May 29-31, 2020 I’ll be attending the first ever European Trail Days which will be held just outside Umeå, Sweden. Before the event I’ll be hiking the 42 km Tavelsjöleden Trail which starts in Umeå and stretches up to Lake Tavelsjö in the north-west. Apparently I should keep an eye open for the mythical Tavelsjö lake monster when I am up there.
Trip Planning for Tavelsjöleden
I did want to take the train up to Umeå but I could not find suitable departure and arrival times on the SJ website. I would of had to take two extra days off work and there were too many changes involved. When I did find a trip that could of worked with two extra travel days it was not available because of “track maintenance planning underway”. In the end I gave up and opted for airfares instead which I hate because I don’t enjoy flying.
So I’ll be flying in to Umeå from Copenhagen on May 26, 2020 and staying at the Hotel U&Me located in the very centre of town on Storgatan 46A. On May 27 I need to purchase some fuel for my stove. I’ve already contacted both Naturkompaniet Umeå and Jaktia Umeå outdoor shops which are not far from the hotel and on my way to the trail (refer Tavelsjöleden Day 1 map). Both shops sell and stock the 100 gram & 230 gram gas canisters and they open at 10:00 am. The address for Naturkompaniet Umeå is Västra Esplanaden 5 and Jaktia Umeå can be found at Parkgatan 2.
Hotel U&Me is a new and modern digital hotel. There is no reception and you check-in just like at the airport. There is also phone assistance if required. I contacted the hotel about storing one piece of luggage for the five days that I will be away before returning on May 31. They have confirmed in an email Feb 8, 2020 that their sister hotel Stora Hotellet, which is in the same building complex just on the north side of Hotel U&Me, will be able to store my sports bag for me. I’ll be packing some fresh clothes for the return flight home so the sports bag will protect my expensive lightweight backpack when checked in as luggage while flying. I should be able to store my trekking poles in the bag during the flights as well.
Tavelsjöleden Day 1 – May 27, 2020
After I have checked out of the hotel and purchased a 230 gram gas canister at the outdoor shop I guess one could say that I’ll be off to a late start on day 1. Therefore I have only planned to hike 13 km today May 27. I will walk first in a northern direction out of town passing over the railway lines. Then my hike takes me parallel to the train tracks heading towards the north-west.
Straight over the train tracks and at Industrivägen 10 the new Backpackinglight.se showroom is located. Backpackinglight.se are the main event arrangers/sponsors for European Trail Days.
I will camp at the Rättberget wind shelter site on night 1. There is no water at the site but lake Piparbölessjön is only 1 km away.
*** IMPORTANT UPDATE Feb. 10th 2020 ***
The trail will most likely be closed just after the start of the trail at the southern terminus due to construction of the new railway in the I-20 forest (4 km from the start) in April 2020. However in 2019 a new part of the trail has been created starting at Umeå river just 100 meters from U&ME where I will be staying. This trail then merges with the old trail at Hamptjärnsberget. With this diversion I will walk 16 km on day 1. Please refer to the above image for my new route.
Tavelsjöleden Day 2 – May 28, 2020
This should be a relaxing day with a total of 27 km to walk. I’ll walk by Lake Tavelsjö making sure that the lake monster doesn’t get me and then head west away from the lake at at Lyckebo. Camp 2 will be at the Torrberget wind shelter site. There is no water at the site so I’ll have to plan to pick some up on the way.
Tavelsjöleden Day 3 – May 29, 2020
This is a short and final day for the hike. My plan is to get up late and pack camp down with no rush. Then there is only 7.7 km to the location for European Trail Days 2020 which officially starts at 12:00 pm. First I hike west to the Vindel River and then follow the river north up to Trail Days. The river is well known for the fantastic fishing and white water rafting. I will walk a total of just over 50 km for the 3 days from my hotel to the Trail Days event at Glassbonden.
European Trail Days 2020 – May 29 to 31, 2020
The address of the event location is:
Västra SELET 4
911 92 Vännäs
This event is not a new phenomena. The American Trail Days is a festival held each year in May, on the weekend after Mother’s Day, in the Appalachian Mountain town of Damascus, Virginia. Trail Days celebrates the Appalachian Trail and the hikers, former hikers and aspiring hikers that converge there each year.
The European Trail Days will operate in a similar fashion. Here are the main points:
- there will be UL cottage companies from around the world: Locus gear from Japan, Gossamer gear from USA, Liteway equipment from Ukraine, Sierra designs and more
- retailers: test gear from some of Europes premier UL vendors
- speakers at the event include:
- Glen Van Peski founder of Gossamer Gear
- Jörgen Johansson who is the author of Vandra Fjäderlätt, the bestselling book that introduced ultralight and lightweight backpacking techniques to a Swedish audience
- Chris Townsend journalist and adventurer
- Linda Åkerberg founder Wilderness Stories
- Kenneth Shaw owner of backpackinglight.se & author of the book Ultralight and Comfortable
- music and camp fire
- various workshops & keynotes
Last day logistics issue – May 31, 2020
I have one logistics issue that I hope to have solved before I arrive at Trail Days in May. It seems to be a little difficult to get to and from Glassbonden by bus from Umeå. First one has to travel to Vännäs Resecentrum (by bus or train) and from there you travel by bus #153 or bus #154 to Västra Selet. Furthermore the time table of the busses seem to coordinate with the school hours, so travelling by bus is not as easy as it is claimed on the EU Trail Days website. It appears that I can’t catch a bus on Sunday May 31 down to Vännäs Resecentrum. Monday will be too late. I need to get to Umeå on Sunday afternoon/evening!
I have contacted Visit Umeå whom I asked for help to understand the bus time table which you can find here. I received a very helpful and prompt answer from them. They confirmed my findings with the bus timetable and gave me some additional information about the “Kosläpp” below. I have to say that all the different companies and organisations that I had contacted for this trip planning were all fast to reply and they answered my questions 100%. A big thumbs up to them all especially Visit Umeå 👍.
Apparently Glassbonden (where the event will be held) usually doesn’t open for the season until mid June, however, there is something called “The cow release” (Kosläpp in Swedish) which is usually held at the end of May. This is when the cows get to start grazing in the fields. Glassbonden always has a special event open to the public that day. Maybe there will be arranged special transport for this day? I will be contacting Visit Umeå again at the start of May to find out if they have any updated information.
In a worse case scenario I could leave early on Sunday and walk the 22 km down to Vännäs Resecentrum where I can catch a train or bus back to Umeå.
Vännäs is 30 km away from Umeå and is only 20 minutes by train. Visit Vännäs has a helpful site with transport links here.
Maybe there will be arranged special transport on May 31? Maybe I can hitch a ride with one of the event’s participants to either Umeå or Vännäs? Or maybe I have to walk the 22 km down to Vännäs? Anyone that can help me then I would be very appreciative. Please comment below if you can help me out or you have additional helpful suggestions. Please also leave a comment if your are intending to come to the event as well 😀.
*** IMPORTANT UPDATE Feb. 10th 2020 ***
European Trails Days are now working on getting a bus service for Sunday May 31, 2020. I’ll keep you updated when I hear any news and post it here.
January 30, 2021
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic the event was cancelled. Both my flights were cancelled by the airline as a consequence and to this date I have never received a refund. Although I did receive a refund for my hotel reservations. I have still never travelled to Umeå and the region.