On my continuing travels along the E1, I set off on May day, for Gothenburg, arriving there around lunchtime. My first challenge was to locate the bus stop for the bus to Kåsjön, after finding a friendly Västtrafik guy, he confirmed that bus number 513 was the correct bus, however, when asked him where do I catch it from he said “I don’t know”. After a quick search on his smart phone I was soon wandering over to the bus stop a few minutes away, happy in the thought that the Västtrafik man was now better informed on the location of Polhemsplatsen. Furthermore, the friendly bus driver, happily allowed me onto the bus and I was on my way.
Alighting from the bus where it passed the Bohusleden, I was soon adjusting my gear before heading off in the warm afternoon sunshine. But I quickly realised that there was quite a few noisy offroad motor bikes racing near the trail, and occasionally on the trail. As I approached I noticed that there was a temporary tape fence adjacent to the trail separating me from the youngsters, who were cheered on by their fathers as they pushed their bikes over boulders and around tight muddy bends. Once past the race track all became quiet as I began to relax finally reaching the lake (Maderna) where a family of geese were taking in the sunshine.
I turned northwards along the Vildmarksleden and quickly turned away from the lake, all the time thinking maybe I should have brought some sunscreen. It was a pleasant and warm walk as I wandered along the well marked trail.
Before long I was sitting in the sun at the wind shelter next to the lake at Stentjärnarna, there was a less than promising camping area nearby. I chose to keep walking, passing by a young couple heading in the opposite direction, apart from the couple I saw no one. After a couple of hours, or so, of walking I reached Little Stamsjön and quickly found a small campsite and set up the shelter for the night. It was still early enabling me to relax and enjoy the serenity of the area. Late in the evening there was a shower of rain, but I slept well awaking to a cool misty morning. With a long day planned I was up and off early.
I was soon passing by Sandsjön as the mist rose in the morning sunshine, as well there were a number of summer houses occupying idyllic locations around the shoreline.
The trail joined a road as it hugged the shoreline before turning inland towards the large lake Stor Härsjön. I wended my way through the forest noting, that whilst spring was evident in and around Copenhagen, here it was still on its way as the trees were yet to burst fully into life. After passing through the quaint village of Härsjödamm I was soon following the well travelled paths circumnavigating Härsjön. The path took me to a shelter in an excellent location overlooking Stor Härsjön, as I passed I noted the father and daughter heading away from the shelter considering which path to take, whereas the mother was focussed on her smart phone.
I was now on a popular trail and was soon passed by “Morning walkers” out for their daily exercise, whilst I was taken by the seats which were ideal resting places.
Before long I turned away from the lake and headed across a main road and back into the forest, on a recently gravelled path. Passing by the lakes, Blomannan and Lågetjärnen, I meandered through the forest as it was became increasingly evident to me that there were many ups and less downs as I continued along the trail crossing roads and passing through small hamlets. As I climbed up a muddy incline I met and passed 2 backpackers heading down hill a quick “hi” and they were gone. These are the only overnight walkers I have met in this part of Sweden. It was now approaching lunchtime when I was suddenly confronted by a sign indicating a shelter (it did not really need a sign it was that obvious) wandering down to the newly built shelter overlooking a small lake I sat and ate lunch, appreciative of the protection from the cool breeze. Apparently the shelter had been built by the scouts from Hindås as well as adults who were fuelled by many cans of beer which now lay empty under the shelter. As it is still under construction I assumed at some stage the area would be cleaned.
After lunch I entered Hindås reaching the end of the Vildmarksleden, opposite the railway station and a adjacent to the ICA supermarket. I was immediately impressed by the signage for walkers especially the sign indicating the start of the Sjuhäradsleden. The new sign with accompanying maps and glossy brochures encouraged me to head off knowing that there was still a few more k’s to go before the day was over.
Having collected the glossy brochure for section 1, I followed the road/cycle path around the Västra Nedsjön lakeshore. Before passing by the Hindåsgården Conference & Spa hotel, with its ski jump watching impassively over the grounds of the hotel. I passed thorough what would have been busy ski trails, but for now they were empty, turning off the path I continued my wandering through the forest, with its requisite ups and some time downs. It was on one of these ups I noted the tall telephone tower ahread of me, it seemed to stand about 100 metres above the landscape, it was also at this time I realised that I was standing at an elevation of around 250m metres which quickly explained my shortness of breath. Clearly I needed to acclimatise to these heights which were well above anything in Denmark. Or maybe I just needed to get a bit fitter. I descended from these dizzy heights following minor roads during which I was overtaken by 3 vehicles the first bearing the sign “just married” they were in a hurry, whereas for me it was a more leisurely pace.
Having reached the end of stage 1 of the Sjuhäradsleden and finding the newly erected information board for stage 2 complete with brochures for stage 3. Hmmm. Anyway the trail was well marked and my preferred campsite was not far away. After about 3 km’s I was relaxing overlooking Abborrsjön in the late evening sunshine. I quickly found a tent site above the shelter and settled into relax after what had been a longer day than expected.
In the morning it was yet another sunny and calm day, having watched the sunrise from the comfort of bed I finally arose and begun the routine of packing and preparing for the day ahead.
The beginning of the days walk was along minor roads which at this hour on a Sunday morning were quiet, apart from a couple who I passed. I spent some time relaxing on jetty at Gesebols sjö, before heading inland. A short cross country section had me back on minor country roads before turning into the forest again. Soon I was crossing a wide open area with just a hint of a trail separating two large swamps.
Meeting up with a gravel road I was soon stopped in my tracks by the artistic layout on the seats, after a few minutes of looking at them I climbed up through the forest before crossing a road and returning to the forest. A pleasant stream and warm sunshine had me relaxing, reluctantly I set off again.
The path meandered through the forest with occasional road interludes, however, it seemed it was always up, as I climbed toward a shelter with a stunning view over Viaredssjön and the township of Sandared. By now it was lunchtime and I sat back in the sunshine enjoying the view.
Then it was more forest, tree roots, mud, board walks, roads, before reaching the end of the section at the Sundsvalls Orientering clubrooms. I took a break in the shade as a mother and daughter sprinted to their car, the daughter won.
The next section had me following various bitumen and gravel roads till I reached a sign telling me that I was not allowed to pass by the house, instead I was to walk through Långemossen (swamp) the brochure in English states “The path crosses the Långemossen wetland area. It can be difficult to negotiate after heavy rain.” fortunately there had not been heavy rain as I was still up to my calves in mud and water as I followed the trail markers through across mud and water covered swamp. To make matter worse once back on the road with the house behind me 2 young ladies in a VW flew past happy in the knowledge that no strangers would wander by their house.
The end of the trip was approaching as was Borås, but I had one more night of camping. The challenge was as you get closer to major towns is that the camping options decrease accordingly. However, I had a plan.
I descended through the township of Ekås on the outskirts of Hestra (of glove fame). It was evident on this fine and sunny sunday afternoon, families were out enjoying themselves and the streets were alive to the sounds of children’s laughter. As is often the case in towns you end up on a busy road, but soon I was across the road and entering a snow sports area, before climbing away towards Rya åsar nature reserve. By now it was getting late and I located a spot for my final night on the trail.
I spent a relaxing evening cooking, eating and then retiring, knowing that the weather was expected to deteriorate overnight, which was confirmed by my barometer. During the night the wind picked up and gradually light rain fell. By morning the wind could be heard roaring across the tops of the trees above me, but somehow I had managed to find a sheltered spot where there was hardly a ripple. After packing up inside the shelter all that was left to do was extract myself and then pack the shelter as quickly as possible. Having done this I set off following the trail as the rain increased in intensity with wind in my face. Soon I was out of the forest and descending along a bitumen road towards Borås. Once at the base of the hill I crossed over the river and followed the bicycle path into the city as the E1 headed in the opposite direction. I was grateful to three persons who were willing to provide a wet and bedraggled hiker directions to the Bus station.
Arriving at the bus station and I was met by 2 friendly staff from the local council who indicated the stop for my bus (100) soon I was being whisked away to Gothenburg. From there it was train home.
It had been a very enjoyable trip covering nearly 80 km and ascending 3800 metres. The mixture of forest, lakes, gravel roads and bitumen ensured that t was never really dull. I am already planning the next section, however, according to Cesar some of this section may be less exciting, time will tell.