Sunday, July 23, 2017

Cesar's Guide to the E1 Trails in Sweden: Södra Kungsleden Part 2, Mörkret to Flötningen





Introduction

If you haven't read part one of this section's guide, you can do so here.

Part two of the Södra Kungsleden trails see the path continue west through Fulufjället, briefly exiting the national park, entering another large national park called Drevfjällen, and then heading north.  As before, this hike offers stunning views and gorgeous fjäll/mountain landscape, but again with the same cost of it being a more challenging trek.  In fact, the group I traveled with and I agreed that this trip was even more difficult than last year's trip (see: link above).  In addition to tough terrain and elevation to get through, Drevfjällen park is all the more isolated, and overall the trail was much less maintained.

The trail markings were mostly fine, but a few key spots really could use some better signs/markers.  Plus in Drevfjällen there are several marshes/bogs that the trail goes through--much more than before in Fulufjället--and the majority of the time these wetland trails have either no planks/bridges for walking on, or there are old, rotten/broken ones.  So you will get wet and muddy, and not just your feet, but most likely up to your knees and beyond.  And then there are the trail shelters, which simply put, are generally not as nice as the more popular (and therefore more well maintained) Fulufjället shelters.  Though there are a few exceptions, as you will soon see.

Okay, so that's the bad news, but with all that being said (and so long as you are at least a somewhat experienced backpacker), I would still recommend this hike, and my group and I had a great trip.  A harder trip, but a good trip, and one that is more off the beaten path than before.  In the five days we hiked (only one of which was in Fulufjället) we only saw a handful of people in western Fulufjället (mostly day hikers) and only two backpackers in all of Drevfjällen.  And at the end of the trip, we were even able to see a small herd of reindeer.

My wife said of this trip: "It's beautiful, but you have to know what you're getting yourself into."  So now you know, and considering the lack of information on this stage of the E1 trails in Sweden, I hope this will help.


Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Cesar's Guide to The Dalsland Connection Route



Introduction

For those of you that intend on actually hiking in this area, if you have not read my guide to The Ed Loop, I suggest you do that first, as these two sections of hiking are directly related and connected to each other.  Plus, there is also more background information and context that I won't repeat here, so do check that out please.  Together, The Ed Loop and The Dalsland Connection Route (DCR from now on) provide an alternative to hikers to connect two longer, well established trails: Bohusleden to the west, and Pilgrimsleden (Dalsland) to the east.  Or these new routes can also work as section hikes unto themselves.  One potential shorter thru-hike that I really like the idea of is to start in Åmål in the east and hiking all the way to Strömstand in the west, or the other way around.

You can read my full trail guide to Bohusleden here

And you can also read a more recent partial trail guide to Pilgrimsleden here

The DCR is around 50-60km (depending on how you choose to hike it), and runs from the town Ed in west, to the Dalsland Canal area to the east, centered around the villages of Håverud, Åsensbruk, and Upperud.  These three canal villages are all right next to each other and offer a variety of interesting things for hikers and travelers alike.  One option already mentioned is Pilgrimsleden, which runs right through this canal area. Another is that in the summer time, special boats and trains run up and down the Dalsland canal and beyond.  Then of course there are more mundane but practical amenities for hikers/travelers, such as access to regular public transportation, restaurants, cafes, B&Bs, supermarkets, etc.

From these canal villages, one can catch a bus or train to the larger town of Mellerud, where there are further connections.  Or backpackers can simply continue hiking onto Pilgrimsleden, which is accessible at several points in this area.  The trail passes right through Upperud, and there are a few roads and trails one can follow from Håverud that intersect with the trail only 2-3kms away.