Map of my trek across Scandinavia
For somebody who loves long wilderness treks and live in Europe, it is a kind of "must" to have a good look on Scandinavia. Only there it is possible to walk hundreds of kilometers without much contact to civilization and sometimes not even a road crossing for weeks, if the hike is planned well. On the other side it is possible to resupply without logistic hassles like this might be the case in more remote places like northern Canada or Alaska.
And the rugged Norwegian mountains as well as the more rolling tundra plains and northern Finlands partly untouched forests have a unique beauty of their own.
I had been four times to different parts of Scandinavia before, mainly in the north, but the last of these visits was already 21 years ago... So high time to go back!
There are long distance trails in the Scandinavian mountains, like the well known Kungsleden or the younger Nordkalottleden, but there is no continous hiking route from south to north, so anybody who attempts to walk the length of these nordic countries needs somehow to create his own trek.
Crossing the length of Norway on foot was recorded first time in 1951, since then this epic walk has become more popular, especially among Norwegians but also for a good number of foreigners. There was even a reality show about that subject on Norwegian TV! This website contains a list of people who have done the hike and often their blogs as well. Quite interesting and a good source of information!
My plan is not to be another "Norge på langs" hiker, but instead to create my own trek with the goal of linking the major scandinavian wilderness areas. So from the beginning it is clear that I want to start with the southern Norwegian mountain ranges like Hardangervidda, Jotunheimen and Dovrefjell. Then visit lesser known national parks in central norway, followed by crossing into Sweden north of the Arctic Circle. Laponia with the nationalparks Padjelanta, Sarek and Stora Sjofallet comprises europes largest continous wilderness outside russia with 10.000 square kilometers as large as Yellowstone! In far northern Norway I would turn east and hike almost trackless for 300 kilometers, crossing the wilderness areas of Anarjokka and Lemmenjoki. The final should be reaching the Russian border in Finland's Urho Kekkonnen Nationalpark, a nice mixture of primeval boreal forests and treeless roundes mountains.
Altogether a distance of 2500-2800 kilometers for which I would take four months!
Initially I thought about doing something new for me: By a start in April the first half of the trek would be a winter trip with ski/ snowshoes and maybe a pulka as well! Although the idea fascinated me, I finally decided against, because I would need to buy a lot of new gear and anyway, I am more of a warm temperature person, so it was clear, that even without that early start, the Scandinavian weather will be a big challenge for me!
After I had outlined the major areas I want to visit, the slow process of finetuning started. Some of the above mentioned Norge crossing blogs were really helpful, especially when it came to choosing the resupply towns.
It was clear, that for such huge distance I would need to rely on existing trails for most of the time, although I incorporated some nice off trail sections. This norwegian online map proved very helpful for getting an overview about the Norwegian Trail system.
As it was clear that buying all the paper maps would be way to expensive, I got the Garmin Topo map for Norway, and did the drawing of my route with their free Basecamp software. Again I would rely on GPS as my main navigation tool.
Many hikers in Scandinavia eat mostly freeze dried meals. As I considered this way to expensive and unnecessary it was clear, that I would buy most of my food locally. But for things like spare shoes, print out maps and gas canisters I decided to mail a parcel ahead to myself for collecting at post offices in resupply villages. (I rarely get to something most people would call town...).
It was clear to me, that in June the mountains in southern Norway are mostly snow covered, but 2017 seemed to be especially bad. For a long time I thought if it would be necessary to take snowshoes. Different people with local experience had different ideas about that issue, but finally I decided to keep it simple and walk without...
As I didn't want to walk across cultivated land, a start in the very south of Norway was out of question. I wanted to be in the mountains early on. Therefore I chose Odda on Norway's southwestern Fjord coast as starting point. I would only need to climb out of the fjord and be immediately in the mountains!
In Scandinavia there is water almost everywhere so I was tempted to bring my packraft along, as this guy did. But after reading his blog I came to the conclusion, that the extra weight probably wouldn't be worth to carry.
I get a very cheap flight to Stavanger and on may 31 I am ready to start!