Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Cesar's Guide to Bohusleden: Stage 6


This post covers Stage 6, Fontin-Angereds kyrka, of the official guide to the trail.

You can also check out my report on the section before this one (hiking southbound), Stage 7.

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 are looking for variety, this stage has perhaps the most changes on a hiking path on the entire trail; but this does not necessarily mean that you will enjoy all of these different paths.  You will walk on small woods trails, big woods trails, boards across marshes, dirt roads, paved roads, sidewalks, cobblestones, wooden bridges, highway overpasses, and more.  Odds are that if you are backpacking the Bohusleden, that you are perhaps in it for the nature and not the town/city life.  If this is the case, you may want to consider taking advantage of public transportation to skip certain parts of this section.  My friend and I hiked the whole stage, but wouldn't have minded doing this knowing what we know now about how things are.

This is not to suggest that things are bad or that hiking conditions are poor--it is a good hike with a lot to offer.  It has both scenic woods at conveniences of society close by, so some might consider this the best of both worlds.  It's very well suited for day hikes and weekend trips, and plenty of locals will be around.  We were just craving woods more than streets, highways, and cars that take up a significant portion of this stage.  This stage is also a good place to start a northbound section or thru-hike at several different points, as are the next few stages which are close to or in Göteborg.

For section or thru-hikers going southbound, the beginning of this stage gives you the opportunity to spoil yourself if you so desire (or can afford) with a night in a hotel or hostel.  The amazing human accomplishment of hot running water for showers, and clean water on demand can really be appreciated by a dirty, smelly, thirsty traveler.  Going through Kungälv, you will pass a lovely cemetery, a cozy old street full of cozy old houses, and the rest of town.  My hiking partner and I opted to stop for some ice cream under the shadow of the castle before moving on and out of town.

Past a gas station is a bus stop (Eriksdal) where you can make several different connections, or as mentioned earlier skip out on hiking around 5km of suburbs.  Take a bus (there are a few, like the 402--check the schedules and info at the bus stop) to the small town of Bohus, which the trail goes right through.  

When you get there, there are several options and helpful stops for hikers.  There is a supermarket and a pharmacy in town (you can't miss them), and close to town is a train station that can take you to Göteborg.  You can then hike up a residential hill to where the trail goes into the woods again, or take another bus (the 401 to Jennylund) there.

Regardless of how you finally get back into the forest, things will get very woodsy and marshy, and soon you will be in Vättlefjälls nature preserve.  The preserve has several shelters to take advantage of, on the trail or close by.  There are three on the northern end of the first big lake in the preserve, Gäddevatten, and two shelters on the western shore of the next big lake Stora Stentjärnen (but you will need to hike off trail around the lake to get there).

We spent the night at one of the northern shelters, and there we met two really cool fellow backpackers, Dean and Charlotte from Germany.  We got along well, and decided to hike together the next day.  Before leaving the preserve we all jumped into the lake for a great swim.  Things gradually shift back to a residential suburban hike, and soon the stage ends at another highway.  On the highway is another supermarket and bus stop.  You can take the Orange Express bus to Göteborg.

It took us about 6 hours to complete this stage, but this includes lots of breaks, lunch, a swim, and walking at a low to moderate pace.

Even with the odd city/woods contrast and moments of suburban hell, this is still one of my favorite stages.

Next up is a bouncy bridge and pretty horses, if you are into that kind of stuff, here on Stage 5.