Monday, August 20, 2012

Cesar's Guide to Bohusleden: Stage 25


This post covers Stage 25, Krokstrand-Håvedalen, of the official guide to the trail.

You can also check out my report on the section before this one (going southbound), Stage 26.

If you have not already read the introduction to this trail guide, 
you can check it out by clicking here.  It has a list of reports on other sections I have hiked plus other important/useful background information in general--so please read the introduction first before reading my reports.


* The fjord that divides Sweden from Norway takes center stage as you begin this very quaint part of the trail, and there will be many views of the fjord, which is good for both beauty/photos and to orientate yourself once you are back in the woods.

On the docks looking south.

On a hill looking north, the docks from above can be seen to the left.

After leaving the tiny village of Krokstrand, which does have a cafe with very limited hours near the trail (and that is about it), you will follow a paved road for a stretch.  Be careful not to get off the road and into the woods too early--I did due to a poorly placed trail marker.  I also discovered another trail marker on a post that was knocked over and hidden in some bushes, and I put it back up as best as I could.  But if you do go off-trail as I said above, just use the fjord as a landmark and you should not get lost... but you might end up in Norway.  Speaking of Norway, after passing a open area with some sandy hills, when you go back into the woods you will soon get to a fork in the road that splits off into another trail that will take you into Norway:

To the left (south-east) is a trail into Norway, to the right (south -west)  Bohusleden continues.

I actually considered taking the Norwegian trail just for the hell of it so I could see a bit of Norway, and then getting back on Bohusleden later on, but I am very glad didn't.  In the next stage, Stage 24, I do go off trail and explore Norway a bit, and will write more about that in my next report.  

There is an excellent shelter shortly after this fork on the lake Sandvatten.  It was one of the nicest shelter areas I have ever been to.  The shelter itself is pretty standard as far as Swedish camping shelters go, which is to say a good quality wooden hut, but it is the location that really makes the area so excellent.  

The shelter overlooks the lake, the lake is not at all very swampy (which also means less mosquitoes and bugs), the swimming is wonderful, the water is clean and tastes good too, and there is an outhouse as well (not all shelter areas have outhouses).  I was also lucky because at the shelter I ran into some excellent company--two Belgians, Kim and Sam, and two Germans, Jim and Andrew--which made for a magnificent night of drinking whisky (thanks again guys!) and star gazing.  Good times all the way around :)

The rest of the stage is mostly open woods, with a few swampy spots that might wet your feet (mine did get a bit damp), and the trail markings at times could be better.  The shelter is roughly the halfway point of this section, and I would say that the better hiking is before the shelter (going southbound) but the hike after it is not bad either.  No need to worry much about water, you can fill up at the lake by the shelter, or wait until Section 24 if you are going southbound, which has many streams and lakes.

There are a lot of elevation changes in this section, and this is especially the case in the northern part before the shelter.  So expect a good workout, but it is not what I would call difficult--I'd call it a good, somewhat challenging hike full of hills, big (and many) trees, boulders, cliffs, and overall very beautiful.  The fjord village and shelter add a certain cozy element to this section that makes it very memorable.  I slept at the shelter area, so it took me two days to get through this section, but only about five hours of actual hiking including breaks.  And you will probably need lots of breaks to just stop and enjoy what is around you, or to catch your breath.

Next is Stage 24, Håvedalen to Vassbotten.