National parks protect special values ​​that are gold to discover on foot – this post is a tribute to Sweden’s amazing national parks and the page nationalparksofsweden.se which is a great site for planning future adventures and dreaming away from magic pictures!

Sweden was the first in Europe to form national parks in 1909 to preserve the natural values, promote outdoor recreation and tourism. Today there are 29 different national parks from Vadvetjokka in the north to Dalby söderskog in the south. Most have built-in entrances where you will find practical information such as maps, parking space and other things you need to easily get out into nature. Many also have Naturum – manned information centers – where you can ask about attractions and find exhibitions. The national parks have varying hiking environments with mountains, coniferous forests, precious woods, streams, lakes, wetlands, forest, coast and sea.

What is the difference between National Park and Nature Reserve?

In Sweden, nature can be protected in two different ways – through nature reserves or national parks. National park is a more powerful protection than the nature reserve. In a national park, the land is owned by the state and it is the government and parliament that decide on the large, untouched land areas that are part of the national parks. Nature reserves can be owned privately or publicly, and it is the county administrative board and municipality that decide to form nature reserves in consultation with landowners and various interested parties. Nature reserves are often formed to protect and conserve natural environments and different species that live there. The area can be large or small.

Did you know that: Sweden has 3,200 nature reserves covering 54,000 square kilometers.

Swedens 30 National parks:

There are 30 national parks in Sweden.  A lifelong adventure to discover as many of the national parks as possible and at the same time hike in Sweden’s diverse environment.

  1. ABISKO Get off the train and straight into a thriving mountain world at one of Sweden’s sunniest places. In the winter, Abisko is one of the best places in the world to experience the Northern Lights.
  2. STORA SJÖFALLET/ STUOR MUORKKE The national park was formed in 1909 to preserve the great case. The mountain Akka with its peaks and glaciers as well as the beautiful primeval forests of pine impresses even if the big case does not remain.
  3. SAREK Sarek offers Sweden’s most dramatic scenery with pointed mountains, powerful glaciers and rushing watercourses.
  4. PIELJEKAISE Extensive mountain birch forests are the characteristics of the national park as well as meadows full of yellow butter balls that meet the visitor in June.
  5. SONFJÄLLET The sunbeam rises above the surrounding old forest. When the National Park was founded in 1909, it was one of the bear’s last strongholds in the country and now there are plenty of bears.
  6. HAMRA Extensive marshlands, wooded forests and the meandering Svartån form a rare whole of nature that invites for hiking and outdoor life.
  7. ÄNGSÖ On the idyllic island of the meadows you can enjoy flowering primroses and orchids. Ängsö is the landscape of the pasture animals and the slaughterhouse, but here is also the wild-grown old forest.
  8. GARPHYTTAN In Kilsbergen’s dark coniferous forests lies Garphyttan with flowering meadows and deciduous forests. Here, the old woodland woodpeckers meet the songbirds of the old farming landscape.
  9. GOTSKA SANDÖN A remarkably beautiful island with miles of sandy beaches and deep sunny pine forests. Take the tour boat to this island, which in centuries fascinated visitors.
  10. DALBY SÖDERSKOG In the Skåne plain, this deciduous forest grove lies as a lush, inviting oasis. In the spring, few places can compete with Dalby Söderskog in flower splendor and bird song.
  11. VADVETJÅKKA Sweden’s northernmost national park. Proper wilderness with some of the country’s deepest caves.
  12. BLÅ JUNGFRUN In the middle of Kalmarsund a remarkable island of red granite rises with smooth mountain hills, caves, noble forest and a fantastic sea view.
  13. NORRA KVILL Enchanting wooded forest with tall conifers, still ponds and mossy blocks.
  14. TÖFSINGDALEN Secret valley with old pine forests, block lands, rushing water and glittering, small ponds.
  15. MUDDUS/MUTTOS  The land of the great marshes and forests. Here you can discover the real big forest, the wild mud shower and huge swamps with the vocals of the songs.
  16. PADJELANTA/ BADJELÁNNDA In uninhabited land, open reindeer pasture spreads meadows and heaths and large crystal clear lakes out. Unusual species such as mountain fox and mountain owl.
  17. STORE MOSSE Sweden’s largest marsh area south of Lapland is located in the Lesser Highlands. Here are many birdwatchers where you can look out over the magnificent expanses and perhaps hear the heather pipe.
  18. TIVEDEN Impressive rock blocks, softest mosses and clear lakes surround paths that have been used since ancient times.
  19. SKULESKOGEN This is Sweden’s highest coastline with magnificent views and the world’s highest land elevation. In the old spruce forests, long boughs grow, a rare layer that looks like Christmas tree tinsel.
  20. STENSHUVUD This is the national park by the sea in the Skåne Österlen where coastal mountains, noble woods, heaths and beautiful beaches are united.
  21. BJÖRNLANDET Here you quickly get a sense of how nature looked before man put his tracks through forestry. Nature resembles that Linnaeus saw during his Lapland trip just over 250 years ago.
  22. DJURÖ An archipelago landscape in Western Europe’s largest lake Vänern. Coarse pine roots wobble on the ground after mill and moisture. Nice pebble hills to view birds from.
  23. TYRESTA Just two miles from Stockholm city center you can experience the silence in the pristine forest that invites you to hiking and mushroom picking.
  24. HAPARANDA SKÄRGÅRD A sunny and sandy archipelago with shallow beaches. The location towards the horizon makes the island loved by migratory birds, kayakers and hikers.
  25. TRESTICKLAN In this roadless wilderness one can wander far and enjoy the many views. The tall-clad mountain ridges never seem to run out and you are constantly greeted by new small lakes and marshes.
  26. FÄRNEBOFJÄRDEN Unique river landscape in the lower Dalälven river with over 200 islands and cuttings. On skis or in the canoe, it is easiest to discover the woodlands of the woodpeckers and the owls.
  27. SÖDERÅSEN High altitudes, beautiful beech forests and dramatic gorges. Odensjön is a completely round small lake in a bowl-shaped, deep sink in Söderåsen.
  28. FULUFJÄLLET Here, the primeval forest meets the glow of thick, white carpets of lichen, as it is our only large mountain where no reindeer graze.
  29. KOSTERHAVET In the country’s first marine national park there is our only coral reef. Here you can enjoy the nature of the sea where the richest life is below the surface.
  30. ÅSNEN  Feeling of wilderness, experiences beech forest, lake archipelago and experiencing a rich plant and animal life.

Läs mer om alla nationalparker på Sverigesnationalparker.se  – där hittar du också information om Sveriges naturtyper och skyddad natur. Vart går din nästa vandring?

Hopefully you will never end up in a situation where you can find yourself in the powerful forces of an avalanche. But if one were to happen, it is good to know what to do and how you can prepare yourself before you go out.

An avalanche can contain thousands of tons of snow and whether you survive or not is determined by the knowledge you and your peers have and the equipment you have with you – which you must use within 30 minutes of the accident. After 30 minutes you are likely to become so cold you will struggle to act.

You can find inclinometers as apps or map tools for your mobile from Lavinprognoser.se with national forecasts of avalanches from the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency. Avoid staying in places steeper than 25 degrees slope, where the risk is highest for an avalanche.

Watch out  if you move in areas with steep slopes and very loose snow, as well as areas with trees, stones and shrubs that keep the snow on the mountain. If the weather has been back and forth between hot and cold, the avalanche risk increases, as strong sun loosens the snow.

In Europe, about 200 people every year in avalanches. The most common victims are skiers, snowmobilers and climbers. Snow moving down steep slopes can speed up to 100 kilometers per hour. The weight of a single person can create chain reactions where the snow cover collapses and an avalanche is created. Read more: Facts about Avalanches – Mountain Safety

Be sure to research avalanche information about the area you are going to move through.

  • Talk to the locals who know the area.
  • Read avalanche reports . Previous avalanches are a hint that more avalanches are likely.
  • Follow the weather report . Rapid weather changes increase the risk of avalanches. Snowfall, wind, rain and increased temperature are particular risk factors.
  • Choose routes that are safe when you move around – such as flat ground, on ridge slopes and if possible bare ground. Always go as high as possible.

If you see someone struck by an avalanche:  

Try to keep right in the area where you last saw your companion. This will help the rescue personnel when they start the search. Call 112 as soon as you can – every second is precious.

If you end up in an avalanche:

    1. Get rid of all your equipment and try to find something you can hold on to as a tree trunk or rock.
    2. Try to curl up and protect your face and breathe deeply while still trying to keep as much snow as possible away from your mouth and face so you can have free airways.
    3. Stay as close to the surface as possible by paddling or treading ‘water’ with your feet.

If you still have to move through areas that are hazardous, be sure to bring avalanche beacons and shovels with you and prepare in advance for what you or someone in the group were to hit and avalanche. If you are unsure of where you can go in the winter, hire a guide who is experienced, go on a course and read as much as you can before you go out. Always choose the safe option before the unsafe.

Book tips for those who want to prepare for a safe stay in nature in all the seasons:

During the week I slipped (!) over a new survey that Swedish shoe company Icebug has just done. It is about slipping and notes that as many as 30,000 Swedes every year slip so badly that they have to go to a hospital. And that 3.4 million Swedes have slipped so badly that they hurt themselves. We are not talking about the kind of slipping when your first spontaneous reaction is to look around in small panic to estimate exactly how many people saw you make a stomach splash. No, we are talking about actual injuries where people get hurt. Injuries that might have been avoided if one had been a little better prepared.

A basic idea in hiking and outdoor life is to have the right and relevant equipment. It is not possible to go out on the mountain in a thin t-shirt and sneakers and believe that it will be an uncomplicated pleasant trip. Certain preparations are fairly accepted when it comes to spending time in nature. But it doesn’t seem to extend to ice, snow and slipping. Icebug itself speaks, for example, that it is a matter of course to have winter tires on the car or life jacket on the water, but when it comes to shoes in the winter, we gladly continue with flat, unshaven summer shoes. There is something in it. Oh, I see the sea of ​​teenagers’ white Converse in front of me, how they slip on Västerås streets.

In addition, their investigation shows that it is not just the damage itself that is a problem. People also seem to be less likely to go out when it gets cold. A total of 63 percent move less outdoors in the winter compared to the summer. It pains my outdoor heart when I hear it. To think that there is an uncomfortableness and an uncertainty about equipment, clothes and shoes that prevents people to go out, making them stay inside and miss all the beautiful, fantastic and fine scenery that is out there in the winter landscape. Especially during a time of year when we really need to refuel and gain extra energy, daylight and activity.

So today’s co-creation is simply this: Take care of yourself! Don’t become one of those who slips this winter. Certainly, accidents happen inevitably sometimes, not everyone can avoid. Of course, it is also about snow cleared, plowed and well-lit roads. But I also think that we ourselves can do our best to prevent and prepare. Like putting on proper shoes, which are actually meant to be used in winter. Put on extra studs or put on shoes with grippy sole. Use a stick or bars for extra balance if it is really slippery.

Above all: Get out! Experience the winter on the paths and the walkways in your neighbourhood. There is something special about that crispy, slightly sleepy feeling that comes when winter has settled. Cook the coffee and put in a thermos, pack the snacks, throw on the backpack, the warm jacket and the solid shoes. Then just go out and enjoy.

Foto: Louise Forslycke Garbergs

Sleep well, wake up rested and ready for new adventures. Finding a good alternative to sleeping outdoors in tents can be crucial for how much quality your night’s sleep is, how the body feels when you wake up and whether you get the energy recovery you need.

Here are seven really smart tricks that come from Community  members hiking blog. 

  1. Bring your favorite pillow case
  2. Fold together your most beautiful, fluffy mid-layer
  3. Stuff your clothes in a dry bag or ruckack
  4. Buy an inflatable camping pillow
  5. Use a ‘bag in box’ filled with air
  6. Skip a pillow and drag on your hands
  7. Fill a t-shirt with other clothes

I haven’t tested the bag-in-box solution myself, but it certainly seems like a lovely icebreaker.

Here are my top-three options: D

A nice pillow if I sleep at home, in a van or fall-out-of-the-car camping. For anything more hardcore, my most used solution is to use a dry bag or packing bag filled with a soft mid-layer. A small inflatable pillow is also very luxurious. It doesn’t take up space and is more ergonomic for the neck than the packing bag solution.

Freedom. Hear the word of freedom and the imagination goes wild for us all. Right now my mind is thinking about scenarios such as packing everything in a motorhome and riding along slick, straight dirt roads. Long walks without any regard for physical ability, money or time. Views high above rolling countryside, and seaweed and sand beneath my toes.

If you read classical  Existentialism  like Sartre and Kierkegaard, they say that one is free to create their own meaning. One is what they do. One is their actions. Freedom can also be described as the right to speak, think and act as you like.

Freedom can be positive or negative. In a negative sense, it may be about situations such as being free from being imprisoned and in a positive sense it may be about being free to speak according to freedom of speech. I remember when I resigned from my permanent employment and became free to use my own time. It was a freedom of my time. Freedom to make arbitrary decisions of what a working day should contain. There was freedom from being trapped in the office working within a pre-determined timeframe.

After that day when I walked out of the office, this oneness with freedom has flourished in my thoughts in various forms.

Material freedom – The difference between letting go and holding on

Freedom from things that weigh me down and own me. Things that help me.

I’ve cleared. Excluding. Excluding. Thrown. Sold. Donated. Auctioned. Yet my home is full of things. The big difference now is that the things I have today are the ones I have chosen to have. They have not just happened to end up in my home. They help me live my life in the way that gives me the most joy. I have tents, sleeping bags, clothes and equipment that I need to spend time outdoors in different environments and weather.

Monetary freedom – Only the one who has never been without money can say that it does not matter

Money is given freedom in many ways. Money gives you freedom in choosing the more expensive, healthier food. Being able to buy help with everyday chores that gives room for more recovery. Money is given to freedom and faster care through private insurance. As a self-employed person, money stresses me a lot. I am responsible for getting money to cover all of the company’s travel, staff, software and equipment costs. A company eats money in unpredictable ways. As an employee, I had a very high salary but I could say that it really did not make me happier or unhappy. It was just easier.

I think there is a limit to money when it comes to individual freedom. Under a certain limit, it causes the most basic things like having a roof over your head, eating on the table and being able to do things like others in your social circle. Above a certain limit, everything is instead blasé; So what do you long for to feel special? Perhaps the ultimate monetary freedom is to feel that basic needs are covered and that it is possible to save for what you want to do within a reasonable time.

Freedom as a feeling – Hikefulness big and small

One way to achieve freedom is to exercise mindfulness. Find exercises that give the body the feeling of being here and now, so that no thought wanders to what may happen in the future or what happened in the past. It can happen through yoga, writing, looking at the sea, reading books, folding laundry, painting or whatever happens to be your thing. I’m looking for it over and over again in what I do when I’m out in nature. The shoulders fall down only when I put my feet in my boots. I love to feel the sun on my face or hard, cold rain. Anyway – life is great to me. It is freedom for me to go to the unknown and silence and see what it brings when I have no other than myself to account for. Freedom for me is to be healthy, to have food to eat, water to drink, clean air to breathe and places where I find silence.

I want to hear how you think about freedom! What is freedom for you? When do you feel free? Please write in the comment field.

Reading Challenge on Freedom, Money and Work:

 

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