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Watch your head

By walking on 2014.03.25 In Hallandsleden Hiker buddy Sleep overs

Åkulla – Ästad 31st August 2013: The hike with lots of bikes and lambs plus a delicious lunch.

Next morning I woke up pretty late for being me. Sun was already up which was nice but at the same time weird. Sleep had been interrupted several times mostly due to me not being used to outdoor sleeping. It had been a nice night. Hearing only the rustle of leaves was at the same time relaxing and creepy. Understanding we were alone in the woods but also realizing we were alone in the woods. Weird but nice.

Topbjaer_20130831_talt

During breakfast we set up our filtration system so it could do it’s work. For breakfast I used a Blå Band porridge which I had better success with than yesterday’s cereal. Think having a hot breakfast is much more me than a cold when out on a hike. Even if it was somewhat warm  and not cold outside it felt good having a warm breakfast with porridge plus coffee. At around ten we had packed everything up and started walking south. We knew the leg today was a lot shorter (14 km) today than yesterday’s 23 km. Thus we decided to take it easy and enjoy the walk.

As yesterday ended today started in a beautiful Beech forest. The sun shone through the canopy giving the forest a magical look. It turned out to be a perfect weather day with mostly sun and just a little drizzle. Due to my disassembled phone and hiker buddy not taking as many photos as I do there’s not many from this leg. But lots of images in our minds since it was truly a beautiful day. I do have a photo of the awesome Karl Johan (Porcino) that had somehow been stowed in my backpack’s rain-cover. Had to give it up though when starting of.

Topbjaer_20130831_svamp

Shortly after the hike started we happened to come across another LandArt. This time I don’t know if we saw it or not. We found the signs and read them but I didn’t get it. Seems the artist had returned stones into the forest that had been “borrowed” from different places in nature before. But we never understood where these stones actually were placed which might have been the artist’s intention. One never knows sometimes with art.

Our hike and Bockstensturen intersected here and there on the way. We had fun cheering them on when we stopped for snacks. Once we stood just before the top of a hill cheering and some riders thanked us for giving them “a hand to get up the damned hill” as one put it. Some just looked at us as if we were nuts. And others just threw their garbage on the road not thinking at all about being in a nature reserve. This actually surprised me how they totally ignored getting the benefit of riding through nature reserves with Länsstyrelsens allowance and saying thanks by throwing garbage on the ground. I commented it to one of the volunteers and they just shrugged. Felt wrong as in that we do everything we can to not leave anything behind when we hike. But I guess everyone is different.

This leg is among the better scenery wise. Later we would hit legs with mostly road walking so these early legs are true gems. The trail winded through the forest either on paths or gravel roads. When drizzling during snack stops we stood underneath beautiful canopies enjoying the scenery around us. It was a very meditative walk actually. We just enjoyed everything around us while walking.

Apart from the bikes we didn’t see many vehicles until we got closer to Öströö. This happened at the same time as we hit the first bigger road. Öströö is a farm that keeps sheep and thus lambs as well. This was our goal for lunch since I know how good their food is. When we arrived the sun was out but drizzles seemed imminent so we took a table inside the cave-like-eating-area. Then it was luxury to order their mixed-lamb-plates with wine and beer. It was delicious and we sat a long time enjoying our wine/beer while eating slow. I think we were the only guests that day who took off their shoes and socks in order to let them rest a bit. Most groups seemed to be ordinary tourists out for a nice day trip from Varberg but we did hear Danish as well. Hiker buddy commented that this lunch and beer was among the best during our hikes so far.

Oestroeoe_20130831

At Öströö and also at the windshed in Ästad there were signs posted about who to contact if the trail was not up to par or if one needed information about something. This was the first time since leaving Kungsbacka I saw anything like this and there it had only been posted at the windsheds. Varberg had so far not kept the trail as well as Kungsbacka. A few days after finishing the leg Stättared – Dranstugan I tried reaching Varberg in order to let them know of the trail’s  bad condition. One person I got didn’t even know they were in charge of it but suggested to contact another department. Tried but never got an answer.

After Öströö we followed the trail into the Beech forest behind the farm. We lost the bikes here thankfully since they followed the main road back to Varberg. It was fun having them as company since we didn’t have to share forest trails with them, just roads. But now it was once again just us two out walking. Sun showed up and the forest turned magical once again . Seems to be a special trait that Beech forests have. Just a bit of sunshine glimmering down through the canopy and one almost expects a fairy to show up right in front of one’s nose. Or maybe I just listen too much to my own fantasies.

At one point we passed through a field with cows and calves. They didn’t move much but kept a steady eye on us just in case we tried something fishy. Some of the young bulls decided we were interesting and checked us out closer. I know they’re not supposed to be dangerous or such if you leave them be but some of them sure are big. Makes me stay very calm and alert but show them I’m not trying anything fishy. Just hoping cows understand that….

Just before Ästad we entered yet another nature reserve, Långanskogen, which was situated by a lake. Right down at the lake there were some picnic tables that were oddly enough occupied by several beautifully fancy dressed up humans. Felt very out of place but when we left the reserve we got the answer to our riddle. Just then a car drove in with a very big-smiling bride and a somewhat shy groom. Made us smile and I hope that they had a happy celebration down by the lake. This, we found out when passing the Hembygdsgård 10 min later, would be followed by a party there.

Another 10 min and we were down by the wind-shed at Ästad. This was situated at the end of a beach on the lake. When we arrived there were some people taking up canoes out of the lake and moving to a nearby storage area. I know Ästad Gård has a lot of conference and group activities so I assumed this was one of those. The condition of the wind-shed was good and there was a big outdoor loo-house (dass as we say in Swedish). A big stack of firewood and a sitting area for many people around a fire-ring. These fire-rings have been present at most of the wind-sheds I’ve stopped at. They are built up a bit off the ground consisting of smaller stones and concrete. Some have a grill so you can cook a steak or hamburger if need be. We decided to light a fire for comfort and coziness.

Aastad_20130831_eld

Hiker buddy hadn’t been to happy about his sleeping bag’s temperature during the first night. He felt it had been too cold for comfort. I suggested that we put the tent inside the shed to try and up the temperature around the bag a bit. My bag had been awesome temperature-wise but I could live with having it a bit warmer. Hiker buddy looked at me as if I’d gone nuts. I just explained how I’d read about others putting up tents in wind-sheds on the Appalachian trail in order to avoid cold and/or bugs. So, we put up our tent inside the wind-shed. Looked funky but it mostly did it’s trick. We only took half of the windshed for the tent so if someone else came along it shouldn’t be a problem we thought. No one else did come though except for a few youngsters later on. We think their intention was to sit and chat around the fire-ring but since we already were there they went to the dock instead.

Aastad_windshed

While relaxing after the hike I wrote some in my notebook (that has since disappeared gah) and went down standing in the shallow part of the lake. It was too cold for a swim but a snake didn’t agree with that. I always get caught of guard when seeing a snake weave along on top of water. Here it took off from the dock and disappeared over the lake’s surface into the reed. The lake was calm and there was a glorious sunset of course. I suspect that being outdoors makes one more prone to really appreciate what the outdoors have to give you.

This night I tried Mountain House’s Chicken Korma being very suspicious since the Chili had been such a failure last night. This Korma was good though which made me think that maybe one can try other ones from there in the future after all. This far my favourite brand is Blå Band and Mountain House is a mere okies one. I’ll try it again though but will be more careful of what to choose.

One thing we did learn sleeping in a wind-shed one has to watch one’s head. We kept bumping ours over and over on the low ceiling which turned into a joke between us. As soon one of us stepped into the shed the other one said “Watch your head”. And so ended the second hiking day that weekend.

Today: 14 km
Total: 122 km

Hallandsleden total: 267 km
Done: 110 km
Left: 157  km

 

 

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