Sunday, June 15, 2014

Return To Sweden, Part 14

This 14th installment update submitted by David Anderson includes Skuleskogen National Park in the High Coast area of Sweden. 
If you missed the near real time trip updates webpage, go to Trip Highlights .  Editor
June 15, Sunday
The park brochure for Skuleskogen National Park proclaims that trolls and giants once lived in the forests found here.  I can believe it and I think we saw the door to the entrance to The Hall of the Mountain King, but we didn’t want to stick around and find out!

Could this be the door to the Hall of the Mountain King?

Skuleskogen is one of Sweden’s 29 National Parks, it is about 7566 acres in size, and it lies within Höga Kusten World Heritage area.  I’m not sure what the maximum elevation is, but it is probably not more than 1000 feet, but it feels more like the High Sierras in some respects.  When you eat your lunch beside a lake that is at an elevation of only 560 feet, it looks like a lake in the very high Sierras.  The trees are small, the bedrock is granitic and it’s been glaciated.  The tree size at this location in Sweden is controlled in large part by the latitude, while in the Sierras it is controlled in large party by elevation.  Judging by some of the higher buttes that have a thicker forest at their tops than on the slopes below some of these buttes would be above the 286 sea level line as found on nearby Skuleberget.

Cabin at Tärnättvattnen, elevation 172 meters.

The place is a great area to study physical geography of glaciation, land uplift and, sea erosion.  It is an area where southerly plants reach their northerly range and some alpine plants reach their southerly range.

One of the scenic highlights of the park is Slåttdalsskrevan.  It is a large cleft in the otherwise solid granite that appears to have been created with a dike of less resistant lava intruded was eroded away.  This spot, along with the “door” seen lower down will definitely have you humming “The Hall of the Mountain King” tune by Greig! 

Me in Slättdalsskrevan, a large cleft in the otherwise solid red granite.
Tourists here are friendly, just like users of back country trails in the U.S..  In addition to Swedes we talked with people from Germany and the Netherlands.

While hiking the trails I couldn’t help but wonder how I would route the trails differently, since I do volunteer trail maintenance at Mount St Helens in Washington.  Trails here seemed to go straight up the mountain rather than contour around and switchback up.  Normally that would be an issue, at least in the Pacific North-west, but here it isn’t since the shallow soils force the roots out laterally and they crisscross each other and form an interlocking web the keeps the rocky soil pretty much locked in place.

I would definitely recommend hiking around Skuleskogen.  Wear sturdy shoes and your ten essentials!  Camping is allowed in specified areas.

A view in Skuleskogen National Park, looking out over Sweden's Höga Kusten.

My photos from the park can be seen at flickr:
David Anderson

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