Monday, July 22, 2013

Cesar's Guide to Bohusleden: Stage 11

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This post covers Stage 11, Vassbovik-Hasteröd, of the official guide to the trail.

You can also check out my report on the section before this one (going southbound), Stage 12.


If you have not already read the introduction to this trail guide, you can check it out by clicking here.  It has a list of reports on other sections I have hiked plus other important/useful background information in general--so please read the introduction first before reading my reports.
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*  With long stretches of forests and many different lakes spanning a large area (the trail itself is 18km here), one could spend a few days exploring and enjoying what this quite lovely stage has to offer.  While wood and water ought to be in no short supply, this stage does lack trail shelters.  It does have one official shelter, but it is oddly (especially given how nice this stage is) not of the normally quite good quality that is expected of the typical Swedish Vindskydd.  So get good use out of your own shelter system if you intend on spending the night in this stage, which I suggest you should.

After a quick hike on a dirt road, the trail will pass right next to the first lake (Buvattnet) which can also serve as a great place to take a break, which is what my friend Mehrdad and I did.  We were tempted to take a swim, and it would have been a nice spot to do so, but with so much left to explore we decided to march on.  If you travel here during the summer or fall, keep your eyes peeled for wild mushrooms and berries (provided you know how to properly identify them, of course).  Even on the dirt road we were able to pick a fair amount of wild strawberries, as well as some mushrooms which we threw into one of our meals.

There is quite a variety of terrain, as pictures below will show.  One factor worth noting early on the northern part of the trail is some thick vegetation that you may have to hike through (depending on what time of year).  Some areas that go around a few farms got so thick that we were literally in over our heads, and had to pay close attention to trail markers so that we would not get lost (and thankfully didn't, unlike the section before this one). 






After weaving your way through thinner trails with thick plant life, it's back into open troll-woods and up in elevation, which makes for some nice views on top of the hills.






More lakes, of course, yet even though this section of trail is full of water, our shoes stayed pretty dry--this was partly due to the nice sunny weather we had, but overall not as much bog and muddy trail stomping.  This stage has quite a lot of hills, and often has large boulders and rocky cliffs that one can admire scattered through the woods.  There is also another farm to pass, with some friendly horses that walked right up to us for us to pet.  A short dirt road hike then leads into more woods fit for a classic fantasy novel.







 Elevation will even out some as you enter yet another nature preserve and the trail winds by several more small lakes.  The trail will also open up into a few grassy fields and cross over several handsome little bridges.  It was in the nature preserve that we made camp for the night.  Aside from the cloud of midges that ate us up some as we made camp, after we took refuge in our shelters it was a nice place to spend the night.










More open troll woods, rocky cliffs, and one more medium sized lake as you go towards one of the highlights of this section, the large lake Store-Väktor.  It is a good lake with fine, clean water and easy stone shores to relax on and take a swim in the deep waters, which we did and then enjoyed a luxurious lunch of pasta with Parmesan cheese and wild mushrooms.














Close to the lake as you hike around it is the sad little shelter I mentioned earlier.  It is small (your legs or feet will probably hang off of it if you try and lay down with your feet facing outside) and not close to the lake, plus there is no scenic view around it.  I'd would much rather pitch my own shelter next to the big, beautiful lake someplace.  There is also an abandoned barn towards the end of big lake as you go towards a small highway that ends this stage.





Once you get close to the highway, you can either hike east (which has a short bit of trail before crossing the highway) to the next stage, or you can hike west to a campground on a medium sized lake.  My friend and I decided to hike west to check out the campground.  It sounded promising according to the official trail guide, and we were only going to sleep one more night out, so why not spoil ourselves with running water and a bed to sleep on?

When we got to the campground, however, it was a strange experience.  It reminded me of a ghost town.  No one was around to help us rent a room, yet the gates were open.  We knocked on several different doors of the many buildings on the facility, but no one was there.  We began to feel a bit uncomfortable, so while my friend waited to see if anyone would show up to help us, I walked down by the lake (Grinnerödssjön) to see if there were any public (i.e. free) shelters for us to use, but could find none.  

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Update 31/12/2013 - I was contacted by Per Norberg, CEO of the campground mentioned above.  He was understandably concerned about the reputation of his campground, and sent me the following email:

Dear Cesar
Exuse me for the late comment but I was not aware about your comments about Backamo - the "campground" in your article until some days ago.
Backamo was the meeting place for the local regiment Bohusläns Infantry Corps, no 17 from around 1720 to 1913. Today the camp is open to the public and our office hours are mon-fri 08 - 16. We can offer guest beds at low prices for people walking along the "Bohusleden". The article does not mentioned the time you arrived but about 50 meters left from the entrance there is a coffee shop, Cafe Gläntebo, ( http://www.cafeglantebo.se/ ) which is open to 20:00 every day and they have keys to the sleeping rooms - around 200SEK/bed. If you want to book in advance you can phone +46 522 23420 or e-mail lagerplatsen@telia.com

Welcome back

Per Norberg
CEO Backamo Lägerplats
http://www.bohuslans-forsvarsmuseum.se/index.php?info=backamolagerplats - only in Swedish 


I have nothing against the campground, and it looked quite nice and I was looking forward to staying there.  I was just reporting my experience.  I can't remember exactly what time we arrived, but I do remember it was still light outside, and there was also an older Swedish couple in an RV we briefly spoke to that wanted to camp there too but could not find anyone to help them.  Both my friend and I know Swedish, and we didn't see any signs telling us to go to the coffee shop, and we looked all over.  It's possible both of us missed a sign to check in at the coffee shop because we were tired.  We didn't miss the coffee shop, we just thought it was closed and didn't know to check in there.

Anyhow, hope this clears things up :)

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Unwilling to hike back down the highway several kilometers to the trail and then find a spot to make camp, we decided to hitchhike to a town nearby, Ljungskile.  There are also buses that one can catch where the small highway intersects with a slightly larger one several kilometers (took us about an hour to hike there, where we then got a ride) to the west.  After arriving in town, from there we caught a bus to a friend's home that was nice enough to let us crash on their floor at the last minute.

Total--not including making and breaking camp and the strange empty campsite, but including breaks and a nice swim--it took us roughly 9 hours to finish this stage (ending at the highway, that is).




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