. Doesn't matter. I am too tired to cook anyway. But I'm happy. Very happy that I have reached my goal. 65 kilometers. I will sleep well tonight. Let's just hope there won't be any rain. 

Torekov
Torekov
Plenty of apple trees along the way. Overall, I have probably eaten a kilo.
Plenty of apple trees along the way. Overall, I have probably eaten a kilo.
It's mostly flat today
It's mostly flat today
Walking between houses and the sea
Walking between houses and the sea
Overall a very enjoyable walk
Overall a very enjoyable walk
One of many harbors
One of many harbors
It's getting misty towards the evening
It's getting misty towards the evening
Mystical view from Halkull
Mystical view from Halkull
Time to call it a day
Time to call it a day
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Day 95: Life's A Beach

Trönninge Beach to Torekov

Distance: 50km

33 nights ago... That was the last time I have pitched my tent. It's so long ago, I had to look it up.
To be honest, I didn't really miss it. Especially, once I realize my rain fly is soaking wet. Sand everywhere and high humidity. The little pleasures of camping on or near a beach.

I start early. Initially along a cycling trail before hitting the beach. Now, finally, the happiness, which I was missing yesterday, is here. I enjoy every step along a wild, lonely beach. Unfortunately though, I have to head inland after a couple of kilometers. There's a estuary, which I deem as too dangerous to cross. I'm not even trying.
Soon, I'm back at the beach. With the sun now shining over the dunes, I go for a quick swim in the clear, calm water. Warmer than I thought!

As much as I enjoy beach walking - I find it tiring, even on rather hard pressed sand. Maybe it's the barefoot walking, maybe the sand, even though pretty hard, still moves under my feet. The closer I get to Bastad, the uglier the beach as it's also open for driving. Yet, it's still a beach. I shouldn't complain.

After Bastad, it's road and hiking trail. Hillier, the closer I get to Hovs Hallar, some nice rock formation. Initially, my plan was to camp here in the vindskydd. It's nothing special though and I feel like walking a bit further than the 45 kilometers. 
The last 5 or so kilometers are across pasture. Reminds me of the Isle of Man I hiked a couple of years ago. 

Before 18:00 I arrive at my hidden vindskydd. In a forest, roughly 50 meters from the beach. Probably to keep it out of sight from the many tourists. 
After dinner, it's now time to enjoy the sunset. One of my favorite events while hiking the coast.
Sunrise while on my way to the beach
Sunrise while on my way to the beach
Bridge to the beach
Bridge to the beach
Finally!
Finally!
Happy me
Happy me
Seems to be a good climate for apples
Seems to be a good climate for apples
Some more coastal impressions
Some more coastal impressions
Some rocky pastures
Some rocky pastures
Torekov as seen from near my vindskydd
Torekov as seen from near my vindskydd
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Day 94: The Sea Is Calling

Vessigebro to Trönninge Beach

Distance: 55km

Despite being in the middle of the town, surrounded by lights, which for no obvious reason would stay on the whole night, I sleep rather well.
It's a chilly morning though and I decide to get changed in the nicely heated toilet/shower. With first light I leave Vessigebro. Initially along Hallandsleden along a farm track, before leaving it direction Halmstad. Road walk all the way through. The first 20 kilometers are on surprisingly scenic back roads with not too much traffic. I walk it non stop. Only before reaching the highway E6 (the same E6, where I started my E1 on at Nordkapp) I have a quick break. Luckily, the shoulder to walk on is very generous, making it an okay walk. Thinking of the sea my motivation this afternoon. Eventually, I leave the highway again and follow back roads into Halmstad. A busy city. Larger than I was expecting it to be. Until very recently my planned end of E1 in Sweden. 

Plans changed though. Luckily. Halmstad wouldn't have been a worthy ending. Located halfway between Göteborg and Malmö. Nothing too exciting about its location. And I don't feel like finishing either. It feels like something is odd, missing. After mountains and the forest I'm craving for the coast. And it's right here, here in Halmstad. With time and weather on my side, I see nothing against continuing. Especially, since there is a coastal trail called Skåneleden, starting just 30 kilometers south of Halmstad and going all the way down to Malmö. 

So I dart right through the town. Takes me two long hours until I reach the other end. From there though it's not far to the sea anymore. With more than 50 kilometers in my legs and a close call with a cyclist (I completely blame it on me) I pitch my tent at the basically first contact with the see. Seems to be a popular spot with the locals, despite the motorway being clearly audible in the background. Yet, it's a lovely place with a great view up and down the coast. 
Me a happy camper? Honestly? Not as much as I thought I would be. 
I guess I still need a couple of hours to realize that I have finally made it to the sea. Something I was daydreaming about for a long time. Probably I am just too exhausted from my day. 

Tomorrow, I am quite sure, I will wake up with a big grin on my face, full of fresh energy and motivation to explore Sweden's west coast. 

Nice morning views
Nice morning views
Quiet back roads
Quiet back roads
Plenty of wild apple trees along the way
Plenty of wild apple trees along the way
Wide shoulder to walk on
Wide shoulder to walk on
Halmstad downtown
Halmstad downtown
The library
The library
Trönninge Beach
Trönninge Beach
The sea!
The sea!
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Day 93: So Long, Forest!

Gällarpesjön to Vessigebro

Distance: 45km

No one showed up yesterday. I don't mind as I can pack my stuff without worrying I might be waking up anyone else. It feels good to be on the trail well before sunrise. The peacefulness, the intense smell of the forest. A lot of beech forest today - welcome change to the birch and pine forest. Yet, also this late change won't make me miss the forest. Don't get me wrong, I like forest. A lot. Just as much as the mountains. After nearly a month between the trees however (I counted 643'754'490 of them), I feel like a change again. The ticks, the mud further north and the freshly chopped forests did not exactly help to improve my experience. Nevertheless, the trees gave me shelter from wind and rain, kept me cool in the afternoon sun and they allowed blue- and blackberry bushes to thrive below them. To be fair: I'm certainly gonna miss those healthy sweet treats. 

While the "official" E1 would continue one more day on forestry roads, initially heading east before circling back to Halmstad, I head straight down to Halmstad. Saves me one day. A day I rather spend somewhere along the beach on Skåneleden. 

But at this very moment, I am still on E1. Vessigebro to be precise. A lively, small farm town. Here I have found a supermarket and stumbled across a park/playground/football field. There's a shelter with toilet, shower and electricity nearby. Especially since my batteries are getting empty, the power outlets are highly appreciated. And the shower is a nice extra too. I'm actually really happy to have found this place. Thank you Vessigebro for this nice place! 

Fantastic early morning mood
Fantastic early morning mood
A change in forest
A change in forest
A little detour for a better view
A little detour for a better view
Soon a sight from the past
Soon a sight from the past
Wind- and hydropower
Wind- and hydropower
It's been a long time
It's been a long time
My little "office"
My little "office"
With a shower
With a shower
I very much like this place! Vindskydd at the back
I very much like this place! Vindskydd at the back
1 Comments

Day 92: A Hymn To The Vindskydd

Stora Hornsjön to Gällarpesjön

Distance: 30km

A warmer night for a better sleep. In fact I sleep until I am waken up by the first rays of sun finding their way into the vindskydd at around 06:30.

It has gotten late again yesterday. Mathias from Träslövsläge, joined me later that evening in the vindskydd. I got offered a beer and together we spent the evening talking in front of the fire.

I'm about to leave, when Mathias hands me a cuppa coffee. Of course I gladly accept. It is a short day and I'm not especially keen on hitting the overgrown trail anyway. While the first few kilometers are okay, the trail soon gets a bit less enjoyable. There's not much to write, really. Lots of forest. All I am looking for is dinner at my vindskydd. 

Vindskydd. A word which I have never heard until I actually arrived in Sweden. In Sälen, to be precise, when I was planning my next sections, I first read about them. But even then, I had only a vague idea of what they are, what I have to expect. Something sheltering me from the wind. 
Now, nearly a month later, they have become an essential part and highlight of my thru-hike. In fact I think they will turn out to be one of the most memorable things in Sweden. They gave me shelter from wind and rain. They all looked similar, most of them were beautifully located by a lake. That's why I can't recall every single one of them. But all together of them formed a very clear picture of a typical vindskydd. And it's a lovely picture. 
However, it's not only the location, it's also the people that made them a good choice to stay. I met other thru hikers, cyclists, fishermen, two day one night trippers, fathers who needed a weekend away from their wife and kids. With all of them I had interesting conversations, learning new things. I enjoyed the talks in front of the fire. Talks, which were getting deeper, more sentimental as the stars came out and the fire getting weaker. That was not a hymn, was it? I couldn't find a better title. Sorry. However, I think it was high time to appreciate them. 

And tonight? Gällarpesjön? Another nice one. Not the most scenic I have been to but I will definitely have a lovely evening in front of the fire. So far no one else showed up. There's a family camping nearby. But being a sunny, mild Saturday evening, I wouldn't be surprised if more people are showing up. I'll let you know tomorrow. 
Hornsjön vindskydd dipped in lovely morning light
Hornsjön vindskydd dipped in lovely morning light
So is the beach
So is the beach
Some ancient mills again. Other than that a rather dull walk.
Some ancient mills again. Other than that a rather dull walk.
Brand new road through farmland.
Brand new road through farmland.
Gällarpesjön Vindskydd
Gällarpesjön Vindskydd
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Day 91: Dreaming Of The Beach

Hjälm to Stora Hornsjön

Distance: 30km

What a beautiful start into the hiking day, as the low sun is flooding the lake and farmland with golden light. The tranquility ends, once I pass a rather big school. An armada of mothers in their Volvo SUVs is dropping of kids in front of the school. It looks like madness. I guess in Sweden the way to school can be long.

Leaving the busy street behind, I follow some kind of ridge, offering spectacular views towards the sea. It's close, very close. Only around 3 kilometers to my right. I can't wait to finally dip my feet into the salty water.
Soon enough, reality is catching up on me. I follow an overgrown trail for several kilometers, knowing that I collect ticks with every step. The last few days have been completely okay. One or two of them each day. That is fairly acceptable. Today it's a whole lot more. To prevent them for climbing to far up my leg, I stop every couple of minutes, doing a strip tease in front of some trees or amused cows. Bending and twisting my back to check if there are any ticks on my back. I try to see the bright side of it. It's good stretching. Yet, I try to keep my hiking spirit up by day dreaming of the beach. Walking with bare feet, sand between my toes, the ticks far, far away. Soon, I say to myself. Soon. 

Currently, I am living or hiking for the vindskydds. Often, they are the highlight of my day. Not different today. Sweet location by a sandy beach, several fire place and basically no other soul around.
As it was just 30 kilometers today, I arrived early and now have plenty of time to savor the rest of the day: Reading my new book at the beach, going for a quick swim and cooking dinner over the fire.
I enjoy every minute as long as I still can. Tomorrow will be the last time staying in a vindskydd by a lake. Day after tomorrow's night will probably be spent somewhere in the forest and then... No idea if they have the shelters at the coast. I certainly hope so but you never know. 

One last look at the lake
One last look at the lake
Open fields in the early morning sun
Open fields in the early morning sun
Interesting water pump as you need to turn that knob around to pump up the water
Interesting water pump as you need to turn that knob around to pump up the water
Following the ridge
Following the ridge
Wind turbine blending in nicely
Wind turbine blending in nicely
This fellow too...
This fellow too...
Whatever that means
Whatever that means
Overgrown trail ahead
Overgrown trail ahead
Good...
Good...
Life is good...
Life is good...
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Day 90: New Possibilities

Norra Langvattnet to Hjälm 

Distance: 30km


After lots of talking until late last night, I take it slowly this morning. Julia is ready at roughly the same time and as we're headed in the same direction we join up for the morning.
The nice company and the generally refreshingly diverse Bohusleden, which we are following make the time fly. Julia is making a short day and after 3 hours it's time to say goodbye. Even though the hike together was short, I enjoyed it and gave me some well needed motivation.
Bohusleden eventually turns into Hallandsleden. Less traveled, not as well defined as Bohusleden at times but still clearly marked. This time in blue and orange. Forest gives way to farmland as I am approaching Hjälm vindskydd. 
Plenty of firewood. It's going to be a good evening in front of the fire. 
An evening with a lot of planning. To Halmstad and further. Julia told me about Skåneleden, which is following down the coast to Malmö. Since I love coastal walks, it caught my attention and I obviously had to google it. Immediately, it makes sense to continue or extend my hike southbound.
Roughly an additional 250 kilometers. With a promising weather forecast, I most probably will give it a shot. 

Lovely castle
Lovely castle
I roughly walked twice as much. I think I did something wrong.
I roughly walked twice as much. I think I did something wrong.
Huge insect hotel
Huge insect hotel
Spectacular lake. Great place for a quick break.
Spectacular lake. Great place for a quick break.
Change in landscape
Change in landscape
Hjälm vindskydd with its fancy fire place
Hjälm vindskydd with its fancy fire place
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Day 89: A Taste Of Göteborg

Stora Härsjön to Langvattnet

Distance: 35km

As one of my favorite followers correctly observed yesterday, the vindskydd was located right under the departure axis of Göteborg Airport.
While the German couple and I were sitting around the fire, taking a trip down the memory lane and exchanging stories of northern Scandinavia, I regularly looked skyward, admiring the aircraft climbing into the vast Scandinavian sky, their navigation lights becoming more and more visible as the sky turned from yellow to dark blue and finally black.
With the fire on it's last legs, it was time to say good night.

I had a good sleep until I was woken up by the rustle of a plastic bag. This familiar sound can only mean trouble. And sure is. Food from today's food bag is scattered all over the vindskydd. The thief ate its way through my cotton bag - the hole clearly visible. Luckily only the peanuts and raisin were stolen. The chocolate, my main concern, was left untouched. Not so bad after all. 

After unsuccessfully trying to sleep a bit longer, I leave for the outskirts of Göteborg. It's mostly on well formed, well marked hiking trails. Eventually, the trail gets surprisingly rocky and steep in parts. Parts where I realize, how stiff my body really is.

Going is hard today. However, at one point, I catch a great glimpse of Göteborg, can even spot the cargo port in the far distance. The sea!
This gives me a lot of motivation and on a busy but lovely lakeside trail, I now follow a more southerly heading again.
Eventually, I spot a lovely new shelter on a peninsula. I didn't know it existed but it's perfect for the night. Spontaneously I decide to end today's hike here. 
For the first time I share a shelter. It's huge so there's plenty of space for me and a German long distance hiker, who has been hiking across Sweden for 1000km.
We get along well, exchanging trail stories. Feels good to finally meet some other long distance hiker again! 

Typical trail today. Well marked, well formed.
Typical trail today. Well marked, well formed.
One of today's many lakes
One of today's many lakes
One of them crossed on a floating bridge
One of them crossed on a floating bridge
Hello Göteborg
Hello Göteborg
Langvattnet vindskydd
Langvattnet vindskydd
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Day 88: Easy Vindskydding

Abborrsjön to St Härsjön

Distance: 25km

I'm planning on staying in my warm, cozy sleeping bag until the sun is heating up the vindskydd. The mystical morning mood however, makes me crawl out of my sleeping bag well before sunrise, to take some nice photos. It was well worth it I think. 

By seven, I'm back on the trail. Destination: Hindås. Not much to write about the hike. My legs feel tired as does my whole body. After a brief resupply stop in Hindås and a visit to the second hand store to finally get a book (it took me 3 weeks...), I am leaving Sjuhäradsleden (even though Rita tried to teach me how to pronounce it, I'm still unable to do so) and joining Vildmarksleden, which will take me all the way to the outskirts of Göteborg.
Not much changes. The markings look a bit different, the trail generally wider, better maintained.
It's a hot day. Not much wind. I can't wait to jump into the water. So I push a bit on the last few kilometers, passing plenty of little lakes. Before 16:00 I arrive at the vindskydd. What should I say? As beautiful as always. Right by the lake, perfect for swimming. 
A German couple, which has been cycling for the last three months, is joining me. Tomorrow is their last day before returning to Kiel.
I still have to go a bit longer. I don't mind. At all! I am really looking forward for my last few days. 

Spectacular morning mood
Spectacular morning mood
Volvo Oldtimer
Volvo Oldtimer
Nice little beach
Nice little beach
St Härsjön Vindskydd
St Härsjön Vindskydd
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