Hike of 2016 – Day 8

Rest day yesterday did wonders for my tendon, probably supported by some anti inflammatory drugs I got from fellow hikers. Normally I don’t do that stuff, by hey, this was kinda a special occasion 😇
Swelling went down fine and I’d say it healed more than 50% since my arrival here.
My original plan was to head east south east and cross the high plateau towards Alimg_4541esjaure spending one night at over 1200m (3600ft) yet looking at the clouds having gathered up there over night another change of plans was an easy decision!
I had actually never done the “normal” trail from Unna Allakas towards Abiskojaure and so this should be the day. As you might have picked up I like to keep of the all too beaten path and stay on more deserted trails, now at the begin of the off season seemed like a good time to try this trip out.
Staying an extra hour or so while drying my tent in the wind assured a complete dry start, trail was super easy and actually very enjoyable. Nice views of The Valley, virtually no people, except the Austrian mountain bikers overtaking me, before I met two other people from the cabin who started earlier and just stopped for lunch.img_4545
I decided to join them and after the meal we had company until I left the main trail to cross the river and head east while they continued to Abiskojaure.
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After crossing the bridge I got lucky and found the original foot trail leading east despite the area
being full of quad trails from the Sami’s driving reindeer from one area to another and gathering them for marking earlier during the summer season. It was a beautiful hike first through birches and soon passing the tree line opening up a nice view again.
Reaching Kungsleden (the Kings trail) I turned south and followed it just a few km before heading east again crossing over to the eastern side of the lakes just north of Radujavri. Something I definitely only recommend if you’re very experienced and preferably in a group of two or more people, that crossing was rather difficult. Water up to knee deep, partly slippery stones and the river wide enough to put the cold water into play, I’m grateful for the still warm rays of the late afternoon sun fighting off the cold wind. Anyway, after a quick wash I didn’t take long to get the camp ready and some dinner cooking. Just shortly after food was ready it started raining again and I retired to the tent, to be frank just as much because of the cold wind as the rain.
Despite the hike having been far from strenuous I felt weary after good 25km and the river crossing, grateful for the tendon still feeling a lot better than the day before I had an early night after reading a little.

The journey continues, please leave a comment to tell me what You think and share this with friends and loved ones who might benefit or be interested!

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Peace // Claes

Hike of 2016 – Day 7

img_4526Woke up when the sun starts heating up the tent (it disappeared behind clouds pretty soon, though…), unzipped the sleeping bag and just enjoyed being lazy for a little while before leaving the tent and breaking camp.
Right tendon more swollen and I decided on a short hike of just 3-4km to Unna Allakas and spend the rest of that day resting at the cabin, already looking forward to the evening sauna.
Funny how the close proximity of a sauna can enhance the feeling of needing to clean up 😉
Upon arrival I raised the tent in my favorite spot before entering the cabin and greeting Torgny who was pretty surprised to see me again so soon.
Inside the cabin is another guy on rest day, Birger, who started his hike on July 10th and now is on his way to meet his girl friend I’m Abisko, hike the next part together with her and then finish alone towards the very northern parts of Norway.
Amazing conversations, great company and lots of food made the day fly by while the cabin slowly filled up with people, leaving us with a very international lot from 6 different countries including a couple from Austria mountain biking along the trails, a guy from Belgium who had hikes the glacier of Storsteinfjellet alone (NOT recommended) and was lucky enough to come down alive…
And a group of mountain runners arriving later in the evening!
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Birger
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Belgian Alpinist
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The Runners
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Lisa from Germany and Guido from Italy
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Sauna was fantastic as expected and the view extraordinary!
After some more chatting, dinner and a few cups of tea I was ready for the tent.

The journey continues, please leave a comment to tell me what You think and share this with friends and loved ones who might benefit or be interested!

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Peace // Claes

Cabin Host Series, Part IV: Abiskojaure

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 Bosse in Alesjaure:

The journey continues, please leave a comment to tell me what You think and share this with friends and loved ones who might benefit or be interested!

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Peace // Claes

Off the Grid Hiker Live, and a Pilot Trip that´s double deadly!

Let me be up front with You…

No videos here – nope, not even one…

No pics either…

Just probably the most lovely information so far if You´d like to try out the Swedish Mountains in style 😀

As You might already guessed typing isn´t my favorite way to communicate so rest assure I think this post important due to all the text!

 

Now, let me adress the “double deadly” part of the head line, it´s not only there to get Your attention…
I use this phrase for a few things in life, Lappert´s Ice Cream on Kauai being one of them, and it just means that what I refer to is:

  1. Worth killing for
  2. Worth dying for

So, basically it´s something really cool, enjoyable, fun, extraordinary, unforgettable, magical, formidable, wonderful, fantastic, majestic, marvelous, etc (enter any superlative that comes to mind).

Just to get clear – there is nothing dangerous out there in these mountains, ok?  😀

For years people have asked me when I would start bringing people with me on tours as I´ve been in the mountains so many times and done so many trails up there.

It is a question that has been taking up more and more space in my thoughts since I got the idea for this blog and I started planning for doing the first group trip in August 2018.
To be able to serve people with different levels of experience, physical and mental performance and ability for time commitment I decided on building three different tours:

  1. Beginner – Little or no experience of hiking
  2. Intermediates – Done some hiking and camping and/or been on a beginners tour
  3. Advanced – Done the intermediate tour with me and want to get into wilder areas

So, what does this mean and what are the requirements?

First thing first – all three tours are planned to go for a week, usually noon Sunday – noon Saturday, which allows for an extra night out if needed before I go on the next tour.
The plan is to be back Saturday, we just need to plan for the plan not working out 100%  😉

Why a whole week? Well, that´s an easy one…
No matter how prepared we think ourselves to be, this is a new experience for the body every single time. It takes a few days to adjust to carrying a back pack and move over uneven ground where no step resembles the one before.
So, if we only go hiking for 2-3 days You never get into the flow where You really get to enjoy the surroundings and the experience of nature I want You to have.

We hike in small groups, I put the cap at 10 people/group (and if You´re the 10th person Your spouse can come also, that´s it though) to make sure everyone gets some personal attention and one-on-one time with me.
This has the potential of being the hiking experience of a life time, if I can enhance Your journey, just let me know along the way!

In my experience the month of August provides the best conditions, usually the nicest weather in the season, mosquitos start to disappear and the ground has dried out from the melted snow.
That´s why I do all three tours back to back – I wanna give You all the best possible circumstances to enjoy the hike!

We always start from one of the larger Swedish Tourist Stations were You can get a cooked meal (yes, with adult beverages if You like), sauna or shower and a room (if You,re tired of Your tent) upon return from the tour:
I highly recommend to stay a day or two extra at the station when back from the mountain as there are beautiful day tours to be had and just chilling for a day isn´t that bad either!

Please observe that we carry everything we need with us, detailed equipment lists are provided once Your application is accepted, there are some cabins where You can by additional provision yet I don´t recommend counting on them.
We´re in the wilderness and weather conditions, blisters (they are preventable and I´ll tell You what to do), physical exhaustion (shouldn´t happen if we are all honest with each other) might force a change of plans.

BTW – Your cell phone does not work once were out of sight from civilization, put them in flight mode to save the battery and use the camera function only!
This is part of being Off the Grid and a highly therapeutic experience!!!
Now let´s get to the differences between the groups!

Beginners: 
You always wanted to go on a hike, just never got to it due to a million reasons, or maybe You used to hike years ago and want to get back into it again. Whatever reason You have to join You want a relaxed and safe experience away from the main tourist trails and enjoy the company of a few like minded people.

Requirements:

  • You have Your own personal gear: clothes, boots, rain gear, back pack, sleeping bag, mattress, stove, cutlery, etc
    A detailed list is provided open admission and I kindly ask You not to get anything before You know what to buy, ok?
  • You carry Your own provisions (food), detailed instructions on what to bring and how to prepare it are provided.
  • You are prepared to leave any extras behind at the station if I consider that necessary to keep the weight of Your pack down
  • You can carry 20kg (44lbs) for up to 20km (12.5 miles) in a day (this is the maximun, most days are shorter), this is important for the safety of the group.
    Please talk to me if You´re not sure, ok?
  • If You don´t have (or can borrow) a tent that is fit for mountain use (if Your not sure about it, talk to me), You must let me know upon admission for me to provide a solution!
    I can get some extra and am happy to help out if I just know it´s needed.
    Failing to do this results in having to rent a tent from the tourist station at Your own expense.

What You get:

  • A one week specially designed tour through some of the most beautiful valleys and ridges of northern Sweden (and maybe Norway)
  • One day tour climb to see the view from a mountain peak, this is provided that the weather conditions allow for it to happen in a safe way
    Should You prefer to have a rest day instead, You have the option to stay in the camp or take a short walk around the area
  • Detailed instructions what to bring/not to bring
  • Six week email course on preparation of equipment and provision
  • 3 group calls with Q&A on preparation
  • Personalized suggestions for physical preparedness (if needed)
  • 1 personal call to answer individual questions not adressed on group calls
  • Learn to use the map and the compass for navigation in mountain areas
  • Every two participants are provided a map and a compass to use for the duration of the tour
  • A short routine to warm up muscles and joints to get ready for the day and prevent injuries
  • Learn how to light and maintain a camp fire in a safe way, provided that the weather conditions allow for it to happen in a safe way
  • Personal attention and one-on-one time to get Your questions answered and help You make the most out of the experience

What´s the deal?

  1. Admission is on a first come, first serve basis – payment secures Your space in the group
  2. Be upfront with any physical or mental challenges, most of them can be solved
  3. Safety comes first, my decision is final on that point. Even if it means someone has to abort the tour early due to challenges
  4. Make sure You comply with passport and visa requirements, this is of no concern to anyone living in the EU, I can´t do anything if You get stopped at the border control
  5. Every participant is responsible for having insurance coverage, please check with Your provider that they cover physical activity (while traveling)
  6. No refunds, You can always transfer Your spot to another person if You can´t come, as long as he/she can be admitted
  7. I can´t do anything about the weather yet in every other area I promise to over deliver on my promises. You´ll have a blast when going through the experience as instructed!

Intermediates:
You either did the beginners tour with me or have some experience with hiking in the past and consider Yourself a somewhat advanced hiker (in any case we do a personal interview to make sure we have a fit). You want to see some more remote areas of the mountains in north Sweden and Norway and are willing to sacrifice some comfort and sweat equity for the experience. You know that Your physical and mental fitness carries You through the week even if weather gets rough or the hike is rather strenuous for a day or two.

Requirements:

  • You have Your own personal gear: clothes, boots, rain gear, back pack, sleeping bag, mattress, tent, stove, cutlery, etc
    A detailed list is provided open admission and I kindly ask You not to get anything before You know what to buy, ok?
  • You carry Your own provisions (food), detailed instructions on what to bring and how to prepare it are provided.
  • You have Your own compass and map of the area and know the basics of navigation
  • You are prepared to leave any extras behind at the station if I consider that necessary to keep the weight of Your pack down
  • You can carry 20kg (44lbs) for 15-30km (9.32-18.64 miles) in a day (this is the maximun, most days are shorter), this is important for the safety of the group.

What You get:

  • A one week specially designed tour through some of the most beautiful valleys, passes and ridges of northern Sweden and/or Norway
    Several opportunities to climb peaks, this is provided that the weather conditions allow for it to happen in a safe way
  • Detailed instructions what to bring/not to bring
  • Six week email course on preparation of equipment and provision
  • 3 group calls with Q&A on preparation
  • Personalized suggestions for physical preparedness (if needed)
  • 1 personal call to answer individual questions not adressed on group calls
  • Advanced use of the map and the compass for navigation in mountain areas, preparing You for navigation in all weather conditions
  • A short routine to warm up muscles and joints to get ready for the day and prevent injuries
  • Mountain safety, do’s and don´t’s when hiking in these areas
  • Personal attention and one-on-one time to get Your questions answered and help You make the most out of the experience

What´s the deal?

  1. Admission is on a first come, first serve basis – payment secures Your space in the group
  2. Be upfront at the interview – I use it to maximize the experience of the whole group
  3. Safety comes first, my decision is final on that point. Even if it means someone has to abort the tour early due to challenges
  4. Every participant is responsible for having insurance coverage, please check with Your provider that they cover physical activity (while traveling)
  5. No refunds, You can always transfer Your spot to another person if You can´t come, as long as he/she can be admitted
  6. I can´t do anything about the weather yet in every other area I promise to over deliver on my promises. You´ll have a blast when going through the experience as instructed!

Advanced: 
You have done the intermediate tour with me and want to take it one step further. We always do a personal interview to asess preparedness and any challenges needed to be solved up front.
No exceptions, for safety reasons I need to know You and what You´re capable of!
This is a partly very strenuous tour with tough climbs and potentially long days.

Requirements:

  • You have Your own personal gear, know what to bring and how to use it. You agree to 100% personal responsibility here
  • You carry Your own provisions (food), You know what you need and how much and the right preparation
  • You are responsible for the contains of Your pack, don´t pack what You don´t wanna carry
  • You can carry 20kg+ (44lbs+) for 15-30km (9.32-18.64 miles) in a day (this is the maximun, most days are shorter) in rough country with steep parts, this is important for the safety of the group
  • You are prepared that some days might drag out to 12 hours or more with no other stops than short snack & water breaks, depending on conditions

What You get:

  • Basically the coolest tour possible accounting for weather conditions, snow depth, ground conditions etc.
  • 7-8 days in company with like minded people enjoying nature pure with as little as possible contact with civilization
  • You learn to asess the mountain side before the climb, chose the path on rocky ground and the most efficient way of moving on rocks
  • Join me for the real favorite tours few people ever get to hike
  • An incomparable adventure that´s challenging physically, mentally and emotionally, leaving You with an unsurmountable feeling of power and joy upon completing

What´s the deal?

  1. Admission is on a first come, first serve basis – payment secures Your space in the group
  2. Be upfront at the interview – the safety of the group, and Your own, depends on this
  3. Safety comes first, my decision is final on that point. Even if it means someone has to abort the tour early due to challenges
  4. Make sure You comply with passport and visa requirements, this is of no concern to anyone living in the EU, I can´t do anything if You get stopped at the border control
  5. Every participant is responsible for having insurance coverage, please check with Your provider that they cover physical activity (while traveling)
  6. No refunds, You can always transfer Your spot to another person if You can´t come, as long as he/she can be admitted
  7. I can´t do anything about the weather yet in every other area I promise to over deliver on my promises. You´ll have a blast when going through the experience as instructed!

Costs involved:

  • The costs for personal equipment vary and depend on what You need to get new and what You could possibly borrow.
  • Provision and snacks – depends on what You get and where You get it, I usually end up with approximately $100-150/week (SEK 900-1400:-) when shopping locally and preparing most of my food at home
  • Air fare or train ticket to Kiruna – depends on where You travel from
  • Local transportation – no more than $100:- (SEK 900:-)
  • Sauna at the mountain cabins – approximately $12:-/person (SEK 100:-)

My fees:
Origin of participant determents currency, prices in US$ and € may be adjusted with exchange rate fluctuation.

  • Beginner: $497:- / €455:- / SEK 4500:-
  • Intermediate $297:- /€275:- / SEK 2700:-
  • Advanced $197:- / €185:- / SEK 1800:-


The “double deadly” Pilot Trip

Which brings us to the best part (I told You to read on, remember?) – July 30th I attended a very nice dinner in Kapaa, Kauai, HI with some good friends. Walking one of them, Andrei Jablokow, over to his car on the parking lot we talked about my project with Off the Grid Hiker and the live events I planned for 2018. Long story short he spent some effort influencing me to do a pilot trip in 2017 to get some testimonials and I agreed reluctantly. Not really sure back then if I´d have the time for all the planning and preparation.

Anyway, the decision was made and now it´s time to make it happen!

Here´s the deal for 2017:

Remember the Intermediate tour mentioned above? I know You do!
And You can always check the details above.

The Pilot Tour takes place July 30th through August 5th 2017 (Sunday-Saturday) with August 6th as back up day if needed.
I arrive in Abisko on Friday July 28th and stay near the station to help You out upon arrival, Sunday August 6th I go back into the mountains yet I recommend You to stay in the area a couple of days, it´s beautiful, serene and peaceful!

This is the one time opportunity to get in on that tour (with some add ons You find out about later) at the price of the Advanced tour. That´s a $100:- You can spend on other cool stuff like a couple of extra nights in Abisko or something like that.

More important is that I want Your honest testimonial to rave about the experience so I make this one a little special:

  • We hike through one of the most beautiful and famous valleys in the area, Cuonjavaggi (Lapporten), and camp at a beautiful water fall (Day 1)
  • Continue through Bessivagge before crossing Aliseatnu and follow Vierrojohka toward the mountains pass of Mårma (Day 2)
  • After crossing the pass (one of my favorite passes in this region) I leave You the choice of camping on a soft and comfy meadow at a beautiful lake or continue down to Vistas cabin for an evening sauna (Day 3)
  • Depending on the weather we follow Vistasvagge or Unna Vistasvagge on our way back towards Abisko (Day 4)
  • Staying east of the lakes and crossing over north of Radujavri adds some spice with a really marvelous river crossing most people never experience (Day 5)
  • After passing Bieggalouppal we turn northwards and follow Alip Hongganjivra which leads us into Ballinvagge (Day 6)
  • A nice and easy hike down to Abisko completes the tour (Day 7)

I know that these names don´t mean anything to most of You yet still think it´s nice to have the opportunity to look them up if You like.
This is not a tour I´d recommend anyone to go on by oneself as a first time exposure to these mountains, knowing what we´re doing it´s just a wonderful experience You remember forever!

That´s it for now, please share this with people who might be interested, I can always cut my vacation a week short and take on another group back to back with the first one. Price is gonna be the normal for Intermediate then, though, the tour is the same beautiful one!

Let me know if You want in, I expect this one to fill up and the rule is first come, first serve!
Mahalo, I appreciate You!

Peace // Claes

 

Hike of 2016 – Day 6

Waking up early img_4489with just a little bit of dew on the tent I stayed in the sleeping bag reading and just relaxing for some time enjoying the comforting sound from the river close by. What an awesome way to start a day, meditating to the sound of a natural stream with nothing to interrupt the peacefulness of nature.
Walked up to the cabin and checked my stuff around 8AM and everything was perfectly dry, even the boots. I just love to have changed back to plain boots without the Gore-Tex lining.
Not really hungry so I had a few cups of coffee with lots of water, got everything packed and started the hike around 9:30.
It did not take a lot of walking before the right Achilles tendon started throbbing again, I had checked it the night before and it is definitely swollen with some inflammation going on between tendon and sheet. Good news are that it´s only the pressure from the shoe that inflicts pain, working the muscles and tendon during the hike does not make it worse in any way.
After a short time I catch up with the Swedish couple and it turns out that Sören could give me a piece of his seat pad to put between the socks and relieve some of the pressure on the heel. This turns out to work really well and I continue to the small cabin where I find a sunny spot with protection from the wind and have a small snack with a few cups of tea.
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Another group from the university of Oulo arrive during my break and we have a nice chat, it turns out that everyone of their groups have one or two rather experienced member while the rest are pretty much rookies enjoying themselves on there first real mountain hike.
I´m impressed by how they organize their hiking trips several times per year, imagine this would be appropriated by other educational facilities. What extra value for the students!
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Second part of the hike is mostly down hill and very comfortable, I make the decision to finally get to spend a night at the beach of Cunojaure and only stop for some photos and brief water breaks.
Arriving at the beach 18:30 I can wash in the lake enjoying the last rays of the sun before it seems to disappear behind the mountains in the north west. Amazing suset!!!
img_4506Camp is set in a few minutes and I light a small camp fire to fend myself from a small number of mosquitos appearing from the water ponds and bushes near the lake.
img_4524Dinner, tea, some writing and reading and I´m ready for retiring to my tent falling asleep almost immediately on the comfortable bed of sand in the peaceful surroundings.

The journey continues, please leave a comment to tell me what You think and share this with friends and loved ones who might benefit or be interested!

By leaving Your name and email in the box below You get notification of futures posts and news!

Peace // Claes