Sunday, August 19, 2012

Cesar's Guide to Bohusleden: Introduction


***Update 09/03/2017: 
So for roughly a year or so I have noticed that the official website for this trail was being changed, under construction, incomplete, etc.  I waited with the hope that they would eventually fix up the site.  I've had several readers of my blog contact me and point out some problems with the new site.  For example, there is no longer an a version of the site in English.  There is a translate option, but this is just a link to have Google Translate convert the page to English, which is frankly really lazyThe majority of people in Sweden know pretty good English--good enough to have someone take the time to translate the new site properly.

Then there is the issue with the maps.  New maps have been put up that frankly I find worse than the older maps.  And not only that, there were maps with information in English before, now there are none.  The older maps were good enough to use to navigate the entire trail.  I know because that's exactly what I did.  I printed the PDF maps then laminated them and that's what I used for hiking this trail, along with the trail information in English printed on the back of the map (this I had to mod myself).

This also means that all the links I had to painstakingly add to each specific map and official guide are dead.  So looks like I will finally have to go through and just remove all these dead links.  It's been long enough that I doubt that any improvements or additions--especially for English speakers--are coming anytime soon (or at all?).  I will be emailing my feedback on the older Bohusleden official website vs. the new one as well, and will put any relevant updates they may give me here in the future.  My advice to anyone planning on hiking the trail as far as maps go is to just buy a good quality map of either the whole trail, or of the areas of the trail you will be hiking.  There are several good options, so just Google it, or you can buy a map here in Sweden at bigger book stores (like this one) and camping stores.

Until then, I hope that my guide (though somewhat dated) can still be assistance.  I will keep my original guide as is, with the exception of a few updates on sections I may notice--I still do day hikes and short section hikes of the trail.  However next year (summer 2018) I am planning to re-hike nearly the entire trail.  To see how I intend on re-hiking it, scroll down and read my epilogue on the trail.  After re-hiking the trail, I will write a new, updated trail guide.  Not sure just yet how I will include it along with my old one, but right now I am thinking of doing one big, long post that has all the update highlights at once.  We'll see.  Anyhow, now on to the original introduction. ***
 

Greetings and welcome to my companion guide to Sweden's (and small parts of Norway's) Bohusleden!  If you are just looking for all the links to the trip reports themselves, scroll down--they are at the bottom of this post.  If you have never been backpacking in Sweden before, you might want to read my article on general tips and information on nature, backpacking, and camping in Sweden.

Bohusleden is a hiking trail in Sweden that runs 370km from just outside of southern Göteborg in the small town of Lindome, to the cozy coastal town Strömstad near the Norwegian boarder.  I completed the trail on 9 section hikes, hiking 347km total and skipping 23km (Stages 18 and 17); the two stages I skipped follow roads entirely, but I still drove down these sections for the sake of reporting on them.  

I spent approximately 137 hours traveling on the trail (not including camping or making and breaking camp).  This includes hiking and any/all breaks (such as lunch and to fill up on water), and averages out to roughly 2.5km per hour.

Some more fun facts: 

* By my count, the trail passes right by or very close to 111 lakes or large ponds (big enough to swim in).

* In total my guide contains 632 pictures for you to enjoy.

* Some of the more memorable wild animals I observed on the trail: deer, moose, boar, hawks, and an otter swimming on its back in the middle of a big lake (S. Kornsjön) and eating something with its front paws.

The new official guide to the trail can be found here (in Swedish).  When I hiked the trail I used an older (and in my opinion much better) version of the official website (see update above).

I followed the format the official guide provided by breaking down the trail into 27 different stages.  The older official guide was written from the perspective of going generally northbound (i.e. from Lindome to Strömstad), but I have nearly always hiked the other way around, going generally southbound, so I wrote from this perspective.  I tried not to repeat anything to be found in the official guide, but will add details, give feedback, highlight things missing from the official guide, offer tips, explain off-trail alternatives/options, etc.  In short: try and prepare backpackers even more for this trail adventure should they stumble upon my guide.  

I give estimates on how long it took me to hike a given section, but please keep in mind that everyone is different, and how long it takes depends on a lot of variables.

I was generally very impressed with the trail and the experience of hiking it, and strongly encourage anyone interested in backpacking/camping/hiking to check it out.  I have hiked on many different trails spanning several nations on three different continents, and Bohusleden is definitely one of my favorite trails.

As always, please feel free to ask questions, leave comments, or give feedback--either in the comment section below each post, or via email through my profile.

Thanks for reading, and hope this is helpful and/or enjoyable to read! :)

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Completed reports:

Stage 27, Strömstad-Högstad

Stage 26, Högstad-Krokstrand

Stage 25, Krokstrand-Håvedalen

Stage 24, Håvedalen-Vassbotten

Stage 23, Vassbotten-Nornäs

Stage 22, Nornäs-Daletjärnen

*Stages 27-22 were completed on a section hike in August 2012.

Stage 21, Daletjärnen-Holmen  

*Stage 21 completed on overnight trip April 2012. 

Stage 20, Holmen-Vaktarekullen

Stage 19, Vaktarekullen-Lunden

*Stages 20 and 19 were completed on a section hike in October 2012. 

Stages 18 and 17 double report, Lunden-Harska

Stage 16, Harska-Kaserna


Stage 15, Kaserna-Metsjö

Stage 14, Metsjö-Bovik

Stage 13, Bovik-Glimmingen

*Stages 18-13 were completed on a section hike in May 2013. 

Stage 12, Glimmingen-Vassbovik


Stage 11, Vassbovik-Hasteröd

*Stages 12-11 were completed on a section hike in July 2013. 


Stage 10, Hasteröd-Lysevatten

Stage 9, Lysevatten-Bottenstugan


**Update 18/10/2015: Trip report on a return to Stage 9 plus hiking around several side trails in the Svartedalen nature reserve.

Stage 8, Bottenstugan-Grandalen

*Stages 10-8 were completed on a section hike in August 2013. 


Stage 7, Grandalen-Fotin

Stage 6, Fotin-Angereds kyrk

Stage 5, Angereds kyrka-Jonsered

*Stages 7-5 were completed on a section hike in September 2013. 

Stages 4 and 3 double report, Jonsered-Skatås

*Stages 4-3 were completed on a section hike in October 2013. 

Stages 2 and 1 double report, Skatås-Blåvattnerna

*Stages 2-1 were completed on various day hikes throughout 2012 and 2013.

An Epilogue 

Includes final thoughts, reflections, food planning, and how I'd like to hike the trail next time knowing what I know now.

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6 comments:

  1. Hi Cesar,

    A question for you. If you were planning a 2-3 day trip (probably just an overnighter) on Bohusleden this time of year, and needed easy access to public transport at each end of the journey, what stretch would you choose? Is it possible to hike a reasonably wild area, in such a short trip, without just grinding out miles? I have some ideas from your reports but figured it wouldn't hurt to just ask.

    Thanks for putting together this very helpful guide!

    Best,
    Dan

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you found my guide helpful, thank you. As far as this trip you are planning, I'd need to know more information about what the goals of the trip are. If you are just looking to camp, there are plenty of places where you can take public transportation to and then back home again for a relaxing trip with no grinding of miles. Just outside of Göteborg are plenty of options.

      Anyhow, good luck on your trip, and if you have more specific questions I can try and answer them.

      Take care and happy trails!

      --Cesar

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  2. Hi Cesar, really enjoyed the blog such a fantastic resource for folks looking to hike the Bohusleden. I was wondering if you had any thoughts on mountain biking this trail? Seems from your guide that it might be a good candidate for a 'bikepacking' trip (i.e. a lightweight mtb loaded up with UL back packing kit).
    First query I guess is whether biking on this trail would be illegal or even frowned upon, in which case i won't bother investigating any further. However if allowed then it would be great to get some general thoughts on the 'bikeability' of the trail. Some 'hike a bike' sections are to be expected of course and all part of the fun, but hour after hour of pushing through swamps or up and down cliffs could get old pretty quickly. I guess stage 9 might be one to skip from this point of view despite it being one of your highlights. Any comments or suggestions would be much appreciated.

    Thanks,

    Adrian

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. First I have to say thanks for the feedback and kind words! Next, I am not a biker, so I am not sure how good my advice might be in relation to biking BHL. To my knowledge biking the trail is not illegal, and in fact I saw plenty of bike tracks on my hikes on BHL. I would just use your best judgment as a biker as far as each section goes, and have good maps handy if/when you want to skip around the trail. There were certainly some sections with asphalt road hiking that I wish I had a bike... but then again, as you observed having a bike in a swamp is probably no fun. I hope this helps, and good luck on your journeys!

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  3. Thanks for the reply and suggestions Cesar, much appreciated. Sounds like it could be acheivable with some judicious use of detours. I will purchase some of the relevant green maps and get studying. Hopefully I will get a crack at this in May, maybe the bugs won't be so bad then!

    Regards, Adrian

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. May is one of my favorite times to get out here in SW Sweden, and the bugs should not be too bad depending on the weather. Early May with some chilly nights will keep them away. Maps are of course great, but also don't be shy and talk to some locals. Plenty of unmarked trails, shelters, and such out there. Happy trails to you!

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