Sharing is caring:

For this entry I am doing things a little differently. Normally I just do all my planning without anybody understanding how I go about things. Then on my site a few pictures show up and nobody gets any smarter. So I decided I want to share my entire planning phase inorder to hopefully help others in their trips. A window, as you will, into the large open landscape between my two ears… . 

A need to get out:

I want to take a trip up to Sarek, now. I’m iching in my bones for a week trip up there above the artic circle and just love life on the primitive side. However, I find the logistics to be a pain in the ass. I would have to fly to Kiruna (I don’t do trains that take 24 hours), then from there take a train and so on. The total cost would be about 2000 sek each way (to and from Sarek). I just don’t want to plunk out that kind of cash right now, on top of that it’s a very far ways away from Stockholm if I just want to take somewhat of a spontaneous trip.

So I started looking around for different options. I don’t want to do more forest hiking right now, as I’m somewhat bored of forest (walk a week in a forest and you will understand what i mean). I want big open landscapes and massive mountains, wild animals and unpredictable weather. I want to go somewhere I can take pictures and test different gear, but I don’t want to have to travel too far, spend too much money or travel more than a few hours by train.

At first I started naturally looking towards Åre as my destination of choice. Some pretty good hiking trails and easy enough to get there. However, I was a bit scared that it would end up being like Kingstrail in northern Sweden where I would feel more like a tourist than a backpacker. I.e lots and lots of people. Of course this risk is minimal this time of year – late september, early October. But i don’t want to take the risk. On top of that there was no real “thru-hike”, instead I would have to do more of a large circle, and at the moment I just want to start at point A and end at point B.

Anyway, Åre is lovely but I don’t really feel like going to Åre at the moment. So I started looking on my map for different trails and that’s when I ran across my chosen trip. Södra Kungsleden – or southern kingstrail. This trail starts in a town called Sälen, which is only 6 hours by train from Stockholm.

For this particular trip I found a nice little brochure that helps me with my planning phase. There is also a website that gives me more details about the area

Planning to get there:

This is where google is my best friend. I started looking for available train rides first and how much they would cost – I would like to leave Stockholm in the morning, get to the start of my chosen trail and hike at least 10-15 kilometers all within the first day. In order for this to be possible, the train ride can’t be too long.

As luck would have it the train goes from Stockholm central and will leave me on the start of the trail at Sälen högfjällshotellet within 6.5 hours. I will arrive on trail at around 13.30 in the afternoon, which will give me atleast a good 6 hours of daylight hiking. Me like. Now, how do I get home?

Planning to get home:

I plan on hiking anywhere between 80-120 kilometers depending on weather, job and if the trail is interesting or not. So I will plan the 80km part first no matter what. When I get off the train at Sälen högfjällshotellet I will hike through Transtrands fjällen, then Skarsåsfjällen then through Fulufjällets nationalpark – this trip is about 80 kilometers and leaves me at the tiny little town of Mörkret. From there I can either hitchhike or take the taxi to Särna (I can of course walk 20 kilometers as well) and from there take the bus, train combo home within 6 hours. Not a bad 3-4 day trip.

Now if I have the time and really love the trail I will continue on through Drevfjällens national park and end my hike at either Drevdagen or on the Norwegien border town of Flötningen. This will put my total hike at 100 km to Drevdagen and 120 to Flötningen. From either of these town I can take the bus to Idre and from there train/Bus home to Stockholm within 7hours.

What to see and do:

As luck would have it, Southern kingstrail seems to be an amazing trail. Not only does it have lovely mountainous landscape, massive amounts of fresh water to hike along, it is also home to one of the worlds oldest living specimens, the Old Tjikko – which is a Norway spruce located on Fujufjället. This tree is 9550 years old. This tree can be found in the Fulufjället mountain range. But this is not where the excitement ends, this particular trail is also home to Sweden’s highest waterfall – Njupeskär, also located within the Fulufjället national park, and for the heavy-miserable hikers you will be glad to know that it’s also pretty close to a road and town. Mörkret.

Old-Tjikko-2011-07-19-001
fulufjallet-karusell-dubbel-vattenfall-sebastian-kirppu

Njupeskär is 120meters high.

What else:

I must say I never even heard of Southern kingstrail until last week, but I am getting pretty impressed by what this trail seems to be able to offer.  As if the tree, landscape and waterfall wasn’t enough – this trail is also home to some excellent fishing waters! I will be bringing my Tenkara rod and some flies and will be fishing along the river banks. This is something that cannot be done in Sarek as it is all protected from fishing. In order to fish I need to purchase fishing permits for the particular areas I want to fish.

This trail is also home to all kinds of wildlife including the Brown bear, Lynx, Wolf and golden Eagle. I don’t really expect to see any of these as they are all terrified of people because of this countries long standing “conservation” efforts. Which means these animals have all been hunted to near extinction.

Weather:

The historical average for this particular area according to yr.no is between freezing (0 Celsius) and 10 degrees. For this particular trip that is about what I can expect as well with a light breeze of 2meter/second.

IMG_3195

Now, I always give extra leeway to weather reports. I expect the weather to always be a little colder, wetter and all around unpredictable compared to what the stats and forecast say. It is after all weather, and in reality nobody can predict it with absolute certainty.

Maps:

For this trip I will be using maps I purchased on my iphone app called Viewranger. This allows me to plot out and plan my actual walking trail in detail. Unfortunately I haven’t really learned how to transfer my purchased maps onto the viewranger online service (maybe somebody can help me out here) – my.viewranger.com and do my planning from there. So I do everything on my Ipad and here you can see the print screens.

These maps I will print out and have a copy for myself as well as a copy for my wife. I try not to deviate too much from the planned route in case something happens.

IMG_3189
The from Sälen Högsjällhotellet – Day 1
IMG_3190

Day 2

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Day 3

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Day 4 and end in Mörkret.

Gear:

For this trip I will be taking my standard three-season set-up with one extra security measure that I normally have with me in winter. My SOL escape bivy lite. I use this as an extra warm bivi layer for my quilt as it only weighs 155grams and adds an extreme amount of extra warmth if needed. This combo I can take to -20 celsius without too much problem. The bivi also has the added bonus of being extremely bright – which if in trouble is a good feature as it’s easy to see. I will also be bringing my Tenkara rod, some flies and my heavier camera gear. (fujifilm X-t1, two lenses and batteries)

This packing will allow me to take amazing pictures, be completely comfortable, fish and entirely safe for 4-5 days of hiking.

Item Ounces Grams
Packing
Zpacks Arc Blast 19.8 560
Stuff Sack 4l 1.2 33
Stuff Sack 4l 1.2 33
Shelter
Zpacks Poncho Groundsheet 6.2 176
Ti Tent Peg 8st 3.3 94
Mld Duomid Stuff Sack 25.2 713
Sleep
Thermarest Xtherm Large 22.9 650
Mont-bell Comfort Pillow 2.8 80
Enlightened 20f Quilt 23.4 663
Sol Bivi 5.5 155
Cooking
Sawyer Mini 0.2 6
Sawyer Bag 16 0.9 25
Snow Peak 900ml Ti 3.7 104
Plastic Fold Cup 0.8 24
Caldera Cone Only 2.4 67
Clothing
Msr Pack Towel 1.4 39
Woolpower Thick Socks 2.3 65
Woolpower Thick Shirt Layer 1 7.9 223
As Tucas Mössa 1.7 48
Woolpower Thick Pants 6.2 175
Haglöfs Wind Pull 3.1 88
Woolpower T Shirt 4.8 137
Haglöf Lim Essens Down Jacket 6.3 180
Other
Black Diamnond Head Lamp 3.5 100
Lifesystems First Aid 2.7 77
Xtherm Repair Kit 0.4 11
Jungle Pil 1.1 31
Amazon Kindle 7.3 208
Powermonkey Battery Pack 8.8 250
Usb Cables 2.2 61
Pro Clip 5.1 144
Aaa Batteries 3.5 100
Tenkara Rod The Sawtooth W/ Case 3.6 102
Fuji Xt-1 15.7 446
Fuji Battery 1.7 48
Fuji Battery 1.7 48
Sony Action Cam Mini + Battery 2.2 62
Frank Dandy Shorts 4.6 130
Sony Action Cam Charger 0.7 21
Ul Teeth Care 1 27
Samyang 12mm 10.3 292
Fujinon 35mm 6.9 197
Tenkara Rod The Sawtooth W/ Case 3.6 102
Worn
Suunto Ambit Watch 2.8 79
Tierra Beenie 1.1 31
Fällkniven 6.9 195
Iphone 5 W Lifeproof 5.3 151
Ray Ban Sun Glasses 0.8 22
As Tucas Pants 2.2 63
Aklima Woll Hoody 13.4 381
Haglöfs Lim Gt Low 19.8 560
Haglöfs Cap 1.9 55
Consumables
Matches 0.4 11
Instant Coffee 1.7 47
Green Te 0.1 2
Green Te 0.1 2
Green Te 0.1 2
Toilet Papper 0.7 20
Food 4 Days 92.2 2615
Alcohol 4 Days 20ml Per Boil 14.1 400
109.4 3099
Total exclusive consumable and worn 239.8 6795
Total with consumables 349.2 9894

Communication:

I doubt that my cellphone will have reception along this route, I’m not too worried but it’s always that extra bit of comfort when I can call home at night and say goodnight to my wife and child. For this trip I will be testing a Globalstar GSP-1700 satellite phone with a pre-paid card. (hopefully it will get here in time) I bought this kit from germany for about 350usd. It’s much cheaper in the USA, but Europe is what it is.

Also for this trip there is actually cottages along the way that I can call from if the need arises.

What’s next:

So here is a pretty good window into my planning phase – I look at where I am going, the weather and what to see. From there I look at the equipment I would like to bring. A lot of people start with the equipment and figure they will bring everything “just in case”. My “just in case” item is a 155gram bivi. For this particular trip I don’t mind bringing an extra kilo in camera gear either, as my total packing is still relatively light for the planned route.

In my next post with regards to this series will focus on what worked and what didn’t, and a general look in the “mirror” approach to my planning process. After my trip is done.

Posted by Kenneth Shaw

Blogger, photographer and backpacker. If you like my writing or my site don't be afraid to follow me, like or share my posts here on the site. Thanks and enjoy!

4 Comments

  1. Very cool, Ken! I know the area around lake Rogen/Femund (a bit north of Grövelsjön), was there 2 years ago in september. It´s amazing there, you will love it! Looking forward to your next post!
    Cheers,
    Valentin

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    Reply

    1. Great! I really think it’s going to be amazing.

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      Reply

  2. […] can read my preparation article before I took off for this trip here. Everything was basically exactly as described with regards to temperature, expected weather and […]

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