Monday, October 21, 2013

Cesar's Guide to Bohusleden: Epilogue

Here are some final thoughts and advice on Bohusleden now that I have completed the whole thing.  I wish that I could have done the entire trail on one big thru-hike, but doing it in section hikes was still an excellent experience.  In the future I will most likely do a thru-hike of the trail.  

One could ask: So why Bohusleden, anyhow?  The answers are simple really.  For one, I live in Göteborg, so it is close to me and convenient to get to and from the trail, even at the northern start/end point in Strömstad.  Next, as I hope all the pictures and my commentary have shown, is that it's quite a lovely trail with a lot to offer.  

I divide the trail in my mind into three big parts: the north, middle, and south.  In a nutshell, the northern third of the trail is very woodsy, more isolated, less people, and has more of an "adventure" type feel.  The middle third of the trail is still quite woodsy but with a mix of rural and small town/city society, more people, and a mix of adventure and comfort.  The southern third is not as woodsy, but when it is woodsy it can surprise you, has lots of people and the trail atmosphere is more social, and it hardly feels like and adventure but more like a very long walk in a huge park.

As I said, I'd like to do the whole thing again, which should also be a good indication of how much I enjoyed it.  If/when I do it again, it will mostly likely be in one big thru-hike (maybe summer of 2018?), and this is how I would do things given what I know now about the whole trail:

  • Take a bus up to Strömstad early in the morning, buy a hardy lunch in town, and then head to the trailhead again with 5 days of food packed.  I think I'd probably like to do it in early May if possible, to avoid the peak bug season, and probably take a base weight of around 3.5kg.

  • Start the trip from Stage 27, go off trail very similar to what I did in Stage 24, but nix the cliff climbing and just bushwhack around to the trail and across the little bridge into Norway, and then hike back to the trail and to the next stage.
  • After checking out the waterfall, I'd skip the big swamp hike in Stage 23--and here is one alternative that goes close to the end of that stage--then hike to the southern part of Stage 22 to the 164 highway.
  • Hike down the 164 highway east to the bus stop Loviseholm, then take the 760 bus (or hitchhike) into the small town of Ed to buy another 3 days of food, a pizza, and maybe a bottle of wine to enjoy later on the trail (pouring it into a plastic bottle of course).  Take the 760 bus (or hitchhike) back toward the trail, but get off at the stop Björnlidmon and hike south west on the road towards Flötemarken.  This skips a large part of Stage 21, but nothing that exciting, and the road intersects with the trail in quite a nice area.
  • Hike Stage 20 and Stage 19.
  • Hike off trail on a dirt road going west at the very end of Stage 19, where there is a crossroad at Lunden.  After about 5km there is a paved road with a bus stop called Suttene, where one can take the 833 bus (or hitchhike) south to the small town of Dingle, skipping Stages 18 and 17.  In Dingle buy 3 days of food, a pizza, and then hike south through town.  Just outside of town turn left on a small road towards Bäckevall, then hike east where the road intersects with the trail at the very beginning of Stage 16.
  • Hike to the end of Stage 13, and then take the 679 or 680 bus (or hitchhike) from Glimmingen into the center of the small city Uddevalla.  In the city, buy 3 days of food, a falafel roll, then take a bus back to Glimmingen and the beginning of Stage 12--and hike careful not to get lost again going around the motocross track or get hit by a dirt bike.
  • Hike into Stage 9 but take a day or two to explore the area and its nice side trails, which include trail shelters, a stone hut ruin, and even a cave along with excellent hiking.  Then return to Bohusleden where ever is most convenient in stages 9 or 8 (both of which are next to the Svartedalen nature reserve).
  • Hike to the northern/beginning part of Stage 6, and then at the Eriksdal bus stop take a bus to small town Bohus.  In town buy 3 days of food, then use the same bus ticket (they are valid for an hour and a half) to take a bus to Jennylund, which is close to where the trail goes back into the woods.
  • Hike to the end of Stage 2, celebrate at Gunnebo Slott with a nice meal if possible, then take the 753 bus from the Kristinedal stop into central Göteborg, ending the trip.

The above plan would probably take me between 15-18 days, and the amount of food I noted to buy along the way are estimates.  The parts of the trail in the south that go close to civilization have a lot of cafés and restaurants and such to take advantage on, for instance.  Though the first 5 days worked out great on my first section hike back in August 2012.  I had 5 days of food with me (or around 6 days if you count the extra snacks), and on my way home after the trip I had no more meals.  I did have plenty of snacks left over, so going again I would not take as many.

I have since re-visited some of my favorite parts of the trail over the last few years, and will surely continue to do so for fun overnight and weekend trips.  I will try and give updates to my reports if there are (and I notice) any significant changes or new information relevant to the trail.

Once again, hope this guide was helpful and enjoyable, I am happy to answer questions and concerns, and encourage feedback. 

Last update: 10/03/2017 -- Fixed up formatting, typos, and removed info about shelter that no longer exists.