Canoe Trip in the Glaskogens nature reserve, Vaermland, Sweden
And Now for Something Completely Different, as Monty Python would say. This report isn’t about alpine mountaineering. It provides information about a seven days canoe trip in Sweden. I write my first report in English, as the Sweden's visitors are international and most Scandinavian people speak English.
A very nice canoe trip on beautiful lakes and through typical Swedish (not Norwegian) woods.
After canoe trips in Poland (Masuren) and Germany (Uecker, report to follow) we decided to check out Sweden this summer. We wanted to experience more wilderness than on the trips before. However, the area in Vaermland (Western Sweden) isn't untouched wilderness since there are quite a few people and gravel roads along some lankes. These roads give acess to the countless, colourful cottages where the Swedish pass their summer holidays. Nevertheless you can find lots of quiet places where you don’t see any sings of cilisation and encounter absolute silence.
The route: We picked the region of Arvika, near the Norwegian border and about 2 hours from Oslo for our summer holidays. The area offers the tipical Swedish landscape: lots of lakes embedded in granite hills and pine forests.
We did a suggested route called “Glaskogen-Tour” like the reserve. It connects 3 larger lakes (Glasfjorden, Stora Gla, Övre Gla) and 6 smaller ones within a distance of ~110km. You start and arrive at the Arvika canoe centre 5 km out of town. It's possible to do the tour in 4-5 days, but it's nicer to take more time and do it in 6-7 days.
The lakes are usually not connected by rivers. Thus on every route in the area there are “portages” where you have to carry the canoe on paths or roads, using a wagon. There are 8 portages on the round trip from 250m to 5km, summed 20km! The height difference is about 350m allover – that doesn’t seem much, but keep in mind that you have to carry a 40kg canoe and about the same weight of gear and food. Your legs won't be jobless!
Costs: For two persons the canoe inkl. equipment is about 2300 SEK per week. Food prices are about the same as in Switzerland.
Gear, food and water: Normal camping gear is sufficient, a stove is nice to have, since you are not allowed to light a fire in case of drought (warning singns and SMS-service). Food is aviable in arvika and at the camping in Lennungshammar. Bring garlic (also good against mosquitos) and aluminium foil to prepare fish.
You can drink the water of the lakes, but with high temeratues (up to 25° in summertime!) it’s not recommended. Just boil it. On the other hand its enjoable to swim in warm sweet water after the paddling work. At the camp grounds drinking water is aviable; in general all tab water in Sweden is drinking water.
Camping: in Sweden the Jedermannsrecht offers nice opportunities to set up your tent in the wild. I recommend staying on one of the numerous islands in the lakes – be an island owner for one night. Important: leave nothing but your footsteps!
Fishing: Sweden is known for its good fishing grounds. It’s easy to catch fish, but a bit of patience is necessary since you won’t be the only fishermen in the area. Fishing is best after dawn or before nightfall. Take a assorted set of spinners, blinkers or wobblers and a 6-10 kg line. You have to buy a license for 150 SEK for the region of Glaskogens. We had 2 rods with us and caught about 15 perch (Flussbarsch, Egli) and 5 pike (Hecht). They gave good evening meals!
Mosquitos: We didn’t have to struggle with biting bugs. There were not more mosquitos than in Switzerland, despite the nightmare-stories we heard about Sweden. General rule: the further north you go, the more bugs. Middle Sweden seems to be o.k. beginning of august. People told us that it’s depending on the weather conditions in spring, we seemed to be lucky this year. For protection I can recommend the "Anti Brumm forte", it also works against Scandinavian bugs.
After our trip out in the nature we visited the three capital cities Oslo, Stockholm and Kopenhagen on our way back home. The cities have many sights and are nice and peaceful, but expensive. This applies in particular for Oslo.