Sunday, November 29, 2015

Winter 2015 Updates, and Long Term Future Plans

Salutations and happy holidays to anyone that may be reading this.  Been a while since I wrote an update, so here we go.  

As I expressed in other posts and vlogs previously, how often I make content is going to change due to a variety of factors.  Some of which I will spare you, but the most relevant factor is that I've accomplished a lot of my hiking goals in and around where I live.  I really wanted to explore and take advantage of the great network of trails here in south-west Sweden, and after starting on Sweden's E1 trails almost two years ago, I've managed to section hike all the way into a more isolated part of central Sweden.  I only have about 120-150km left of the E1 trails for me to complete, which I plan on doing in spring or summer 2016, and hopefully with some friends and family.  Most of my hiking adventures are solo, so it will be a nice change of pace, though I do get out on my fair share of weekend trips with friends closer to home.

So in between my more involved trips--which in the future are beginning to resemble proper adventures again rather than more leisurely backpacking trips close to home--what I've done to scratch my outdoors itch is to return to familiar trails and woods nearby.  I've not documented them on my blog because, well, I thought it would not really be of interest to my readers.  I've already documented a lot of these trails anyhow.  Most of the trips since my last E1 hike have been more appropriate to document on my private Facebook page for friends and family than here.  So I have been getting out there, I am just waiting to document more relevant and interesting adventures and reviews.

So what is in the works, then?

For one, I am the proud owner of my very first packraft, which is a Klymit LWD.  I already have at least three different packrafting trips planned for the late spring/early summer of 2016.  So in addition to writing up trip reports on some waterways in my area, I also plan on writing up a review on my packraft, as well as some perhaps unique methods I have planned to put into practice as a new packrafter.

I will also be taking my packraft on many of my extended section hikes farther away from home.  Due to the added weight of the packraft (plus accessories), and due to trips naturally being longer and more self-supported (and thus more weight of food and safety supplies), I have decided to buy a beefier (but still UL) backpack with a stronger frame.  I've not ordered it yet, but will after the holidays, and regular readers will not be surprised by my choice.  So look out for a short and long term review of yet another backpack.

But what are these longer, farther, more isolated trips anyhow?  For one, as I said, I will finish up the E1 trails of Sweden.  However after giving much thought and studying maps for a good number of restless nights, I've come up with a more ambitious plan for the future that will keep me occupied for quite some time.  There are whole other networks of hiking trails all over Sweden, and my ultimate goal will now be to continue to hike northbound after I finish the E1, with my final destination being Kungsleden way above the arctic circle in the very north of the country.  So it will be the E1 to several series of trails (and of course also going off trail as I do) all the way up to the southern end of Kungsleden, and then of course topping it all off by hiking that famous trail (perhaps the most famous trail in Sweden).

This will mean longer waits for trips, but on the plus side longer trips.  Hard to say right now, but I am thinking one week long trip in the spring and fall, and perhaps two week long trips during the summer.  And of course in between short trips in my neck of the woods.  And after a few years, once my children are older, I'd love to take a whole month to hike--but that's a long way off, so for now I want to focus on week long chunks of time.

So you'll have to forgive me for content slowing down now and in the future, but I am hoping that it will be more dynamic, substantive content.  Rather than say a trip report covering a 50km section hike, future trips will be more like short thru-hikes of chunks of trail systems of around 200km at a time or so.  But there will still be the occasional short trip report as I return to trails I've already written about on my trail guides but perhaps want to update or explore side trials, plus add complimentary packrafting guides for some of these trails.

That's the plan, anyhow, and I'll do my best to stick to it.  Until next spring, don't expect much (if any) new posts here, though I may do a video or two on my Youtube channel until then.  Though I will remain active answering comments and emails when I have the time.  I wish anyone reading this a happy and safe winter holiday season, which is just around the corner, and never stop daydreaming about all those trails, rivers, mountains, and adventures out there.  And don't just keep it to dreaming!  Make plans!  Study maps, fine tune your gear, stay in shape, and make it happen.  I am just a lowly section hiker, I know, and my humble efforts as a trail guide writer are tiny compared with so many other more or less full time thru-hikers and adventurers out there.  

But so what?  A whole lot of those hardcore thru-hikers don't have children to take care of as I do; and even more of them didn't move to a whole new country, learn a whole new language, find a new career, and make that new country their home as I have done.  And I wouldn't trade my wonderful kids for all the trails in the world, and I love living here in Sweden and calling it my home.  When it comes to backpacking, I've done the best that I could to get out as much as possible, and will continue to do so.  Traveling in many of it's forms (and especially wilderness backpacking of course) remains my all time favorite thing to do with my free time, aside from spending quality time with friends and family of course.  

I dream of giant trees covered in lichen, mountain top vistas, mossy campsites, and babbling streams (deep enough to swim/raft in).  I dream of these things all the time yes, but dream of my kids, my wife, my friends, and sitting around hanging out with them and eating good food with them even more.

God Jul 2015.