One of our recent UK visitors requested nature time and Erstaviksbadet was at the top of our list. The Saltsjöbanan train line usually takes us here but Scott made the horrifying discovery that it would be closed for the rest of the year. I felt sad at the prospect of not visiting for that long, but thankfully the kommun set up a bus replacement option.
We hoped to swim here but ended up skipping it due to an algae bloom along the shore. It’s not something we’ve ever seen Erstaviksbadet and I read it’s usually the result of light combined with warm water temperatures in areas like this (where there are few gardens, roads and industry creating run-off). More like a scene from Ghostbusters.
With swimming out of the question, we declared lunchtime! Leftover homemade västerbotten paj, boiled potatoes and rye bread.
Seeing fire ban signs was no surprise given the whole area was really dry — we were at extreme risk of forest fires in this area (and many more across Sweden). There was a strong smell of pine needles and wood in the air.
We’ve been to Erstaviksbadet many times but never seen this sign. Curiosity got the better of us and we followed the narrow trail beside it, up a hill, and discovered a wooden building on top. It was a small refreshments shop! I was over the moon to find ice cream in the forest on such a hot day. Finally time to try a Piggelin (first launched in 1972!).
You might be laughing at the “slut” stickers — that means end or final here. Not the kind of slut we know of as English speakers.
This tiny trail leads you up to the most wonderful sight of all… Trehörningen lake. Our afternoon swim spot. Much needed because it was a stinking hot day.
The water was pretty mild — although I suspect living in Scandinavia has skewed my concept of that. Marbled with warm and cold pockets, horizontally and vertically. I enjoy swimming around not knowing what I’ll get next, and moving between the two feels like a bit of an energy boost. A fish popped up out of the water next to me and I almost jumped out of skin.
We dried off and ate snacks at this vindskydd — it’s the tiny cabin you can see in the first lake photo above.
We snaked through the forest back towards Tenntorp. It was now very humid and I was starting to struggle with the heat, so we walked slowly for a while. It was a good chance to take in how much of the forest would be carpeted in wild blueberries soon (spoiler: lots).
These huge rocks are one of the things I love most about Swedish landscapes. They soak up tons of heat in the Summer though; you end up getting cooked from the sun above and the heat rising from rocks under your feet.
We eventually made it to the natural spring at Sandakällan. Mineral rich water filtered by a pebble ridge running next to lake Sandasjön, and various other layers, as it travels towards this spot. It’s ice cold even on a hot day. According to local information, the water has flowed here for millennia; imagine all the people from history who have stood drinking water in the same spot.
The refill would get us through the last section of our hike. A bus stop was originally the end destination but we ended up stopping for dinner at a roadside Thai shack because we were too hungry.
The Thai food from Thai Take Away on Ältavägen is some of the best I’ve had! We planned to take it back to the lake but we were all hot and tired by that point, and the forest mosquitos were blood thirsty, so we ate on the benches outside instead.
A perfect end to the day!