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Wet

By walking on 2014.03.11 In Hallandsleden Hiker buddy Sleep overs

This was the leg where I found out how it feels to be utterly totally soaking drenched.

Sunrise_20130830

It started out nice and easy. Hiker buddy dropped me off at Gällarpesjön  on the 30th of August on his way to work. The sunrise was beautiful and everything was so quiet. I started out from the seating area just off the windshed and followed the road. It was around 7 am and time for breakfast. I came up along the lake Stora Neten and looked for a nice spot. About halfway down the trail’s length of the lake I found a nice spot. As I already knew tthat he lake is used for the city of Varberg as a water reservoir I figured the water can’t be all that bad. So I just boiled it for my breakfast.

Backpack_20130830This was the first time I tried one of those prepackaged meals the hiking stores sell and I started out with using a cold water one from Blå Band. It didn’t quite turn out exactly what I expected but it was edible. The rest I put down to my inadequacies of not having done this before. What I used the boiled water for was coffee and while I was enjoying that the rain slowly started. These Grower’s cups turned out to be a real favourite of mine. For this first cup I didn’t do it totally right but it was still a really good cuppa. Started walking when the rain came.

Anthill_20130830At the beginning the rain was bearable and the forest was lovely. The whole hike was a really nice one. Very little road walking which I like. Since it also was warm I didn’t put on my rain pants since the rain wasn’t too bad. I kept a pretty steady pace. There were some impressive ant hills scattered along the trail as if the ants use the trail themselves in order to transport items. The trail meandered along really nice forest paths and smaller roads. I didn’t meet anyone else during the whole hike and I assume mostly due to the weather. Right there in the forest it was still just a drizzle. A bit annoying but nothing that dampened my mood. Besides my hat kept my hair dry and the rain jacket hadn’t shown me it’s flaws yet as it would later do.

IMAG0785

Around Långasjön the trail followed the lake very closely. Some points it was as if one could fall in if a foot was placed wrong. Can’t belive people bike here which I saw evidence of all along the trail. The lake itself was really tranquil,. There was a boat pulled up as if someone either fishes or just sit in the middle of the lake while contemplate about life. Felt like a really good use of this lake to me and maybe that is why the trail was a bit confusining when leaving the lake. The markings had somehow been neglected and thus wasn’t available where the trail left the lake and after went over a clear cut area. I did some wrong turns but soon discovered where the trail continued. After the confusing clear cut I entered the forest again. I love the forest parts of the trail.

Detour_Start_20130830Somewhere around Brännhult there was a detour set up for Hallandsleden. I was told to follow the striped ribbons and so I did. I didn’t really get why till I came to the other end of the detour. Trees had fallen all over the trail totally blocking it. At this point I was still alright with the rain but after this the rain got me. My rain jacket turned out to not be water proof or at least the pockets. Then my phone decided to retire and die since it had gotten wet despite my best intentions. And since I was out in the middle of a beautiful forest I realized that the rain was here to stay. Wether I liked it or not. At least the temperature wasn’t cold and I kept wearing shorts. I started to get soaked. Rain is quiet ruthless in this regard. If you’re not clothed properly you are without doubt going to get totally soaked if you stay outside in the rain. Trust me. But considering that the only long trousers I had with me was windproof but not rainproof I think I did the right choice with my shorts.

Detour_end_20130830 The problem was that hunger started to show and I wanted a dry spot for eating. This forest had very little dry spots at this point and I kept walking despite my stomache’ rioting against my decision. There were no dry spots available for an hour. A windshed would have been nice or just a big rock. At around two a promising rock did show itself. It seemed big enough and there was an overhang that I could sit under. The dry patch was big enough to fit both me and my backpack. It was perfect. Here I tried out a pasta dish from Blå Band and that one was awesome. I don’t really know if it truly was good or if it just was the whole situation making it good. But I sat dry under a weird rock boiling my water and enjoying lunch which was good enough for me. The rain kept coming down but I was alright in my little dry shelter. After lunch I didn’t really feel like going on but I decided the best thing would be to get to Åkulla where I belived there was a windshed. Good thing I didn’t know then that there’s no windshed at Åkulla due to the owners not wanting one. Well, if I had read the map properly I would have known but I was living in my own little fantasy that there was a windshed.

The rest of the hike was wet. Very wet. Extremly wet but somehow the forest made everything alright. It was a typical John Bauer forest, as I call them, full of rocks and moss and I kept finding mushrooms everywhere. Have to figure out if one can have butter and cream along on hikes cause then one could make delicious Karl Johan soup in this forest during fall. I even picked one cause it was so big and looked totally awesome so I couldn’t leave it be. The distance left to Åkulla was not great and I started to expect hitting the bike path between Åkulla and Varberg anytime. Suddenly I heard motorbikes behind me and I was passed by 3 or 4. Each rider wearing a bright orange west labled volunteer and the bikes looked like old army ones. Did not strike as very hike appropiate to me and the trail here was narrow and felt more MTB worthy than motorbikes.

Just after this encounter I hit the bike path and walked up to Åkulla where I tried to find the windshed. No windshed was found and I went to the café/reception to ask. Well, actually first I asked to borrow a phone to let my hiker buddy know I was alive and well plus that I would wait till he arrived there. During the conversation a guest at Åkulla showed up offering me and my hiker buddy 500 SEK each for driving them back and forth to Ästad gård later at around 11 pm. I was so shocked from the offer starting to dream of dry beds and showers and all kinds of weird things one gets after walking in rain a whole day but we somehow said no to the offer. I assume the rain had gotten into my brain…

Anyways, it turned out that I wasn’t the first hiker asking about a windshed and the lady was very irritated about my questions. I asked what it would cost to sleep there and the cheapest was 400 SEK for a night per person. Uhm, no thanks. Asked if there was a shower to loan since I had seen signs but that would cost like 1 400 SEK since it included a sauna and they don’t rent to single persons….  Instead I bought warm coffee and a bun which I feasted on while letting my feet air. Of course I sat outside but it was under a big roof giving me a dry spot to linger for a few hours. Actually I became quiet dry during this lingering since it was still warm outside. Filled up my water bag and started to wait for hiker buddy which took a while.

The reception/café closed soon and I lingered around outside on a covered porch while walking back and forth to the trail once in awhile. Started picking Karl Johan mushrooms to have something to do and I estimate that I walked about 5km while waiting. Motorbikes kept showing up riding the trail and up through Åkulla and continuing on towards Öströö. I didn’t know then but later found out that Bockstensturen was scheduled for the day after. The motor bikes where checking out the route which goes along the trail for a bit. Personally I don’t like the damage something like this does to the trail but at the same time it’s fun that the trail is used. No one let me borrow their phone for getting in contact with hiker buddy and no one had seen him.

Hiker buddy was taking a bus from Varberg and stepped off at Brännhult around 4:30-5 pm. Clock kept ticking and I thought he would show up around six which turned out to be seven since he made a wrong turn on the way. While trying to not get too anxious I was doing one of my walks back to the trail and walking up it a bit to have something to do when suddenly he walked around a corner. That was a relief. I told him about the no-windshed-status of Åkulla and we decided to walk on till we found a good tent spot. We crossed the bike path and walked on south. While walking we kept hearing the motor bikes in the distance which was a bit annoying to me since not one of them wanted to help me.

After Åkulla we were walking on the next leg which ends at Ästad. The first part followed smaller roads and forest paths. We kept looking for a nice tent spot and on an uphill slope full of Beech we thought the ideal spot was found. Well, at least till we heard rustle not far off and a badger showed up walking parallell along the path. Gosh, it’s so cool to see them in the wild. He/she didn’t seem to even notice us and walked off over the hill. Knowing from childhood camps that badgers love tents that contains food I voted to keep walking just to be on the safe side. Hiker buddy agreed and we continued.

Along Valasjön we hit the route for the bike race but the motorbikes had stopped by now. Dusk started to show and at the end of the lake we hit the reserve Toppbjär (Swedish) that I knew allowed tents. Just when the trail leaves the lake there was a perfect spot for a tent. Here we set up camp and we managed to finish it before darkness came. It was very tranquil but the rain had decided to come back for a final show that day. We made dinner with Mountain House‘s unedible Chilli con Carne. Both of us had trouble with it because it just wasn’t good. Blegh to be honest. Can’t find it on their website now…

Anyways, the hike had been really nice despite the rain and dieing phone. The phone had at this point been taken apart and was stored in a bag with kitchen towels in order to see if it could be saved. Luckily it was just the phone and nothing more serious.

Today: 28 km (23 km of the trail)
Total: 108 km

Hallandsleden total: 267 km
Done: 96 km
Left: 171  km
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LIFE is about PASSION, otherwise it is worthless.
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