This post covers Stage 14, Metsjö-Bovik, of the official guide to the trail.
You can also check out my report on the section before this one (going southbound), Stage 15.
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.
* This stage begins at a crossroads of backwoods/lumber dirt roads, and returning to the woods passes several lakes and streams before skirting close to civilization. It is a very scenic portion of trail with many cute little details that I really enjoyed, and was again happy with my luck of good weather to capture some of the beauty on camera. Stage 14 has many areas that I felt were really begging me to stay, and while I did make sure to take many breaks to enjoy things, alas a father, husband, and grad student only gets precious few days to spend out there. Needless to say, this is a stage that I will surely return to with friends and family, especially because it is conveniently located close to a small city where one can take advantage of pubic transportation.
There are some unique shelter opportunities in this stage, such as a tee-pee type structure and a few big cabins--however a few of them are seasonal and not open all the time. Not sure if I just had a unique experience while I hiked this stage, but the official guide says that I would not likely walk alone... and I did just that. Didn't see anyone on the trail, and only saw one guy walking his dog on a paved road the trail crossed. I am also confused by the official guide designating this stage as being of "average" difficulty. I found it to be pretty easy and pleasant hiking, but as I have noted in other stages, I have no idea how they determine their difficulty ratings.
|Northern tip of Metsjö near the beginning of the stage.|
You will soon pass a lovely little cottage near a lake, and when I peeked inside the window I could see several beds, a wood stove, tables, chairs--very cozy indeed. Problem was it was locked. But around the cottage were some benches and campfire rings, plus plenty of flat ground to set up your tent or tarp should you need a fine place to camp for the night.
Shortly after the cottage is a big, wooden, and most importantly, always open tee-pee style shelter. As you can see in the above picture, plenty of people can fit inside, and there is a big wood stove in the center. It is on a small cliff that overlooks a lake, and I stopped and took a short nap on a log-bench near the outdoor campfire.
After a longer hike between shelters through the woods, yet another cottage, this one even bigger than the first one, and just as locked when I got there. But as before, there are some outdoor things hikers can take advantage of, like another campfire ring and flat ground (though I liked the first cottage's surroundings better).
Soon there is a larger trail that passes yet another spot that I seriously considered camping at just so I could sit and look at and listen to the beautiful surroundings. Maybe I just have a thing for stone ruins and running water, but I really loved this area.
Not long after the old mill is a restored farmhouse that could make for a nice place to take a break, with benches and bathrooms; but I did look around some for a water tap and could not find a working one, but most hikes would just use the nearby creek anyhow. As you get closer to civilization there are road crossings, one of which was very poorly marked, so keep your eyes open for trail markers. In the above picture you can see a trail marker to the left, which I found in the bushes and put back up.
Finally there is a long, straight path through a pretty swamp. I actually regret not taking more pictures, it was an interesting part of the trail. It is very straight, and at times you can almost see the whole way down to the other end of the path. Around are many trees, towards the end near the trailhead are some larger trees that created a cool tunnel-like feeling. From here you are close to Uddevalla, where one could chose to rent a hotel or BnB, catch a train or bus, resupply, etc. This stage took me about five hours to hike at a normal pace, but with several long breaks to explore, relax, and enjoy things.
For those that are looking to move on further on the trail, be warned that there is only one shelter on each of the next two stages of the trail, so you will have to plan accordingly if you want to use them. The lone shelter in the next stage is quite nice, however, and a good option for any traveler looking to save on money rather than spoil themselves with all those fancy things like running water, heat, and electricity in the city. ;)
Next up, Stage 13.