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Overnight hammocking in Tyresta

Stockholmers are spoiled: very close to the city lies the beautiful Tyresta National Park, home to one of the largest coniferous old-growth forest in Sweden.

Thus, 3 friends and I decided to do a weekend hike through Tyresta including an overnight stay.

Day 1 - Friday, the 17th of April, 2020🔗

Approach🔗

We met at 13:00 at Gullmarsplan and took the 13:30 bus to Nyfors (number 873). This put us within walking distance of the northern entry into Tyresta, part of the Kungsleden and Sörmlandsleden trails.

We entered the reservation through a bridge to the West, and followed the Sörmlandsleden until it intersected the North-South power line. Before reaching lake Årsjön we turned directly to the East, aiming to reach the tip of lake Långsjön.

Lakes Långsjön & Mörtsjön🔗

The lake has an elongated shape on the North-South axis. We would follow along its eastern shore for great views and also direct sunlight, as the Sun was now deep to the West.

Crossing the tip of the lake from West to East turned out problematic as the lake ends in a marsh that seems to be fed by precipitation accumulation from the surrounding forest. We were looking for a way to not have to go too much to the North to find the end of this wetland, but failing that decided to make a cross anyway and got our feet wet.

There was even a half-arsed attempt at moving a fallen log over the wetland to construct a bridge but we soon realized that: (a) we don't have enough oomph to actually move the log in place and (b) walking on it would require great amounts of balance and equilibrium.

But all this stuff doesn't matter when you take in your surroundings. The beauty of the Northern part of the Tyresta forest is unfathomable. There is old growth everywhere, roots are covered with green lush moss, and the interplay of Sunlight between the branches gives everything extra depth and contrast. Also, the area is quite stony so it's a very good exercise to ascend to high points and go back into valleys.

There is also a smaller lake to the South of Långsjön called Mörtsjön, with a more familiar round shape.

Lake Stensjön & the Osprey's Nest🔗

Our final objective was reaching the camping spot on the Northwestern shore of lake Stensjön. Once we reached its Northern shore we stumbled upon a very technical route with lots of bouldering crests interspersed with deep valleys.

Navigating this route payed off: we managed to find the remains of some old viking fortifications and a nice lookout point with great views over 3 northern islands known as the "Osprey's Nest".

After this lookout we had to retreat from the northern shore as boulders formed a direct cliff to the water. We backtracked until finding a west-east trail which led all the way to the camping site.

Camping out🔗

Finding a proper place to hang the hammock was definitely not my top priority. Instead, I picked a shoreline spot overlooking the lake, its westernmost island, and the setting Sun and deployed there. The Whoopie suspension system used by DD hammocks makes for a very fast deploy as it doesn't require any knot tying.

After chilling in the hammock for a while I scouted a spot to hang it over night that would offer slight wind protection. The trick is to hang parallel to the shoreline so the tarp is effective against the breeze to/from the water.

Opening the tarp bag also offered a nice surprise: it doesn't include a suspension rope! And I was also dumb enough to buy some elastic rope from Clas Ohlson the day before the trip but obviously didn't pack it. Salvation came from a couple of ropes I ripped out the food bag and tied them together with a rope from a friend's backpack. This was also a great opportunity to figure out a simple self-tying knot for joining ropes. For greater loads than a tarp, however, the double fisherman's bend is recommended.

The camping site includes a stone-walled fireplace surrounded by a hexagon of wooden benches, which is nice. Firewood is also provided in a box further North on the road, which we obviously missed so there was a lot of hatchet action instead to split wood.

We drank beers, cooked hotdogs and chorizo, chatted about random stuff and huddled around the fire as the temperature slowly dropped to 1-2 °C. Time flies when you're having fun and soon it was 2AM so we went to sleep.

The night🔗

Sleeping in a hammock is surprisingly cozy. The air mat provided for extra cushioning and the winter sleeping bag (-5 °C comfort, -12 °C extreme) was enough to thwart hypothermia. However, at around 5AM, I woke up with a nagging cold sensation around my navel. Turns out condensation had formed inside the air mat and it obviously accumulated around the midpoint making things there a bit damp and cold. I solved the issue by layering another blanket in between and went back to sleep.

Day 2 - Saturday, the 18th of April, 2020🔗

Morning & breakfast🔗

I woke up to the sound of birds chirping which is always nice. However, there was this nagging sensation of always having the palms cold which only went away after doing some morning exercises: jumping jacks, pushups, squat jumps, etc.

One of my friends cooked an awesome breakfast: oatmeal with 2 cartons of coconut milk (100%, no water, just the milk) and raisins. We added some nuts remaining from yesterday's snacks and it was delicious.

Washing dishes in the cold lake water without any surfacing agent whatsoever wasn't that fun. I managed to drop a spoon in the lake, but not at great depth, so recovered it. Putting the entire arm in the cold water and bringing it out would give this interesting warmth sensation.

Needless to say, packing camp went much faster than putting it up.

Trail to the Baltic🔗

After breakfast one of our friends decided to pull a Cartman so it was 3 of us who needed to get our Baltic fix. We plotted a route going East to the Vissvass - Raksta road, packed the trash onto a carbine and set out.

200m from the camp we found a metallic box which we thought was a trash bin, so were happy we'd get rid of the annoying dangling plastic bag. We opened the lid, and to our great surprise and bemusement, it was full of ready cut firewood. Turns out the Tyresta crew are providing it near all the "official" camping spots. Yes, it also means we didn't have to chop-chop in the middle of the night to keep the fire up. Lesson learned.

Another 200m we caught out with Cartman, who was walking very leisurely and seemed to be more than impressed with the surrounding environment, so we let him be.

The rest of the hike up to the road was pretty straightforward: I kept veering South, one friend kept veering North so on average we managed to head East. Also, getting rid of the long-johns was very welcome.

The landscape was mostly bouldery with a lot of dried up wood and shrubbery, but also some valleys home to a particularly green type of moss, which I've come to realize is indicative of wet feet.

But all was good and we reached the car road, quickly realizing why it was built where it was built: on the other side there was a massive stone wall. We circled it towards the South and set our next destination: a small round lake called Lillströmsträsk.

Lillströmsträsk and the quest for the Baltic🔗

We reached the lake on its Southern shore after descending a ridge. As it was afternoon, we would circle it to get to the Eastern shore and stop there for some Sun and some rest and much needed water. The circling proved a bit tricky as the vegetation around the lake was extremely wet, so we needed to backpedal and gain a bit of altitude.

I used a friend's very cool water filter to refill the Camelbak and we also had a nice carbs-packed snack.

Next, we set out to reach the seaside, but instead reached someone's house.

But that's OK, because there's this special little law in Sweden which forbids blocking public access to the shoreline so you're basically free to pass thru anyone's garden, private property or not. Actually, turns out "freedom to roam" is in the Constitution. Pretty cool, no?

Anyhow, we continued on Sisshammarvägen, then took a side road to the right and after crossing through a gate and passing through a field we found a cool spot near the shore and some old trees to stop and have lunch.

Rice & lentils, ramen noodles and homemade vegan paella were on the menu and we gorged and also had coffee along with some deeply philosophical discussions.

We set the next destination to be a village to the North called Raksta where we would take a bus back towards Stockholm. However, on the car road leading there we realized the bus had no more planned departures for Saturday, so plans needed to be changed.

Never mind Raksta - trail back to Nyfors🔗

Around Brakmaren we got confused by a fenced up area. We knew we needed to go towards the power line, but the field we were in seemed fenced up in all directions. So we jumped fence to the East and found ourselves in the company of the beloved orange triangle marker (Sörmlandsleden).

From here we took kind of a wayward route to the South of lake Grändalssjön. At some point we found a small encampment with what looked to be a container with corn seeds for wild animals aaaaand also a TRASH bin! Victory! No more dangling trash bag!

The last segment of the hike was particularly beautiful with old growth shadowy vegetation spots everywhere. You could tell we were approaching the North entry area again. We circled the Northeastern shore of Tyresö-Flaten lake which had this steep stony inclines. On flat surfaces, people were chilling in the Sun.

We took what I call "the hobbit entrance" out of the reservation, as this was the entrance I took when I first visited Tyresta (and decided that carrying a city bike through 16km of muddy/stony trails while getting rained on was a good idea). We got back to Nyfors just in time to take the Stockholm-bound bus 873.

The dream is over, time to wake up!

(P.S. they know that you know)

Photos🔗

Lessons learned🔗

  • Bring rope. Always. Bring it. Always bring rope.
  • Do NOT inflate air mats with your mouth. This leads to condensation in colder temperatures. Use the provided pump instead.
  • Check if the camping destinations provide ready cut firewood.
  • Gas stoves are more reliable than alcohol stoves.
  • Close the top end of the sleeping bag as good as possible.
  • "Last time I went my beer weighed more than my gear. I soon learned that whisky works better."
  • Or perhaps let others carry their own friggin' alcohol next time. I don't even like drinking.
  • Water filters are pretty cool. Get one.
  • Camelbaks are also pretty cool for maintaining hydration.
  • Having base ingredients + stove might weight in less than bringing precooked food (you can also get rid of rigid containers and use bags).
  • Having extra extra dry socks is good, especially when marshlands suddenly become attractive.
  • Independence gradient: increase cooking + fire-making gear (aka stove + hatchet).
  • Hiking in long-johns sucks. But they're still good for sleeping.
  • Knot practice:

Last update: 2020-06-15