Ever since my return from Lapland last summer, I have been planning my summer 2011 trip. The plan is to walk from Kvikkjokk to Abisko along the Nordkalottleden, a distance of approximately 400 km over 20 days. As a result my focus has been on establishing a gear list and menu that will keep my pack weight to a minimum whilst ensuring that the amount of food carried will meet all my dietary and energy needs. As an estimate for 20 days I will need to carry 15 kg of food and thus my pack will need to be capable of handling 20 kg plus, so I expect that my total pack weight will be in the vicinity of 23 kg. More on that in a later blog post.
So this trip was a gear testing trip over previously covered ground (with a twist at the end) and the location of the trip was in Southern Sweden in Skåne, I commenced in Söderåsens National Park and finished in the Klövahallar. Gear being tested included Inov8 370 boots, Black Diamond Betalight combined with an MLD Solo innernet, Boilerwerks Kettle, Fuizion Foods Freeze Dried meals, Western Muntaineering Megalite, POE Ether Elite AC, MLD Good Night EVA 3 mm UL Foam Pad and physical fitness.
The weather forecast was for fine sunny weather and this was to be the first overnight trip where temperatures were above zero since October (it has been a long winter). After travelling by train and then bus I arrived at Röstånga in bright sunshine with just a hint of a chill in the air. I set off along the the Orange blazed Ås-åsleden trail and soon began climbing before skirting the calm waters of Odensjon
after which the trail continued past Dahlbergs, and ultimateley provided commanding views of the Skärån valley.
From there I descended to Skäralid, a popular tourist destination with its Naturum and restaurant. I chose to have a lunch break beside the at Skäralid and it would have been easy to fall asleep in the warm sunshine, but Kopparhatten (the highest point in Söderåsens NP at 202m.) awaited me.
Kopparhatten provided wonderful views down the gorge towards Skäralid and whilst it was evident that spring was in the air and the trees were in bud there was still a barren look to the landscape.
After Kopparhatten the trail descends to the valley floor and meets the foot trail coming along the valley from Skäralid, crossing Skärån I then climbed up to Liema.
Descending again to cross the Skärån I then followed a rocky path, a good test for boots and ankles, along the banks of Skärån.
Climbing away from Skärån the trail passes through a gorge formed by the fast flowing Dejebäcken.
Ultimately the trail reached the national park boundary, with it user counter stationed either side of the trail.
Beyond the park boundary the trail follows a series of forestry trails upon one of which I encountered ice hidden under the leaves.
Descending to Svartesjö, home for the night, I set up the Betalight with the solo innernet and set about the usual chores before relaxing and reading in the peaceful surrounds only punctuated by the sounds of many birds.
Later in the stillness of the evening as the sun was setting, a pair of swans could be heard approaching with the rhythmical sound of their wings flapping in unison.
The night was cool and there was some condensation on the tarp but it quickly dried in the morning sunshine.
After a relaxing nights sleep on the POE mat ensconced in the Megalite sleeping bag I set off towards Klövahallar, firstly passing by the calm waters of a lake
Then wandering through the forests ultimately climbing to Höjhall with it wooden tower providing a 360 degree panorama of the area. Descending from Höjhall the trail takes you into the fascinating area of Klåverödsstrovområde, with it variety of landscapes including forests, stone chimneys
and calm waters.
The trail passes through a farming area before entering Klövahallar, with its historic landmarks as well as fascinating geological remnants of the ice age. The Klövabäcken flows through gorge and its waters are cold and clear. According to the Ås-åsleden trail website: "Insects which are normally found in the mountainous regions survive here because of the unusual climate in the ravine, where they (have) survived since the last Ice Age"
On my next visit I plan to spend more time wandering this fascinating area, but for now I continued my descent on the norther side of the gorge before crossing Klövabäcken and climbing along the south side of the gorge until I found an appropriate campsite.
I spent the remainder of the day exploring the area, watching the light change as the sunset
and of course boiling water for my evening meal and coffee.
A wonderful trip and I will be back. A report on my gear reflections will follow.