(All pictures by me and my girlfriend on this one too. Also reused for my other blog)
SkåBec Outdoor – Part 1
Like written in my last blog post I decided to go more unplug in my life. To see what the world has to offer outside these pesky screens that we tend to spend way too much time in front of.
First of, what with that weird title right? Well, SkåBec is basically merging Skåne, the Swedish region where my girlfriend is from and Québec, the Canadian province where I am from.
A Skånian and a Québécois walk into a bar…
You know the drill. Anyway.
Last week, I told my girlfriend that I wanted to go hiking somewhere outside central Stockholm. You have to go pretty far north of here if you want to have any sort of proper elevation. I’m obviously spoiled because of where I’m from in Québec even though for other people, it would be considered flat-ish. In any case, the lower part of Sweden is fairly flat and Stockholm is part of that flat area.
I was checking on google map for potential area and she proposed the Tyresta National Park. From the pendeltåg (suburbs train) in Stockholm to a 20 minutes bus trip it was close yet far enough so we could get there without traveling for three hours.
It was set!
The Wish to be Alone
So we got to the town close to the national park a bit early and had to wait for the bus. I thought that we would be pretty much alone. I didn’t wanted to see human faces except my girlfriend’s one that day.
The bus station was PACKED with people, so was the bus. I think the driver had to ask the people five times to move their ass to the back of the bus to allow more people to get in. As I sadly was expecting they were ALL going to the national park. It was easy to see anyway, they all had backpack, boots and other hiking equipment/clothes on them.
I started having anxiety symptoms inside just because of that. Jammed in that bus with so many people. Luckily the travel was fairly quick and with music in my ears on that part, I was able to not really think about that. Even though it started to become fairly warm pretty quickly because of the amount of people.
I just wanted to be alone for a couple of hours with my second half.
It was not a good start. To say the least.
Avoiding the Main Paths
So we finally got there. I was super eager to just start walking. I get pretty impatient in these situations but my girlfriend wanted to go into the small shop because there would probably be a map.
So she bought a map.
She also talked about possible paths with a lady working there and she proposed one secluded path outside of everything. I’m really happy that she talked to the lady because we went into one awesome walk. I was just not aware of it yet.
So here is an approximation drawing I’ve done over google map about the path we took.
So the route seemed simple, we had to follow the path north-west to a scout camp and from there take another path.
We followed the path we found at the scout camp.
It was not the right one.
So as you can see on the left of the image above, the line is going to a lake on the left and then turns pretty straight east. We realized looking at the map and at our position that the road was really not where we were standing and that the road was to our right above a small cliff.
So we went cowboy, on a straight-ish line to find the new road!
Damn I was happy. Smiling. Having so much fun.
I was in the wood alone with the woman I love with no other human being in sight and an awesome traveling day ahead of us and already lost.
(This mushroom was HUGE but we even found bigger ones down the path. No banana for scale though.)
Back on the Right Path
So after climbing that cliff by going with some S shape movements avoiding trees, branches, bushes and other things we crossed an electrical poles line. I was kind of thrown off by these things. It was a little bit less magical that the trees but at least we had a big landmark to orient ourselves.
My goal was to go elevated enough so we could find the path and, as expected, when we reached a good elevated position, my girlfriend found the path not far bellow us.
We are the best team.
From there we followed the small path and got offtrack once again. The path led us back to the electrical line and we knew it was not where we should be. We just came back and took the other path to our left.
Our next objective was to reach a small stream that we saw on the paper map we had. From landmark to landmark.
I felt like in a video game exploring a forest!
Compared to home there is way more berries growing in the wilderness. That’s good to know if you ever get lost, at least, you could find something to eat for a little while.
One thing that is so amazing is the taste of wild berries. These blueberries that were everywhere around us for almost the whole travel tasted amazing. Nothing compared to what you can by in grocery stores. Even if they are supposed to be fresh, it’s still not as fresh as when you pic them yourself.
Deep in the forest I really feel like home. Swedish forest and the forest I used to go behind where I grew up and pretty much the same but sometimes you get a reminder that you are in Sweden.
There are quite a lot of rocks around the Stockholm area.
Everything is on a freaking rock.
No wonder why Vikings decided to raid outside of these areas. It’s impossible to grow anything on rocks!
On the other hand it was still pretty cool to be on open spaces from time to time but it was way better to walk on small paths and even moss. That was probably the smoothest hike of my life. Moss is so cool to walk on. We came across two little cairn during the day. I added a rock on the first one. Gotta keep the fun alive!
We also saw a hare on the way. He probably almost got a heart attack when it realized I was close and ran away really quickly.
The Small Stream
So we reached the stream at some point. I think it was just a little bit after twelve. We were walking for quite some time already and I was starting to feel hungry.
So I took my bow and arrows and I decided to go hunting for some hare.
Even if I would love to, hunting with bow is illegal in Sweden and obviously even more illegal on a national park.
I prepared some small sandwiches and also had cheese, nuts and just because, two cans of ciders.
So there, we sat near the stream. There was no other sound than the wind in the trees and the birds singing. I used my small portable tool as a table and we sat on the really over comfortable moss.
During that time we saw the first human being of the trip. A guy on a mountain bike. Hats off to him, that was really not a mountain bike track but hey, everything can be a mountain bike track I guess.
We never saw him again. We found some bones on the way. I hope it was not from him.
After eating we then checked where to go next. Not that there was many paths but just to have a global idea of where we were heading.
There was really only one path possible anyway, to stay in the forest, leading to a pretty big lake named Årsjön. Which I guess could be translate as “The Year Lake” or something. (My Swedish is not really on point yet, maybe it just doesn’t mean anything).
Smooth Sailing to the Lake
From the stream to the lake it was pretty straight forward. More trees, more small paths, more quietness and more awesomeness.
Important to say that my girlfriend had a mission! You can freely pick berries in parks in Sweden but you can also pick mushroom. And she knows about and love mushrooms.
I don’t really, but that’s all good.
Her goal was to get the most Kantarell as she could. I think it’s her favorite mushroom. Especially freshly picked. I also learned that, it seems to be a big thing in there. We saw so many people picking mushroom on our way back. I was really surprised to see people really well dressed going deep out of the paths to find mushrooms. I was also kind of laughing for that reason. There was some people really well dressed for that kind of activity.
So we were stopping here and there and she was collecting mushrooms. She probably has hawk eyes or an inside mushroom radar because I never found any and I was the one walking ahead. Maybe because I was not really looking at the ground?
I’m pretty sure it used to be a Forest Troll house or something. It really looked like an old shelter under all those tree parts. There was even a path going under it. Was pretty cool to see!
So we walked to the lake and half the quietness was over. Some part of me was pretty sad already because that day was going to end at some point and we went back to where the main roads were mostly. Meaning quite a lot of people.
Near the lake there was an official camping area, so, yeah, quite some people there but it was still pretty smooth.
There was two girls swimming in the lake. Some couples fiddeling with their tents here and there. A bunch of guys with a really beautiful dog cooking meat on a BBQ. This was great. The smell of the fire and the meat was amazing.
I had to take an obligatory picture of the lake for really obvious reason. I really love water and lakes. The water was fairly warm, at least, warm enough for a small dive. After all that walk it would have been really welcomed but we quickly realized that we didn’t really had time for it.
It was probably around a quarter passed three when we reached the lake and we had some big plans to walk even more and see awesome spots. There is a pretty big area where the forest caught fire years ago and it seems it’s pretty awesome to see. We really wanted to see that but we had two problems.
The break gave time to my body to send me signals that both my pinky toes were hurting quite a lot already. My city walk shoes are really not made for forest walk. I’ve learned it the hard way.
We had less that three hours to catch the last bus.
So we had to shorten our plans. Sadly. We decided to go south-west in the starting area direction and trying to leave the main path as soon as we could.
The Last Stretch
So we left the lake and the short goal was to reach the other lake close by named Bylsjön. (No idea what that mean really. We’ll just call it Lake Bill.)
Getting there was pretty quick but the walk was not super great. Probably 80% of the path between both lakes were on rocks. On one hand it was good cardio-wise to go up and down but it was pretty horrible for my poor pinky toes.
In any case we reached the other lake (not the picture above) and then we checked the map. Looked at the possible roads and went on one.
After like five minutes it felt weird. Like, the sun was not really in the right direction. I have a good sense of orientation in general and that didn’t made sense but, anyway, I just kept walking.
Then we reached the lake.
A lake? There was no lake on the way. What the fuck happened we asked ourselves. It didn’t made sense. We checked the GPS on my girlfriend phone and yeah. For whatever reason we went left at the lake meaning that we backtracked to the big lake.
Absolute Savage Mega Fail. (That’s the lonely weird line on the map above going north.)
We laughed quite a lot and went on our way back, which was forward right? We probably lost 25 minutes so all in all we didn’t really had time for a lot of shenanigans in the wood or else we would miss the last bus.
But still, after Lake Bill, we saw on the map that there was a dotted line, meaning there was a path. I have to say, we maybe have found the path, or we were just walking in opens between the trees, it’s hard to say.
We crossed a beaver dam (that was pretty cool, thanks beaver, Canada loves you) and we ventured into the wilderness again.
This was how the path looked when we found it near the end of that wilderness. We can clearly see a path right?
This is where we saw a lot of mushroom pickers. Families with children, couples, old people, name it, all trying to find mushroom. I’m not sure they found much though. The area was really wet at some place so it’s cool for mushroom but a ton of people probably passed there before them.
In any case, it was the last stretch. You can see on the picture above that the sun was getting down fairly quickly at that point so we followed what looked like a path and ended up on a road crossing a little farm meaning that we were sadly at the end of our trip.
Sounds of cars, lots of other human beings, baby crying, etc. The fun was over.
Amazing. A bit over 32900 steps of awesomeness.
We had so much fun.
We learned quite a bit there, it was pretty cool.
We were there on the Saturday and on the Monday I was buying proper hiking boots and pants. Even though I had long sporty pants for the trip it was not as good as proper hiking pants. I also carried four 500ml bottle of water. Two liters of water for two person is not enough. We had just enough and it’s because we kind of not drank that much on the second half of the travel and that we really shorten the path we wanted to take because lack of time to take the bus.
Getting lost is half the fun seriously. Trying to find your way back is really cool!
My goal, and she’ll probably be part of the adventure is to sleep overnight in the forest before the winter comes here. That walk was pretty good just to see how it feels.
It was one of many for sure. I’m already looking forward for the next SkåBec outdoor session!
Leave a comment if you have any opinions on this!
Don’t hesitate to click on the little blue follow button on the top right of this page.