dinsdag 29 november 2011

Vålådalen part deux

I'm sooooooooo sorry!

So lets take it up where we left it, the Pyramidema. We made there a big or little mistake it all depends how you will view it. The big mistake was that we went straight for Lunndorrsstugorna and didn't spend time walking around the Issjodalen. The positive side is that we have a good reason to go back someday.

We camped near Lunndorrsstugorna and when we waked up the weather wasn't too nice, still a bit tired from the trip we decided to take it easy, sleep a bit longer and made it a nice relaxing day. Later that day it still rained and we where tired of hanging around and went out for a walk. We left the tent and most of our gear behind a walked to the Lunndortspasset. Half way the river and the track became one and where there should be a bridge only part of the foundation remained.

So we returned too the cabin at Lunndorrsstugorna bought some thing to eat and drink a talked with the host and enjoyed the warmth of the fireplace. Later that afternoon the weather changed and it became dry. To dry our wet clothes and shoes I build a fire. I was quite a challenge but fortunately there where some fire trees that kept there lower branches dry and fire lighting became a lot easier. Didn't use the stove did it Ray Mears style wicked!.

Later that evening we enjoyed a some very nice skies

The following morning the weather was nice again and we packed our gear and we decided to go to Valastugerna. Witch was a nice and very diverse walk. Some times I got the feeling I was walking somewhere much more remote, like Alaska. I have never bin there but it was how I imagined it.

I was a very nice walk with big rivers to cross and after some climbing we reached some alpine grounds with where truly beautiful.

And there we say our first Reindeer and we made hundreds of pictures of it fare away not realizing that in the days that followed, we saw much more Reindeers and even closer. We even had one on our plates in Helags!

That night we camped near the river just before Vålåstugan. We went for a very cold but refreshing swim and warmed our self’s by the fire.

The following day we went to Vålåstugan a horribele piece of hiking warm no wind and a lot of mosquitoes. But after Vålåstugan it became better less threes so more wind and even better no mosquitoes.

From we walkt to Gåsan, a nice piece of hiking very rugged I loved it. We Camped halfway.

In Gåsan we bouht a new map because we walked off the old one. We used a Lantmåteriets Fjållkarta (Z7 åre vålådalen bydalen) for the first leg. And for the second leg we use the map Jåmtlandsfjållen made bij Calazo. The map made by Calazo I liked better because it was printed on Tyvek. Otherwise there were no differences. The host in Gåsan was very nice and talked quite a lot with him.

That´s all for now more will follow............ Some day I promise.

dinsdag 23 augustus 2011


Just a quick post about a little trip that I did last weekend. It will be manly pictures. The next installment about Vålådalen will follow sometime soon. I promise.

Sometime ago I read in Op Pad Magazine an article about the Urwaldsteig in Germany. The magazine called it a Norwegian fjord just a couple hours away. Being a scandianiava freak I could not resist it. So last friday I took the afternoon off and went for it.

The Urwaldsteig is about 68 km long and runs around the artificial lake (the Edersee) . The article described it as a 6 day walk but I thought 2 and a bit must be possible if I go as light as possible and if I supercharged my days. I didn't make a gear list, maybe I will do that but when I put my bag on the scale it did weight about 5,1 kg's that included every thing.

So Friday afternoon I left work early and drove to Waldeck. There I parked the car met a friend and took some last liquid carbohydrates. After the beer disappeared, around seven we went out to find the track.

After walking fore two hours the sun set and we went looking for a place to spend the night, a place with a view.

The next day I woke up at sunrise made some breakfast and relaxed, we left at nineish. My friend went for the car the short way and I went for the car the long way.

The route take you along side the lake and sometimes there are some Norwegain features like cairns (steenmannetjes)

But it was mainly beech forests. I'm affaird the term like a Norwegian Fjord was a bit too much honour for the Urwaldsteig.

It was quite strange to hike alone; I never did that abroad and never really went solo for more than a daytrip.

During the day it didn't really matter, you must pay a little bit more attention on your navigation, I did make two mistakes and it costed me two hours. But when you are alone and illegal in the forest at night it is quite different. Your mind starts to play games with you. To be honest sometime I thought to see flashlights and heard strange noises. It was probably the moon and some animal sounds that I couldn't place but still it was quite nerve-racking and it is hard to keep cool. It is than quite hard to get a good night sleep. But after quite a good night sleep given the circumstances I got awaken by my alarm clock at 6.30. After walking half an hour I stopped any eat my breakfast.

I didn't pay enough attention on my water supply and as a result of that I only had one litre of water from Saturday four o clock until Sunday noon and went the day time temperatures are around 30 degrees Celsius it is fare from ideal. But by skipping dinner I managed it. But it is a thing I can’t recommend. There are streams but they are very small and I didn't trust them even I carried some purification tablets. Lesson learned for the next time, buy a better map one that shows springs and maybe carry some extra water. Another point was that the trail runs many through forests, so you can't refill your bottles in village or at people’s homes. The two cans of coke that I had in my car never tasted better!

Things that I learned:

“Only Thing We Have to Fear Is Fear Itself” FDR

Don't walk 68km in your new shoes, the first 50km are oke but the last 18km will be killing and the blisters aren't a nice souvenir.

Don't thrust magazines!

Take enough water!

And covering 68 KM on an the German Autobahn will take less than 25 minutes.

woensdag 17 augustus 2011

Back with a bang

Dear Reader/Dearest follower,

All seventeen of you. I'm so sorry. You must probably thought that I died during one of the treacherous descents of our beloved summits of the Dutch mountains. That wasn't the case, the case was that my new job takes a lot of travelling and I don't have so much free time any more. And the spare time that I have to go out I enjoy to the fullest and during the week I can't find the time or inspiration to write about it. I prefer to lie on the sofa reading, watching TV and drinking beer.

Time to leaf that bad behaviour behind and start writing again!

There is a wonderful time of the year, the working man calls it holiday. This year I really needed one badly. I didn't realy had time to plan and research it. So I did what every lazy b*stard would do and copied somebody else his trip. Not really the whole trip but parts of it. So how is better to steal ideas from then the guys from Nordiclightpacking The hiking kings of Scandinavia. So Vålådalen it would be.

Getting there easy, Ryanair, Dusseldorf (Weeze) to Smalland (Vaxjo)and than the night train to Undersaker. Easy. In Undersaker it gets harder. It's only 25 km to Vålådalen but the problem was that the buses go twice a day, one at 9.35 and the another at 17.40 and you need to call them in advance. The bus of 9.35 we missed because we didn't know you should call them. And waiting for 14 hours in a village where noting ever happens wasn't the best option. So we decide to hiked and hitched hiked to Vålådalen.

Observations made during hitchhiking, the bigger, the expensive the car the smaller the change they wil give you a ride. Old small cars will probably give you a ride. So be prepared fore long rides in a 3 doors Peugeot 106 with four adults and 2 big packs.

But finaly after all most 24 hours of travelling we arrived. So let the hiking begin.

We started off course at Vålådalen natures centre and from there headed for Lunndorrsstugorna. Because we had travelled for quite a while we decided to stop half way, near Gronvallen. We found a beautiful place near the river, we put the tent up, made small fire and went fore a swim. The benefit of swimming with your clothes on is that you will wash them at the same time. Down side of standing next to the river is that the Swedish air force is at full present there. Damm you mosquitoes!!

After the refreshing swim we made some dinner, Globetrotters Lamme Hoorn meal, pasta with lamb. It's was quite nice. After the dishes were done we called it a day and went to bed.

After quite a good night sleep we got up at 10 I believe, that was needed because the night before in the train we slept crap. Maybe the next time I will use the same tactics that i use in youth hostels, be the one to last in bed and make shore that you're piss drunk. That way you will get the most sleep.

The first part walking to Lunndorrsstugorna was quite hard in particular because it was warm and there wasn't any wind so short sleeves meant a all you can eat buffet fore the mosquitoes and long sleeves made you sweat like a pig. After a couple of hours walking we reached the three line and finally got some wind and to make it complete we had a great view and saw the Pyramidema.

That's it for now. Part two will follow shortly. It will certainly not takes months.

zaterdag 19 februari 2011

Drei Waldkönigen.

Last weekend two friends and me went to Waldkönigen, a small village near Daun in the Eifel. Just for a weekend, hiking, bush crafting being out and especially just getting a way from day to day life.

The plan? There wasn't one just taking the map, walk look on the map and walk for a bit more. East, South, North, West, going left near the Totenmaar and going right near the big lava pile. And running away from the open-cast that was raping the landscape.

After a day of rambling we where looking for a nice place to spend the night. We found a piece of pine forest near a spring. Well away from the forest roads. We made our camp behind the root ball of a Scottish pine, we used some dead lying wood to screen of our campsite.

After we made camp I used my axe to take down a dead standing pine for fire wood. Because everything on the floor was to wet to burn. I finally bought an axe and I quite happy with it, is a Husqvarna all-round axe. You can compare it size wise with a Gransfors Forrest axe, only its costs half. I don't know much about axes but some that knows more about it has done a review here. The only thing I didn't realize when I ordered the Husqvarna was that is was so big and heavy. The first 45 cm fits nicely in my backpack but then there are still sticking 15 cm out. And people give you quite strange looks if your are walking trough town with an axe on your pack. And don't get me started if you will take it in public transport.

After we completed our campsite its was time to light the fire and made dinner. We also used all are water so we needed to boil the water before we could safely drink it. After we filled all our bottles I went to bed, the night before I had a party and slept only for three hours. It was the first night that I used my new tarp, the backpackinglight.co.uk solo tarp that I got from Thomas. The tarp is a prefect size solo tarp and it's a lot lighter than my old builder's tarp that I used before. So thank you very much Thomas!

After a good night sleep we woke up by the barking of a deer. A very nice way to wake up. Once we broke up camp we cleaned the campsite and you couldn't tell we where ever there. After leaving the camp site we walked for 5 minutes and then we had breakfast. So if a Forrester would ask we where just some ramblers who got up very early and we started this morning in the neighbouring village.

When we finished our breakfast we where going for the long way home. On our way back we came a cross some nice caves, maybe next time we will sleep over there.

Maybe next time.....

donderdag 6 januari 2011

Skiing in the Dutch Mountains

A long time ago, between Christmas Eve and New Years Day we had a couple of days with decend snow. Where I live it means something between 15 and 20 centimetres. I all ready can people hear laughing that isn't snow that is noting. But still for Dutch standards is a lot. It was even enough to get my langlauf or backcountry skiing gear out. I never know how it’s called.

My skiing gear consists of the following parts and cost my less than 30 euros. It’s many used gear or surplus gear.

I got a pair of Alico full leather boots it is an older model similar to the current model skate. They where brand new and only costed my €10. I got them for my locale army surplus store. Maybe it’s not the ideal boot for longer trips because when they get wet and they will it will be hard to get them dry. But I hope I can solve this whit a Vapor Barrier Liner (VBL).

I got a pair of Rottafela bindings I thought you can’t go wrong whit those I believe the model is the Super Telemark 75mm. They are simple and what I have read about it very reliable. I got the bindings witch a pair of 190 cm KARHU BARENKRALLE skies for a locale garage sale for the mere some of € 8,50.

The Skies:
The pair of Karhu skies where to short fore me. I believe the skies should be 15 cm longer then you are. Being 183 I needed skies that should be 200 cm. So I went to the used goods store and found there a pair of Fischer Crow trainee skies. After some negotiations I got them for € 8, 50.

The Poles:
The length of the poles is determined also by your length, they should be fitted under your armpit. The poles I had where too short I used the old walking stick from my father. But if it's starts snowing again I will get some nice new ones from Swix witch are very reasonably priced at € 29, 95.

How did it perform?
The set did perform very well, I noticed that it goes al lot faster then snowshoeing only the problem was that I didn't mastered the technique. So the small pieces downhill ended often on the floor.
So to master the technique I'm currently following a course in langlaufen. But living in the Netherlands and having only three days of snow in a year this course is held at loipe made of brushes. Which isn’t that good? But still it better then noting.

My instructor wasn't too nice about my set and called it a piece of antique, especially the shoes. And told me that they can't be used in prepared loipes in Austria I told him I didn't care about prepared loipes in Austria and that my goal is Scandinavia, the Hardangervidda to be precise.

To complement my course, I also ordered the following book "Allen & Mike's Really Cool Backcountry Ski Book", a review can be found here. It should be a good book, but I am still waiting for my copy, which still must be shipped by Amazon

zaterdag 1 januari 2011

Happy New Year!

Who knows tomorrow? At least I have a good start of the New Year. I won the backpackinglight.co.uk solo tarp raffle organisted by Thomas at goinglighter.blogspot.com

So who knows wat the future will bring. So have a happy New Year and all the best for the upcoming year!