Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Rocks, caves and heat!

As I said in my first holidaypost the Höga Kusten-area is rocky, hilly and right next to the sea. In order to give you a little impression I'd like to show you 2 trips we made during our stay there.
The first one is a "little" hike in an area called Smitingen. It is a natural park, containing some natural caves we wanted to go and have a look at. I wrote "little", because while the overall length is only 1,6km it took us 1,5 hours to get there and back! The terrain is quite challenging and the summerwarmth did the rest. You will notice the latter keeps coming back, since it was such a dominating factor.

First we walked toward a small inland lake. Being in the shade of the trees was a very welcome moment of respite. It was around 10:00AM, but the sun was already making its presence very much felt.

When we had passed this little lake we stepped away from the shade providing trees and onto the rocks, where the pines were getting more and more scarce as we approached the coast. The terrain was also becoming steeper and more barren.

One of the caves we were looking for was somewhere down there.

The waves had carved and polished the rocks smooth.

And there it was; the lökgrottan or onioncave. No idea where the name originates from....
And maybe I am twisted, but it reminded me of the mentioning of the Great Mother's birthcanal as in the Jean Auel's Earth's Children series....

After this little endevour we really had to cool down and what better way to do that than to take a dive into the sea right beside it. That was a very first for 4 out of 5 family members with only my wife having had a swim in the North Sea in Holland. To me however this did not look and feel as a sea at all. The water was very clear, there was no sign of any sort of shells, minimal life apart from some seaweed and small fish and a total lack of waves. More like a lake, but with a salty taste....

This daytrip reminded me that one needs to prepare before doing an activity like this. We did bring water, but it would've been better if we had brought more. Despite being out there for only an hour and a half or a bit longer, the 1 liter we brought was actually not enough to be comfortable. Luckily we had 3 more liters in the cooler in the car. We also seriously underestimated the terrain en the footwear most of us wore, was certainly not sufficient! Sandles and rockclimbing do not match!

Another trip was to the Skuleberget. This rockformation lies right beside the Skuleskogen national park and that was to be our destination after the Skuleberget.
took this one from wikipedia, because our picture sucked..
Once again we set out on the morning of a beautiful sunny day with not a cloud in sight. The cartrip to our destination would take about an hour, so we did not waste much time. On our way north we passed the Högakustenbron, a large suspensionbridge, which despite its size does not really give the impression of being out of place in the landscape....
When we reached our destination we first checked with the mountain's and park's informationcentre, the Naturum, which you can see in the first picture. We noticed large groups of hikers gathering there. I also noticed my son starting to limp... That did not promiss a good start on a tough hike, so I asked him what was wrong. He said it felt like he had a small wound on one of his toes and I told him to take of his shoes and socks. Turned out he had clipped his toenails incorrect and the sharp edge of one of them was pressing into the skin of the toe next to it. A small reminding lesson in personal care there. Luckily it was easily remedied. We gathered some information on both sites, before setting out to the first one. It was our intention of taking one of the paths to the top, but again the weather made us decide otherwise. It would have been murderous to go up there on foot. However we did prepare ourselves a bit better this time with proper footwear, plenty of water for this short trip and some food. If we had to we could always resupply at the cabin at the top.
As I said we did not go to the top on foot. We took the cable chair and I am glad we did. Enjoying the nice view, while still having energy at your destination can be a good thing at times...


After we had reached the top we noticed larger groups of people had been gathering, some fully loaded with large backpacks. There were also folks busy erecting tents (??). Turned out we had landed in the middle of the finish of the Höga Kusten-hike, a populair 3-day hike through the Skuleskogen and ending here. My daughter and I already fantasized on participating and the rest of the family could see themselves plodding along too. Now that would be an awesome experience, if only from a logistical point of view, since you are meant to carry everything you need with you.... Just the thought of that made me sweat.... Did I mention the heat? Out here on the bare rock the temperatures were already quite high even an hour before midday.
So there we were, 300 meters above sea level, a slight breeze and no sense of releave or cooling down what's however!!
We also knew there had to be a cave on this mountain too and since we did not want to have come over here and do nothing we took the marked trail to the cave "only" 400 meters away. I have to say those are some of the toughest 400 meters I ever did! But we pulled through, even our youngest one at age 8. I wore my M59-pants, the backpack with food, water and some other things and my boots and I must say that I was pleased with the wearingcomfort of them. Not really hot and roomy enough to climb and circulate air.
Enough talk, I'll let some images speak for themselves....

It was quite a tough and demanding decent. Some of the steeper parts had stairs or ladders, but a good deal of actual climbing was needed too. The sun's rays and warmth radiated from the surfaces and these were often to warm to touch for long... And then finally we reached the cave! Heaving and sweating we sought the cooling shelter of the cave. And right in front of it stood a fully grown maple... It gave the whole scene a bit of a surreal atmosphere.

The cave, seen from the inside out
After this we had to go back to the top again. On our way down we had met a number of people going up, complete with their large hikingpacks and those encounters were brief, since we gave way to them and their struggle. Now that we were going up too and had to pause regularly, we had the opportunity to chat with a few of them and they as experienced hikers were having trouble themselves. Exhaustion quickly set it with everyone and frequent breathers and drinking stops were needed. I was amazed at the resilience of my little gang of kids. They kept going and hardly complained. The compliments they received from the others made me even more proud of them! It was the Mrs. who suffered the most, but we were unanimous in our opinion that it had been worth it.

After we had reached the top again we had a longer break, had lunch, refilled our waterbottles, had a last look over the land and took the cable seat back down. The initial plan of doing a small hike in the national park was abandoned. We would have been pushing ourselves to and possibly over the limits under the given conditions and we wanted it to remain fun and healthy. 


  1. Yap!

    Like that onion grotta, and I am with you on the association, but that´s always the case when underground´s involved to I make sense....;-)?