Sunday, August 2, 2015

Setting off into Skuleskogen at High Coast Hike

Stemning var skyhøj da vi ankom til Friluftsbyn ved byen Docksta i Sverige. Det var dagen før den store dag. Dagen før vi skulle kaste os ud i sommerens største udfordring - High Coast Hike. For den ultimative nybegynder i friluftsliv med et brændende ønske om at prøve krafterne af på en længere hike, så er High Coast Hike et godt sted at begynde. Det er hvertfald vores erfaring efter vi deltog ved årets event denne sommer. Folk i alle aldre, nationaliteter og med forskellige friluftslivserfaring deltog og selv hunde var velkommen til at tage med. Hele 350 folk fordelt på tre grupper havde tilmeldt sig det 3-dages og 40km lange hike gennem Verdensarvsområdet Höga Kusten. Vi ankom en dag før selve hiken, hvilket gav os rigelig af tid til at slappe af, pakke taskerne ordentligt, lære nogle af de andre deltagere at kende samt finde potentielle hiking venner, som man senere kunne hænge ud med :)
Spirit was sky high as we arrived in the outdoor village Friluftsbyn near the town Docksta in Sweden. It was the day before the big day. The day before we would take on our summer's biggest challenge - the High Coast Hike. For the ourdoor newbie with a burning desire to try on a longer hike, High Coast Hike might just be the right place to challenge yourself for the first time. At least that is our experience after participating at the event during this summer. People of all ages, nationalities and with different experience participated and even dogs were allowed to join. A total of 350 hikers divided into three groups had signed up for the 3-days and 40km long hike through the World Heritage site Höga Kusten. Arriving a day before allowed us to relax, pack our bags properly, get to know some of the other participants and also find potential hiking buddies to hang with :)
The heart of Friluftsbyn · BBQing with new friends the day before the hike - Adrian (Group3), Anna (Group1) and Alex (Group2).
The Hike Begins
Dagen startede ud gråt og vådt. Periodiske regnskyl hærgede over Friluftsbyn om formiddagen, hvor de første 150 deltagere i Gruppe1 blev sendt af sted på hiken. Selv skulle vi først af sted med Gruppe2 over middag og HELDIGVIS undslap vi derfor det meste af regnen. Det 40km lange hike inde i Skuleskogens Nationalpark begyndte ved Indgang Vest. Vi allierede os med vores nye venner Alex og Jai på dagens 14km udfordring og tog det stille og roligt. Hastværk er lastværk - they say. Naturen skulle nydes og udsigten indtages. En opfordring som Hr. Jerry Engstrøm havde uddelt under informationsmødet kort forinden hiken. Og vi tog ordene til os, for vi havde trods alt hele dagen foran os.
The big day began and it started out wet. In the morning, periodic rain showers rolled in over Friluftsbyn as the first 150 hikers in Group1 were sent out to start the hike. Lucky for us, we were in Group2 and didn't start hiking until early afternoon when the rain had almost stopped. The 40km long hike began at Entrance West of Skuleskogens National Park. Teaming up with our new friends Alex and Jai, we were ready to conquer the day's 14km challenge. However, we didn't rush it. No need to hurry and miss out on the beautiful nature around us. Something Mr. Jerry Engstrøm himself had encouraged us to do during the info meeting before the hike. So we took on his words. After all, we had the entire day in front of us.
Following the blue marked trails through Skuleskogens National Park
Map of Skuleskogens National Park and the trails for the first two days
The lake Skrattabborrtjärn
Nogle kilometre inde kom vi forbi en lille træhytte nær søen Skrattabborrtjärn. Nysgerrige som vi var, kiggede vi ind og fandt seks brede senge og to piger ved et træbord, der sad og hyggede sig med en omgang middagsmad. Det så SÅ skidehyggeligt ud! Var vi ikke tvunget til at fortsætte, kunne vi godt have nappet en aften dér. Hytten kan anvendes af gæster året rundt og det er også muligt at smække sit telt op på det omkringliggende græsareal. Vi fortsatte øst på mod Slåttdalen og Slåttdalsskrevan - kun 3,5km væk. Undervejs blev der tid til en lille te-pause med front row seats til en fantastisk udsigt over Skuleskogen.
A few kilometers into the hike we came across a small timber overnight cabin near the lake Skrattabborrtjärn. Curiosity made us look inside to find six wide beds and two girls sitting at a wooden table, enjoying their lunch. The cabin in the woods is open for visitors year-round and you can set up tents on the old grazing land. It looked charmingly inviting and we were a little tempted to stay a night - if only we could. . We continued our hike further east towards the valley Slåttdalen and Mount Slåttdalsskrevan - just 3.5km away. At one point we took a longer tea-break with front row seats to an amazing view of Skuleskogen.
Cabin in the woods near lake Skrattabborrtjärn · Cabin is open year-round for visitors
Lake Skrattabborrtjärn
Taking a well deserved tea break and enjoying the view of Skuleskogen
Hiking towards the valley Slåttdalen and Mount Slåttdalsskrevan
On top of Mount Stampberget
Happy hikers on top of Mount Stampberget · Group picture with Jai and Alex
Inden vi nåede Slåttdalsberget krydsede vi toppen af Stampberget, hvor vi for første gang kunne nyde den panoramiske udsigt over Höga Kustens øgrupper. Spærrede vi øjnene ordentlig op, kunne vi endda se andre hikere vandre over bjergryggen af Slåttdalsberget i det fjerne. Så cool! For at spare lidt tid samt kilometre for benene, blev vi og andre foreslået at liste den modsatte vej i forhold til den indtegnede High Coast Hike rute. Vi ville stadig nå toppen af Slåttdalsberget men i modsætning til planlagt, kunne vi smide de tunge tasker, inden vi kravlede ad den våde bjergside og op til toppen. Idéen var som sød musik for vores ører, så vi tog smutvejen.
Before reaching Mount Slåttdalsberget, we crossed the top of Mount Stampberget from where we for the first time could enjoy the panoramic view of the High Coast archipelago. If we looked closely, we could actually see some of the other hikers in the distance crossing the mountain back of Slåttdalsberget. So cool! To save time and skip some kilometres, we and other hikers were suggested to take the trail going opposite of the original drawn on the map. We would still reach the top of Slåttdalsberget but on the way we could ditch our backpacks before climbing all the way to the top. The idea sounded like sweet music to our ears so we took the short cut.
Passing Trollporten ("Trolls' Door") - a small crevasse celebrated for the rock that rests across the top
Hike up Mount Stampberget
Enjoying the view on top of Mount Slåttdalsberget - the highest peak (280 metres) in Skuleskogen National Park
Vi smed taskerne halvvejs op af Slåttdalsberget og kravlede det sidste stykke af den glatte og mudret klippeside op til toppen. På det tidspunkt priste jeg mig lykkelig for, at jeg IKKE skulle ned at samme vej med en 12kg tung og ufleksible backpack spændt til ryggen! Da vi endelig nåede toppen efter at have vandret i flere timer blev vi belønnet med den mest fantastiske udsigt. Det var hjerte-skærende smukt at stå deroppe og bare nyde øjeblikket. Med sine 280 metre er Slåttdalsberget den højeste top i Skuleskogen Nationalpark. Næste gang vi besøger Höga Kusten må vi simpelthen op af den "rigtige" rute, så vi kan få hele oplevelsen og udsigten med, når man vandre hen af bjergryggen af Slåttdalsberget.
We ditched the backpacks half way up Mount Slåttdalsberget and climbed the last part over the slippery and muddy mountain side up to the top. At this point I was relieved for not having to climb back down the same route with a 12kg heavy backpack strapped to my back! Finally reaching the top after a long day of hiking, all of us were taken away by the incredible view at the top. It was heart-achingly beautiful to just stand there and enjoy the moment. With its 280 metres, Mount Slåttdalsberget is the highest peak in the Skuleskogens National Park. Next time we have to take the "real" route up to the top, so we can have the full experience of hiking across the mountain back.
Hike through the legendary Slåttdalsskrevan
The impressive cliff Slåttdalsskrevan
Lige efter Slåttdalsberget gik vi gennem det mest kendte sted i hele Skuleskogen - den legendariske kløft Slåttdalsskrevan. Scener fra filmen Rønja Røverdatter blev indspillet her, hvilket mange af os skandinavier nok godt ville kunne genkende. Kløften er omkring 200 meter lang, 40 meter dyb og 7 meter bred. Mens vi banede vej mellem de imponerende bjergvægge kunne vi ikke lade være med at råbe for fulde kraft - hvem ville ikke gøre det? Nu gik vi trods alt i Ronjas fodspor! To svenske damer foran os legede med og lavede lyde som de farlige heksekrager. Haha, FANTASTISK!
Right after Slåttdalsberget, we passed the most well known place in Skuleskogen - the legendary cliff Slåttdalsskrevan. Scenes from the movie "Ronia the Robber's Daughter" based on the children's fantasy book of the same name by Swedish author Astrid Lindgren were filmed here. The impressive cliff is 200 meter long, 40 meter deep and 7 meter wide. Walking between the high mountain walls we could not help but to shout at the top of our lungs - who wouldn't? After all we were walking the steps of Ronia! Two Swedish ladies in front os us made the experience complete when they joined us, making sounds like the scary crow witches from the movie. Haha, PRICELESS!
The lake Tärnättvattnet where one can take a refreshing swim and even drink the water (boiling it first is recommended)
Making it to the campsite
Ikke længe derefter ankom vi til søen Tärnättvattnet. Klokken nærmede sig otte, og der var fortsat en god halvanden times vandring tilbage. Min krop var ved at være godt træt på dette tidspunkt og mine fødder - ååhh mine stakkels fødder kæmpede deres egen kamp nede i vandrestøvlerne. Det overraskede os, at det alligevel ville tage os næsten 7 timer at gennemføre 14km. Vi tog endnu en pause ved søbredden sammen med mange andre fra Gruppe2, inden vi marcherede det sidste lange stykke til campsite. Første campsite på den lille ø Tärnättholmarna blev nået inden mørket havde lagt sig. Vi fik hurtigt smækket teltet op, kogt vand til aftensmaden og hældt maden i skuffen - sengen kaldte! Godt trætte og tilfredse med dagens oplevelser puttede vi os i de varme soveposer og sagde godnat.
Shortly after, we arrived at the lake Tärnättvattnet. It was nearly 8pm and we still had almost one and a half hour of hiking in front of us. My body was getting tired at this time and my feet - ohhhh my poor feet were having their own battle with the hiking boots. It surprised us that it would take us almost 7 hours to complete the 14km. We took another break at the lakeshore with several of the other hikers from Group2 before marching the last long stretch to the campsite. First campsite at the little islands Tärnättholmarna was reached at twilight. We pitched our tent as fast as possible, boiled water for dinner and shoved the food in - the beds were calling! Well tired and happy with the day's adventure, we curled up in our warm sleeping bags and said goodnight.
Info:
HighCoastHike.com | Friluftsbyn.se | Sverigesnationalparker.se (Skuleskogens Nationalpark)