Archive for Hiking Holiday

We peak!

Hiking is one of my favourite pastimes and County Jämtland in Sweden my favourite destinations. My family has been visiting Jämtland since way before I was born, and I was just 1 year old when I first came here.

This year we have the pleasure of staying in Storlien, where the Swedish Royals have a Holiday cabin. Storlien is a small resort compared to the very popular Åre, which is situated just 60 km down the road.

We have made it a tradition to always take a day in Åre during the week in Storlien. This time Pixie made her own way up to the peak of Åreskutan from the Cabin Car. She also hiked all the way down to Mörvikshummeln with us, the long route.

I was such a proud mammy!

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The Jämtland Triangle – 3 days without my little Pixie

When most people take their husband away for the weekend they go somewhere where they can get pampered. They visit romantic castles, spas and resorts, sip champagne and relax. So what did we do? Well, how about a three-day hike in the Swedish fells, just under 50 km through the wilderness.  No trains, buses, cars or even roads, just a path with cairns appearing from time to time to show you the way. This is what we decided to do, on our own without our little Pixiea lovely weekend for two.

 

It’s my favourite way to spend my time, outdoors, surrounded by green mountains, grey cliffs and stone and the blue water that trickles down from the mountain top. Above you is the sky which can shift from a clear blue with glistening sunshine to dark grey with hailstones so big that they hurt you when they hit your legs and arms. It’s probably one of my favourite places in the world.

 

This beautiful county in the centre of Sweden is called Jämtland. I have come here both winter and summer for as long as I can remember. In fact, I was only 1 year old when my parents brought me here for the first time when they took me hiking in Kolåsen. Since that year, 1974, I have returned on at least fifteen occasions. Most recently with my husband and my daughter with whom I have stayed in the little community Storlien, just on the border to Norway.

 

Day 1

We arrive at the Mountain station Storulvån far too late in the day. It’s nearly 12.00 o’clock and about 3 hours later than I had planned. We drove from Storlien, circa 20 km away where we have just left our daughter behind with her grandparents. First we pay the parking  meter for three days, and leave the car behind in the carpark. In the boot we leave a bag with towels and clean clothes so that we can wash up on the fnal day before we head back to civilisation. Trust me we’ll need it!

 

On this first day of treking we have just under  16 km ahead of us so we get going. The smells of the fell hit me as we cross river Handölan. The birch, the moss, the green grass has a very special smell. You will only find it in the Swedish mountains. Day one is always the hardest on any hike  as it takes a while for the body to get into motion, day two is always easiest and the last day is always the hardest. On a short hike like this one the body is put through its paces, Just as you get used to the walking it’s time to stop.

 

We hike app. 10 km before we stop for lunch. Most of the other hikers on the trail that day had stopped earlier but as we felt a little stressed having set out so late we didn’t want to stop before we had covered most of the days kilometres. We enjoyed a fantastic meat and vegetable soup and sandwiches Just what we needed.

 

After a gruelling 16 km in the sunshine, we finally arrive at Sylarna. The last 3 km are all upphill and quite a tough way to end the day but it makes us  feel alive and happy.  For me personally there is nothing more fantastic than arriving at your destination after a hard day hiking. We pitch our tent just below  Mountain station Sylarna, at 1035 metres above the sea, it’s a popular spot for hikers, bikers, runners and climbers.

 

There is no restaurant and Sylarna, instead everyone cook for themselves in the kitchen area, which is equipped with 8 small cooking stations. There is food in the small shop at the station, but as it’s quite over priced most people carry their own supply. One or two groups have even brought along some wine in old Coke bottles. We settle for a cold beer in the sauna, then a dinner of tortellini with creme fraiche and pesto together with a tomato salad.

 

We spend the night in our tent, and sleep quite well. As a treat we  pay for two breakfasts for the next morning and a lunch pack so that we don’t have to worry about feeding ourselves. Trust me, it’s worth it, especially when you’re on a short hike like this.

 

Day 5 – To the too of Åreskutan and down again…

It’s amazing how much you check the weather forecast when you are based in ”fjällen” which is what we call our mountains, espceially when you want to spend time outdoors. Our fifth day in Storlien had the best weather forecast so far this week and we decided this was the day for our annual hike to Åreskutan’s top.
To make it up on the peak as quickly as possible we ”cheat” a little and take the cabin car up as far as possible on the mountain. This leaves you with app 30 min hike up on the peak, depending on your pace off course. We planned to enjoy our lunch up on the peak, and then continue almost all the way down. Our plan was to take the lift at Mörvikshummeln and Åre Bergbana, down to the square. During the summer you only pay to go up the mountain, if you want to get a lift down it’s for free. Last year we had intended to do this, but arrived too late and got stuck at Mörvikshummeln. Luckily we met some paragliders and the instructor gave us a lift down in his Volkswagen.
So what happened, well the sun was shining and we were all set. Pixie had been talking about the cabin car all morning and she was eager to get going. Storlien is situated app. 60 km from Åre so we got started early so that we would have time, both for our short hike to the peak and the trek down. The cabin car is an experience, not for those of you who have vertigo though! We views are spectacular, Åre village, the lake and the mountains!
On the way up to the peak we met a mixed crowd, it’s so fun each year to meet all the hardcore hikers (with hiking boots and rain gear in their backpacks), the bikers (that cycle down the slopes), the runners (that usually run both up and down) and the ”normal” people (they usually wear Crocs, and the ladies carry their handbags).
We enjoyed our packed lunch and also the trek itself. Pixie had a blast coming down the mountain, and we took regular stops so that she could have some fruit, throw some stones in a big pond and also do some treking herself.
We got to ”Hummeln” just in time to catch the ride down, then we had to run down the slalom slope to the mountain train, Åre Bergbana, in order to get a lift down the last bit. Man, we were exhausted when we finally arrived at Åre Square, we sat down for an ice cream and a coffee. That was nice!
Back ”home” in Storlien we sat on the porch and enjoyed a Heineken. I’m not normally a beer drinker, but this one was GOOOOD!

 

Day 4 – Hiking up to The Ernst Cairn with Pixie on the back…

This morning as Pixie went to visit the horses Hugin & Tyrrell with her daddy, I decided to go for a run. I managed 4.5 km run in app. 25 minutes, which I am very happy with. Next time it’ll be 5 km in 30 minutes, yeah!

After a little snack back in the house we decided to take a hike up to the Ernst Cairn just up the mountain.This would be our second time up there, and I have decided that this will be our Storlien tradition, every time we come here we MUST take thsi hike, long or short version. This time we decided to take the short version, up to the cairn and back down the same way. I wasn’t sure if Pixie would be happy sitting in the chair this year, so we decided to  taek it easy.

 

 

Here’s Mark and Pixie at the start of the trail.

To get up there we took Blomsterstigen or the “Flower Walk, described as…

a smooth start to your stay with us may be to walk on the legendary Flower Walk, which came about as a spa town of Strolien was founded by the famous Doctor Enköping Westerlund for his patients. The trail starts just above the old railway hotel in Storlien at approximately 600 meters above sea level and then leads you through many benches for rest, all the way up to Ernstkumlet (The Ernst Cairn) at approximately 780 meters above sea level and on to the Temple of the Winds. A magnificent view of Sweden and brother country of Norway is waiting here.

 

Pixie was all game and was actually looking forward to sitting in the chair.

We had brought a picnic and sat down in a littlr hut on the top, sandwiches, yogurt and coffee (juice for Pixie). We also enjoyed a couple of our favourite biscuits, Oreos!

 

We spent nearly an hour improving the Ernst Cairn, now it looks like a proper cairn.
We are so proud!

 

Pixie was exhausted as we started our decent and fell asleep after 10 minutes. Bless!

Day 3 – Adventure Water Park in Åre and lunch at Wersén:s

The weather forecast for our third day in Storlien wasn’t great and we decided to head over to Åre, just 50 km down the road. Åre is one of Sweden’s most popular ski resort and feels a bit like a suburb to Stockholm, even though Stockholm is 700 km away. You’ll find trendy shops, bars/pubs and restaurants. Even the excellent restaurant Supper has a restaurant here. In the summer Åre is invaded by the summer sports people, the runners, the bikers, the para gliders, mountain bikers, hikers and even golfers arrive in hoards.

 

In recent years it’s also become quite a popular thing to do for families, spend time in the mountains (fjällen) during the summer months. As we normally stay in Storlien, which is much quieter and more casual we find Åre a little too commercial but Åre is Åre and there are some wonderful things to do here. One of them is to visit the Adventure Water Park at  Holiday Club . Holiday Club is a little like a Sunwing resort but in Sweden and in the mountains. You don’t get Lollo and Bernie here, but you can find lots of activities for children and adults and a great hotel with kind of an all-inclusive package.

After our swim and a long sauna (where I managed to do some Bikram Yoga positions, cause I feel some abstinens) I felt ready to hit Åre Square for a spot of lunch. We decided to visit  Wersén:s where we had lunch last year as well.  They serve an amazing pizza with reindeer meat, chantarelles, lingon berries and horseradish cream which I had dreamt about for about 12 months. We were all really hungry, but as Wersén:s isn’t really famous for its fast service and the place had just fille dup when we arrived, we had a small quiet argument as we decided to stay or to go somewhere else.

 

In the end I got my pizza, Pixie got her pasta and Mark got both. Safe to say I was thrilled.

This evening I have been for a 5 k run and I now feel great. I have done some shopping today too. A new fleece from Lundhags and new 3/4-lenght hiking trousers from Haflöf. I just couldn’t help myself, I am a Fashionable Mama after all and must stay fashionable even in the mountains. (yes, I know I am sad)

Day 2 – Visiting Princess Victoria and Daniel

 

I forgot to turn off my 7.00 alarm and subsequently woke up at precisely 7.00 this morning. Not really what I needed considering we didn’t arrive until 1.30 last night and I probably didn’t fall asleep until 2.30. Well, Pixie who slept most of the journey from Stockholm to Storlien was up and ready to go! I let Mark stay in bed, he did drive the whole way and trust me, he needs his sleep.
After breakfast we headed over to the playground and stayed for at least an hour and a half. Pixie had a great time and I joined in, although I was tired.
We needed to do a shop and headed over to Coop Extra, a huge Coop shop in the middle of nowhere. (Well, just outside Storlien.) There’s a Lidl down the road and they both do their best to cash in on the Norweigans that travel across the border to get hold of cheap Swedish food. They have HUGE sausages!

 

In the afternoon Pixie wanted to go and visit the Princess’s Bench.  The local shop ”Viltboden” presented the Crown Princess of Sweden (Victoria) and her new husband Prince Daniel with their own bench along the Flower Walk here in Storlien as their wedding present. Sounds kinda lame but it’s actually a really nice thing. The lady in the shop told Pixie about the Princess Bench and ”She who loves all things princess” decided that’s what she wanted to do.

She was quite pleased with herself, and she decided that she would sit on my back. No problem. She is just a teeny weeny bit heavier this year (read a lot) but I got going. We had such a lovely chat on the way up, she is a little talker alright, and every so often she asked ”Are we at the Princess Bench yet?”.

We were lucky, the bench was not far from the start of the Walk which meant I didn’t need to do such a long climb. We sat down with Daniel and Victoria to enjoy our snack of juice and Oreos.



Day 1 – Hiking Holiday in Jämtland, Sweden

We’re on our way to Storlien in Jämtland. I am so looking forward to getting back there. This is our third trip to Storlien, Mark and I, and the second ttime that we bring Pixie. We were there last summer at the same time and for seven days we hiked and sightseed in the beautiful area between Storlien and Åre. Now we’ll soon be there again and I am not sure if Pixie will be so happy sitting on my back this time around but I guess we’ll learn soon enough.

For the past 36 hours or so we have been getting ourselves ready and trying to decide what to bring. This time around I decided to slim down my luggage. Not bring any fashionable/dressy up clothes, (like I did last year and never wore), but to only bring the absolutely necessary. Only Sporty Mama from now on.I’ll be dressing in comfortable gear from Fjällräven, HaglöfNike, The North Face, Helly Hansen, Meindl and Asics for the next 8-9 days.

I still ended up with a whole suitcase full of stuff. It seems I just can’t do small luggage. Yes, I brought my Prada suitcase, I guess the reindeers will be impressed. But I think that the glamour of the Prada bag will be heavily impacted on my the two IKEA bags we stuffed with towels and bed linnen.

Suppose that I wasn’t too  bad though. Only one jacket, one pair of jeans, and only three pairs of shoes (sneakers, hiking boots, flip flops). I’ve brought two fleeces, a white and a red one, and my deloved Wind Fleece from Haglöf.I’ve also brought gear so that I can do a run each day, wish me luck!

What’s different this year is that my mum and dad will follow us up, in 5 days time, to take care of Pixie for three days so that me and Mark can do the Jämtland-Triangle.

(This is a classic Swedish hiking trail, between the mountain stations at Storulvån, Sylarna and Blåhammaren. They are located at a comfortable day stage distance from each other.)

I did the trianlgel for the first time when I was 6 or 7 years old. I hiked for a week with my mum and dad, stayed in a tent and visited the beautiful Sylarna Massif and the cool Mountain Station of Blåhammaren. We’ll be celebrating Mark’s birthday on Blåhammaren.

 

I can’t wait to get out on the fjäll.
(pic from Hagköf’s own website)