Cabin Host Series, Part I: Unna Allakas

Every cabin that is served by the Swedish Tourist Organization (STF) is hosted by one or more mountain cabin hosts working as volunteers to make you visit both safer and more pleasurable.
The series introduces you to some of these “heroes of the mountains”!
Meet Torgny in Unna Allakas:

 

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Peace // Claes

Hike of 2016 – Day 2

2016-08-20-08-53-47Another early morning, got up at 5:00, got some water boiling for coffee and started my morning routines. After some reading, meditation and a couple of coffees, some jerky with coconut oil, cheese, salami and nuts I was ready to break camp and get going. There had been some downpour during the night and my dishcloth from Wettex did  great service as usual, I totally recommend carrying one of those!

Hike went smooth, trail was in good shape and, again, I was amazed by the low water levels in streams and lakes. It was super easy to cross compared to last year and even the crossing at Valfojåkkå, normally a tough one, could probably have been doable without even changing shoes. Still, the pack being far to heavy, I didn’t risk it. Changing into my Crocks was quick enough and the water wasn’t even that cold, I remember the snow and ice floating here last year and that memory made this years experience even more comfortable 😉

About 2km south of the crossing I reached the Valfojåkkå safety cabin and stopped for lunch, cold wind from the north and intermittent rain mixed with some snow made the decision to take a longer break easy and it had been 2,5h before I continued.
Had it been later in the day I’d probably camped near the cabin, especially as they installed an outhouse next to it since last year.

Second part of the day offered only two surprises:

– I actually met some people on the trail
– The last river crossing before Unna Allakas (Ruovssokjohka) could be done stepping from rock to rock without having to change shows – in all the years that never happened before 😃

The trail was in really nice shape and only the last part along Skangalanjavri before the descent slightly muddyimg_4379, still so much easier than previous years.

Unna Allakas as usual peaceful with a marvelous view over the lakes and further west in Norway

the majestic Storsteinfjellet with its beautiful glaciers.

After raising the tent and chatting with the cabin host I met some other guests at the cabin, helped a few with tips on trail choices, day tours in the area etc and then hitting the sauna hard 😉
Wow, was that a treimg_4380at for my leg muscles as well as neck and shoulders, so grateful that I these days am hiking for the enjoyable experience and not, like in the early years, to try my limits and prove how much I can take 😜
Dinner was awesome and I went for solitude in the tent soon after finishing my meal, reading some while still light and soon dosing of to sleep after another fantastic day!

 

The journey continues, please share this with friends and loved ones who might benefit or be interested!

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Peace // Claes

 

The start: Hike of 2016 – Day 1

Woke up early, frankly a lot earlier than I had to, with most of my stuff already packed. Only had to add the fresh food and then get some gas for the stove (they don´t allow that in checked in or carry on baggage…) as well as some red for the first evening after landing in Kiruna. It turns out the pack ends up at 30kg…too heavy for my taste…gotta eat some salami and parmesan cheese during the first days 😉

Leaving home at 5:45AM to catch the airport coach, check-in is smooth and I have plenty of time for a coffee at Arlanda airport. Departure is slightly delayed (original time 8:30), conditions are good and we land on time 10:00.

On the plane I reflect on the fact that I still have not really planned out the tour and feel weirdly relaxed and even content about that. That´s something different, a new observation and I look forward to where this non-planning might lead me – trusting that it is all for the best I order a ticket online for the train leaving Kiruna at 11:58.
I normally prefer going by buss in this area as there´s so much more to be seen, this year the connection was just to off and I didn´t want to spend 2,5h extra in Kiruna.

Approaching Abisko, the place that popped into my head when ordering the ticket, I decided on short notice to stay on the train a little longer. One of the main objections for me on this tour was to have the quite time by myself to internally work through my recent divorce and some deeper issues in my relationship to her.
So, it felt proper to start the tour on the same trail the two of us started our four week hike last year, and so I did.

Getting of the train in Katterjåkk around 14:00 I immediately got onto the trail, first part being more 2016-08-19 14.05.50of a dirt road, heading south along the Norwegian border. Weather was overcast and mostly rain free though it was obvious that there had been some rain earlier. Trail was in part pretty muddy and I was grateful for my high shaft boots, never needing to have a second though when passing wet areas. The same day was the start of “KEX” a mountain race for long distance runners and most of them had used parts of the trail leaving it a bit run down and very muddy.
Just about 4km in the traces of these runners disappeared and I found myself virtually alone in nature, just the way I like it to be.

2016-08-19 14.24.51Compared to the year before river crossing proved to be super easy with low water flow in the creeks and rivers, the result of less snow last winter and a summer that had been a lot drier than in many previous years. Some of the smaller creeks were actually carrying no water at all and I quickly picked up the habit of drinking a little extra every time I crossed a bigger one. It´s just a bad idea to let oneself get dehydrated during a hike!!!
Despite of the rather heavy pack I did the good 10 km to Stour Kärpel in about 3,5h and decided to stay near the security cabin. With no one else around it just was comfortable to get out of the cold wind and cook inside, later hitting the tent I raised in a decent spot I know from earlier hikes.

First night out is always special, I really enjoy the close proximity to nature, the sound of flowing water is comforting and, knowing my gear, I´m super convinced that the tent can take any beating the wind brings on during the night.

The journey continues, please share this with friends and loved ones who might benefit or be interested!

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Peace // Claes