There are only three weeks left before the beginning of my trip and there is still something very important I have to do: sleep in the tent, alone, into the wild.
The forecasts are not appealing, but I postponed already too long: it looks like it will rain in the middle of the day, so I have to cancel also the idea of going for a long hike and camp int the evening.
So I decide to drive up to Tiveden National Park, about 420 km from Malmö, which I crossed during my trip back from Stockholm and I’m in love with it since then.
Around 10 o’clock I start driving from home and I choose a longer route to avoid the boring highway E4 to Jönköping.
I drive instead the E20 towards Gothenburg, to get out at Halmstad and continue on smaller roads.
The first hour and half passes slowly and boring, through a flat landscape even more sad today because of the grey weather.
After Halmstad, just after few km, I can finally drive through the highlands and forests of the Halland County, the type of landscape I like most here in Sweden, and I welcome the first surprise of the day: two moose are grazing on a green field close to the road. I slow down, find the first spot for a U-turn and I’m very lucky to find a small road which leads me to about 150-200 meters from the animals. There is a female with a cub from last year, they notice me and look a me for a while: I have my reflex and the tele-zoom ready on the passenger seat and I can shoot directly from the car, without bothering them too much.
After some time, the mother decides it’s time to find a quieter place and, with their “gracefull” walk, they disappear in the woods.
I’m happy, really: I love moose and it has been a while since I saw them, and I hope I got some good shots.
I keep driving on the route 26 toward Gislaved and then Jönköping, then I decide to wander around a little bit more driving toward Mullsjö, Skövde and then Karlsborg where I stop to buy the last couple of things for the night: it’s cold, about 9°, and it looks like it will rain.
But I’m here and it’s nothing else to do than reach the final destination and camp there; and if it will rain will be even more adventurous…
The Tiveden National Park, 30 km ca. From Karlsborg, covers an area of 5,500 acres, surrounded by an even vaster area of wild forests and lakes, where – legend tells – once found hideout the outlaws.
So remote and wild it’s exactly what I need and the fact I don’t know the area gives me the possibility to face the unexpected and the possibility of adaptability, essential skills I have to have in Wandering Italia.
I reach the main entrance around 15:30: it just stopped rain, it’s even colder (about 7°) and there is not signal. By the map I spot a place where I could camp, only 1 km far, but I have to let Patty know to don’t worry if she not hears from me until tomorrow morning.
So I keep driving some km, but the signal is still too low to call or send messages. I find then another entrance, Vitsand (white sand) by the Stora Trehörningen Lake , were is even a small beach of light sand (from which, Im presume, comes the name Vitsand).
I have coverage, the clouds are disappearing and the sun comes out, and nearby, around 500 m, there is a place where I can camp, by the Park rules: it looks like I’m very lucky today!
At 16:20 ca. I leave my car to reach Käringa-Udden with my backpack full of all what I will need for the night and hoping I will have coverage there too, otherwise I will have to come back and camp by the beach.
I hike along the coast, with typical blocks of rocks which create short peninsulas and little islands. The place where I can set the camp is very cozy: by the lake, at the edge of a piece of land surrounded by rocks and forest, it has even a place with firewood (and even an axe and a saw to cut it!) and a safe fireplace. And I have coverage too, perfect!
It’s around 17:00 and I have to hurry up if I want to enjoy the evening before dark.
First I have to set the tent and being the first time I know it will take longer than the 5 minutes the producer vaunt as one off the best features. In fact it takes me more than 30 minutes ands t the end, I’m not even completely satisfied with the final results, but it will be ok for the night.
I then inflate the mat, set up the sleeping bag and put the backpack inside the large space of the tent; then I just have to cut some wood and set the fire.
I enjoy the entire process, calmly and happily, and when the fire is on I can finally sit down and enjoy the peace and tranquillity of that place: the sun shines over the opposite coast, the water rinses gently, the wind blow between the trees and, time to time, I hear the birds chirping around. I feel I’m alone, and probably I am by my self in miles, but I’m not worry or afraid at all: I’m just really enjoying it instead.
I video-call Patty and Lara to show them my camp and the surrounding, I put on a couple of sausages for dinner , and I share on socials my experience; but then I think it would be a waste if I will miss this chance being all the time on-line: so I switch everything off and and I deliberately isolate myself from everything else, to lull me by Mother Nature rhythm.
And little by little I feel lighter of all those heavy thoughts I normally carry around: I’m serene and receptive, attentive at all the small thing around me: I can see whenl the current of the lake changes, feel the wind between trees, the birds which, curious, come to visit me; and then the sun light playing trough the trees, the rocks and over the lake, and all those everlasting moment of complete silence.
I don’t know exactly how long time I spent like that, “doing nothing” but still enjoying what, at the end, it’s just a basilar necessity and still so important.
Even long time after the sunset there is still light, the birds stop chirping bit by bit, and everything becomes idyllically poetry…
I’m waiting until the fire dies and the I go to sleep: before falling asleep I ‘m feeling the cold, to be honest, and then a back pain due the fact I slipped from the mat; but it still seems like I’m sleeping deeply and nicely as it wasn’t happening in a while.
I wake up at 4:40 hoping to get some nice shots of a beautiful sunrise over the lake, but it’s cloudy and I’m still freezing a lot (probably the temperatures dropped till 0° during the night), so it’s nothing else to do than pack everything and go.
I come back to the car around 6:30, write a message to Patty telling her I will go for a walk and will be back in 2-3 hours: having all day for myself I can’t miss the chance to explore the Park.
Of course leaving the phone charging in the car and go alone for a hike wasn’t the best idea, but I have a whistle with me and, in the worse scenario, I told Patty my intentions. So I check the map and decide to go to discover the main “attractions” in the area.
There are many different trails in the Park, all of them well signed and for all kind of distances: I would like to take the one which goes around the lake, but even it’s only 9.5 km long they advice a time of 6 hours to cover such a small distance:to me it seems something it’s wrong, and I prefer to don’t risk..
So I decide to go for small walks around the area and close to the car: first I head toward Junker Jägeres Stone, a rock of at least 10 meters high left behind from the glacier during the ice age: by the legend it seems it got this name because of Junker the hunter and his unlucky love for a girl of the area.
Then, instead to go back to the car, I follow the path to the Vitsands caves, a series of tunnels and narrow passages between big bunch of rocks falled from the near mountain or also left behind from the glacier . It’s na impressive and beautiful place, situated by a small calm lake: there is a longer path to go back to the car which will cross this kind of labyrinth, but it looks arduous and slippery after yesterday rain, so I think it would be not a good idea to cross it by myself.
When I reach again the car, I choose to follow a bit of the trail around the lake, Trehörningsrunda, and so realise why they advice such a long time for such a short distance: the trail goes up and down between the rocks, with very hard climbs and almost vertical drops which slow down a lot the pace.
But all around it’s just amazing: the sun shines, the cold wind ruffles the blu and deep water of the lake, and the forest and rocks around seem to be the enchanted kingdom of the elves.
I reach te other side of the lake and from there I can see the place where I spent the night, then I take some picture and decide to go back.
I’m back to the car around 9:30 and just then the sun disappears behind heavy and dark clouds: soon it will rain and I think how lucky I was to get this window of nice weather!
I jump into the car, drive little bit around, but I realise I’m tired and my face seems burning probably because of last night fire and the cold wind this morning…and I definitely need a coffee, which I can enjoy only when I’m in Karlsborg again.
I feel more awaken and can keep driving to Malmö, thinking of still make some diverts and enjoy the wild area.
I spot then another moose, I quickly jump out of the car and try to follow her in the deep forest, but I can barely see her already to far to have a nice shoot.
Around 11:00 it begins t rain and it makes the rest of the trip quite boring.
The last part of the trip then, between Helsingborg and Malmö, it’s a real hell due the heavy traffic and long queues.
And I think: “wasn’t it so much better last night, all by my self?”.
But I have my family waiting for me home, and I can’t wait to see and hug them…
It has been an unforgettable experience, and very satisfying: there are still some things I have to optimise, as setting the tent and being warm at night, but everything will be better just by practice.
And definitely Tiveden National Park has been and exciting discovery which surprised and astonished me, and despite the distance I think I’ll be back, maybe for a couple of days of camping and hikes.
And maybe with Patty and Lara, to enjoy together this amazing place…