I have to pop this blister on my foot that I got from yesterday's long, hot road walk.
The day’s hike was mostly very pleasant. Alie and I hiked together all day at our pace with hourly breaks. The path was mostly dirt and jeep roads with some very nice trail along a lake, but there were also several miles on a paved road.
While we were sitting down taking a break, (at said paved road) Alie saw what she thought was a ‘worm’ trying to cross the road, and she thought she’d help it so that it didn’t get squashed by a car! I was hiding behind a bush while she found her ‘worm’. So, when I came back, I see her stomping her feet at an object in the road with her camera out, trying to take a photo. Her ‘worm’ was actually a very interesting looking snake.
You have to picture this. She is hunched over holding her camera while stomping her feet to make the snake move. It lashes out at her, but thankfully it didn't bite her. I ended up getting some good photos of it, and it turns out to be the only poisonous snake in Sweden, a Black Adder. I had been told about them, and assumed that they would be an all black snake – nope. The zigzag pattern on the back is typical of the snake.
Eventually, we got to the café where everyone else was spread out on the lawn like real hiker trash, but there were other families having picnics on the lawn as well. The café is the old Nydala Monastery that is no longer a monastery.
After snacking on ice cream (the food was non-vegetarian) and quenching my thirst on water, we hung out on the lawn for about an hour talking to other visitors. At the café we noticed another interesting thing: Nearly everyone in Sweden has these ‘robot’ lawn mowers, they’re like the Roomba vacuum cleaners in that they automatically run. They are so funny to watch, but hey, they do a nice job. And of course, everyone there owns a Huskavarna – they are Swedish after all.
While we’re sitting there, the lawn robot starts up, there is a little girl chasing around after it having a blast. Then it started coming close to our gear on the lawn – I quickly moved all of my stuff out of reach, but Jonas’s rain jacket was lying on the grass, and well, yes, the robot lawn mower decided to run over it, and chewed up the sleeve a little. It just made a few nicks in the sleeve and didn’t do any serious damage.
Take a closer look HERE.
Upon leaving the monastery, we followed the Monks trail through the woods to our campsite. There were numerous signs along the way telling the history of the monks in the area and what they did for a living in the woods, but the signs were only in Swedish.
In the woods, you should always have trekking poles!
Water bottles too, are a necessity
90% of the trail through the woods was a jeep road that had been torn up by the logging trucks with deep (2 ft) gouges along both sides of the trail.
Tonight’s campsite is along a river.
Day 9- 14.3 miles
I woke up at about 4 a.m. thanks to some very noisy cuckoo birds, and my own snoring! I finally crawled out of my cozy nest at around 5:30, made some coffee, and got packed. It was a beautiful cool morning, there was a mist was rising off the water, and the fish were going after water bugs.
I slept better last night than any other night so far. I’m not sure why I slept so well, my hip wasn’t hurting as bad, and I kept my neoair mattress blown up fully rather than softening it. Generally I find it more uncomfortable to keep it fully blown up.
Henning, cozy in his tent.
About 7:45 Goran , Alie, Susanne, Judith and I headed out. The trail was very nice for the most part. It wound through the woods along some monster truck tracks through the woods. We did have to do a little bushwhacking and then we had to ‘build’ a log bridge to cross a stream which was just a bit too wide to jump and had very steep banks.
We headed to a truck stop at the highway crossing, where there was food and showers. The food was mostly all meat, so I had the salad bar. The shower was great. Elizabeth has joined us at the Truck Stop. She’s the woman I brought a tent with me for.
While at the truck stop, our group was sitting in an outside patio and Jonas jumped in my face. He really lost it and was screaming nastiness at me. This goes back to the café that didn’t open till 11:00 am the day before. Jonas was pissed about the ‘service’ there. He had written a nasty note on the group Facebook page about them, and I responded about how I thought the service was great, the food was good, and the people very nice. His response on Facebook was “It Takes One to Know one” (Seriously??)
He totally lost it and was screaming and ranting like a maniac - yelling at me to go home and get off the trail. I calmly (while shaking inside) sat there with his finger in my face and said, “I paid my $300.00, I expect service on the trip, leaders who can lead, and I’m not going anywhere.” Goran and Fransiska tried to pull him off of me and he almost hit them! Everyone was stunned.
It turns out that Jonas has a history of behavior like this, he has punched people before and gotten in trouble with the law over it. What the hell is he doing leading a group of mostly women backpacking? He certainly isn’t leadership quality. He proved to be spiteful jerk.
Tonight’s campsite is at the entrance to Store Mosse National Park, which is a fascinating place. Primarily, it’s a peat bog, (Store Mosse means Big Bog) and there are 2x4 planks through the bog –don’t step off the planks, you may never been seen again. The road leading to the park is long and straight, but then you enter a camping area, that has an untended hostel (which we were not using). It’s an old cabin you can rent. There was an outhouse, and water pump. Before you enter the bog, where we were camped, there were trails and old ruins that were serenely beautiful. Daniel, a nurse from Norway and his dog joined us for the rest of the hike here, and Mal, a friend of the groups brought some resupply to us – I needed a new can of gas for my stove, and I had asked to get more brandy but Jonas was being very spiteful and loudly said “No brandy for you." Then went on to rant about me being an alcoholic. After that rant, he totally ignored me and peace ensued. A camp fire did nothing to keep the mosquitoes away, so my mosquito free zone (my tent) was quickly occupied.
(Goran, - the guy in the light blue jacket, was my ‘personal hot spot’. He would allow me to use his hotspot as wifi so I could ‘phone home’) Right to left – Alie, Oliver, Me, Gudrun, Elisabeth, Goran with his back to the camera.