Monday, 6 September 2010

Lerjrevallen to Östafors

Ever since returning from Lapland I have spent a lot of time thinking about gear and planning for my next visit in 2011. For 2011 I intend to cover approximately 300 kms over about 20 days without resupply, which requires me to consider carefully the gear I am carrying, as food alone will amount to 15 kg. So this trip, like other upcoming trips, was about testing and developing a gear list that I am happy with for an extended trip. I know I will be using an Aarn pack (perhaps a little bigger than the current Mountain Magic 55) and my Nunatak quilt. So my interest lay in shelter footwear and stoves.

To begin the walk I caught a train to Kristianstad from Copenhagen and then a bus to Bonnslättsvägen (Skånetraffiken bus 550). From there it was a 5 km walk to Lerjrevallen, the start of the trail. Along the way to Lerjrevallen I discovered that you should not always believe what Google Maps tells you, that is tracks can become overgrown, closed or ... so after a slight detour and a brief conversation with 2 Swedish guys I finally found the starting point of the walk, after passing some apple orchards where the apples were undoubtedly ripe for the picking.

After passing the orchards I wandered down to the cool forest surrounding Lerjevallen and soon heard the sounds of many children enjoying themselves, they were a school group who had stayed at a hostel and were learning about nature, playing football, fishing and ... After a lunch I headed away from the lake and soon began climbing, this was my first trip since Lapland so whilst the hill was not that steep, I recognised how little exercise I had had over summer. Once on top of the hill I began to notice the number of different Fungi in varying stages of growth.

The walk for the remainder of the day continued in much the same way, green forest with moss covered rocks;

Narrow trails

All in all a very pleasant and relaxing experience with the sun shining and the birds singing.

I arrived at Bökested a place I had visited a couple of years ago and set my MLD SpeedMid overlooking the lake, it was very calm and there was the occasional mosquito around.

I was quite taken by Ryan Jordans post a while ago about Mids and after my last trip lapland I though that yes a Speedmid from MLD may work and will be a lot lighter (a days worth of food), more recently I had been heartened by a recent post on another blog about mosquito protection in a laavu and given a Mids recognised wind protection characteristics then it maybe ideal for Lapland. There was certainly enough space inside for me and my gear and even in rainy weather the back half of the mid would be protected from rain and spray.

Having settled down for a relaxing evening I collected firewood for the Evernew Sidewinder Caldera, this was my second use of the stove and with better quality firewood there was much less smoke and much more heat, I was very happy with its performance and with its packability it would seem an ideal stove set up for long distances.

In the morning I prefer to use Esbit to heat water for coffee and porridge and one 14 gm Esbit tablet was able to boil 600 mls of water, which I was happy with.

After dinner I sat down on the banks of the lake just enjoying the tranquility of evening, it truly was a pleasant night only punctuated by the occasional sounds of other people way off in the distance. The outlet of the lake was calm

and the sky was magical

After a leisurely start in the morning with a little cloud in the sky I set off soon passing by another still lake

I was now on a section of trail I had been on before so I was able to wander without needing to worry too much about the direction, my focus was on appreciating the warm sunshine in the calm conditions. However, there was one surprise for me having passed by in cooler weather I was surprised to come across these wonderful stands of pink flowers which seemed to be a fitting conclusion to a relaxing and enjoyable trip.

Some of the gear used:

MLD SpeedMid, I was very happy with my first outing with this shelter, and look forward to using it many more times in all types of weather conditions.

Shoes: I wore my Salomon XT Wings 2, the ground was dry so there was no problems with slippage and they were very comfortable, especially when walking on hard packed surfaces I will be using them again.

Caldera Stove: worked faultlessly and is very packable.

Trekking Poles: I dug out my old REI Peak UL Poles (193 gms each) for this trip and walked with one only, as I wanted to test the concept of walking at a more relaxed pace. This worked well and I will continue to experiment with this approach.

Aarn Mountain Magic 55: As comfortable as always and worked well as an overnight pack, given its large volume.