Sunday, August 19, 2012

Cesar's Guide to Bohusleden: Introduction

***Update 09/03/2017: 
So for roughly a year or so I have noticed that the official website for this trail was being changed, under construction, incomplete, etc.  I waited with the hope that they would eventually fix up the site.  I've had several readers of my blog contact me and point out some problems with the new site.  For example, there is no longer an a version of the site in English.  There is a translate option, but this is just a link to have Google Translate convert the page to English, which is frankly really lazyThe majority of people in Sweden know pretty good English--good enough to have someone take the time to translate the new site properly.

Then there is the issue with the maps.  New maps have been put up that frankly I find worse than the older maps.  And not only that, there were maps with information in English before, now there are none.  The older maps were good enough to use to navigate the entire trail.  I know because that's exactly what I did.  I printed the PDF maps then laminated them and that's what I used for hiking this trail, along with the trail information in English printed on the back of the map (this I had to mod myself).

This also means that all the links I had to painstakingly add to each specific map and official guide are dead.  So looks like I will finally have to go through and just remove all these dead links.  It's been long enough that I doubt that any improvements or additions--especially for English speakers--are coming anytime soon (or at all?).  I will be emailing my feedback on the older Bohusleden official website vs. the new one as well, and will put any relevant updates they may give me here in the future.  My advice to anyone planning on hiking the trail as far as maps go is to just buy a good quality map of either the whole trail, or of the areas of the trail you will be hiking.  There are several good options, so just Google it, or you can buy a map here in Sweden at bigger book stores (like this one) and camping stores.

Until then, I hope that my guide (though somewhat dated) can still be assistance.  I will keep my original guide as is, with the exception of a few updates on sections I may notice--I still do day hikes and short section hikes of the trail.  However next year (summer 2018) I am planning to re-hike nearly the entire trail.  To see how I intend on re-hiking it, scroll down and read my epilogue on the trail.  After re-hiking the trail, I will write a new, updated trail guide.  Not sure just yet how I will include it along with my old one, but right now I am thinking of doing one big, long post that has all the update highlights at once.  We'll see.  Anyhow, now on to the original introduction. ***

Greetings and welcome to my companion guide to Sweden's (and small parts of Norway's) Bohusleden!  If you are just looking for all the links to the trip reports themselves, scroll down--they are at the bottom of this post.  If you have never been backpacking in Sweden before, you might want to read my article on general tips and information on nature, backpacking, and camping in Sweden.

Bohusleden is a hiking trail in Sweden that runs 370km from just outside of southern Göteborg in the small town of Lindome, to the cozy coastal town Strömstad near the Norwegian boarder.  I completed the trail on 9 section hikes, hiking 347km total and skipping 23km (Stages 18 and 17); the two stages I skipped follow roads entirely, but I still drove down these sections for the sake of reporting on them.  

I spent approximately 137 hours traveling on the trail (not including camping or making and breaking camp).  This includes hiking and any/all breaks (such as lunch and to fill up on water), and averages out to roughly 2.5km per hour.

Some more fun facts: 

* By my count, the trail passes right by or very close to 111 lakes or large ponds (big enough to swim in).

* In total my guide contains 632 pictures for you to enjoy.

* Some of the more memorable wild animals I observed on the trail: deer, moose, boar, hawks, and an otter swimming on its back in the middle of a big lake (S. Kornsjön) and eating something with its front paws.

The new official guide to the trail can be found here (in Swedish).  When I hiked the trail I used an older (and in my opinion much better) version of the official website (see update above).

I followed the format the official guide provided by breaking down the trail into 27 different stages.  The older official guide was written from the perspective of going generally northbound (i.e. from Lindome to Strömstad), but I have nearly always hiked the other way around, going generally southbound, so I wrote from this perspective.  I tried not to repeat anything to be found in the official guide, but will add details, give feedback, highlight things missing from the official guide, offer tips, explain off-trail alternatives/options, etc.  In short: try and prepare backpackers even more for this trail adventure should they stumble upon my guide.  

I give estimates on how long it took me to hike a given section, but please keep in mind that everyone is different, and how long it takes depends on a lot of variables.

I was generally very impressed with the trail and the experience of hiking it, and strongly encourage anyone interested in backpacking/camping/hiking to check it out.  I have hiked on many different trails spanning several nations on three different continents, and Bohusleden is definitely one of my favorite trails.

As always, please feel free to ask questions, leave comments, or give feedback--either in the comment section below each post, or via email through my profile.

Thanks for reading, and hope this is helpful and/or enjoyable to read! :)


Completed reports:

Stage 27, Strömstad-Högstad

Stage 26, Högstad-Krokstrand

Stage 25, Krokstrand-Håvedalen

Stage 24, Håvedalen-Vassbotten

Stage 23, Vassbotten-Nornäs

Stage 22, Nornäs-Daletjärnen

*Stages 27-22 were completed on a section hike in August 2012.

Stage 21, Daletjärnen-Holmen  

*Stage 21 completed on overnight trip April 2012. 

Stage 20, Holmen-Vaktarekullen

Stage 19, Vaktarekullen-Lunden

*Stages 20 and 19 were completed on a section hike in October 2012. 

Stages 18 and 17 double report, Lunden-Harska

Stage 16, Harska-Kaserna

Stage 15, Kaserna-Metsjö

Stage 14, Metsjö-Bovik

Stage 13, Bovik-Glimmingen

*Stages 18-13 were completed on a section hike in May 2013. 

Stage 12, Glimmingen-Vassbovik

Stage 11, Vassbovik-Hasteröd

*Stages 12-11 were completed on a section hike in July 2013. 

Stage 10, Hasteröd-Lysevatten

Stage 9, Lysevatten-Bottenstugan

**Update 18/10/2015: Trip report on a return to Stage 9 plus hiking around several side trails in the Svartedalen nature reserve.

Stage 8, Bottenstugan-Grandalen

*Stages 10-8 were completed on a section hike in August 2013. 

Stage 7, Grandalen-Fotin

Stage 6, Fotin-Angereds kyrk

Stage 5, Angereds kyrka-Jonsered

*Stages 7-5 were completed on a section hike in September 2013. 

Stages 4 and 3 double report, Jonsered-Skatås

*Stages 4-3 were completed on a section hike in October 2013. 

Stages 2 and 1 double report, Skatås-Blåvattnerna

*Stages 2-1 were completed on various day hikes throughout 2012 and 2013.

An Epilogue 

Includes final thoughts, reflections, food planning, and how I'd like to hike the trail next time knowing what I know now.