After several weekends of wanting to go for a walk but having to do other things, I actually got out today and walked section 5:3, from Hemfosa to Paradiset.

It was a beautiful day for walking – a few degrees below freezing, overcast but still relatively bright. The temperature has been below zero for a while so the ground was all firm rather than muddy. And the ground was covered with a fresh blanket of fluffy snow. I love walking on untouched snow, and that feeling of being alone in the forest.

There was a stretch in the middle where the trail went along roads, which I didn’t much enjoy, but most of it was pleasant walking through the usual fir-pine-bilberry-rock forests. This section of the trail is quite far from major roads and the commuter train lines, plus the snow muffled any remaining noises, so everything was wonderfully quiet.

The fresh snow and the lack footprints meant I could see a lot of paw prints instead. Fox, hare, squirrel, deer, and even moose I believe, plus tiny prints of unidentifiable tiny rodents.

All was great except lunch, which was very cold. My big mittens are warm and weatherproof but impossible to hold a spork with, so I had to switch to gloves, and even though I ate as fast as I possibly could, I felt like my fingers were going to turn into icicles and fall off. It took me a good while to get them warm again afterwards.

The last part of my walk went through the Paradiset nature reserve. I don’t know what it is about that place – it’s the usual pine forest over granite, but somehow it manages to look prettier than other similar forests. The moment I cross the boundary of the nature reserve, it’s like the pines become more elegant and the snow lies extra fluffy on their boughs. I noticed the same effect when section 3 crossed into the Tyresta national park.

The trail passes by Tornberget which is apparently the highest point in the greater Stockholm area. There’s a viewing tower with views of nearly endless flat pine forest in all directions. Uniform and not particularly interesting.

As usual the official distance is one thing and reality is different, what with having to actually get to and from the trail. The section starts where Sörmlandsleden crosses a public road, but it’s a kilometre from the train station to that spot. And the section ends in the middle of the forest, not even near a road of any kind, so there’s one kilometre to get to a road and then another to the nearest bus stop. In total the 15 km trail section became a 18 km walk. Starting at 9, finishing just before 15 – perfect use of daylight hours.