Saturday, May 20, 2023

Hiking from South West Sweden to Halden, Norway


Halden is border town close to the south west region of Sweden. Halden is also a municipality (AKA a county) that is interesting geographically for hikers for a variety of reasons. If you single it out on a map you will notice that the municipality juts into Sweden, making it possible to hike from Sweden into Norway from any direction on your compass. For instance, you can walk south into Norway at the southern end of Iddefjord, which makes for the rather rare sentence: "I hiked south into Norway."

But I would also say that the Halden area of interest because it is beautiful and has good hiking. Over the years I have explored the area here and there, taking short hikes across the border and then returning back to Sweden on many different section hikes. And for years I said to myself that I should plan some hikes that go through Halden. I finally got around to doing a few section hikes across this charming little slice of Norway, and I am happy to report that these were good hikes and that this area is worth exploring.

What follows shortly is a trail guide to hike from Sweden through Halden municipality to the city of Halden and then back into Sweden again. The starting points I recommend (and the points I used in my hikes) are the town of Ed to the east of Halden, and the small city of Strömstad to the west. Another feature that makes this hike of interest to both section hikers and thru-hikers alike is the proximity to several other longer hiking trails. Meaning that hiking through Halden can be done, for example, as a side trail or hiked in addition to hiking Bohusleden, Pilgrimsleden, The Troll Trail, etc. I will point out how this hike could fit into other hikes soon in the guide below, as well as other useful information on how to hike this route. After the trail guide will be my trip report, which will be in the form of a photo essay.

Friday, December 30, 2022

Store bought dehydrated meals and DIY meals: my best of both worlds system of eating on trail

The usual disclaimer: No, I'm still not sponsored, still not a shill, no free gear or food, etc.

I avoided store bought backpacker meals in the past for several reasons. Perhaps the biggest one is that they can be expensive, but I also didn't think they tasted all that great much of the time. And they also didn't have as many vegan or vegetarian options (I eat vegan, my wife vegetarian), plus they were also bulky, then there is the issue of all the packaging waste, etc. 
At times over the years I would get a few of these fancy store bought meals as gifts, and of course I'd use them, and at times I was surprised by some of them for being tastier than older ones. Which got me to reconsider them as an occasional treat. Then when I would check out various options at a few different stores, in addition to noticing more vegan and vegetarian options, I also noticed that at times there would be sales. Lucky for me, at the stores I frequent, the vegan options were more often on sale, as they were not as popular as other options, I would guess. So I started to buy a few here and there and add one or two to my food bag for trips. It also made planning somewhat easier.

Thursday, June 30, 2022

My 2022-2023 3 Season Gear

Hey everyone! Hope you are having a nice summer and getting out there as much as you'd like. This is just a quick post to give updates on the current state of my 3 season gear. I haven't changed much, but there is always fine tuning of small things and replacing of old/worn out things and such. And I don't expect to make any big changes in the near future either. I am generally very happy with my gear and have things dialed in just the way I like them, and it's been like that for several years now. 

For nearly a decade now, my BPW (base pack weight, all gear minus food, water, fuel, and other consumables) has hovered between 3-4kg/6.6-8.8lbs. Some trips slightly less, some trips slightly more, but these are the exception rather than the rule. Right now my BPW for roughly half of the year is about 3.6kg/7.9lbs. Before I link my gear list, the usual disclaimer: I'm still not sponsored, still no free gear, still no adverts on my blog, etc.

Thursday, June 2, 2022

Cesar's Guide to Northern Dalsland: Tresticklan National Park and Torrskogsleden




Dalsland is one of my favorite places to hike in Sweden. It has several marked hiking trails (and a number of unmarked ones as well), many lakes (some massive in size), various nature reserves, and the Tresticklans National Park. It also has a low population density along with a vast amount of thick, beautiful forests, which makes for great, if not more challenging, hiking adventures in relative isolation. There are many hills and cliffs in the area, which also make this place unique, in that some routes call for scrambling and/or climbing to one extent or another.

Dalsland also features prominently in The Troll Trail, so be sure to check out that long distance route if you haven't already. If you are thru-hiking the Troll Trail, you could explore northern Dalsland as a side trail trip to extend your hike.

So for several years now I have hiked a fair amount of kilometers in Dalsland, yet there was one area that I've wanted to explore for a while now, and finally got the chance to go deep into this more wild northern part of the province. The plan was simple in theory: to connect the Tresticklans National Park in the northwest with the Torrskogsleden marked trail in the north. But in practice, there are various complications to account for, though I am happy to say that I feel they are definitely worth it after hiking this long-ish section hike. You'll want to spend at least 3 days or up to a week here, depending on how you choose to hike, how many kilometers you can hike in a day, and what you choose to do. There are plenty of really nice spots to swim, for example.

Sunday, November 7, 2021

The Boulder and The Fox

About 10 years ago I was on a self imposed mission to fully explore this one big patch of woods about an hour away from my home here in Sweden. It began with looking for a good spot to pick wild mushrooms. The deeper I hiked looking for delicious shrooms, the more I fell in love with the area. So I bought a map of the area and just really got into trying to walk across and up and down and all over this chunk of woods. There were a few local hiking trails that went through it, but other than that and an occasional hunter during hunting season, these woods seemed like they were all mine. Like I had it all to myself, and for the most part, I did. I'd be all alone out there.