I was disappointed that I was leaving the beach and entering the forest, it had been a very enjoyable and rewarding walk along the coast, and the thought of walking in the forests was not very appealing, but as you will discover I soon began to recognise that the forest has its own beauty.
Initially I set off along the road, and after a slight navigational mistake which gave me the opportunity to inspect the firing range fence at close quarters, I back tracked to the correct location. I wandered along minor roads which ultimately led me to the forest. As I walked I could here the traffic on the major highway ahead, which immediately made me realise I had hardly heard a vehicle for the past 2 days. I crossed the old railway line, now used by a steam train in the summer.
Finally crossing the highway, I returned to the peace of the forest, the forest was cool but with the sun shining and the vibrant colours of green, yellow and orange made for an enjoyable walk. It was getting late but before I could think of a camp site I needed to pass through the Drakamöllans Nature Reserve. The reserve provides an open moorland feel as you wander through the grass and heath, the openness ensures that you can see for a considerable distance and with a cool breeze it also ensures that the windshirt is zipped tight.
Wandering across the nature reserve as the light deteriorated indicated that time was on the wing and a campsite was required. Camping in nature reserves is illegal, so I needed to ensure that I was not in one. After a while I found a spot that was flat with a stream nearby and an ample supply of dry firewood.
Soon the shelter was up
Firewood collected and dinner was being prepared.
Soon I was fed and ensconced in my sleeping bag on a top of my Exped UL down mat, I was quickly asleep. I slept well, in fact I had slept in, but I felt no need to rush and after a leisurely breakfast I went about the task of packing and thinking about the day ahead. The weather remained calm and whilst I could not see the sun in the forest it was evident there was only a thin layer of cloud. Finally packed and on my way I reached the beginning of what would be a road walk into Hörrod, it was a pleasant walk firstly on forest trails and then bitumen through farming areas, the faces on the bales of hay bought a smile to my face.
The trail took me through a nature reserve where there were some large well fed cattle with horns, including one particular bull whose eyes never moved away from me as I past. I descended then into Hörrod a nice village with a splendid church, the location of the church was apparently determined by trolls. One thing I have learnt when hiking in this part of the world is that, there is always water available at churches. I entered the cemetery adjacent to the church and filled my bottle whilst marvelling at the tranquility of the area, I understood how it would be possible to visit this cemetery and reflect upon life, something which is much less possible in the modern city cemeteries.
I left the church precinct and immediately climbed onto the Jären esker.
This section was beautiful, with the sun light filtering through trees and leaves of many different colours.
The sunshine was reflected by the small lakes below and along with the old forests in all their glory it was a very enjoyable wander.
I stopped many times to take photos but none could really do justice to the beauty of the area. Ultimately, I arrived at the shelter at Agusa with its wonderful views and settled down for lunch, and included a tick removal session.
After lunch I continued along the esker which became more undulating as I headed south, however, I continued to enjoy the beauty of the area and marvelled at the size of the trees within the bounds of the Vantalängan Nature Reserve.
As I continued to wander I came across Hallamölla waterfalls.
Having located a campsite and settled in for night. Water was boiled and dinner had, after some wandering around the area it was time for bed.
In the morning I spent time watching Zelphs Starlyte stove as it heated the water.
It was misty and the fog provided a mystical backdrop as I went about the task of packing.
Eventually I packed up and begun the walk along the trail as it followed the stream.
Upon reaching Vantalängan I spent some time chatting with a couple of Danish hikers.
Thereafter I continued along the trail and was entertained by a number of different faces, including stumpy,
and a troll
Finally I climbed onto the ridge overlooking Verkaån valley and was rewarded with a mist covered view, I began to realise that I would need to return as there was so much more to see.
As I wandered there was many visual items to grab my attention, including the spider webs.
After spending some time photographing, I finally reached the end of the journey, which I had enjoyed immensely. There are a number of walking opportunities in the area which I will explore further.
Some gear observations.
Black Diamond Megalight: I think David Chenault summarised this shelter perfectly, "It’s so dead-easy to set up. Should have got one years ago instead of futzing with other stuff." I used walking poles (Black Diamond Flicklock Distance poles) to erect the shelter and the area inside the shelter is more than one person will ever need. I have also found that the MLD solo inner net fits nicely inside. The weight without stuff sac and no pegs is 710 gms. the carbon fibre pole provided by Black Diamond weighs in at 328 gms, with the Black Diamond hiking pole connector weighing 31 gms. I prefer to use Tramplite's solution, with some double sided velcro to hold the poles together.
BPL UK Honey Stove: in my view this stove is the ideal wood burner, with the many options including the ability to vary the fire grate height allowing the wood to burn in more challenging conditions, I paired this with Zelph's starlet stove for this trip, it worked but I feel that there may be better options which I am now exploring.