Vacation 2020 we will probably all remember for one reason or another. I hope you remember it because it was the summer when you found inspiration and ideas to develop your outdoor living or maybe found a new outdoor interest?
My outdoor life has taken me on trips and jobs to the wilderness in many places around Sweden and abroad. But every time I step out of my car in a beech forest home in Blekinge, I get completely blown away! Does it look like nothing else? When the sun shines magically through the book's thin, green leaves. There is rustling in the leaves and, a forest mouse is looking ahead. A woodpecker chopping breaks the silence on a tree. It's SO cool!
In this, the first of five reports about outdoor life in beautiful Blekinge, I hope that you will catch the eye of the delight with locally produced adventures.
In Blekinge, there are many hiking trails. Some trails through forests and some along the coast. The salmon trail, outside Mörrum, is a little extra of everything. It starts in Elleholm and follows Mörrumsån about 3 km north to Hofmansbygd, through cultivated landscapes and forests. The trail is perfect for everyone, and it is so easy to customize the experience. Some stretches can be a bit narrow and steep. With the help of the app "Hiking in Karlshamn", you get a great deal of info on how the trail goes, where to find parking and fireplaces, wind shelters or other interesting points. This way you can choose for yourself where you want to start and what distance you want to go.
Hiking is a fantastic activity that is accessible to everyone. It does not matter if you are young or old, well-trained or not. It is customizable to make it a pleasant experience. Wearing a pair of gym suits and going out into nature will surely give you a sense of well-being. Several studies are showing many health effects of walking. I'm not going to mess everyone up here, but believe me when I say it's good for both body and mind. Many people experience walking as a low-tempo activity, a form of calm and sense of here and now. And that's good for the wallet. Walking in their local area does not require you to rent or buy lots of new equipment.
What do you need to bring?
Not so much if you are out during the day. Check out the weather forecast and spot a day with a good prognosis. Pack a backpack with a bottle of water, a little cup of coffee and binoculars or camera. More complicated than that, it doesn't have to be. Or, there are some more "good-to-have-things" you can think of if you are going to be out for a full day. Check out "Andreas Hiking Tips" at the end of the article for inspiration. If you want to hike a little longer and spend the night in a shelter or tent, you need to bring some more things with you.
What can a day trip look like?
One day in late May, I went with a friend to Elleholm, south of Mörrum, it is where Laxaleden (the Salmon Trail) begins. We read on an information board about the history of the countryside before we start hiking. With us, we each have a backpack with some coffee - a coffee mug, some cinnamon buns and a small chocolate cake. And then a bottle of water of course. It's always good. I also have my camera with me. I hope, as ever, for exciting animal encounters and beautiful nature views. On our feet, we have slightly coarser sneakers, no hiking boots. We also carry a thin rain jacket. You never know.
We go north, first along a small country road with fields on both sides. Soon we will get away from the tarmac, onto another way and down to the river. Along the Mörrumsån, we meet several anglers standing in the water and fishing salmon. We talk to both Swedish and foreign fishers. They all think it's a magical place. It's easy to agree. Here we have a coffee break and enjoy the sun, the water and the birds. We continue along with fields, through beech forests, along gravel roads, past wind shelters and fireplaces. We take the next break in a meadow in the beech forest, right next to the water, where the river makes a big turn. We see a shady kingfisher, Canadian geese and other birds flying back and forth, just above the water's surface. Here in the spring, there are many days of mass activity of the birds. We sit on a fallen tree and watch. You see so much more when you sit down for a while. Just north of Mörrum, we have met a friend who drives us back to our car. If you come with your vehicle and do not want to go the same way again, you have to plan a little or choose a route with proximity to the bus. Next time we come here, we probably plan everything for a longer hike with an overnight stay. There is so much more to see.
If you want to hike a little further and maybe stay overnight or get out on paths further away from the urban environment, it can be both fun and safe to use an experienced guide. Then you know that you will have an enjoyable, rewarding and safe experience. You get help with packing lists, and often you can rent or borrow equipment such as storm kitchens, real tents and more. A professional guide also gives you lots of inspiration about the food, which is so essential for a successful hike.
Andreas's hiking tips
Something that can ruin an otherwise enjoyable nature experience is shoe polish and an overly heavy backpack. Therefore, do not pack too much stuff. Standing at home and holding your bag can make you feel light, but after a few hours, it often feels different. A seating surface, a water bottle, your favourite coffee and a fully charged mobile phone are a long way off. If you have not put in your shoes properly, it may be a good idea to bring some scab patches. A thin rain jacket can be a rescue if the weather changes. If you arrive at a wet bench or log, you can also sit on the rain jacket to avoid getting wet. If you lie down with a blade of grass in your mouth and enjoy the view, the rain jacket can be an excellent pillow. Although it is cloudy outside, a pair of sunglasses can be beneficial. Otherwise, my most important tip is to get out. Just do it! Start small and increase gradually. There is so much nature just waiting to be discovered by you!
I hope we see you in a nature reserve, along a hiking trail or around a fireplace!
Have nice hiking! / Andreas