…Or how I’m trying to stave off a spiritual death by thesis
My father will on occasion refer to a quirky aunt of his who would plan out amazing trips in great detail only never to actually go anywhere. She would allegedly research everything about her chosen destination, the history of the place, how to get there, what to see, where to stay… where and what to eat. – If he remembers my father will at some point during the retelling of this story highlight the fact that this was all done without access to the Internet. Insert wink and knowing look here. If somehow you’ve escaped experiences like this I’ll just quickly explain that this is done to let ones child know that things were more difficult when dad was young, also known as “you kids have it so easy now a days” – I guess in this context you could argue that it serves to highlight the amount of work she put into planning these trips. But really it does nothing to further the point of the story. Which is that she enjoyed planning amazing adventures, not as a means to an end, but just because she enjoyed the planning… and also that she was a little quirky.
I am not that quirky, I enjoy the adventure as much as the planning. But since I can’t have the adventure right now… I’ll settle for the planning.
Basically I wish I was here:
Instead of here:
And so I’m using the planning as a means to an end, which is surviving the living death that is my THESIS. Incidentally I keep coming across these articles that argue that sitting down all day is literally killing us, so maybe my experience is not that far of target.
What to do and where to do it
I’ve been hiking for years, I’ve been running for years… And for years I never thought to put the two together. But apparently it’s a thing and it’s called fastpacking. Now I know I’m late to the party and this thing has been around for years and years. But I’m quite excited at the prospects. Going fast, light and far seems like just the kind of thing I’ve been trying to do for years. I guess it took me getting into trail running for it to dawn on me that there was a crossover between the two.
A couple of years ago I had this plan to thru hike two Swedish hiking trails, Bohusleden(370km/230miles) and Hallandsleden(270km/167miles). The two are connected and if you hike them in continuation of one another you can follow the west coast of Sweden from the Norwegian border and almost all the way down to the ferry crossing between Denmark and Sweden. At the time I was watching all of these youtube videos of people thru hiking the PCT and I was super keen on doing any form of long trail. Long story short it rained… a lot… so much in fact that when I eventually wanted to bail I couldn’t catch a train home because the train tracks had washed away. So naturally I want a rematch.
I’ll most likely only have a week free so I can only do one of the trails. Right now the plan is to fastpack Hallandsleden. It’s further south than Bohusleden, which means that not only is it closer to home, also the weather is going to be considerably milder. And since I’ll be doing this in late fall or winter weather is likely going to play a big part. Back in march of 2013 I hiked about 70km of the trail starting from the southern most end. There was a good 30cm of snow on the ground, the lakes and most of the rivers were frozen, even the Danish falls/Danska fall was frozen over. I nearly ended up getting hypothermia waiting for the bus at the end of my hike. I was shivering uncontrollably, I felt dizzy, confused and unnaturally tired. This lasted all the way home and most of the night. Even after a warm shower and huddled up under two down comforters I was still shivering. So even though I’m going to try and pack as light as possible gear choice is definitely going to be affected by the weather.
I can’t go as light on gear as I would be able to in summer. Luckily though the southern part of Sweden is quite closely populated and on several occasions the trail passes small towns where I can resupply my food. So even though my gear will be heavier to accommodate for the cold I will able to stock up on food every 50-60km. Most likely I wont have to carry more than a days worth of food at any one time, which is quite a weight savings. Depending on the time of day I may even have one of my meals at the grocery shop that way I wont have to carry that meal at all.
I’ve planned out my route using a site called Gpsies. It’s quite easy to use and I like that it’s easy to share tracks. The link to the trail is here: Hallandsleden trail and resupply options. From the site I download the trail to my phone and I can follow along without using any data. I use an app called maps.me but there are a ton of different apps that’ll do this.
I love excel I really do. It’ll do almost anything you want it to. And for anyone looking to lighten their pack I really recommend making a list of all your gear with weights added. It’s been said a million times but it really is a good tool when you want slim down your pack weight. And of course it’s also a good way to make sure your not leaving anything crucial behind.
My winter base weight right now is around 4kg but I am still missing the weight of some items on the list, that’s 8,8 pounds(*your base weight is the weight of your pack without food or water). On top of the base weight I’ll have to carry at least a liter of water, a days worth of food and some food items that can’t be restocked as easily. A bet would be an additional 2,5kg/5.5pounds. This lands my pack at around 6,5kg/14.3pounds, which is reasonable I think given the time of year. Whether or not running with this weight is comfortable, well I’ll have to wait and see.
Seems like maybe I’ve squeezed just about as much out of this planning session as I can possibly justify to myself.