John Bauer Trail

Coming full circle on this trail or rather where we ended a trip 4 years ago down from Omberg to Gränna. Click this for the old reports, check the ones posted 2013. Them backpacks back then, pew, 25-ish kilos! I could wear about three backpacks now to get to that weight 🙂

It was a good trip with superb weather, 26-28 degrees Celsius and a light breeze. But from a scenic point of view only the first 5-8km from the start (south section) is worth while and the last section (north section) is good for the most part, especially the last bit when you get the view of lake Vättern.

 

Ticks loves this trail, or me, I had 19 of them but only two attached. Jon got away with two… Lucky.

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Fall trekk in Omberg

Revisiting Omberg once again. This place is just an hours drive from home and offers a quite interesting landscape. The weather forecast said rain and that’s pretty much all we got…

We started to walk around 11am on Saturday. The temperature at the car was 6 degrees Celsius and we had a light drizzle but a strong wind coming in from the north. As soon as we got into the forest the big trees shielded us from the elements and we had a nice walk up north. The colors were just amazing. The beech trees were completely yellow and there were leaves all over the ground covering slippery rocks and roots.

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We had our first break as a shelter facing east, overlooking the farmlands. Had some water and some snacks and then got on the road again before we got too cold.

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The next stop was on the western side, Marberget, with a good view down towards lake Vättern and the beech forest down below. Right here there was basically no wind and we thought about having lunch here but we decided to go a little further to Västra Väggar.

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So far the trails had been completely empty, not too strange with te weather, but when we came to Västra Väggar we
found four persons there enjoying the view. They were snapping some photos and after a minute or two they went back to their car and drove off.

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We brought out the cooking set and started to boil some water. We had some issues with getting the alcohol lit due to the cold but with some dedication we managed and in a couple of minutes lunch was served.

 

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After lunch we went south towards Älvarums udde where we’ve camped a few times before. The plan was to setup camp here but it was only around 3pm so we decided to go to Hjässan before it went dark. We might return here if there was time.

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On top of Hjässan, 261m, we had the best view ever! Just have a look at the pictures below…

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It was getting dark about the time we came back down from there and we decided to camp at Stocklycke harbor instead. There was no-one there but a caravan. We went to the shelter and our plan was to make a fire to get dry. Luckily enough the guys in the caravan(?) had been sloppy enough not to put out the fire completely so we just grabbed a few sheets from the newspapers that we found there and a couple of logs and we had a fire in no time. Thanks I guess…

Day two. 

The night was really cold, around 3 degrees and with the rain and the damp air it felt like -1. We both said that we were freezing during the night. I slept with all my gear on apart from the wind- and rain jacket. I guess I need warmer long johns in the future. Might even try a pair of down pants, sounds cozy. After we took down the tent we realized that we’ve pitched in on gravel and mud so that added to the experience. It was too dark to see when we pitched the tent, otherwise we might have picked a better spot around Stocklycke meadows.

Got up rather late, around 9-9.30, and skipped breakfast. Just had a handful of nuts and a power bar.

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Walked south towards Ellen Key’s summer home and from there back to the car. Only about 2-3 km on the last day but it was good.

Trip report Vålådalen 2016

My trip started from my home in Jönköping, Sweden, on the 9th of September where I drove up to Jon’s cabin in Jämtland about two hours from Vålådalen. It was an easy drive up north and I arrived at the cabin around 11pm. Once there I lit a fire in the fireplace and sat down on the sofa and had a beer before going to sleep.

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I got up the next day at 7am, had some breakfast, packed the last things in my backpack and got in my car. It was so dark when I got there last night so I didn’t realize that fall had actually come a long way up here compared to home. Was excited about this because that would mean that I could expect vivid colors out on the trail. The morning was clear and the air was cold and damp, you could see for miles.

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9/10, 10 am, Vålådalen mountain station, my feet are starting to carry me out on the trail going south. It was quite many people on the parking lot preparing to go out just seconds after I arrived with my car half an hour ago. Fortunately they all went further south towards Lunndörren so just after five minutes I was completely on my own. I didn’t see another person for almost two hours, did however see two mountain bikes leaning towards a tree but didn’t see the owners of them even though I lingered a little at the spot.

Walking alone for the first time like this and knowing I’m to be out on my own for about 7 days is both really exciting and also a little scary. Not knowing what I’ll encounter and what kind of problems that might arise. My biggest fear, gear-wise, is to break on of my trekking poles because then I’ll have some real issues with pitching my tent…

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At lunch time I’ve arrived at Stensdalen mountain hut, alone. Met up fairly quickly with the hut wardens before they set of with their kid out onto the fells. The weather was warm and cloudy, perfect for hiking! After leaving the hut I meet a few groups coming in to stay the night in Stensdalen. They said that the trails up north have been swamped with people over the weekend. Today it’s Saturday and I won’t be coming up on any big huts until lunch Sunday, hopefully by then most of them will be going home, back to work.

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Stäntja with Sylarna in the horizon. Gåsen mountain on the left and Tjallingklumpen on the right

Around 4pm I reach Stäntja (emergency) hut and just before that I see my first deer in the wild that I’ve ever seen in my life. It was a surreal feeling. Not knowing how many I’d see later on I was really hyped about it. Coming up on Stäntja it was now time to go off trail to my predetermined campsite. The plan is to camp  between the two mountains Gåsen and Tjallingklumpen where there’ll be low ground and easy access to water.

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The climb up to Tjallingtjärnen is quite easy and I meet up with a lot of deers grazing on the hill sides. They’re about as surprised to see me as I them. 1,5 hours later I arrive at my campsite and it’s more beautiful that I could have ever imagined. I haven’t seen another human being for the last four hours and I’m starting to get used to being alone out here.

I setup the tent so I have a nice view over Lill Ulvåfjället and if I go back up the trail a little I can see Sylarna. 8 hours on the trail, 6 of them actively walking resulting in 27.2 kilometers.

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9/11, my brothers birthday. It’s been raining quite heavy since around 11pm and I’ve woken up several times due to the rain hitting the tent so hard. That’s the downside with cuben fiber. When the rain hits it it’s quite loud at times compared to silnylon. It just stopped raining as I woke up and when I looked out the door to the west it looked as it was about to let up completely. I never looked east though, then I would have realized that it wasn’t gonna be the case…

Breaking camp was done in really bad weather, raining really hard and the wind had really picked up. The raindrops hurt when they hit my face due to the windspeed. It was almost coming down horizontally. I think I’ve never broken camp that fast in my life before, haha.

Walking towards Storulvån mountain station was quite tedious not only because of the rain. The trails were completely soaked in mud and because of the mountain bikers they were also at times destroyed to the point where you couldn’t really use the trail itself. After the first river crossing I made a poor decision to go up on Lill Ulvåfjället where I thought that I could scratch off a few kilometers of walking compared to going on a car road but that was not the case. Due to the rain that mountain side was completely filled with water. It was a no-go and after a few kilometers I felt it to be too dangerous to stay up there as the winds were picking up and also if I fall over and hurt myself I would be hard to find. I decided to go back down again and use the road.

I lost a few hours here and I was quite disappointed at myself making a “big” mistake like that. After walking on that road for about a kilometer or two I took a break and rested my feet. Hello there my first two blisters! I could also feel some pain in my left ankle but nothing too bad at the time.

I reached Storulvån at around 1 pm and the rain had almost stopped. I went inside and it was filled with people coming in from the trails around the area. Everyone being just as wet as me. Most of them were going home after a weekend hiking the Jämtland Triangle. I stayed here for about 1 hour drying up and resting my feet. Blister-control. As soon as the rain had stopped and the sun had come back up again I got back out on the trail. I grabbed a power bar and some nuts and pushed on north up the southern side of Getryggen with my goal set for Snasahögarna where my plan was to make camp for the night.

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The view down south towards Storulvån mountain station.

But, yet again I had made a bad decision. This “trail” was really hard to walk due to the rain so instead of getting there faster I never made Snasahögarna. I found my way back to the trail in the west just due north of Snasahögarna hut where I took cover and had dinner as another rainstorm came in. I was really beat at this time and really thought about what the heck am I doing out here… After the dinner was ready and I gained new energy all those negative thoughts were gone just like the rain. Note to self, eat!

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I set up camp just south of that hut on a small “island” just next to the trail and I went to sleep at around 7pm. The night was calm and quiet but cold. I slept like a baby.

32km, 10 hours and 6.45 out on the trail walking.

9/12, waking up to a nice and cold morning, windy. My body feels good and I’m rested. However my left ankle hurts like hell and is a little swollen. Painkillers.

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After I got on the move and my muscles started to warm up the pain got easier to handle. Still feeling every step I take but as the nice views of Sylarna started to show up I soon forget about that. I have a quick stop at Ulvåtjärn hut, drying my feet.

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The trails are really muddy. Have sunken down in to a mud hole on my way here, my left leg was covered right up to my knee in mud. I meet the first hikers after a few hours and one of them is walking alone so I ask her to take a picture. The sun sitts really high now and it’s really hot. Probably around 18 degrees celsius at 10pm.

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After a 5 minute chat we set of in different directions again and it takes about an hour before I meet someone else. The trails are not crowded at all, I feel relieved.

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Oh deer.

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Sylarna, just south of the mountain station.

I arrive at Sylarna mountain station around lunch time. The plan was to go up on Sylarna and setup camp there but because I never made Snasahögarna yesterday I’m about half a day ahead of schedule. I talk to one of the staff at the hut and he recommends me going up on one of the ridge lines on Sylarna to get a good view west into Norway and from there go down south and camp somewhere around Ekorrdörren hut.

The wind was picking up again and my left ankle still hurts like hell so I decided that I’d seen what I came here to see at Sylarna and instead try to get a better view to the east and inwards towards Sylarna from a higher angle. There’s this mountain just behind me to the east called Herrklumpen (1 288 m) where I figured I’ll get that view. And oh did I get a good view over the area. Not disappointed at all leaving Sylarna for another time.

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Coming down from Herrklumpen, view south east, Helags in the distance (left).

Pushing on towards Helgs now. The views are really nice but it was hard to find a good campsite. Just like always I walk further than I planned ending up at a good spot for the next day with an awesome views of Helags.

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Campsite for the night, awesome view!

I parked my tent just north of Mieshketjahke (say that one fast) around 5 pm. Having actively walked for about 5 hours, 30.88 km.

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9/13, decided last night that I would have a slow morning and sleep in as I was so much ahead of schedule, 1.5 days right now… More painkillers, my left ankle is really swollen right now, even worse than last night.

The night was calm and quite cold. Around 2am I woke up to a deer close to my tent barking at me. It probably wondered why I was there sleeping in his or her spot. It left after a few minutes but still scared the crap out of me when it started shouting at me so close by.

The morning was warm and calm. Could feel as soon as I woke up that it was gonna be a hot day. I brought everything that was wet or moist out of the tent and pegged my quilt to the ground to dry as there was a light breeze and I was in no mood to run an chase it if the wind picked up.

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As soon as I had breakfast I left. The first river crossing was just 50 meters from the tent, with dry shoes for the first time in two and a half days I did my best and managed to get across without getting my feet wet. Hooray!

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Mieshketjhakies hut

The road to Helags is dominated by vast and open landscapes. I wondered how it would be out here in the winter when the wind is blowing. I guess you can’t really see much.

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“Härjedalen”

The weather was awesome and the views are even better. Arrived at Helags hut without meeting anyone on the way there and it was about lunch time. A few fell runners came in about 20 minutes after I arrived and I was no longer alone. Well, I wasn’t really alone before that either because there was a deer that didn’t show much fear of humans as he was in the middle of the hut complex standing in the shade. Every now and then he set off on some mission to the north and came back in 1o minutes or so and went back to the same spot as before. He just stood there. If you haven’t seen him move earlier you might misstake him for being a stuffed animal.

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I sat there at Helags mountain station enjoying the view of the Helags glacier. The southern most glacier in Sweden. The plan was to go up to it and have a look. That was the one thing that Jon really wanted to do when we planned the trip here. Unfortunately Jon got a really bad cold or something similar and couldn’t make the trip. I had this vision in my head the night before that I would be on top of Helags standing next to the glacier and calling or texting Jon that I was there. Yet again I fear for my foot as it was hurting quite badly and I had increased the amount of painkiller that I was taking. There was a uphill trek towards my next campsite so I figured I might have the same luck again as the day before if I went up there.

The original plan was to climb Helags and then camp just south of the mountain station. But this morning I said to myself, yes literally, being alone makes me talk to myself, and my fellow deer friends that I come across, that if I don’t feel like it I’m just gonna push on and go up another mountain instead. So that’s what I did.

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After going up that hill to the east I got a great view into the “crater” of Helags. I kind of wished that I had gone up there because it revealed that the glacier was much bigger than what you could see from the mountain station. But I was in good spirits and also had a big eagle circling above my head going quite low so I could see all the details on its wings. All this kept me pushing on with a smile on my face.

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The walk was good, I had the sun at my back, a slight breeze was blowing with warm winds and I was completely alone.

As soon as I got down from the high ground it went completely silent. I had to stop several times just to listen because the only thing I could hear was my own footsteps and my trekking poles touching the ground. Otherwise there was nothing. That’s a really weird feeling that can’t really be explained. It has to be experienced.

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My planed and actual campsite for the night was just north of Ljungan hut and on the south-eastern slopes of tomorrows climb, Härjångsfjällen. I made a quick stop at Ljungan hut before trying to get my bearings on a good spot for me and my tent. The walk was tougher than I’d imagined but I came there fairly easy in the end. It was not the best or should I say the flattest ground but I managed to find a good spot in the end. The scenery was spectacular. Helags in the distance with the sun setting is an amazing view, I tell you.

Two days ahead of schedule, 5.5 hours active walking, 33 km.

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harljangsfjallen-map9/14, last day of the trip (not planned to be the last). Woke up fairly early and had breakfast outside of the tent as the sun came up. It was getting warm really fast and I could feel that it would be a really hot day.

I broke camp and had the previous day set a direction to go up on Härjångsfjällen. I went in the “middle” so to say between the two peaks. It was completely still, the air didn’t move an inch and the hillside was totally exposed to the sun, it was a sweaty climb. Even on the first peak I reached there was no wind but as soon as I got to where I wanted to go the wind was really moving and I needed to use my wind jacket not to get too cold. I thought I was alone on that hilltop but no. After a minute or so 5-6 deers came up from the northern side to say hi. I moved down on the north-eastern slope parallel to Tvärhammaren that looks more like a sword rather than a hammer that the name points towards.

dsc00592_16-09-14I followed the river down to Härjångsån which I crossed, quite deep and fast moving. Made my way towards Vålåstugorna and halfway there I met up with an old man who solo-hiked with a big backpack. We both stopped and chatted for 15 minutes or so about the trails and where we both were going and have been. He was headed towards Norway just west of Sylarna.

I reached Vålåstugorna not long there after and made a quick stop. It was around 1pm or so when I reached it. The original plan stated that I should make camp just north from there and go via Lunndörren the next day and home. But there was nothing interesting to go and look at right there so I made the decision to push towards Lunndörren and back to Vålådalen mountain station and home, 2 days ahead of schedule.

So that’s what I did. The trails were quite muddy and damaged from the rain that came down on Saturday. One might think that it would have dried up a little but that wasn’t the case.

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I arrived at Lunndörren mountain station quite late, it was longer than I’d expected. I don’t think the signs was completely right because it said something like 15 kilometers to Lunndörren from Vålåstugorna but it was more like 16-17 kilometers. I don’t recommend the trail between those two places or even up to Vålådalen. A waste of energy. In hindsight I should have gone back up to Stensdalen where I came in. I didn’t do this because I didn’t want to cross the same place twice.

The sun was starting to set when I reached Lunndörren. I grabbed a power bar, more painkillers and two handfuls of nut mix and started walking again. I even tested my head torch before setting off because I was sure that it would be really dark before reaching Vålådalen mountain station.

The sun started to set and the trail was filled with roots and rocks so I didn’t want to get stuck out there in the dark. I picked up the pace and that really hurt my ankle but as it was only like 13 kilometers left I tried to ignore it the best I could.

I reached Vålådalen mountain station about the time it started to get really dark outside. I had made it just in time! I went up to the hut and managed to get a sandwich and a cup of coffee before heading down to Jon’s cabin. Mission complete!

The last day consisted of 9 hours of walking and 43.8 kilometers. Just past 10 hours since I broke camp around 1o am. Tired but really happy. A personal record.

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Packing for Vålådalen

It’s starting to get closer to this years trip into the wilderness. We’ve been test-packing and checking our gear today in the sun and then went for a supply run to stock up on food and snacks. Everything looks like it’s in order.

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I’ve bought some new stuff for this trip. Some items were just too worn out to bring and I also got something new as an complement, down vs synthetic.

New items:

  • Inov-8 Terraclaw 220 shoes (replacement)
  • 2 pairs of socks (replacement)
  • Patagonia Ultralight Down Hoodie (complement)
  • Patagonia Houdini Jacket (replacement)
  • Arc’Teryx Venta Gloves (replacement)

My gear list can be found here, it’s a work in progress. Haven’t weighed and repacked the food just yet but everything is bought. Besides that everything should be there.

Jons list gear list also more or less completed.

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Planning Vålådalen 2016

We’re starting to get closer to our date of departure for Vålådalen, mid September. Bought the map of the area a couple of weeks back and yesterday me and Jon sat down to put out some proper map markers of possible campsites. We also talked about food, water, equipment and weather.

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We’re gonna spend about 8 days on the trail depending on the weather and how many detours we’ll do. The detours are mainly, loosely, planned around Helags and Sylarna.

Food, we’re gonna bring less snacks for this one and pick up some on the trial. There are a lots of mountain stations along the way, the map even stated, “Wifi-connection”, jeez… I guess it’s a good place to upload your Instagram pictures and update Facbook… A must have in the outdoors nowadays…

Water, we’ll carry our Platypus one- and two liter bags as usual and pick up water on the trail. There’s plenty of water in the area so that won’t be an issue.

Equipment, not much is going to change here. Some items will be replaced like socks and things like that which are consumables more or less. Jon is opting for a new inflatable sleeping pad that’s longer than his/our current one that we use, Therm-A-Rest NeoAir X Small.  He’ll probably get the Klymit V2 pad. I’m contemplating on buying a new pair of shoes as my Inov-8 Trailroc 245’s are showing some wear on both the lugs and a hole on the inside of the heal counter that could be a good spot to get blisters. The Trailroc 245’s have been very comfortable but it looks like they’ve been discontinued. If I am to get a new pair it’s probably gonna be from Inov-8 again. The Inov-8 X-Talon 200 looks nice and quite similar to my Trailrocs with the difference that they’re lighter and have bigger and fewer lugs.

Weather, we can expect rain and colder temperatures maybe down to 0 degrees Celsius at night. Hopefully we’ll have some sunny days with temperatures around 16 degrees. Cold weather is fine as long as it’s clear so we can enjoy the views.

I hope that this will be a good trip!

Österlenleden – Brösarp to Borrby Strandbad

DSC00125_15-07-03Skåneleden SL4 from Brösarp to Borrby Strandbad via Simrishamn and Kivik can now be added to the list of completed hikes in Sweden. Click the links to go to the maps. This stretch of Skåneleden offers many different environments from dense leaf forrest to long sandy beaches. Sometimes it feels like you’re not even in Sweden anymore, especially when the weather is so nice and sunny like when we were there.

The main goal with this trip was to test out all the gear before our trip to Iceland here in late July. We were hoping for some wind and maybe even some rain, but we got nothing of that… Rather the complete opposite.

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We started our hike in Brösarp near the bus station on Friday around 7pm and walked towards Kivik. It was a warm summers evening around 20 degrees Celsius, might even be called the first proper one so far this year.

After a few kilometers of easy walking it was time to take a quick break and have a look at the stream that we’d been following for some time. And would be following all they way down to the ocean.

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A quick splash of water on hands and face to cool down.

During a snack break on a beautiful meadow we got some unexpected company. We were standing in the middle of nowhere and when I looked around I couldn’t see a soul. Then just out of a sudden these three showed up behind a low stone fence.

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Jon picked up his pack as they looked hungry for Cuben Fiber. You never know how many square feet of Cuben these guys can eat per minute.

Orchards and many of them.

Orchards and many of them.

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Scouting rabbits as they run all over the fields.

After a few more kilometers we finally reached the ocean, and what a view!

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Jon is down by the water to cool his feet and head.

After a quick stop we pushed on towards Kivik. At this point we didn’t really have a plan for when and where to stop. And because we were inside a nature reserve our options were limited. However many non-hikers didn’t really respect this and we saw open fires, pitched tents and loose dogs on the beach.

We reached the outskirts of Kivik just as the sun was about to set and after have walked circa 12 kilometers. It was a very nice sunset and during this we pitched the tent and made some last minute adjustments to the Bearpawwd inner that really made it even better than before.

We even found a new technique for pitching the tent. To make sure the ground is as flat as possible we lay our walking poles on the ground to see if things are uneven. This was really helpful!

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The moon is rising in the horizon.

The next day we woke up to singing birds and the sun that was heating up the tent.

DSC00133_15-07-04We walked into Kivik to get some more water before we headed of to Stenshuvud to see the views from there.

On our way to Stenshuvud we passed by Kivik Musteri, an apple farm. Unfortunately we were there too early and the shop had yet to open, but at least we got ourselves a quick break after about 5 kilometers. Even this early, 9am, the sun was burning us, about 25 degrees Celsius.

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Trying to keep in the shade but that was way more difficult than one might think…

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Reaching the foot of Stenshuvud, finally shade!

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Hiking to the top gaining some much wanted elevation.

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Enjoying the view. Also getting to know where we’re going and how far it actually is.

After reaching the top it is always the same story… You have to go down again, and we did. At this point I think that not one worn piece of clothing was dry and not because of any rain… We picked up the pace and set our goal to reach the beach and have a swim to cool down. I guess that now the temperature had reached close to 30 degrees Celsius.

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This doesn’t really look like Sweden to me.

After a cooling swim we kept on walking in a nice pace. Not many people had come to the beach yet but just 10 minutes later it was crawling with sunbathers.

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As it got later in the day the temperature reached the completely nuts temperature of about 35 degrees Celsius. It’s no fun hiking in this temperature when you’re expecting something else.

Hiking through some idyllic places along the way.

** ENTER PICTURES HERE ** – Due to the heat we just pushed on for several hours not taking a single picture and then finally we took this one.

Personal record, passing 42km in one day.

Personal record, passing 42km in one day.

We stopped hiking just a few kilometers after this picture was taken and at that point we’d reached just south of the small town called Skillinge and we set up camp.

Our camp for the night.

Our camp for the night.

On the next day we got up early, even though we had some crazy runners(!?) going past our tent all night with headlamps and laughter. And some people think that we’re crazy going hiking 🙂

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Heading down to the beach again for the final stretch.

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Lovely hiking by the water with a slight breeze.

Our goal of the day was to walk a few kilometers to one of the bus stops that Jon previously had picked out on the map. We also wanted to find a good spot for a quick swim before we had to leave Österlen.

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Reaching Borrby Strandbad. Short last day, about 5 kilometers.

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Drying in the sun after a swim.

We took the bus from Borrbystrands Camping to Ystad and then back to Brösarp where our car was waiting.

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Ystad train/bus station.

Mini adventure – out canoeing

Sometimes it’s not important to go on long pre-planned trips but to get out at all. Mini adventures can change your everyday life in to something exiting and give you an energy boost to survive the next week.

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This weekend we had one of these mini adventures. By my house I have a lake and it’s connected with two smaller lakes, great for canoeing. We left around midday and quite soon after we reched the middle of “Sörsjön” the sky darkened far away and big lightening struck the sky. But as it was north of us and not that close we paddled on.

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After we reached or final destination where our plan was to stop and have a cup of coffee the bad weather had moved closer to us and the rumbling was telling us it was time to head back. With the wind at our backs we paddled on with ease and we were soon back on Sörsjön. But this time we kept close to the shore, you don’t want to be out on the middle of the lake when a thunder storm passes by…

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We jumped a shore and the weather started to act up with high winds but no rain. Fortunately it all passed by to the west of us. We pulled out or backpacks from the canoe and started to boil some water and unpacked some Swedish “fika”.

After our break it was time to have some fun and pitch Jons one man shelter, Six Moon Designs Gatewood Cape with their Serenity NetTent.

Here’s a short video of Jon pitching the tent.

After all this it was time to head back to home base, filled with energy. Now everything was calm after the storm and the water was almost like a mirror.

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