Mountain Hike

Actually, I never before have been on a hike in the Swedish mountains. By chance I entered a group for learning, what to use while hiking and the “examen” would be taken by hiking a mountain. The first I learned, that my backpack – which I thought was good enough for a weekend hike, was not suitable, because it has no hip straps. During the ongoing class I did buy a new backpack – a fifty liter one (for juniors, because no other did fit me) as well as some other usefull items for hiking and new hiking shoes. I did not invest a lot in hiking shoes, because I am not expecting, that I will hike a lot in the future. The other stuff was not very expensive either and I hold it to a minimum, trying to use the things I already have, even they neither are fancy nor up-to-date equipment.

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5th of August our adventure started. The evening before, I had put all the necessary things on my living room table and packed on the early morning of the 5th. I could manage the backpack without my sleeping pad and my sleeping bag and I was promised, that other would help me with carrying them. I was comfortable with carrying the backpack from my home to the meeting place, which actually only was around one km away. There I met most of the other participiants: Two young women, both called Terese, Andreas, Björn and last but not least our leader Jarmo.

Our goal was Helags, a mountain close to the village of Ljungdalen in Härjedalen, Sweden. Vi had planned to camp close to the mountain station of Helags. This mountain station is situated on a flat at an altitude of 1043m and more than 12 km away from the closests car park.

The trip this day in a minibus was to a car park in Kläppen, some kms further than the village of Ljungdalen. I was sitting on the mid bench, so was one of the Tereses. We had a really good chat most of the way, manly about her idea to open a kind of adventure place with the opportunity for arts as well, because she is an art teacher. All of us had a meal in Sveg at a fast food restaurant and arrived in good time before dark – this time of the year, the sun sets here around 10pm. Most of us slept in their tents close to the car park meanwhile Terese and I were sleeping in the minibus, because we should have shared her tent, men she was not willing to put it up for one night only. Terese and I was taking a walk in the surroundings meanwhile the others put up their tents. We found signs for the route for Helags as well for a point to take beautiful photos. Unfortunately, the path for the camera route was very bad, therefore did Terese continue by herself. I was waiting for her at the point, from which she was going further. It was cold that night (around -2°C) and I was freezing, though I could not really get some sleep. By the cold, I also had to go to the privy several times during the night.

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6th of August we had to prepare our breakfast and it took a long while. Actually I had taken with me, what I needed, I thought, from the car to the fireplace, but I had forgotten the lighter. Jarmo did help me with his fire steel. It worked well after I had put enough with liquid into the burner. Btw the first time I had put such a little amount of liquid into the burner, it did burn up right away. This, that means, the second time, others could heat water on my burner, when I did not need it anymore. I expected that the others, who had finished breakfast before me, would take down their tents and we would be ready to go soon, but it took time and I was waiting there with my backpack on my back. Though Jarmo told us, we (Terese and I) could start already. We asked, if the correct route was to the right and he answered “yes”. A bit down that path, it was getting very wet and it looked like a bog. I told Terese, I do not see any way further, but she tried. At the end, she called Jarmo, asking, if we were on the correct path. We were not, we did use a route for snowmobiles and skis. The route only was for use during wintertime, when the bog is frozen and there is snow. Though we had to go that part of the route back. I think it was for around one km.

Soon we met Jarmo as well as Björn and Tomas, who had joined us the evening before, arriving by his own car, but it took not very long until Björn, Tomas and Terese were long way in front of us. The other Terese, also called Tess and her boyfriend Anders, had started earlier than Jarmo and we could not see them for a long time. At this beginning, it was easy to walk for me, even with the backpack. I tried to take some pictures with my camera. I had charged the battery, but when I tried to take a third photo, there was a flash from the camera and it told me then, that I have to charge the battery. When we had to climb a little, I had the problem with breathing, as I am used to. Jarmo did hold under my backpack at those parts of the path, though it became easier for me. Unfortunately, this did not help all the way – not nearly half of it, I have to admit ashamed. There were heavy climbs coming and Jarmo did carry my backpack, by leaving his behind, then going back and picking up his… Though he made a lot of extra kilometers. At one point, he told me, that he should have insisted, that all of the group are hiking the same distance at the same time. Holding together, there should have been more help for me. We are all on a very different training level. Björn and Tomas were well-trained and also long, so was even Terese – although she was shorter than both of them.

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One of All of the Reindeers we Have Seen

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The rest of the group had taken a rest around halfway and were waiting for us. There I was told of Terese, that we should not need so much time for the hike and that it is not working. It seemed, she did not understand, that it took a lot more of time, because Jarmo had been going back and forth a lot. Btw I did not have any problem to climb without my backpack, but my breathing. Before all of us were going further, Jarmo asked the well-trained guys to help with my backpack, but then they did go as fast as usual. In the beginning of this other part of the route, there were a wider stream to cross and soon afterwards the other Terese (Tess) did tell me, that we should continue before the others, because of the steep climb (first downhill and then uphill). It seemed, she was afraid, I could not make it, but there was no problem for me, because I had my trekking pools. Anyway, way further, she and the other Terese as well as Tess’ boyfriend did help me with the backpack, though it was easier for Jarmo. I told all my helpers, that I will invite them to a three course dinner when I am back from my bike tour.

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Arriving at around 5pm at the mountain station, our first stop was the bathroom, but afterwards we were looking for a place for our tents. We found a plan area, which was not very wet – the way to the area was. I helped Terese with her tent, because I had to share it with her. I also tried to help Tomas with his tent, but did not understand, what was up and down – neither did he. He got help of Jarmo instead. We did warm our meals in a kitchen, belonging to the station. I did not find the others, though I had my meal by my own, but on my way back to the tent, someone called me. It was one of our group and I made company with some group members including Jarmo in another kitchen. I was then told, that it is possible to sleep in a house on the area, because there are emergency beds.

Jarmo, Tomas and maybe some more had already arranged, that someone of the staff at the station, would bring my backpack down and I was also told, that they had agreed about 500 SEK (50 EUR). Finally, when we were talking one more time with the staff, who actually all seemed to be in their twenties, we were told, that the first one will not do it, but first a young women offered to help us and later a young men met up and told us, that he can do it. He will anyway go down to Kläppen the upcoming day, because he has a day off. We agreed about 8am.

Back at the tents we prepared for the night and I found a spot – under the tent, to have my backpack. Dressed in woolen underwear as well as jogging trousers, two pair of woolen socks and a fleece jacket (the same I have had the night before) I hoped, I will not freeze that night. I felt warm, when I was laying in my sleeping bag on my sleeping pad and I felt asleep soon.

By the way, Terese had even questioned, how I could handle to go by bike to Glasgow, because I am not able to carry my backpack. I told her, that is a very different way to move. I don’t have to carry my belongings. Anyway, she was asking that question two or three times. Furthermore she asked me, if I had not tried out my fully loaded backpack at home and added, that she had done that and was unpacking something as well as she is carrying her tent… Even this remark she gave more than once. I told her, that I had tried out to carry my loaded backpack at home and did not have any problems with it. Finally I added, that she might not be so strong either as she is now in the age of 70.

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7th August 2021

Between 3am and 4am I awoke, shivering from the cold. I also had to pee. Though I did take my sleeping bag with me, used a toilet and was then going to that house, group members had pointed out for me before. There were 4 pairs of shoes and I was told, there were eight beds. I was lucky, I found a bottom bunk easily and was going to sleep. Around 6am I awoke again and was going back to the tent, but stayed up to dress etc.

I had my breakfast before the others from our group, but they were entering the kitchen soon as well. While I was going back to the tent, Tomas told me, that the weather will change to heavy rain all Sunday and it would be better, if we would leave already this day (Saturday). I told him, that Jarmo is the leader, but I am OK with it, if we leave earlier.

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Back at the tent Terese told me, that she, Björn and maybe someone more of our group will hike to the summit of the Helags mountain and we in the afternoon will go home. I told her, by this circumstances I will not try to reach the summit and she was very happy about it. She also told me, that I should leave as early as possible, before all the others are leaving. I told her, I will not leave without company – this is not selfish, but the way to do. When I took the rest of my belongings to the station (I already had left som things in the kitchen) she told me, that I have to fasten my sleeping bag and my sleeping pad on my backpack. I did get so angry about that and told her “I know” and added “you talk to me if I am a child”, she answered, that she only mean well. I apologized not to help her with the tent and was going to the kitchen area for packing my backpack. I could not fasten the sleeping bag on it. I actually did not understand how to do and later got help of Jarmo – he actually did it for me. When I was going to leave my backpack to that guy, helping us, Jarmo told me, that the guy will take his backpack, which was heavier than mine and Jarmo will take my backpack down.

It took almost one more hour before we were leaving the mountain station, because of Björn, Tomas and Terese preparing for the hike to the summit as well as Tess and Anders, which did not like to hurry. Though Jarmo and I started by our own. Without backpack I did not have any problem to hike to the car park, especially because of going downhills most of the time. After around a third of the distance, we had to walk, Tess and Anders joined us. We soon did take a rest. During that one (and I am only writing this, because it is a part of Swedish culture) Tess did propose to Anders with rings.

All of us four continued together. On our way, first now I could see, what a heavy climb we had done on our way to Helags. It was getting really warm, though I had put my rain jacket in the bag I was carrying on my back with a water bottle etc. My fleece jacket did not fit into the bag, though Jarmo put it over the bag, when I was carrying the bag. Unfortunately I lost it, not far away from the place, where we had been resting, but I only have seen, that I had lost it around three kilometers away. Jarmo was going back looking for it. Unfortunately, he did not leave my backpack and was carrying it all the time. Meanwhile I was waiting for Jarmo, a couple was bypassing and told me, that they had found my fleece jacket and put it on a twig of a tree and that it was quite far away. They also told me, it would take around 30 min. for Jarmo to be back. Tess and Anders apologized and were continuing the hike, while I was waiting for Jarmo.

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Finally, close to the car park, Jarmo was leaving me and my backpack on the side of the road. We had discovered the day before, that it was possible to drive by car to this place – around one km from the car park the minibus was parked. After a while he came with the minibus and Tess and Anders as well. I expected, that we will drive to the car park only and there wait for the others, but Jarmo drove to the village of Ljungdalen, where we tried to find a restaurant. The first we have seen was closed, there were no grocery close to it either, but we have seen a tourism information and were asking there for a restaurant. Fortunately, there was one, called “Gammelgården” (The Old Farm).

The service was busy and we had to wait a long time for our orders. We were the last guests served. Tess and Anders had ordered waffles with cream and jam as well as coffee, I had ordered a waffle with cream and jam and a milk chocolate (drink) and Jarmo had ordered a piece of a layer sandwich and a coffee. Each of us had to pay 90 SEK (9 EUR), but Jarmo was the one, who had paid the bill, because this restaurant only took “Swish” (a way to pay by smartphone) and he was the only one, who had a working Internet connection. After our lunch, he asked, for how much our share was and then he told us, that we all are invited. I did get bad conscience, because he had done so much for me already. It should have been me, inviting him. Btw. this restaurant also had a very nice decorated and tidy loo.

We were going back to the car park in Kläppen and had to wait for almost a couple of hours for the rest of the group. Coming throughout Sveg we stopped at the same restaurant as we did on the way to the mountains and we were lucky to come just before closing time.

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8th August 2021

We expected to be back in Katrineholm at 2am Sunday morning, but it became 4am, by their late arrival in Kläppen (I didn’t say anything about that, because I wish not to be at the low level as Terese). Four members of our group were sharing the driving. Fortunately, Jarmo carried my backpack to the elevator of the house I live in. I could have taken the backpack by myself, of course, but I had changed the length of the straps, so they fit Jarmo and could not carry the backpack on my back for that.

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Facit:

I was disappointed of myself, of the other group members and the landscape including the trail as well as that I lost most of the photos, I had taken. It is always a pity, when the back up to Google photos is not working.

I was happy about Jarmo. He was such a great leader. I also was happy about, that I have seen the mountain birches and the tree line, because they were only theory for me before. In addition to that, I was happy, that we saved money by not using the showers as well as, that I did not get chafed feet. Last but not least I was happy, that there were not a lot of mosquitos.

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Lesson learned:

If I ever will hike the Swedish mountains again, I only do it, if I can get a bed for sleep – reducing the weight of my backpack. I won’t either carry so many cooked meals with me nor a cooker and associated gadgets. I will look for another mountain range. I hope, there will be more beautiful areas.

5 Comments

  1. Tess says:

    Tråkigt att du ”hänger ut” övriga medlemmar på resan som du gör. Känner att det är onödigt. Intressant att läsa om DIN resa, men inte hur du och andra resande i gruppen haft osämja. Jarmo är en gentleman, och vill alla väl, men ibland måste man också inse att även han var trött och tagen av att behöva kämpa som han gjorde.
    Kändes så tråkigt att du inte ens bemödade dig med att ta av dig skorna innan vi startade resan tillbaka till bilen och sätta dig med oss andra som ville ta en fika innan vi gick tillbaka. Du satt och stirrade på oss andra och det kändes otroligt pressat och stressigt. Inte ens en kaffe i lugn och ro… 😬

  2. moragnoffke says:

    Wow, sounds like quite an adventure. I only like hiking where we hike for one day… Because I don’t like carrying all the stuff😅 my husband says he thinks long hikes are like banging your head against a brick wall 🤣🤣 but that is just him 😉

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