So I get asked from time to time how I do my trip planning.. I will soon be making a much more detailed video on my process, but in this video, I give the particular process I had for planning my trip to Sarek here in northern Sweden. I go through my inspiration, what apps and books I use and some important details to know when traveling to sarek and in Sarek.
My schedule is filled at the moment while trying to get Backpackinglight.se up and running. So instead of a long trail report, I will post some pictures! More pictures coming soon.
Mukka Stugan is a small little emergency cottage that while offers a nice place to eat lunch while it’s raining, has unfortuantely become a trash can for hikers who can’t be bothered to bring their trash with them.
The Trailstar by the glacier river.
13 kilos for a 9 day trip – fully safe and secure with a fishing pole and satellite phone to boot. My packing is watertight, I’m set for far below zero temperatures if needed.
Taking a coffee and candy break while drying out my shoes.
It looks like hell, but believe me, this is some of the best aspects of wearing trailshoes in the wild. When my feet get hot I can just go trudging through some cold water. No blisters, no pain, no problems! Trailshoes are a luxury few have yet discovered.
Down by Rapadalen – Amazing
If only Ron would let me sell his MLD gear! The yellow trailstar is probably the single most beautiful tent build today. An incredibly light and well performing piece of kit.
My Fizan poles and HMG windrider 4400 after a week in Sarek. Both performed incredibly well – so good in fact that I will be supplying both at backpackinglight.se. These are simply the best products available for their intended purpose.
Last year I made a 7 day trip through Iceland, north to south through some incredible countryside and even meeting up and joining the Laugavegur trail for 5 days. It was a lovely trip and I had about 10 kilos of gear and food with me for the excursion. The hike at times was tough, or atleast one or two days of the journey was tough, all in all, on a scale of 1-10 for difficulty I would rank it around a 5. A great trail for anyone who is properly prepared. There are however two major inclines (major..) on day one while leaving Landmannalaugar and day 5 between Porsmark and Skogar. These two inclines kicked my ass in every possible way. The last day I was so tired on the incline between porsmark and skogar that I thought I would die. If memory serves me the total incline was around 900-1000 meters. I thought at the time, that considering the circumstances (climbing a 1000meter cliff with backpack on), that I did quite well. It wasn’t until I did my recent trip through Sarek national park in Northern Sweden, that I realized the truth behind my Iceland trip.
Let me paint a little picture here. Hard wind, rain, knee high swamp for hours on end, daily 500-1000 meter inclines and declines, waist high wading and to top it all off – no trails. Complete wild and a 13kilo backpack. That was my most recent trip to the Sarek national park in Northern sweden, a few hundred kilometers north of the arctic circle. This trip was demanding in every possible sense of the word. On my gear, physique and psychology. But I didn’t feel it. My body was such a well oiled machine for this trip that I literally felt as if I could turn around and do it again without any problems. I didn’t have any of the normal knee, back or lung issues. And on the last day I was afraid to tell my traveling companion just how damn good I felt (after a 1300 meter incline with my backpack on) because I didn’t want him to think I was doing the “manly” thing of bragging about how cool I am I could carry my backpack up a hill. (like many of the heavy miserables that like to brag about how much weight they can carry)
My body was functioning better than it ever has on a backpacking trip, this was on minimal sleep and a deprivation diet. Honestly, no matter how much food I pack and eat I still run a deficit on these kinds of trips. The changes this year compared to last year, and the relatively easier Laugavegur trail? My running and diet changes I made late last year. Since going full vegan and running I have lost around 22 lbs (10 kilos) off my body, that’s 10 kilos my legs don’t have to carry when backpacking and the insane amount of carbs I eat on the diet fuels me like nothing else. My running has improved my cardio exponentially, when last year I could barely make the last incline on the Laugavegur trail, this year I did that same 0-1000 meter climb on several occasions and felt damn good.
While my backpacking trip wasn’t full vegan, in fact I snuck in some powdered milk to my breakfast and cheese on the last day at the hotel.. Oh and I did make the mistake of eating a sausage, it had always been the mainstay of my backpacking trips – the reward at the end of the day kind of thing. Only to realize my taste buds have changed, and what once tasted like gods hands massaging my tongue, now tasted like salted dead pig and had the effects you would expect on my daily shitting habits. With that said, I don’t beat myself up about it, I am always working towards long term health goals and benefits, and I can’t kill myself everytime I make a slip up. Beside, being a bitch to other people about their habits is probably the worst thing to do to get converts.
Anyway, last year after laugavegur I was satisfied, ready to hang up my boots for a while a relax. Much like a traditional hiker who normally takes a year off between longer hikes, I felt much the same. Now, the only thing I want to do is get out again. My body, feet and soul feel perfect after my last trip and I can only credit my diet and training habits.
I joined up with a friend who was hiking the high coast hike 2017 in northern Sweden. This is just a quick video of the days I spent along the hike. I used it as a good prep for my 10 day Sarek hike here in a few days.
I did it, it hurt, at times it sucked, and times it was glorious. It was a hell of a lot harder than I expected, and definitely more emotional than I thought possible. I ran and finished my first marathon on Saturday. I set a goal in early February that I wanted to run and complete the Stockholm marathon in June. This with no previous running training, or any training for that matter, certainly not cardio in at-least 15 years. I felt it was ambitious, but at the same time a challenge I needed to keep myself motivated.
I could write for days with regards to how the race went, and mental process needed to complete, how my body felt, or how about an old man getting a heart attack next to me while running. I could explain all of this but I won’t, I will let this experience be mine and mine alone. It was something deep and profound and something I need to hold on to a while longer. With that said, I will write about the lessons I learned and will bring with me on future runs and I hope will even help you on yours.
Everyone has to take a shit at the same time on race day. Standing in line to the toilet will take a minimum of 45 minutes of standing and waiting patiently. A good choice is to just hold it at and lay down and relax, take a shit somewhere along the run where the toilets are always empty instead.
Don’t shave. While waiting and eating some pre-run food, I noticed rows and rows of beautifully shaven men and women, glistening in the sunlight the baldness of their bodies. I also noticed how every single one of them spent an amazing amount of time greasing themselves up and down with vasoline in places I didn’t know could get chapped. My tactic was to do as usual and not shave my ass crack, chest or underarms and allow my hair to protect my body. Worked perfectly. No chaffing anywhere.
As a precaution for chapping between my thighs (no thigh gap here) I bought shorts with built in tights.
Run more on roads if training for a marathon. I ran a lot leading up to my first marathon. But the trails had been mixed between street and dirt paths. The difference in pressure on feet and knees is astounding when tacking on heavy kilometers. While the first 25 kilometers my body held up well, the last 10 hurt really bad as my left foot had given out completely.
What is the difference between the marathon racer that runs in 3 hours and the one that runs in 5 hours? The runner running in 5 hours probably had a hell of a lot tougher time as she was standing and pounding her knees, feet and body for two hours longer – not including the aforementioned 45 minute wait before the race to take a shit.
So the lesson here – train speed, get the marathon done as quickly as possible, it only gets worse as the hours pile on.
Energy gels mixed with Coca Cola, bananas, pickles, clif bars and energy drinks is an absolutely revolting mixture of puke inducing running fuel. I was told to eat everything I could along the run, and from my experience of running longer runs my bodies energy usually crashed at around 20k if I didn’t eat. So I took this advice to heart and ate everything I could. Energy gels must be the single most disgusting edible product on earth, it doesn’t get better with pickles.
Find your reason why. If you don’t have a strong enough reason to complete the race, your not going to, it’s as simple as that. My reason started with Scott Jureks saying ”sometimes we just do things”, but I found that wasn’t strong enough, it wasn’t strong enough because it wasn’t my reason. It is Scotts. I found after 30kilometers I had to find my why, my reason behind it all and I did.
I started my running and vegan lifestyle after a visit to the doctors office pretty much ended with the doctor saying take pills or die young. I believe firmly in the ability for the body to heal itself, especially if given the proper nutrition. So I changed to a plant based whole food diet and the results so far have been astounding. My energy levels have increased majorly, I don’t get sick anymore, I’ve lost a lot of weight and all in all I just feel amazing.
However my reason for doing all of this, the running, eating and for the purpose of this article, running the marathon was one thing. To live to be an old man for my young boy. I didn’t want to be couch ridden, or bad heart and can’t play with him. So my mantra for completing the race fitted me perfectly and gave me the boost I needed to complete ”Old man for you”.
I often get asked the question with regards to my nationality. In the USA Americans want to know the difference between Americans and Swedes, in Sweden it’s the reverse. I generally don’t try to answer these types of questions as there is no one answer that fits all perfectly. That one answer that can describe the two nations with absolute certainty. That is one of the main things I have learned in my life, living in different cultures and nations: Black and white answers rarely exist, and when they do, it’s usually debatable.
Since this is a generalized question usually made by people wanting to test their own programmed stereotypes, I will do my best to give a generalized, stereotype based answer. The truth is, what I find to be the one main difference between Americans and not just Swedes but most other people I have met is that Americans have a tendency and need to sound and present themselves as experts on any given field. I have tested this general hypothesis on many subjects from the USA and very rarely do I find the one person who doesn’t have that need. Read More
I love panorama pictures! Your simply not experiencing life if it’s not in panorama! These pictures are massive and it’s a shame they are so little here.. To get atleast a somewhat feel for the epic views you really should look at these pictures on the largest screen or screens you have available. Read More
Just realized that I haven’t published any of my videos from the Kingstrail northern sweden trip I took earlier this year.. Anyway, here are some videos from that journey. I did somethings differently here as I wanted to make 20 minute videos.. something fun about that which I like. Read More
I started writing a trip report about this trail here, and you can see part one of the gallery here. I wanted to make just a simple post with the pictures together in a gallery. I will also be adding video over on my youtube channel as well. This is part two of the 2 part series
This series starts from Fulufjället (fulu nationalpark) where Swedens largest waterfall, Njupeskär is, as well as one of the worlds oldest living specimens. An old Norwegian spruce tree which is estimated to be around 9500 years old. Read More
I started writing a trip report about this trail here, but I wanted to make just a simple post with the pictures together in a gallery. I will also be adding video over on my youtube channel as well. This is part one of the 2 part series
I had my Fujifilm x-t1 and 18mm lens as well as the samyang 12mm prime lens. I felt both lenses where excellent and you can see from the pictures below that the quality of and depth of pictures taken on the x-t1 is hard to beat. This trip was taken in late september so it’s very wet and very autumn ish. Read More