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Fifty Sense: Common Sense Ideas for Thriving after 50
Fifty Sense: Common Sense Ideas for Thriving after 50

Höglandsleden (Highland trail) in Sweden

What better way to travel to Sweden than to take a backpacking trip through the Swedish countryside passing through small historic villages and Sweden's beautiful forested area along the way? Höglandsleden located in Småland in southern Sweden is a 450km trail that reaches from Isaberg Nature reserve to Mariannelund on the border of eastern Småland. This relatively easy hiking trail passes through a combination of forested areas as well as quaint villages with the typical Swedish-style red houses dating as far back as the 16th century.

The trail is well-maintained and marked with amenities along the way such as huts, shelters and toilets. Along the trail you can choose to sleep in shelters which are placed on the edges of small lakes where you find you will be the only guests around. In July the forests are full with wild berries and mushrooms making it easy to supplement the meals you pack with wild blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and cherries, and if you're lucky you might even find a patch of chanterelle mushrooms or the infamous Carl Johan mushroom. Berry picking and mushroom gathering is a favorite past-time in Sweden, so make sure you pick up a good mushroom guide for Scandinavia before leaving on your trip so you can take advantage of the forests' fruits and fungis.

The best part about backpacking in Sweden is the national policy of Allemansrätt, or Everyman's right, to tread almost everywhere in the Swedish countryside (see link Everyman's Right in Sweden). The main rule is that one should be considerate of nature and show respect to people and animals. This means it is free to overnight in the forests and fields which other people own as long as you are staying in one tent for one night before heading off the next day. You should keep your distance from any houses nearby and in populated areas you should always ask the property owner for permission to set up camp. Additionally as part of Everyman's right, it is free to pluck wild berries, mushrooms and flowers which are not protected or endangered. This makes backpacking in Sweden much more flexible and enjoyable!

The part of Höglandsleden (Highland trail) which begins around 8km east from Eksjö is highly recommended as it is well-marked and well- maintained passing by many lakes and small villages in-between densely forested areas. Just 2 km north of the point where Anebyleden (Aneby trail) meets Höglandsleden (Highland trail) you can take a short detour to Skurugata and Skuruhatt where you can either walk in a deep ravine, or climb to the top of a hill to catch a beautiful panaromic view of Småland. If you're lucky and the weather is warm enough, you can swim at the end of each day after you set-up camp along the lakeshore.

There are frequent and numerous bus and train connections passing near the Höglandsleden so it is easy enough to park your car at one end of the trail and take a bus or train to your car at the end of your trip. Eksjö is a quaint, medium-sized historic town which shouldn't be missed either at the beginning or end of your backpacking adventure along Höglansleden in Småland, Sweden.

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