Hiking the High coast trail, we have experienced many different comfort levels and heating devices in the stugas we stayed at.
Last night, after a hike up through the wet forest in the Höga Kusten, we arrived at a small stuga. Happy to see a small wooden cottage in the distance and eager to discover what surprises it would hold, we sped up in our soaking hiking boots and opened its door… to discover a small and dark room, with a desk, two wooden beds, a closet, a tiny stove, and about two dozens of a wide variety of insects trying to escape through the only small window…
At sight, we can find only three pieces of dry wood and a lighter. It has been raining for most of the day, and everything around is wet. We look at each other and go straight into emergency mode, starting to search for dead small wood with a bit of moss on it as well as bigger pieces. When there is enough to start trying building a small fire, I go back inside, study the rusty stove a bit desperately, wondering how to start and maintain a fire in its Lilliputian combustion chambre and very doubtful of its ability to get us dry and keep us warm for the night. Looking into a small closet, I find some guest-books and seriously consider burning them… After all, I decide to use the four remaining pages of an A5 notepad with its cardboard cover.
As best as I can, I insert the tiniest wood I have, put the paper in the middle, the cardboard on top, turn the moss so that it would catch fire, cross every finger I can… and lit the paper… Flames… Still flames… It seems to be working and thanks to the wet wood that Marcella keeps bringing in, I try to maintain the fire. Puzzled and worried when the stove starts howling and the stuga gets smoky, she runs outside to make sure that the smoke is getting out the chimney. This being checked, each of us goes back into her mode: fire or wood.
I am very focused on the fire and I organize myself, with a small pile of dry wood, a big pile of wet wood and I put the wet wood on the stove to dry it piece by piece. After about 30 minutes, we gather in the stuga, realizing that we were so afraid of freezing at night that we have slightly overdone it! The temperature in the stuga feels like a mild sauna. We end up in tank tops, with the window open, overlooking a few patches of snow!
This little stove kept us so hot all night long that we slept in our silk sheets only, waking up regularly to add some wood and open the door to ventilate and lower the temperature a bit. Even though it is not very cosy, the efficiency of the radiant heat of this little stove is incredible… Only the thermostat is missing!
Marcella & Claire
- For a comprehensive list of stugas in the High Coast trail area, including GPS coordinates and commodities, refer to Stuga hopping in the Höga Kusten area.
- Check out this interactive map (quick tutorial) for the specific details to help you plan your trip and more articles and photos (zoom out) about the area!