Finally on the other side of the world

Our friend and fellow C2C-hiker Johanna Straub has now reached New Zeeland. 

After a few days of visiting friends and preparing the last details for her 4-5 month hike she's probably on her way up Cape Reinga when you read this. We had a brief chat last night. Here's a report:

What you've been up to since you arrived?

”I have some family here in NZ from my stay in 86/87 being an exchange student for a year, so we had a lot to catch up on.”

”There was some organizing to do as well, like getting a hut pass from the DOC, a prepaid phone card and just as much food as I want to carry.”

”Recovering from the journey has also been an issue, it took me a couple of days to feel like myself again.”

How will you get to the start and where is it?
”There are buses as far up north as Kaitaia. From there you can either hitchhike up to Cape Reinga or book on a tourist tour along Ninety Miles Beach and ditch the way back. I will try my luck when I get there in the afternoon.”

”Arriving there in the evening would be ideal, it is a special place, and spending a night there before taking on the three day beach walk would be a perfect start. Anyway, I will take it as it comes, I am ready to go - or tramp, as they say here.”

How will you navigate? Maps, GPS?

”Te Araroa trust has a great website where you can download information which is updated on a regular base  - including trail notes and maps. I printed out the maps, sixty pages, color, double sides, and use those plus the phone as GPS.”

The 3000 km Te Araroa-trail will take Johanna from Cape Reinga in the North to Bluff in the South. The trail consists of many existing trails that have been knitted together to one long Mother of Trails.

The national trail officially opened December 3rd 2011 and is now a major challenge for people who want to try a 4-5 month walk.

Johanna's taking on New Zealand

What an adventure! Our friend Johanna Straub is now leaving Berlin to hike the full length of New Zealand. 

Johanna outside her Trailstar on C2C, May 2013
The 3000 km Te Araroa-trail will take her from Cape Reinga in the North to Bluff in the South. Te Araroa consists of many existing trails that have been knitted together to one long Mother of Trails.

The national trail officially opened December 3rd 2011 and is now a major challenge for people who want to try a 4-5 month walk through everything that this world can offer (except snakes, thankfully;-)

I mailed some questions to Johanna days before she was leaving:

Are you finished with your packing?

”Still working on that, some minor decisions are yet to be made. I am also going to have a bounce box, so that gives me the chance to experiment a bit and swap gear when it does not work and get rid of stuff I don't in changing conditions.”

”I expect the total weight will be around 6,5 kg without food and water.”

What has been the hardest part in the planning?

”The hard part is not planning the trail and getting the gear, that is fun and already part of the trip. The hard part is preparing for leaving, ten thousand things to be thought of, organized in advance, delegated, solved. Not one big thing, many little things, that's what makes it hard, because it never ends. All the things which matter here and now and won't matter there and then. Can't wait to go.”

What's left to do before you leave? 

”I am still weighing. And my Oookstar made by Sean who has not let me down for the third time now is still in the mail. I hope UPS won't let me down either. In case they do I am going to take a Jörgenstar which I have been told also wants to travel to the south badly.”



Here's Johanna's pack list:

Laufbursche huckePack
MLD Trailstar Nest
Enlightened Equipment Prodigy 20 Quilt
Neoair XLite women (the flowerprint is hardly visible, fortunately)
Iphone
Solarmonkey Adventurer
Steripen 
Bushbuddy and Gnat stove
Evernew 900  
Zpacks Rainponcho
Zpacks Rainskirt
Paper and a pen
And an imaginary Mammuth to keep me company (this does not count on the scale)

Note: Jörgstar is Jörgen's home-sewn one person nest for Trailstar.
Coast2Coast Sweden is a walk across Sweden, from the eastern coast of the Baltic in Kalmar to the western coast in Varberg. The distance is slightly over 400 kilometers. Coast2Coast Sweden has been a yearly event in May since 2013, when the first multinational group of people walked from Kalmar Castle to the Varberg Fortress.

Coast2Coast Sweden was started by Jörgen Johansson (left) and Jonas Hållén, who have acted as organisers and guides since 2013.
The next Coast2Coast Sweden walking event will take place between Sunday May 14 and Saturday May 27 2017. Registration for taking part will be available on this website before the end of 2016.

This is Coast2Coast Sweden

Coast2Coast Sweden is perfect if you:
  • Want to train for really long hikes. Maybe for The Camino de Santiago or the Pacific Crest Trail.
  • Want to learn more about lightweight and ultralight backpacking, as described in Jörgen's books about Smarter Backpacking
  • Want to develop gear strategies for long hikes
  • Want to experience and practice hiking 35-40 kilometers per day
  • Want to develop their food system for long hikes
  • Want to test doing a long hike in good, safe and experienced company
  • Want to test doing a long hike on your own and still enjoy the company of others in the evenings
  • Want to walk through a lush, green countryside studded with red cottages
  • Want to walk a trail without steep hills and deep valleys
  • Want to challenge yourself mentally and physically
  • Want to walk through a beautiful part of Sweden, the area of Astrid Lindgrens classical books
  • Want to have a holiday experience you will never forget
  • Want to have a lot of laughs
Communications for getting to Kalmar and from Varberg are very good, with trains and buses and airports in the vicinity. And you do not have to walk the entire 400 kilometers for 14 days. You can join in some places and leave in some places along the trail.

Coast2Coast Sweden goes through forest on small roads in many places

The Jonas and Jörgen system at Coast2Coast Sweden
If you want to walk fast, take few breaks and push yourself you join Jonas and his gang and arrive in camp in late afternoon. Strong feet, light shoes and a light pack are essential in this group.

If you want to take your time you join Jörgen and his group. Here you walk for about 50 minutes and rest for about 10 minutes every hour. Eating snacks, drinking water and letting your feet see the sun is what you do during breaks. You stop and cook a meal for lunch and arrive in camp in the evening. "We get there when we get there" is the mantra.

Walking with Jörgen also means that you can share the knowledge about lightweight backpacking that he has poured into his books about Smarter Backpacking (to be found on Amazon).

You can also alternate between the groups or walk in between them sometimes. And sometimes not. It is up to you. There is a lot of freedom and we do not hike in a single line. Everybody is responsible for themselves and even if Jonas and Jörgen will help and guide you, they will not carry your pack :-)

In other places we walk through a countyside with houses, farms and meadows in bloom

Coast2Coast Sweden is probably not for you...

  • If you are not used to hiking hiking 20 kilometers per day with a pack
  • If you have a backpack that weighs more than 10 kilos before you add food and water
  • If you have never slept outside in a tent or a tarp 
  • If you do not have a sleeping bag rated at 0 degrees Celsius
  • If you are not prepared to sleep outside in a tent or a tarp most of the nights
  • If you are not ready to carry and cook all the food you need in order to stay in good spirits
  • If you want a packaged tour with tour leaders that cater to your every whim
  • If you want spectacular mountain scenery with steep hills and deep valleys
  • If you do not like a lot of laughs

Here are some comments about Coast2Coast Sweden from participants:






What is Coast2Coast Sweden - and what is it not

Coast2Coast Sweden is a walk across Sweden, from the eastern coast of the Baltic in Kalmar to the western coast in Varberg. The distance is slightly over 400 kilometers. Coast2Coast Sweden has been a yearly event in May since 2013, when the first multinational group of people walked from Kalmar Castle to the Varberg Fortress.

Coast2Coast Sweden was started by Jörgen Johansson (left) and Jonas Hållén, who have acted as organisers and guides since 2013.
The next Coast2Coast Sweden walking event will take place between Sunday May 14 and Saturday May 27 2017. Registration for taking part will be available on this website before the end of 2016.

This is Coast2Coast Sweden

Coast2Coast Sweden is perfect if you:
  • Want to train for really long hikes. Maybe for The Camino de Santiago or the Pacific Crest Trail.
  • Want to learn more about lightweight and ultralight backpacking, as described in Jörgen's books about Smarter Backpacking
  • Want to develop gear strategies for long hikes
  • Want to experience and practice hiking 35-40 kilometers per day
  • Want to develop their food system for long hikes
  • Want to test doing a long hike in good, safe and experienced company
  • Want to test doing a long hike on your own and still enjoy the company of others in the evenings
  • Want to walk through a lush, green countryside studded with red cottages
  • Want to walk a trail without steep hills and deep valleys
  • Want to challenge yourself mentally and physically
  • Want to walk through a beautiful part of Sweden, the area of Astrid Lindgrens classical books
  • Want to have a holiday experience you will never forget
  • Want to have a lot of laughs
Communications for getting to Kalmar and from Varberg are very good, with trains and buses and airports in the vicinity. And you do not have to walk the entire 400 kilometers for 14 days. You can join in some places and leave in some places along the trail.

Coast2Coast Sweden goes through forest on small roads in many places

The Jonas and Jörgen system at Coast2Coast Sweden 

If you want to walk fast, take few breaks and push yourself you join Jonas and his gang and arrive in camp in late afternoon. Strong feet, light shoes and a light pack are essential in this group.

If you want to take your time you join Jörgen and his group. Here you walk for about 50 minutes and rest for about 10 minutes every hour. Eating snacks, drinking water and letting your feet see the sun is what you do during breaks. You stop and cook a meal for lunch and arrive in camp in the evening. "We get there when we get there" is the mantra.

Walking with Jörgen also means that you can share the knowledge about lightweight backpacking that he has poured into his books about Smarter Backpacking (to be found on Amazon).

You can also alternate between the groups or walk in between them sometimes. And sometimes not. It is up to you. There is a lot of freedom and we do not hike in a single line. Everybody is responsible for themselves and even if Jonas and Jörgen will help and guide you, they will not carry your pack :-)

In other places we walk through a countyside with houses, farms and meadows in bloom

Coast2Coast Sweden is probably not for you...

  • If you are not used to hiking hiking 20 kilometers per day with a pack
  • If you have a backpack that weighs more than 10 kilos before you add food and water
  • If you have never slept outside in a tent or a tarp 
  • If you do not have a sleeping bag rated at 0 degrees Celsius
  • If you are not prepared to sleep outside in a tent or a tarp most of the nights
  • If you are not ready to carry and cook all the food you need in order to stay in good spirits
  • If you want a packaged tour with tour leaders that cater to your every whim
  • If you want spectacular mountain scenery with steep hills and deep valleys
  • If you do not like a lot of laughs

Here are some comments about Coast2Coast Sweden from participants:






Diploma and T-shirt


We have fixed a diploma and a T-shirt for all who hiked the whole or parts of C2C in May. If you want something fancy for your dining room wall you can order this piece of 225 gram recyclable, low impact diploma. On it will be your name written by hand and the artful autographs of Jonas and Jörgen ;-)

If you want something fancy for you chest, you can order a T-shirt with our famous “flag” printed on it. This will be a white wicking polyester super shirt, not a soggy cotton one. Please note that contrary to earlier information, this T-shirt will be available for everybody, without restrictions.

We offer the diploma and the T-shirt at self cost. Small series get expensive enough anyway.

We have also realized that we do not need the COD (postförskott) solution. We have found out it costs an awful lot. Instead you can pay us via PayPal and we will send you the diploma and T-shirt.

1 diploma will cost 25 SEK or 3 Euro.
1 T-shirt will cost 325 SEK or 37 Euro.

You pay this money into the Paypal account Jorgen@landja.se (www.paypal.com) and add info about your postal address and the size T-shirt you wish for and we will send you these items. It might take a while before you get the T-shirts, since we have to wait for all orders before we order them printed. That is the only way to keep the price down on a small series like this.

Those of you who have already ordered need not repeat their sizes and postal address on PayPal. You just have to pay :-)
 If you cannot use PayPal send an e-mail  to jorgen.johansson@nui.se and we will find a solution.

Diploma

Did you hike the whole or parts of Coast2Coast Sweden this last May. Well, here's a little something for you! 

If you want something fancy on the wall to show for your effort you can order this piece of 225 gram recyclable, low impact diploma.

You will get your name written by hand AND our autographs.

Just send 25 kronor or 3 euro to Jorgen's Paypal account (jorgen@landja.se) and we'll mail it to you via snail mail.

We got a date!

The date is set for Coast 2 Coast Sweden 2014: we'll start our hike in Kalmar May 17 and finish in Varberg May 31.

With this setup seven of the 15 hiking days are holidays. Ascension Day, this year in the end of May, will minimize the loss of working days for the through hikers and give more people a chance to join at least a part of the way. 

A later start will hopefully also bring even warmer days (and nights!) to the hikers.
Happy through hikers at the end of C2C in Varberg.
With 15 days (two more than this year) we got more days to finish the 440 km walk. That also means we will have shorter distances in the beginning and a couple of shorter sections in the middle.

But we will still have some harder sections during the hike. There will definitely be days when we walk around 35 km.

That's because we want to keep some of the hardships and challenges. C2C will never be a walk in the park. But if you think a section is too long and strenuous you can always pitch your tent along the way or hitch a ride to the end of the section.

Our motto is still: There are no rules. Hike your own hike.

This years highlights

Every trail has its stars. It doesn't necessarily have to be the ones that walk fastest or longest. It might just as well be the ones that win the food competitions, make the funniest pranks or just excel in being themselves. Here's out list of some people, animals, things and actions that made a deep impression on us this year.

The group: A great gang to get sore feet and blisters together with!

Greatest innovation: Ultralight mobile sauna by Malevil Ljunggren and the Sanell brothers.

Most talked about tent: Johanna Straub’s Trailstar tarp with innertent from Oookworks. Made of cuben/mesh with chikara floor.

Heaviest pack: Martin Johansson, 25 kg, including a carpet (2 kilos), not including the cheese.

Biggest misstep: Poul Kjeldgaard sank down to his thigh in the bog Store Mosse.

Lightweight breakthrough: Ulla Engberg skipped her 40 year old 2,7 kilo Fjällräven tent and bought a ordinary tarpaulin from Plastman i Västberga. Weight: 400 g. She also made a stove from a kidney bean can (and put a Trangia burner inside).

Most talked about food: Kanelbulle!

Yogier of the year 1: Martin Johansson, who first politely declined a ride with a female stranger, but later ended up at her home for dinner, shower and breakfast. 

Yogier of the year 2: Ann-Sofie Ölander and Marianne van Ginhoven got Frau Röser in Järnboda to give them coffee, kanelbulle and a ride. Frau Röser had politely declined the yoging of other hikers just an hour earlier!

Keenest hiker: Ulla Engberg, who took a round trip around Trälsmo and saw the same street sign three times. With the detour she added at least 3 km to a day when we walked 37,4 km. Some just can't get enough…;-)

Fashion statement 1: Marianne’s cuben fibre fetish. From mittens to tent...and everything in-between. 

Fashion statement 2: Kristian Ingemansson showed off this year's bivy bag.

Best piece of advice: ”Always prewash your dirty socks before putting them in the machine” (Carsten Jost).

Media star: Allan kept the reporters busy. Now he's going to be featured in a Swedish horse magazine.

Trail Angels of C2C

They come in many forms and shapes, but always provide hikers with help and relief. We met some world class Trail Angels along the way from Kalmar to Varberg. 

It can be someone who gives you water when you're thirsty, lets you camp in their garden or invites you for a cup of coffee.

Along trails like the Pacific Crest Trail and the Appalachian Trail in USA there are hundreds of kind spirits who support hikers with drinks, food, a place to stay over the night, internet access or laundry service.

Coast2Coast Sweden is a brand new trail, but just a few days into the hike we got our own Angels who helped us through the long hours on the trail.

Here's the class of 2013. Hope to meet you next year;-)

Bengt at Grimeton's Lantmännen, who invited us for coffee and gave Allan some horse candy.

Anette, owner of Ugglebo Inn in Fegen, had closed her restaurant, but she and her son Marcus opened again - just for us!

Gunilla at ICA Danielsson in Burseryd provided us with water, electricity and phoned restaurant Buregården so we could have a real morning fika even though Buregården wasn't open yet.

Elisabeth Pettersson brought water, apples and a bag of kanelbulle to our wind shelter at Eskilstorpasjön.

Section hikers Monica Håkansson and Ann-Margret Carlsson went ahead to Furuby, got the church to open the congreation hall and made it into a depot for hungry fellow hikers.

Irene Hildingsson and Ing-Marie Lövgren brought 50 liters of water to our camp at Hedsjön.

Martin Johansson (left) tranformed himself from ultraheavy hiker to ultraimportant support guy. He drove Görans’s horse trailer, provided us with food, candy and beaverages. He also set upp depots where the hikers could eat eggs, caviar, Ballerina bisquits, bread, kanelbulle and coffee. One night he even got us cheese cake.

Malevil Ljunggren, Michael and Martin Sanell built a mobile sauna, arranged a barbeque and made sure that the party was on. Martin (in the middle) even opened up his home in Nennesmo and turned it into a resupply station for the hikers.

Fredrik Broman and his media team Petri Storlöpare and Pär Kassberg showed up here and there with good mood, cameras and electricity in the car battery.

Frau Röser in Järnboda gave Fia & Marianne coffee, kanelbulle and a ride down the trail.

…and a special horse thanks to:

Mona, Julia (picture), Dennis, Martin, Eero och Varberg municipality for helping Göran and Allan with the trailer along the way. Also the equestrian clubs in Kalmar, Växjö, Värnamo och Vetlanda that provided a place in their stables with short notice.

…last, but not least: a big hug to Outnorth for supporting us, Market Varberg for the welcome in Varberg and Fästningens Vandrarhem for the discount.

Final, almost, gear list for Jorgen

I think this is the final gear list, but who knows, I might discard or add something in the morning. Note that I have a certain overkill in water-proof sock etc. That is I have both a pair of Sealskinz, a pair of Rocky Goretex and a pair of Neopren socks. That is because I want to test all of them and make comparisons.

Also, having brought three pair of water-proof socks for testing we can be pretty sure that it is not going to rain a single drop during the whole trek. The things I do for you...

At this link you will find my gear list.

Public webpage for Jorgen's whereabouts

I will use my Spot Messenger to send satellite messages several times every day during C2C. These will be available at a public site where everyone can watch at least my progress. This might be something you would like to tell friends, foes, neighbors and family, providing you plan to keep approximately the same pace as me. That way my position will be an indication of where you are also.

Here is the webpage where my position will be publicized a couple of times every day.


Some assorted tips, tricks and rules



#1. Water. Spring run-off is petering off, but there will still be lots of water in rivers and brooks. So finding water should not be a problem. However, spring run-off flushes a lot of more or less savoury things through the waterways. Nature cleaning the pipes.

Natural springs do of course pose no problem, drink and enjoy. But these are not common. I usually advocate taking water from the smallest waterways I can find, all other things equal. The idea being that they would have had less time to become polluted. This might not work during spring run-off. Or not always. We will have to judge each brook on its own merits.


One rule is that brooks that come from where people live and where there is livestock, pose a risk. The latter being the most likely pollutant. Virtually no human habitations in Sweden will let their offal run off into waterways any more. And this time of the year livestock will have been indoors for the winter. They are being let out of the barns as we walk, but most bacteria and microbes from livestock during last years grazing season should not have survived the winter.

Another ground rule is not to drink water that smells or tastes unsavoury. This not meaning that it should taste like the chemically treated stuff we get from our taps at home. Water in the forest is often a bit brownish and the sight of frogs or insects in the water does not make it unhealthy more than there being fish in the water. However, any dead animal in the water might be a pollutant. Take your water upstream from that if possible.


It might be that lakes, where pollutants have been diluted, are our best option when it comes to cooking and drinking water. Or really small brooks. I plan to avoid or be careful with taking water from a waterway that I cannot step across. Water for cooking is less sensitive, since just about everything, except chemicals, dies when water is heated.

Drinking water should be where we take the most care. Alternatives for purifying water are basically chemicals, filtering and treatment with ultra-violet rays. I have chosen a Steripen and will most likely treat all my drinking water with 45 seconds of UV-rays in my cup, simply because it is so easy.


The game plan for now is to carry no more than half a litre of water at any time, which will see me through a couple of hours without water sources. That should be more than enough, but I will adapt as I go along. Right now I plan to carry one liter at the start, in order to be able to cook lunch should no reliable water source show on the way from Kalmar and up into the forest.

#2. Keeping water clean. In order for us hikers not to pollute the water sources we pass, a couple of simple rules should be sufficient. Basically, when washing yourself, your eating utensils or pieces of clothing do not rinse this in the water source. The easiest way is to take you cooking pot and fill it with water. Then wash it or yourself or your cloting using this water. Use soap  if needed (I almost never do, cooking pots are sterilized the next time I cook, most grime encounterd outdoors is water soluble). Then pour out the water from the pot, NOT in the water source, but on biologically active ground (where things are growing, not pure sand if this can be avoided). Fill the pot again and rinse your hands, face hair or whatever by pouring this water over you or what you have washed. Again at least 5-10  meters away from the water source on biologically active ground.

And of course, stay well away from water when peeing or taking a crap.


#3. Defecation. There are a number of books, notably How to shit in the woods, that gives a lot of input on this subect. In my experience there are very few leaves in the Swedish forest that serve, well or at all, as toilet paper. So I bring toilet paper. Not a whole roll of course, just 5-10 meters in a plastic bag. If you run out you can always grab a few meters in a public toilet somewhere. A pear shaped rock might serve instead of tissue and a pear shaped handful of snow is in fact excellent. But...

This is what I usually do when taking a crap; I lift a rock, book sized or bigger, do my thing, dry myself with toilet paper, set fire to the paper and replace the rock. It is sometimes handy to have a lighter or matches in the same bag as the toilet paper. You can also dig a hole in biologically active ground with a trowel or a sharp stick. Do not dig to deep, 10 centimeters is plenty, since you want a lot of microbes present and ready to attack your leftovers. The deeper you dig, the less life there will be in the soil. Peeing is easier for us guys, for the ladies this usually also involves the use of toilet paper. Burn this paper as well as possible (yeah, I know it is wet...) or pack it out in a plastic, ziploc bag.


A word of warning when it comes to burning toilet paper. DO NOT do it where there is plenty of dry grass around. This stuff is extremely dry at this time of the year and starting a wildfire is all too easy. However, where there is no dry grass or this grass is mixed with plenty of new green grass and other plants there should be no worry. This time of the year the forest is wet or damp with no fire hazard EXCEPT where there is mostly/only dry grass.
Another important thing for staying healthy is washing your hands after having been to the outdoor crapper. There is plenty of evidence indikating that it is often not contaminated drinking water that make people sick to the stomach when they are out hiking, but their own poor hand-hygiene. Wash your hands before you start digging into that bag of chocolate and raisins to ensure that all the brown stuff really is chocolate.

I need of course not mention that we pack out all our garbage. We will pass plenty of waste paper baskets and dustbins where we can leave our packages and other junk. Keep your garbage at hand in a plastic bag and empty this when convenient.
 

#4. Pace. It is important to remember that C2C is not a package tour. There will be no tour guides and no one to wipe your nos. On the other hand there will be a number of cheerful and helpful fellow travellers.

But we are not expected to travel as a group or to expect others to wait for us or vice versa. No one is responsible for making sure that some walkers do not lag behind, or take off like rockets never to be seen. Everyone is supposed to 'hike their own hike'. To keep a pace that is comfortable, even enjoyable at times, is the best way to economize with your strenght and endurance. Remember that the goal is to hike 400 kilometers. This is not done by hurrying, but by being able to keep walking for 12-14 days.

There will be people walking faster than me and slower than me. I know I want to take a 5-10 break every hour. To sit down, lie down maybe, drink a cup of water or two and eat some nuts, raisins and chocolate.


Others will not want to take breaks like that, but will want to keep moving.When they take their breaks I might pass them, or I might not. When they stop for the evening I might catch up with them. Or I might not. No problem, I carry all that I need and I know that sooner or later even this hike will be a memory among others.

I think it will be a nice memory, because I look forward to hiking, more or less together, with a group of fellow backpackers. And what I have written above does of course not mean that we should not be nice and courteous to each other and help each other when there is a need. Nor does it in anyway hinder that two or more people, before or during the walk, decide that they want to keep each other company.


#5 Public access. In Sweden we are blessed with the Law of Public Access. This means among other things that we can cross somebody elses land and camp for one night on their land as well, without asking permission.

You will find this law in English here and in Swedish here.

A few words should be said: We are not allowed to pass across or camp on somebody elses lot. This generally means a fenced in area around a house. If there is no fence it is commonly considered that you should pass or camp out of sight and hearing of a house.


Also, we might be quite a few people camping together. This is not really what the law of Public Access is for. A farmer owning the land should of course be asked if it is OK for us to do so, should this be possible. We might be far from houses and the owner of a forest impossible to identify or reach (many properties are owned by people living far away). In that case we should take pains not to interfere or disturb, or even be noticed. Sometimes this is called stealth camping. We should not camp 5 yards from the road or trail, but maybe 50 yards into the forest where no one sees us.

And we do of course leave no traces, like garbage, only some compressed grass from our tents.

We are now on Instagram!

Some of our walkers no doubt knows what Instagram is, so you can skip this description from Wikipedia:

"Instagram is an online photo-sharing and social networking service that enables its users to take pictures, apply digital filters to them and share them on a variety of social networking services, such as Facebook or Twitter."

If you open an Instagram account you can take photos during our walk from Kalmar to Varberg with your smartphone and post them on internet. This is what you do:

Get the Instagram app to your mobile unit and search for our account. It is called "coast2coastsw". Then press Follow/Följer.

It's a fun feature, because here we - and our friends - can see pictures from the hike as we walk along. This is done by tagging your photos. You take a photo and then write a short comment about what is in the picture. You then add the tag #c2cswe. You can also add a tag for the location. If the photo is from Kalmar you write #c2cswe_kalmar.


We will feature fun, beautiful, annoying, hilarious pictures on own Instagram aacount, on our homepage and on Facebook :-)

Allan the horse will walk with us


45 hikers - and a horse. Those are the participants in the first edition of Coast2Coast Sweden.

The name of the horse is Al Istair, a nine year old Swedish warmblood, by Royal Diamond and Epson, with the homestable in Stavsborg on Ekerö, outside Stockholm. Al Istair, with the nickname ”Allan”, brings his owner Göran Ronsten along as company.

”I'll walk next to him. It's a good way to get to know Allan better,” says Göran Ronsten.

Allan taking a sip.
The biggest challenge for the equipage Ronsten/Allan is that they need someone to drive their horse transport between every stop on the 400 km long trail from Kalmar to Varberg.

”If I can't find a driver I'll drive the transport myself to the end of the stage and then walk and meet the other hikers,” says Göran Ronsten.

Allan is keen to have company by other horses at night. 

”If anybody out there has a horsebox to lease for a night, please let me know,” says Göran Ronsten.

You can reach him at through Jonas Hållén at jonteh@icloud.com or +46 708 866 844.


Come on down - the weathers fine!


Looks like we're going to have a lucky start on C2C: sunny days, night temperatures around +6°C and day temperatures around +13-14°C, maybe, as we're getting closer to Växjö, all the way up +19°C.

If that holds, it means we're walking into spring. We're going to see flowers and trees grow, day by day, and be right in the middle of one of the most beautiful seasons in Sweden.

Day 10 at Nennesmo - depot and fika

Day 10 we will pass Nennesmo, close to Anderstorp and Gislaved. There will be a place where you can pick up a resupply box at any hour. If you have a box that you want to send to Nennesmo, use this adress:

Malevil Ljunggren
Östergatan 25
33431 Anderstorp
Sweden

Any questions, call Malevil:
004670-587 48 90

There are four different ways to send the packets: you can use the regular postal service (expensive), Bussgods (http://www.bussgods.se/, the cheapest way, but quite a lot of information to fill in), Schenker or DHL.

At the depot there will also be water, electricity, coffee, BBQ (including something to lay on it) and a beer for those who desire it. The depot might be unmanned from time to time, so please help yourself.

There will also be a can where you can make a small donation to the local trail angels.

More definite day by day plan from Jorgen

I have revised the preliminary plan I made some months ago and added some thoughts on food and how I plan to do. That is, what I plan to carry and what I plan to resupply. There is also a bit of information, probably not complete, about lodgings, restaurants and grocery stores.It is of course based on the final route and maps published here.

This is probably not my last plan on this subject, but feel free to use it as a basis for your own decisions. This is after all not a package trip, and everyone makes their own plans.

Click on this link and you will see the document with my plans and thoughts. Scroll to the end, the page changes became weird when converting to pdf, so the document looks like it is finished before it actually is.

Small changes on the map due to the weather and roadworks


Visa C2C Sweden Kalmar to Varberg på en större karta
This is basically the same map as the last version, but Börje has done some minor changes due to the weather and roadworks.

At Rinkabyholm (just outside Kalmar) it's very wet at the moment and a overflowing stream has forced us to make a small detour.

We're heading in to Växjö on a slightly different stretch.

A small road that crosses road 25 outside Växjö is now blocked with a fence. We're taking a minor detour.

Many ways to connect...

As you all know there are plenty of ways to connect with each other during C2C: mail, Twitter, Facebook - or the old fashion way of making a telephone call.

But we will also try global positioning to keep track of each other. Starting soon I will send invitations to all registrated hikers to join our C2C-account on Google Latitude. You will get a mail where everybody's mail adress is attached.

To use Latitude  you will need a Google-account. Before someone can view your location you must either send the person a location request by adding them as a friend or accept their location request and choose to share back your location.

From there, either on a computer or in an app, you can follow your friends movements in real time.

This means that you will be trackable by everybody you have connected with. But you can log out, or turn on your privacy setting if you want to have some time ”alone”. After C2C you can throw away the app, if you want to.

With Latitude you will also be able to send instant messages to each other.

Other ways to keep track of your fellow hikers:

  • Twitter - coast2coastsw (if you tag your tweet #c2cswe we will get a channel, which makes it easier to find our tweets and subscribe to them).
  • Facebook - Coast to Coast Sweden
  • Homepage - www.coast2coastsweden.com
Soon to come: an Instagram account. It will have the same name as our Twitter account (coast2costsw). More details about that to follow.

Registration for the buffet at Söderport


If you want to join us for the buffet at Söderport the night before Coast2Coast we want you to register, so the restaurant owner knows how many guests he will have. 

Registrating for the dinner is simple: go to the "Register here" on the homepage (where you registrated for the hike in the first place). Write your name and e-mail adress and instead of country, fill in the word "buffet".

We want your registration May 3rd the latest. The registration is binding. If you are uncertain, do not register. You can always buy food and drink if you decide to join, but we do not want to be forced to pay for people who never showed up.

C2C-party at Söderport

We've booked the second floor at Söderport Café & Restaurant, 50 meters from the entrance to Kalmar Castle 18.00 May 4th.

There will be a buffet with table water for 250 SEK. Beer is 55 SEK. The location is free if we order something to drink and/or to eat.

Later we can go downstairs and join the crowd and listen to live music.

Welcome!


Charge!

I guess most of us will bring our smartphones or GPS-devices along the trail on Coast to Coast Sweden. But how do you charge your phone or your GPS-receiver?

There are plenty of solutions out there, so I will just tell you how Börje, Jörgen and I are planning to solve the charging of our devices.

Börje has settled for a Powerpack, battery storage 2 400 mAh, from Swedish retailer Kjell & Co (499 SEK). It's a battery that doubles as shell for your iPhone 4 (not iPhone 5). On the back there are solar cells that charge the battery.
”Last week I tried the pack: I put it in the sun for 5-6 hours. At night I took off my ordinary shell and attached the Powerpack. In the morning my phone was fully charged,” says Börje.

Jörgen opts for a AA Car Essentials Mobile Phone Emergency Charger. It's basically a small charger that lets you charge your phone via ordinary AA-batteries. ”It's not field tested,” says Jörgen. ”Coast to Coast will be the first serious hike with it.”
On the plus side is the price (around 60 SEK, or €6), the size (18.8 x 8.2 x 5 cm) and the weight (30 gram). But the customer reviews on amazon.co are cautious. This is not something that will charge your phone just like that. More an emergency solution.

I've been using an Brunton Inspire, storage 3 200 mAh, on several hikes and when I'm out skating in the Stockholm archipelago. It's water resistent, lightweight, small and charges quite fast. Note: This is a storage and needs to be charged by a solar charger or from the mains in a house. It then carries a load that can be transfered to your device.

You will find it hard to get more than one and a half charge for your iPhone 4 with this battery (especially when you have used it for some time). It's also a bit on the expensive side: $72 or 650 SEK in Sweden).

If you want more power you can upgrade to a "big brother" Brunton Resync, but that also means an upgrade in size, cost (more than twice as expensive) and weight.

Outnorth has several battery packs and solar cell chargers to choose from. Neither Jörgen or I have had that much experience with solar cell chargers, and the few times we have used them we've been a bit disappointed. Jörgen tried one in Canada in 2011 and it barely kept his phone alive for 3 weeks. But the technical development moves fast and the solar cells are quickly becoming better.

Now I wonder: what's you solution to the charging problem..?




All the way to Varberg

Here's a map over the whole trail, thanks to the hard work of Börje Jacobsson. The total length of this track is 408,01 km. Hopefully, you'll all be be able to watch this map on any browser (I can).

This is not THE route that everybody has to walk, it's the route we prefer to walk. There are no checkpoints along the way, just a bunch of fellow hikers.  This is unplugged. Come as you are, walk as you want. See you soon!

Gear - Rain jacket and pants

(This article is a slightly rewritten version of a couple of chapters from my book Smarter Backpacking, in Swedish called Lättare packning från A till Ö)

Luckily, good quality light rain jackets are easy to find on the market. Often, it is better to bring one of those on your hike and leave heavier shells at home. I find it more comfortable to use my rain jacket as seldom as possible, in order to minimize condensation problems. As a consequence, I only use my rain jacket when it is raining heavily.


Many heavy rain jackets, usually called 'shell jackets' or similar, can be found on the market. You can fairly easily save around 500 grams by choosing one of the lighter ones instead of a heavier one. I consider the majority of the so-called shell jackets heavy. They are common in many wardrobes today and are usually made of some kind of Mextex. In my opinion, most of them are unnecessarily heavy and thick for hiking. Most of them are in fact made not for hiking, but for waiting at the bus stop, albeit with a wilderness look that might be confusing.

Even if the marketing information claims that they have been used on Mount Everest, I prefer to leave them at home. These heavy jackets are excellent in town or for other kinds of outdoor activities, when I am not as physically active as when I am hiking, and I have blessed them many times on outings with my kids – and when at the bus stop. However, for hiking I do not like to wear garments that, in fact, breathe as little as these in fact do, unless I absolutely have to, which is when it is raining so much so that my umbrella does not give sufficient protection.


This is how I dress when I hike: As long as it is not so rainy or windy that my windshirt and umbrella do not keep me dry, my rain jacket rests in my pack. And then it is very nice that the jacket weighs 200 grams and not 750 grams. But when the weather gets really nasty, with low temperatures, high winds and horizontal rain, the rain jacket, with its main function to keep the torso dry, is very important from a safety point of view. Hypothermia can kill even if temperatures are above freezing. The combination of a light windshirt of 100-150 grams (3-5 oz) and a light rain jacket of 200-300 grams (7-11 oz) is actually lighter than many shell jackets, and infinitely more adaptable to different kinds of weather and different levels of exertion. Not uncommonly, the combination is also less expensive than some of the flagship shells from well-known brands.

If you only use the rain jacket when the weather is truly miserable, it does not have to be as rugged, as you will use it fairly seldom. That way, even a light, thin rain jacket will last many years. A rip is easily fixed with a piece of duct tape and that patch can last for years if you are not particularly sensitive to how it looks – and you do not have to be, if you only use it when the weather is extremely poor. If you spend much of your outings in base camps, perhaps using fires a lot, you may feel that the lightest rain jackets are not rugged enough. They are more vulnerable to sparks from the fire than the heavier garments. This could be a reason to choose a slightly heavier jacket. But you can also choose another garment as general shell when it is not raining.


As for me, I always use my windshirt as shell in those kinds of situations. This garment is less expensive and does not have to be waterproof. When using so-called waterproof/breathable garments it is important to remember that they are much more waterproof than they are breathable. Most of the moisture is in fact not transported through the fabric, but ventilated through different openings. This means that you should always have the jacket as open as circumstances allow, if you want to minimize condensation inside the garment. (This is also a good idea in tents: If it is not raining, you do not have to close the foretent in order to minimize condensation).

So, do not tighten the jacket around the wrists or the throat if that can be avoided. And leave the front zipper as unzipped as possible. You can save quite a bit of weight by choosing a light rain jacket instead of a heavy one. Put the jacket you probably already have on a scale, and then ponder if it is worth its weight. My experience is that the heavy-expedition weight rain jacket is more useful in the bus line (or on winter ski trips) but for three season hikes, a lighter and cheaper jacket is better. But, it must be a rain jacket by definition. It cannot be so light and cheap that it doesn’t keep out the rain.


A pair of light rain pants need not be expensive. Like the rain jacket, rain pants are important for comfort and safety in colder climates and/or high elevation trails. When the wind blows cold, the rain pants also keep you warm, which means you sometimes can leave the long johns at home. However, you can save a considerable amount of weight by choosing from the lightest rain pants on the market.

My own favorite solution for leggings in rough weather is thin, synthetic pants coupled with light rain pants on top. The rain pants should weigh at the most 200-300 grams (7-11 oz). You can even find rain pants that weigh in at half of that. I have never needed rain pants with side zips, but most pants have them today. Zippers can be useful if you use boots that are a nuisance to lace off and on, but you pay a penalty in weight and complexity. Since I use light running shoes that are easily taken on and off, I don’t need zips like that at all.


In summer weather you could consider your rain pants as something to not only keep you dry, but also keep you warm. Leave the long johns at home and put on the rain pants when it is cold and windy. In theory, a pair of shell pants in waterproof/breathable material could be used as both standard pants and rain pants. All in one, that is. Personally, I am sceptical for a simple reason: I do not like to dress in rain clothing unless it is raining.

Even the best waterproof/breathables are a whole lot more waterproof than breathable. They tend to collect condensation if you walk in them for some time while carrying a pack. If you are mostly standing still, that’s a different ballgame, but now we are mostly concerned with hiking. All-round pants also tend to be on the heavy side, which is not so comfortable, and there is always a risk that daily wear-and-tear could make them leak sooner or later.

Picking a pair of really light rain pants can save 100-300 grams, compared to choosing the heavier ones.

For C2C I will be using a Haglöfs Shield Hood that weighs 215 grams in my XL. Pants will be Montane Minimus XL weighing 160 grams.



If you do not already have light raingear and hesitate to buy something like this, which is a bit costly, my favorite compromise between weight and cost when it comes to rain gear is the Packaway set from Swedish web store Idefixteko. It will add about 50% to the weight of the above but will only cost about 750 SEK for jacket and pants. Me and my family (with growing kids the price is right..) have used this set a lot and like it a lot.


I do not even try to keep my feet dry in my light trail running shoes and as long as I move they usually do not get cold. But prolonged rain and low temperatures sometimes chills them and I alway carry waterproof socks to be able to keep my feet warm. For C2C I will probably bring either a pair of SealSkinz socks or a pair of Rocky Goretex socks. Bike socks from Gore is another alternative as well as neoprene socks. More about socks like this here and about hiking in thin shoes with wet feet here. Both articles in Swedish.

This article would not be complete without a word about a piece of gear I frequently use; the umbrella. Most people snicker at the thought of seeing someone with an umbrella in the mountains and I have been snickered at. But fact is, in light rain with little wind using an umbrella is very comfortable. Easy to unfold and fold as showers come and go, protects your pack a bit and keeps you from overheating when using rain jacket and pants in warm, humid weather. I will be bringing my umbrella for C2C. More on umbrellas here. Using umbrellas with walking poles can be accomplished and here is an article with a film of the man who showed me how, Kristian Ingemansson, who will join us for C2C.