For a while, my close friends have known that I was planning on going to the States next summer and hiking the Colorado Trail. I love the States and have visited countless times to do many short backpacking trips, in a whole variety of mountain areas. Added to that, my parents lived over there – and also in Canada – for many years, and I feel both very drawn and connected to the place.
However, my plans have changed. Whilst on the Kungsleden this last summer, I found that by the end of 5 weeks I was unbelievably homesick for our dogs. (Doggy folk will no doubt understand this!) This led me to wonder if I really wanted to be away in the States on my own for what would be a good two months, especially since I would probably be missing Geoff a little as well as Pebbles and Islay…
I considered going over to just do half the Trail – but that didn’t seem right. It feels just too far away and expensive to be effectively ‘section hiking’ it. So I then started looking around for something else entirely, which would hopefully keep me walking for around 5 weeks – a similar period of time to what we’d done this year.
What I found, was the St. Olavsleden. An entirely different kind of trail, this is also known as the northernmost Camino. At 580km (360m), it stretches all the way across Sweden and Norway, from Sundsvall, on the Baltic Coast to Trondheim, on the Atlantic. In fact, the more I looked at it, the simple fact that it goes from the Baltic to the Atlantic, was extremely appealing to me.
It’s not a wilderness trail, although the terrain does change as you hit the mountains on the approach to the Norwegian border, and both this and the Norwegian section are more isolated and will require the carrying of several days’ worth of food at a time. I am planning on wild camping as much as possible, which of course is no problem in both Sweden and Norway.
So, the planning has started. I’ve already booked my flight out to Stockholm and a couple of nights in a hotel in Sundsvall, to give me chance to buy gas etc before setting off. As Geoff and I discussed after the Kungsleden, I won’t book any flights home until I’ve finished. The route is sorted on Viewranger, but I need to now buy paper maps too and look at it in far more detail – where I can resupply, camp, spend the occasional night in a hostel etc. Plenty to keep me occupied over the next few months!