Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Cesar's Guide to Bohusleden: Stage 16


This post covers Stage 16, Harska-Kaserna, of the official guide to the trail.

You can also check out my report on two sections before this one (going southbound), Stages 18 and 17.

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.


*   If you follow my advice and skip over Stages 17 and 18 to the north, you are really not going to miss much.  This stage, however, is jam packed with lots of stunning eye candy and interesting features that you definitely don't want to miss it.  

I am usually pretty bad about taking lots of pictures--I am no photographer--as you probably could tell with not as many pictures included in the first sections I wrote trip reports for on this trail, if you have been keeping up with my guide as a whole.  So taking more pictures of the trail and nature has been a goal of mine.  Stage 16 made it all too easy for me to accomplish this goal, and I found myself constantly taking out my camera--though good weather also contributed to this as well.

Before I get to the pictures, I should say that while this is not that long a section at 11.5km, it felt like more due to a few challenging features of the trail here (mostly good, but some not so good).  If you were not able to stock up on supplies in Dingle to the north, the small, cozy town of Munkedal offers more options as far as supplies and a few small cafés and restaurants, and is not far off the trail.  There is also a train station that can get you to either Göteborg (directly) or Oslo (connect to a bus in Ströstad).

After a short walk on a dirt road, the trail finally goes back into the woods, and not a moment too soon if you ask me.  After not too long, this section of trail will begin to reveal quite a lot of variety in geography, topography, scenery, and vegetation.

Close to the above pictured ruins of a cottage and clearing, there is a side-trail that goes to a cave and to the tip of the large Lerbergsnäset peninsula, but I chose to stick to the trail so that I could finish this stage and make it to a shelter in the next stage before dark.

 Like other parts of Bohusleden, water is a central part of the trail, and especially so for this stage.  Several times the trail follows a body of water or crosses it, which is usually quite beautiful, but does have some drawbacks that one has to expect to pay the price for like soggy shoes and socks.  After the trail hugs the south end of Kärnsjön, it passes right through a farm, and several cows watched intently as I hiked.  

I was a bit worried that a bull might be around, but since the trail is right next to the lake I could always jump in to avoid trouble, though obviously this would be an unpleasant turn of events.  Speaking of cows, watch where you step!  When they are not busy eating, well, they are busy producing manure in big piles, several of which were literally right on the trail.  And it's not just cow poop that you have to look out for, as you will see in a photo below, it can be quite muddy too.

After the farm, you will soon be on a paved road with a view of a dam, but you won't be on the road for too long before you follow the Örekilsälven river.

Following the river one of the first landmarks you will find are some wonderful ruins right on the river.  I was tempted to stay and set up camp there for the night, but it was too early in the day and I wanted to continue to make progress on the trail.  After the ruins there is some somewhat demanding but good hiking up and down cliffs, with some staircases to aid hikers along the way.

The sound of a significant amount rushing water will soon fill the air, and this will not be the last time you hear this sound in this stage, or the next stage either.  A large bridge over a powerful waterfall awaits, next to the falls a unique salmon ladder built into the cascade, where I spent a nice little break to take everything in.

Leaving the beautiful sights and sounds of the waterfall, the trail heads briefly into the outskirts of Munkedal, passing its church--and this would be an ideal spot to go in and explore town, buy supplies, maybe take a coffee/tea break.  At the center of town, next to the train station, is a café, supermarket, and convenience store all a stone's throw away from each other.

Back into the woods, soon the trail follows another river.

Shortly after following this next river, the trail intersects with a paved road and a gorgeous stone bridge at the end of a lake, which also marks the end of this stage going southbound.  There is a place to rent canoes and kayaks, at the lake, and though I thought it was closed when I got there, later on as I was hiking around the lake in the next stage, I saw several people paddling around the waters and having a good time.  Not sure if they brought their own boats and gear, or got it from the building that rents them on the shores of the lake--but they were coming from the general direction of the rental place.

 That wraps up Stage 16, one of the finest parts of Bohusleden, though not without a few issues.  Expect to be wet, muddy, and tired by the time you sit and admire the stone bridge and beckoning lake at the end of the stage.  It took me about 3.5 hours to hike this section, with several short breaks to enjoy the scenery.

The next stage continues to please the eye, have an abundance of water (along with some excellent drinking water options to fill your bottles up with), and offer good hiking, along with a few descent shelters to take advantage of to spend the night.  

Click here for the next stage, Stage 15.