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.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Cesar's Guide to Bohusleden: Stages 2 and 1

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This post covers Stages 2 and 1, Skatås-Blåvattnerna, of the official guide to the trail.  This is the start/end point of Bohusleden in the south, and you can check out the official guide to the entire trail here.

Here is a link to Stage 2's map in PDF format, and here is a link to Stage 1's map.


You can also check out my report on the section before this one (hiking southbound), a double report on Stages 4 and 3.


These two stages are also a part of the E1 trail system.  At Skatås Stage 2 connects with the next E1 trail, Vildmarksleden, which goes east from Bohusleden to the small town of Hindås.

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.


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Another double report for two very similar sections of trail that weave around and through the city and suburbs.  The very end going south or the very beginning going north, there are some nice things about Stages 2 and 1, but overall both stages (especially Stage 1) I recommend you modify how you hike them--and perhaps skip portions, or maybe even most of Stage 1.  However if you are someone, say a hardcore thru-hiker, that wants to cover each and every part of the trail, I can also offer advice on how to do a more grand finish/start to the trail.

I'll cover the longer finish/start to Bohusleden first before moving on to the nuances of a slightly shorter--but what I would consider a better--version of backpacking this area.  After the beginning/end of the trail in Blåvattnerna, there is another trail: the Hallandsleden.  You can check out more information on this trail here.

Take the commuter train to Anneberg, which is south of Göteborg and north of the small city of Kungsbacka.  Then hike for about 3.5km east on the road Älvsåkersvägen, where you will intersect with Hallandsleden, and you can make a left and hike north for a few more kilometers to Bohusleden.  Or if you are hiking south and finishing Bohusleden, follow these directions in reverse to get to the train station.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Cesar's Guide to Buhusleden: Stages 4 and 3

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This post covers Stages 4 and 3, Jonsered-Kåsjön and Kåsjön-Skatås, of the official guide to the trail.

Here is a link to Stage 4's map in PDF format, and here is a link to Stage 3's map.


You can also check out my report on the section before this one (hiking southbound), Stage 5.


At Skatås the E1 trail (which follows the first part of Bohusleden) connects with the next trail going northbound, Vildmarksleden.  Both trails follow each other in Stage 3 and then separate shortly after Stage 4 begins (soon after you pass the power lines near a narrow lake--see picture below with caption).

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.


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These two stages are both fairly short at 9 and 8.5km, and have a lot in common such as the topography and general type of trail, so I decided to report on them together.  For being so close to the city--especially a big city like Göteborg--these two stages are surprisingly woodsy and quaint in many places.  As is the case with many of the stages in the southern half of Bohusleden, there are many people that you will pass and bump into on the trail.  The last four southern stages are definitely the most crowded, and not just with backpackers and campers.  Dozens of mountain bikers, trail runners, dog walkers, and people of all ages take advantage of the trails here--and Bohusleden is only one of several trails in the area as well.

My good friends Edit and Julia came with me on this section hike, and we were lucky with great weather and got to experience part of the peak of autumn colors.  We stuck to the official trail for all of Stage 4, but did some trail hopping in Stage 3 which made for a bit of a longer but lovely hike through a nature reserve.  We all agreed that Stage 4 has good hiking and sights, and I highly recommend that anyone going through Stage 3 do some extra exploring as we did.  These two stages both had me constantly taking my camera out, so on to lots of pictures.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

My Advice to Would-Be, New, and Coverted Backpackers

I have been putting off writing this for some time, because I wasn't really sure how to go about it.  I had grander plans to make fancy flow charts and/or write a three part series of posts, but then I thought I could perhaps capture the most important points in one longer post rather than risk having things get muddled in a project that was larger in scope.  And honestly, just for pragmatic reasons, it would be easier and more efficient to be able to send people a link to this post when novices ask me for tips and such.

Questions and requests for advice from novices comes up fairly often--I have nearly two decades of experience backpacking, I write a backpacking blog, and love talking about this topic along with nature in general, after all.  In emails and in person, the people with the most questions usually fit into three groups: the would-be, the new, and the converted.  All three groups comprise what I would call novice or rookie backpackers.  The would-be backpackers (BPers) generally have little to no experience out in nature or with backpacking, new BPers have some experience, and the converts have a substantial (but often limited) bit of adventures out in the wild under their belts and are hungry for more.  Or put another way:

Would-be BPers would say something like: 
"I think I'd like to spend more time in nature."

New BPers say: 
"I like spending time in nature and want to go out some more."

Converts say: 
"I love spending time in nature and want to go out regularly."