There are many ways in which travel can go wrong.
You may realize you’ve left your passport at home only when arriving at the airport. The accommodation you’ve booked is nothing similar to what you had expected. You got food poisoned the day before an 8 hour car ride across sunny Mexico. Maybe you were confident that your skin could do with sunshine in Buenos Aires… and yet you got seriously sun burned on your first day in the city. Or maybe your summer festival gets partly cancelled due to extreme wind conditions and a threatening fire.
However, it might as well have been something much simpler: an unexpectedly long lasting rain shower in the middle of a full day hiking adventure.
That was the case of our hiking trip in Igmarsö.
We were warned a few days in advance. Even 5 days before the trip, my mobile weather widget announced showers on saturday afternoon.
Showers. – I thought – We’ll be hiking in fields and forests. I’m sure we can find shelter for those few rain drops.
After a two and a half hours boat ride, passing hundreds of islands, we reached Ingmarsö – one of the comparatively larger islands in the Stockholm archipelago. We were warmly greeted by our local guide, who patiently waited at the dock and offered us two very convenient rain jackets.
As we began our walk our walk, we quickly understood that we weren’t at an ordinary place – Ingmarsö, which is 10 kms long and only 1 km wide, is populated by not more than 150 people all year round. There is one grocery store, conveniently located at the docks. Locals walk or ride small 4×4 carts to get around and rarely take the ferry to Stockholm – our guide hadn’t been back for over a year’s time. It was clear to me that living in the Archipelago is something a few heart, independent and very hard-knocking souls can do.
It started raining more violently – so our guide kindly invited us to have lunch at her home, which wasn’t that far away from where we were.
When I think of the Stockholm Archipelago, I think of red-burgundy wood houses surrounded by high contrast green. As we approached our guide’s home, I couldn’t believe the authenticity of what we had in front of us. It was all I had imagined… and more. Piles of wood were stocked next to the house for the cold days (which were plenty). And from the porch, a plain view over the water and neighbor islands. From inside the house, emerged a man (our guide’s brother) who was kindly preparing an abundant hot lunch.
We chatted over food, coffees and deserts. About Sweden, Latin America, life choices and learning to listen to one’s heart. Our guide was, during the rest of her time, a life coach that helps people find their vocation. Who would have thought that our rainy hike through Ingmarsö would teach us such great life lessons!
After the lunch break, we continued our way east to reach the point in which we would have to row to Finnhamn. Now don’t get me wrong – I’m all about adventure. But rowing in heavy rain was probably a bit too much. We arrived at the next island soaked wet and cold, and still had more than an hour walk until we reached the island’s hotel. I couldn’t be more thankful for that cup of hot tea.
It might have not been the most convenient time to hike weather wise (I do wonder how Igmarsö looks like with a shiny sun and people jumping in the sea) – but it was a great insight into rural life in the Archipelago. Plus, I’m quite sure I’m now one step closer to not noticing the rain any more, british style!
Route: Ingmarsö and Finnhamn (Sweden). I wish I knew the route, but it was partly trail-less!
Elevation gain uphill: practically none
Elevation gain downhill: practically none
Length: around 7 km
Duration: 2 hrs (a bit more if you count in the rowing!)
Difficulty: Super Easy, like – there’s no excuse, really.
Tour guide: Stockholm Adventures