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Articles / Cuckoo Trek -2018

Published: 2018-05-17
Category: Camps, Treks & Adventures

Since the fall of 2017 the S.M.M. has had a bit of bad luck when it has come to getting together on the ground. Bad luck was darn close to hit again when the date for this spring trek was closing in. But with a few last minute changes for the better at least two of us managed to pull it off.

Spring trek was the ambition, and spring in this part of Sweden usually means pleasant wool shirt temperatures in the sun (if it pleases to show) and frost during the night with green up just starting. When Gvido parked his French steel mule on Thursday evening we rather had the pleasure to present prime summer. Even the old oak trees were green.

Friday May 11
After a civilized breakfast we threw our gear into the car, attached the canoe to the roof and headed north to a lake system previously unchartered by the SMM. An hour later we left the modern world behind as we paddled through a beautiful natural gateway between two lakes.

Our planned route involved a few short portages and shallow stretches. If the water level had been just a few inches lower, we would not have been able to get through. The goal was a round shaped lake where we hoped to find a good place to throw our blankets. Unfortunately, the lake didn’t live up to our expectations due to a bunch of fishermen boating around. So with energy levels getting low (for me at least) the decision to head back was not made with the enthusiasm normally shared on treks like these.

Backtracking our way to one of the first lakes we passed through proved to be a good decision. We found a good spot to make camp and decided to make a lean-to shelter from an oilskin tarp due to thunderstorms being predicted in the area.

With the kettle boiling over the fire, filled with venison and rice, Gvido melted lead and cast a few rounds for his smoothbore. I decided to continue an always ongoing experiment with historical alternatives to “char cloth” as tinder. Punk wood and another method of making charred cloth tinder without a tin-can was tested with great results. Moose poo was discussed, but non that was old and dry enough was found.

Saturday May 12
A few observations from the night was; no rain what so ever, with early summer comes early mosquitoes, and, cuckoo birds obviously don’t shut up until after dark.

With some re-heated stew in our meat sacks, and gear packed tight into the canoe we were heading for a somewhat unorthodox portage. With one lake system scouted we had to utilize the car in order to reach another well-known water route; good old Snaggy River (Storån).

Back in the canoe we were soon back in the right mood and our first snag worthy of a portage was hit. With more snags being ducked, paddled around or chopped down we reached our previously used camp site early in the afternoon.

Some jerked meat and coffee was our first priority before setting our traps*. With the water being so pleasant and Gvido smelling so badly (according to me) I was somehow the one who ended up taking a bath. While wet I decided to get my old straight razor out to find that hipster mustache hiding in my beard like excuse for facial hair.

Refreshed but hungry we got some jerked meat and special beans with some sort of Santa Fe connection boiling … forever. But it was worth the wait! Two full cups of stew, coffee and a few pipe smokes later we tucked ourselves in for the night fighting to get most of the mosquitoes away before closing the blanket cocoon listening to; “cuckoo cuckoo”.

Sunday May 13
Appearently Swedish mosquitoes can bite through a thick wool blanket. Didn’t know that. Still learning! The unusually warm night temperatures made my sleeping time a fight between fresh air and keeping the bloodsuckers out by putting the blanket over my head. Had a very similar experience on the Bitterroot River last summer even though this wasn’t half as bad. Gvido claimed he had never slept better…

A few cups of coffee and Santa Fe beans was a good way to start the morning. Like always Sunday means packing out, and so we did. Going back to the car was an interesting new experience. For some reason we always plan our canoe treks to go with the current. This time we had to force our way against it. Well, it didn’t take much forcing in the calm current. Just a few more paddle strokes per minute.

With the canoe back on the roof of the car, this spring, or summer trek rather, was at its end. Next time we meet will be at rendezvous! Waugh!

*as always Swedish hunting laws were abided. No traps were loaded or left unattended.
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