Day 13 – August 9th 2017

09:20 Camp 1km East Alggajåhkå in Alggavagge

It’s been raining and quite windy all night and I rested/slept/stayed in my sleeping bag more or less twelve hours – I feel amazingly rested and recovered!
Now, for the last half hour or so there has been no more rain and I made tea and have some jerky and coconut oil for breakfast. Actually feeling hungry in the morning for once.
My plan for the day was to move on up the valley and turn east through Guohpervagge, yet for now it’s totally dependent on how the weather develops. Not having had a real rest day so far I’m actually ok with staying here, should the rain start pouring again. It’s just one of the things we can’t control, yet we can chose if we want to start a days hike in a rain storm or wait it out. I’m very grateful that I am in no hurry at all!!!

For now I’m happy having my tea and breakfast, when done with that I’ll just start get my stuff sorted and then see what it looks like outside. I’m rather positive that I’ll get back on the trail today as well!

19:40 Camp 300m east of Tjågnårisjågåsj on the mountain side above the trail

It turned out there was no more rain today – after finishing breakfast I wiped off the tent and the wind did the rest. Just before 11:30 I moved on with everything packed dry, just amazing how well things work out!

The actual trail runs rather far down the bottom of Alggavagge and that area was way to wet for my leather boots due to all the melting snow and the rain. I’m sure it’s wonderful and easy to follow at another time, yet today I was back at my reindeer tracks and the first part of today was through wet bushes again. Not my favorite, yet what a great metaphor for having to go through some trials and tribulations to get to the boon!
In this case, the wonderful soft and smooth mountain grass under my feet!
The higher part of Alggavagge is beautiful with huge plains o green grass and an abundance of camp sites, you could basically put a tent down almost anywhere up there.
This changes rapidly when starting to descend on the northern side, much rougher ground, more stones, yet still very pleasant to hike.
Crossing Guoperjåhkå was the real thing, murky water from the glaciers so I knew it would be cold.

 

It was impossible to see the depth so I chose a part with less strong current and left my pants off in case – turned out the water was never more than knee deep and the whole thing turned out to be just fun.
After walking a couple of hundred meters to get warm I stopped for coffee and a snack. At the same time renewing the tapes on my feet, they had become wet too many times to still stick.
Sitting there I saw two people with blue covers on their backpacks start up the hillside and turn the direction I was heading.
Turns out I catch up on them, two Swedish guys named Carl and Fredrik, a few km’s onward and we hike together to the next river crossing. Passing the emergency cabin at the bridge over Mihkajåhkå we stopped and looked inside – definitely a place to remember if ever in need for shelter in this area!
Also passed a German party of six people on the trail, I’m really quite surprised how many people move around here. I thought everyone was doing Sarek through Rapa valley and Rouhtesvagge.

Anyway, after the first river crossing over Mahtujågåsj, I continued by myself again and, once again, went for the reindeer tracks as the trail pushed through the wetlands lower down on the mountain side. Also I had my first close encounter with a reindeer herd on this trip, really nice to see them close up again. Especially the ones born this year are so adorable!!!
Little later I get to the next river to cross, Tjågnårisjågåsj, and find a nice snow bridge over the stream. Now, let me get one thing straight here, I don’t normally use snow bridges for crossing rivers and I certainly don not endorsed doing so! It’s potentially very dangerous as one can never know exactly how strong or thick the snow is or when or why it might break.
My decision today was built on two facts, first that an entire herd of reindeer had come this way before me and their tracks were all over the snow (and they probably didn’t cross one by one…) and secondly that I could see from both sides that the snow was over 1m thick and I had no reason to believe it would be thinner towards the middle.

That said, every situation like this has to be analyzed separately and one better be very sure, or else go downstream and wade!

This time all went well and I’m off to another night with amazing view and great, fresh air!

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

Day 12 – August 8th 2017

07:20 Camp at Alajavvre
Almost like a clockwork I now sleep for six full sleep cycles per night and wake up rested after around nine hours. It’s just amazing and I really hope to get used enough to this rythm that I can keep it up once home again.
This morning I woke up to the first beams of sunshine reaching my tent and start spreading some warmth on a rather chilly morning.
The night was pretty cold and I have a lot of condensation on the tent, one thing I haven’t really solved yet with this tent is how to get sufficient ventilation to minimize water condensing on the inside of the tarp. Thankfully it dries out pretty swiftly with sun, wind and some help from me wiping of the bigger drops.
It’s such a nice morning here and I feel like I have all the time in the world – I’ll just get my day started and the slowly motor on in the direction of Sarek.
Probably because of the cold night there are very few mosquitoes out this morning and I’m frankly not that keen on going down oven a hundred meters in elevation as there might have been warmer down there. My original plan is to hike Alggavagge to Gouhpervagge yet if there are to many mosquitoes I might go for higher ground.

However it’s been just amazing to enjoy my first cup of PF coffee outside and having the warm coziness of the tent dragging me back in, instead of the buzzing insects driving me!

And, talking about PF coffee, I’m upping my intake in the morning a little and just had a second cup. I’ve noticed my Ketonix readings going down the last few days and, thought I can say I’m definitely in nutritional ketosis from how I feel mentally, emotionally and physically, I’d like to test if more fat early in the day affect the measurements.
I can say, from the fitting of my clothes, that I used up some body fat and it might just make adding a little more nutritional fats necessary to start accessing more of my stores.
We’ll get a hint of that during the day, more on this tonight!
18:40 Camp 1km East Alggajåhkå in Alggavagge

Again I feel super lucky – I stopped early for the night, it was just after 17:00 when I found this beautiful spot with a view in all directions! Made camp, had dinner and just made a cup of tea when suddenly the rain started pouring down again after quite q few hours stop with blue skies and even some sun. And, looking out, I can see that this is going to go on for some time!

So, not only did I find another perfect camp site, I did it just in time to have everything ready when the downpour started, enjoying the warmth and comfort of a dry tent while listening to the falling rain – isn’t life just wonderful?!

This morning I got going at quarter past nine and followed the shore of Alajavvre for quite some time. Soft, friendly ground, so easy to walk on, and an abundance of campsites everywhere along the valley with pretty small streams merrily flowing down the hillside. Just a breathtakingly beautiful place!
Towards the eastern end of the lake the landscape turned wilder and rougher with more stones and rocks, yet still very easy to walk. At one point I ran into a marked trail that I didn’t bother to follow, preferring to find my own way as I didn’t known that this trail would help.
After turning northward to get around Nuortap Rissavarre I kept rather high on the mountain side to avoid the wetlands around the lakes and soon enough I could round the northern edge of this mountain.
The bridge over Miellädno was easy enough to spot from above, the tricky part was to get there without getting into wetlands or to much bush, turned out there were enough reindeer tracks to help out.
The bridge itself was nothing for the faint hearted, it’s in pretty bad shape and has a sign saying “This bridge is part ad a construction site, stepping onto or around it is prohibited”. Good thing that no one was around to enforce this rule…

Anyway, crossing the river any other way was out of the question, even of I a little later spotted a broader area about a km south of the bridge where wading might have been possible. I did have to change shoes to cross Gainejjågåsj and the water temperature was clearly below what I call pleasant.

Without even changing back into my boots I climbed the hill up to Alkavare Chapel and took a break outside. Until the first rain came, that is, then I went in for a little while. When the first shower had passed I changed into rain gear and continued my hike, soon after the next downpour came. At first I thought about turning back, yet I thought it would be just another shower, and there were some people showing up at the boat landing place at the lake and heading for the chapel. Funny enough I preferred the rain over strangers this time…
And I was right, the shower stopped after just 15-20 minutes and soon after I was fairly dry again. Except the bottom of my rain trousers, though, the trail went through scrubs and low bushes and they were wet from the rain, so shoes and trousers continued getting their share of that water.
The bushes and thicket continued for almost 7km and the trail was easily lost several times, yet always found again soon after. The original trail is drawn very close to the lake and there it’s rather easy to find and follow. Later, along Alggajåhkå, it leads through wetlands and with the conditions here right now I had to find another way, my boots can’t take that much water in a day without serious leaking. So, I was back on the reindeer tracks again…
If you haven’t tried hiking through these areas it’s really hard to explain how much energy it takes. Not only physical, through going back and forth and pressing on against the vegetation. It’s also mentally taxing as one needs to stay concentrated on finding the track and, at the same time, watch the steps.
I’m always very relieved once I’m through an area with this kind of vegetation and I sincerely do not look forward to them.
Anyway, all in all it has been another amazing day up here and I had a lot of time to contemplate life in general and some things specifically. It’s just amazing how simple life can be when we’re close to nature and far from the (so called) civilized world. When I’m fed, warm and dry I really don’t have much need for anything else out here. So how come I ‘need’ all that stuff back home to consider myself happy? I don’t know for sure, yet my best guess is habits. And habits can be changed by will!

 

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

Day 11 – August 7th 2017

10:00 Staloluokta cabin
As I got to bed a little later than usual I slept till around 07:30, waking up rested and feeling great. Soon thereafter I heard the first helicopter fly in over my tent and realized that I could very well could have had my sleep disturbed by civilization even in this remote area.
Thinking about sleep I definitely need to take a look at my sleep hygiene back home, I always thought I was woken up by the light in the morning, sneaking in through melt black-out curtains, yet here it’s really light all night and I sleep like a log.
Maybe it’s the physical activity, and actually that might be a part of the matter, though I think I need to get of my devices earlier in the evening and start really unwind and relax quite a few hours before bed time.
Easy enough to check, screen curfew after 19:00 when I get back home.
The weather this morning is, again, just amazing. Mostly sunny, with some clouds passing over the blue sky and a slight breeze blowing just enough to keep mosquitoes down most of the time.
This normally not being a high season for mosquitoes has been thrown off by the late spring and summer and apparently they hatched less than two weeks ago. So what normally occurs in late June and early July is now coming at us. Still, as long as there’s a wind blowing everything is good and I’m becoming increasingly more distinguished at ignoring them even when they’re around in droves.
I’m having a slow and easy morning here, cooked breakfast with the bacon and cabbage I got yesterday and plan to leave rather soon. The plan is to cross through Sarek to Saltoluokta fjällstation, probably a 4-5 day tour totally off the beaten track.
Knee feels ok and up to the task, there are a few river crossings that might be a challenge and I have alternate plans to follow if I can’t get over at some point. Good thing is that I have a lot of time still and don’t need to hurry the slightest.
As social an animal as I normally am, I really look forward to these days in solitude before hitting the Kungsleden again in Saltoluokta.
20:20 Camp at Alajavvre
I lingered at the cabin until 12:15 when I finally left for the trail leading east. I don’t know if it’s the extra food this morning, the worn out socks and underwear I threw away yesterday night of the repacking of the backpack for better balance – for the first time the pack felt comfortable! Still heavy, yes, but comfortable!
To say I’m happy about this would be an understatement of biblical proportions!
The trail I chose to start by ascends from behind the ‘Kyrkokåta’ and leads up the hill. Though unmarked, its very easy to find and follow and soon leads through a birch forest you definitely don’t want to fight your way through outside of the trail.
There are a few forks, just make sure to stay left and you’re good!
I left the trail once out of the forest to gain some elevation and get more wind, the mosquitoes in the wood were rather obnoxious. The trade of was going slower and finding my own line until I was back on the trail again by the lakes way on the other side of the hill.
From there I stayed on it until it was time to leave it behind and turn east towards Alajavvre. The area held a lot of scrubs and low bushes and I found a reindeer track to follow through the thicket. If you ever go of trail here and find your own way, just make sure to follow these tracks as much as possible, they usually mark the easiest route – not always the shortest one, though.
Passing the lakes on the plain before ascending for the last part of today’s hike, I found a beautiful, sunny spot, with wind, where I had a decent break. This time I tried PF mixed in cold water, which worked great, and I didn’t feel any adverse effect in my belly like after the nuts yesterday. So, from now on I’ll add the nuts to my fat coffee in the morning and up the fat intake that way. Then I can stick to PF during the midday break and boast energy without getting slowed down.
Anyway, the valley leading up the Alajavvre was wonderfully green and lush, some tricky bushy areas further down, then opening up and really easy to walk. There was only one real river to cross and from the hillside I spotted a place where it was doable without changing and all went well, though the stones were quite slippery.
Remember, if you know you need to cross a stream and don’t known what it looks like farther down the trail, as soon as you spot a good crossing place, just go for it. You might not get over as easily later on!
At some point after my map was printed someone set up a reindeer fence in the valley and I had to follow it for some time before I found a part that was slightly folded and I could get through without causing damage.
Soon after I met a party of four coming down the valley and asking for tips on the fence and river. I must admit I was rather surprised to meet someone at all, it turned out they’re hiking from Aktse, through Rapa valley and now heading to Staloluokta.
After chatting a bit we parted and I continued on. Soon I reached the top of the valley and Alajavvre showed itself in the sunlight, beautiful, and with some Sarek mountains in the background.
I decided to continue on until I find a good spot and soon after I got this hill to camp on, a breeze keeping the mosquitoes away and I didn’t need the extra abside to cook. Just raised the tent and got settled in, temperatures have been falling quickly since the sun disappeared behind the mountains and I’m going to bed soon.
Tomorrow it’s time to enter Sarek!

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

Day 10 – August 6th 2017

07:15 Camp at Pårka, between Låddejåckå and Arasluokta

Again I slept amazingly well, can’t say if it’s the ketogenic state helping with sleep also, yet I can definitely say that my sleep is better than I can recall from previous years up here.
Tonight again I got my ideal nine hours, dreaming a lot of good dreams, though I don’t remember the details I have a pleasant feeling lingering from the dreams.

 

Having the sound of the stream accompaning me through the night and morning is soothing and relaxing. I just love these sounds of nature, be it water flowing, wind blowing and even rain falling. There’s something genuinely connecting being out in nature listening to its sounds.

I really look forward to the hike today, I remember it as beautiful and rather soft with just one real uphill climb after Arasluokta. And I’m so glad getting to Staloluokta once again, going there was in my original plan as well, just now I come from another direction. I’m really curious how the place has developed since I saw it last, I still have to look up when that was, though it can’t be less than 12 years ago!

I’m very happy and impressed with how my body feels and works, though I eat very little during the day my energy is top notch, I feel strong and my mood is formidable. From a personal, subjective standpoint this little experiment is already a success.
Especially I can see an immense shift in my mental state and stability – earlier my mood was definitely more affected by the conditions. Now, I don’t know what part the ketogenic diet plays here and what is this effect of all the mental, emotional and spiritual development I’ve deliberately gone through over the last year – and I’ll probably never will.
What I can say is that when I went out of ketosis back home to prepare for the pre-hike blood tests, my emotional stability was affected and I didn’t really like that shift!

21:55 Camp near Staloluokta, view over Virihaure

What a beautiful day, the weather was just fantabulous most of the day with a short rain shower when I stopped to do my midday measuring of ketons. Just put my rain jacket on and waited 15 min, then everything dried up just about as fast as it got wet.
First part of the hike was mostly downhill to the bridge 4km north of Arasluokta, followed by a slow uphill stretch leveling out and then descending to Arasluokta about 8km from my starting point.

 

I continued past the cabin and crossed the bridge before taking a break to measure ketons and drink some water. As the rain started I decided to have a small snack as well, I wanted to wait for the shower to pass by anyway. Bad idea… The couple handfuls of nuts lay like a brick in my belly the whole ascent up the hill and really made it a lot harder than it actually is.
Excellent learning experience, though, not to eat anything without planning some time for it to digest. I got to try it with the PF and see if I tolerate that better as a quick snack, and if there’s a difference mixing it with hot or cold beverage.

Anyway, once the ascent was dealt with the trail was pretty much level and very comfortable to hike. I stopped for about half an hour at a small lake where the mosquitoes for some reason were almost nonexistent. And had a great Sit on one of the rocks in the sunshine, just one of these explicitly peaceful and serene moments in life. I’m so grateful I take the time to enjoy these opportunities nowadays, it has not always been that way!

Through the day I met a few people and pretty everyone warned me of the mosquitoes in Staloluokta, to the point that I played with the thought to camp up at the lakes.
Imagine my gratitude when I was met by a rather strong breeze while descending to the village and this wind staying almost the entire evening!
Shortly upon arrival I went up to visit the “kyrkokåta” – a small chapel build in the traditional Sami way of a hut. There had been one of the rare services earlier today and the pastor with his people was packing up to leave. As I met him once before many years ago I naturally introduced myself and chatted with him for a few minutes, then ending up helping out with the chores.
Apparently their was some cake left from after the service and as they learned I don’t eat wheat or sugar they left me some fresh cabbage, a pack of bacon (wow, what a breakfast tomorrow!!!) and a smoked and dried shoulder blade from a reindeer to cut the meat of for snacks. Frankly I felt like a kid on Christmas Day after basically eating the same food for 10 days and starting to think too much of eggs and bacon!
Amazing!!!

So, after a snack with fat coffee and reindeer meat I made camp and then it was time for the sauna. It was every bit as good as I remembered it, I did five rounds of sauna, each followed by a dip in the little lake next to it – and with an exquisite view!
I could easily have stayed for another round, yet my growling stomach insisted on dinner, and, experiencing so little hunger during the days here, I was almost grateful for the feeling of needing something to eat.
The cabbage was a nice add on to my usual menu of ground beef with veggies and fat!

The rest of the evening was comfortably spent lounging in the cabin, chatting with other guests and reading until I felt the definitive urge to retire to my tent.
I feel very pleasantly tired and relaxed, looking forward to another good nights sleep!

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

Day 9 – August 5th 2017

09:15 Camp at bridge over Tsiekkimjågåsj
Obviously I needed some rest – first woke up at 05:15 and basically just turned around to snooze for a few minutes… Next things I know it’s three hours later. I knew that I didn’t get enough sleep the night before yet this was still an unexpected treat to be able to relax and go back to sleep this deep. I’m so grateful that I left the old need to follow a plan and perform behind and am able to listen to the body and it’s needs.
I have just over 40km to Staloluokta and get there in two days easily regardless if I leave here an hour earlier or later.
Mosquitoes are slightly less aggressive this morning than last night, still I had my PF coffee in the tent and not outside. Weather is really nice, warm and with a very slight breeze that I actually would love to be a tad stronger to keep the mosquitoes at bay and help dry out the moisture from the tent.
I have no idea how far I go today, just motor on as I feel like. The trail is so friendly that I can let my mind wonder of and I’m still refining the workshop I started planning the other day. Stopping now and then for a few minutes to write something down also gives me natural short breaks during the hike.
It’s good to have no hurry, and no expectations – just letting the day unfold and go with the flow.
I’m grateful that my knee is feeling better and expect this soft and nice trail, and the natural stride I can keep due to that, to help it heal out even more!
Feeling energetic and strong, the load has become a lot easier to carry and the weight is less disturbing.
I still have to adjust the straps every few minutes as they are loosening up for every step. Hopefully this will lessen as the weight goes down, I just have to get used to it and contact Arcteryx for help when back home again. I guess they’ll simply have to replace all the straps and buckles as they become worn out by use!
19:35 Camp at Pårka, between Låddejåckå and Arasluokta
While taking down my tent a young German couple, Fina and Tom, passed by and asked if I had any mosquito repellent. Thankfully I hadn’t looked in the top of the backpack before I packed the medical stuff and had some extra. We then hiked together on and off until arriving Låddejåkkå where they decided to camp on the other side of the bridge. Especially Fina was pretty tired, not at all being used to mountain hikes.
Mosquito situation was gruesome, yet not as bad as the night before, and soon we reached higher ground and caught some wind. The weather was changing rapidly and we got a few showers and one longer downpour mixed up with enough sunshine to give the iPhone battery some charge.
The trail was beautiful and soft, just a little more challenging as it goes more uphill than the part between Änonjalmme and Gisuris.
Along the tour I remembered having an extra buckle for the hip strap and stopped to change that. What a difference not to have to close it tightly back up all the time because it opens itself…
At the same stop I also had a small snack despite not being very hungry, which is a great sign of nutritional ketosis, by the way. Still I feel I should eat something every now and then besides dinner, and I really want this backpack to get lighter.
Being first down to Låddejåkkå I made some tea for all of us and had a few Mac nuts while waiting for the other two.
This has been a little like a walk down memory lane for me, back when I started hiking in Lappland 1990, southern Padjelanta was where I first began and soon I worked myself north to this region. It must be close to 25 years ago I first hiked this trail and at some point during the day today I remembered a camp site that used to be a favorite back then, located between Låddejåkkå and Arasluokta.
I decided to see if I could find it, and this, together with the ridiculous mosquito plague in the valley, made me continue up the hill after crossing the bridge at Låddejåkkå.
Now, I got to the area, yet didn’t take the time to look for the exact spot as I saw rain clouds coming up from behind. I quickly found a really nice spot next to a stream, cleaned myself up in an icy little waterfall and got camp set up. About 15min after I got into the tent the next rain shower hit the tarp, so good to be dry and warm with dinner in my belly.
Still early evening and I think I’ll just sneak into my sleeping bag early and call it a day.
I did around 21km today and quite some of them uphill. Tomorrow there are around 20km left to Staloluokta where I want to spend the night and revisit the sauna. I remember that sauna as one of the absolute best I’ve ever enjoyed and want to see if that’s still true.
Walking the trail today reminded me of returning to places a last saw as a kid, after all my later experiences the mountains here don’t seem as high any more, and the ascents are less steep and shorter than I remember them.
I’m incredibly grateful that the original plan didn’t work out and that I get to experience this part of Padjelanta again instead!

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

Day 7 – August 3rd 2017

07:50 Hukejaure cabin

Woke up before 07:00 which gives me just short of nine hours sleep again, I really feel rested waking up here in the mountains. Even if I don’t sleep through entirely but wake up several times during the night, this seems to fit my personal rhythm rather well!

Yesterday I noticed my left knee being slightly swollen and thick, this improved during the night yet still I’m grateful for a few rather easy hiking days in front of me.
I have no idea what happened yesterday to cause the swelling, at some point I must have twisted or over bent it.
Anyway, so far this is nothing that keeps me from hiking and hopefully it remains that way and gets better day by day. I just have to watch my steps a little better!

Today is a 20km moderate hike down to Sitasjaure cabin and from there I can hopefully catch a ride to Ritsem. Really would appreciate not having to walk a gravel road for another 20km…
We’ll see!

20:00 STF Fjällstation Ritsem

After a small breakfast and packing up everything dry again (had to hang the tent inside for a short while) I started today’s hike at 10:15.
First part is still Norwegishly wild and rocky with two new bridges at the first larger river crossing. It would have been doable without them, yet it’s so nice to use a bridge for a change!
After a short uphill slope of a few km the scenery opens up to a beautiful high plateau stretching for quite a while. Really easy to hike the soft trail and with no changes in elevation for quite some km that part is also rather fast.
Around halfway towards Sitasjaure there’s another short uphill climb followed by a downhill slope and then another huge plateau. Here the Sami have a village and they are doing some work with the reindeer herds this time of the year so the tracks from their 4×4’s and cross motorcycles are present everywhere.
They have been considerate, though, leaving the hiking trail widely intact. Part of the trails overlap, though, and I’m quite happy they aren’t out driving today!
At one water crossing I actually use the 4×4 trail as the stream is easier to get through dry there than at the hiking trail where it’s narrow and much deeper.

Arriving at Sitasjaure cabin after just over five hours (I stopped briefly to eat some Mac nuts about 2/3 into the hike, else I only stopped to drink some water) the host tells me he doesn’t know about any transport to Ritsem and so i start walking. In two hours not a car passed by in my direction, then I stopped for a short water break and three cars drive by just after each other. Two of the just pass without even slowing down, the third on graciously stopped and the man gives me a lift to my destination.
Unfortunately I missed the boat transport I was aiming for and got to spend the night here in Ritsem.
Upside of that is a warm shower and all the devices I need for keeping track of ketons are fully charged again.
Talking about ketosis I just need to mention that I hiked 30km total in just over 7 hours on a breakfast consisting of coffee, 30g FhatFibre, 4 Brazil nuts, a little jerky and 2 spoons of ghee. Followed by a snack of 50g Mac nuts.

Fully energized all the time, never feeling hungry or fatigued – I find this super cool!
Yet needless to say I enjoyed my well deserved dinner once I was out of the shower!

Looking back at a rather tough and super rewarding hiking day full of beautiful scenery once again I expect to sleep well tonight!

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

Day 6 – August 2nd 2017

06:00 Camp just south of the bridge northwest corner of Vuolip Coarvejavri

Early rice after a good night’s sleep, woke up about 30 min ago and just lay there for a while to see if I’d go back to sleep, yet it seems 7.5h was what my body needed this time.
Being in no hurry this still gives me a head start towards Hukejaure and maybe it’s good to get there early and have the entire afternoon to rest, take care of equipment and spend quite some time it the sauna.

I have to admit the cold water in the creaks and lakes up here doesn’t invite to wash oneself more than absolutely necessary and I’m looking forward to feel clean again!

No rain tonight, just some moisture on the outside of the tent to wipe off before packing. The air is rather chilly and there’s no wind yet, very pleasant weather for hiking.
I’ll just have my fat coffee in the morning and then get packed up and leave!

21:15 Camp at Hukejaure cabin

Fantastic relaxed and pleasant day today, I started hiking just before 8:00 and did the approx 13km moderate trail in 3.5h without basically breaking a sweat.
Really nice hiking weather, no rain, sun fought itself through the clouds a few minutes at a time and perfectly comfortable temperature.
Just before crossing the border to Sweden (from Norway) I saw a majestic appearance in form of a female Sea Eagle flying by just some 50m in front of me. I knew they were around here and this was the first time I spotted one. Really a special feeling to see one at so close range in the wild!

Funny how I always notice being back on Swedish trails, they are so ridiculously well marked that my concentration level drops dramatically. And I can let my thoughts rest on things not even closely connected with the hike, today I created the outline for a workshop I’m doing later this year!

Just before I reached the cabin I met some people who came up the way I’m heading and got news from the trail. Always so useful to get updates on river crossings, train status, etc.
Arriving at Hukejaure I met the cabin host, Bosse and his wife Mari, raised my tent, had a fat coffee with some nuts and, after that break, started chopping wood, fetch water, taking care of equipment. And once everything was done – spent quite some time in the small sauna, getting decently cleaned up for the first time in almost a week! Wonderful feeling to be clean again!

Sun came out in the early evening and I got my iPhone charged back up to 100% again, I’m really impressed with this solar charger I got for the trip!

I spent the rest of the afternoon and evening in the cabin, having an early dinner, chatting with other guests and just enjoying the warmth. Now back in the tent for the night and I long to be back on the trail tomorrow, the stay here has been perfect and all my stuff is dry and good to go – time to get out in solitude again!
As much as I love the opportunity to dry out my stuff, get cleaned up and socialize with people – after one evening I want back into nature and I so much appreciate to retire to the privacy of my 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

Day 5 – August 1st 2017

07:00 Camp near the peak of Smallerienpass
Turned out the weather forecast was right, which only makes me even more grateful for the fabulous evening I enjoyed in this place. Shorty after I slipped into my sleeping bag I heard drops starting to fall on the tent, continuing on and off all night I slept rather irregularly due to the rain and wind. Also I’ve start to dream – a lot – though I don’t remember any details, I wake up with the feeling of good dreams. My impression is that my subconscious works through issues my conscious mind doesn’t need to be involved in any more.
Anyway I got 9 hours in the sleeping bag, and though interrupted it should be sufficient for today’s adventures!
Yesterday I did PhatFibre in my coffe first, then measured ketones, followed with coconut oil and another measurement. Today I switch and see if there is any difference in how my keton production is affected. I naturally expect the PF to drive ketones up faster.
I’m confident that there will be a pause in the rain allowing me to get the tent down relatively dry after packing up all the other stuff!
20:30 Camp just south of the bridge northwest corner of Vuolip Coarvejavri
Thankfully the rain did stop shortly after 09:00 and after wiping it of I went back in and packed up everything else. In the meantime the wind had finished the work and both inner and outer tent was pretty much dry – always good to pack up dry equipment!
The first part down to the saddle was really easy, I used a large snowfield to get down with minimum effort. Walking on snow, especially downhill, is so much easier on the joints than rocks and blocks of stone.

I originally aimed for the southern side of the lake going into Dolbotvaggi, crossing the river was not doable, though and I turned back north and followed the northern shore.

Here were also lots of snowfields to  utilize and, as the hike was level most of
the time it didn’t take much to get to the other side of the lake (it has no name on the map, only marked with its elevation above sea level: 1091) which is still covered in snow and ice for the most part.

The rest of Dolbotvaggi was more challenging with lots of blocks and shifts in elevation yet still lots of snow to walk on, just a little more treacherous. Weather was unstable and I got several showers breaking up the steady, very light rain.
Almost at the southeast end of the valley I got a glimpse of Gautelifjellet before the clouds lowered down and covered the valley leaving almost no visiblility and, at the same time, the rain picked up heavily.

The decent was largely on instinct coupled with the sound of the river on the right, not until halfway down I could see the far northern part of Gautelisvatnet and, once again, once again had something to aim for.
Soon I came down in the trail leading from the dam to Gautelishytta, just far more west than I originally planned for. One just can’t beat the weather conditions, the only thing to do is adjust an motor on.

The just under 6km to the cabin took a while and I’ve made a mental note never to hike there again when it rains or has recently rained heavily. There are seven major creeks or rivers to cross and last time I went this way none of them presented even a slight problem. Today all of them were tricky and four out of seven would actually have required a change to wading shoes. I trusted my balance and the high shafts of my boots (which I love even more after today) and got over everyone without any incident, yet finding a possible place to cross and planning the move took a lot of time. I got really cold from standing still a lot and move slowly through the rivers and finally smelling smoke from a wood fire when I was about a km from the Gautelishytta was incredible welcome!
Ove there I met four friendly guys from Norway and Switzerland hiking together. They just arrived half an hour earlier yet already had the fire going and welcomed me in to warm up and dry some stuff as good as possible.
I also had a small snack, which was actually my first real meal for the day, in the morning I only had fat coffee and the weather conditions didn’t invite to any kind of longer break. 14km in slightly over 6h through rough terrain and in all but pleasant weather conditions with only a few spoons of fat in the morning for fuel. I guess the ketohiker has become reality and I want to give a great shout out in support of the PhatFibre from NourishBalanceThrive. That stuff really kicks my keton production into high gear according to the Ketonix.

Anyway, after two hours in the cabin, meeting Traude and Eckhard as well as my visitors from last night again and really enjoying the warmth, I decided to move on to my chosen camp. Tomorrow I reach Hukejaure early in the day and plan to camp near the cabin to take care of equipment, wash up some stuff, get into the sauna and clean myself up etc, and I just couldn’t stand the thought of spending two nights in a row outside a cabin.
Besides, I’ve camped here before and it’s just a beautiful place!

Taking it easy the 4km took me about 90min, including finally having to take of my shoes for the last river crossing, just 50m from my intended campsite. I just walk the last part in my crocs, continuing straight into the lake for a quick wash after leaving my gear at camp.

Soon the tent was up and dinner prepared, a good thing with this way of food planning and preparing is that it literally takes just minutes to have a meal cooked and ready. Pretty neat when dinner gets rather late like this day!

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

Day 4 – July 31st 2017

07:40 Camp near Cunojaure cabin

Spent a really peaceful night here at the lake, naturally waking up several times during my more than nine hours in the sleeping bag and dreaming a lot, though nothing that sticks.
Right now I’m enjoying a cup of coffee with two spoons of PhatFibre to see what happens with my ketone production as a direct result of providing the liver with C8 fatty acid.

 

Most everything I brought into the tent or gear shed to dry is now good to go and the inside of the tent is also dry. Still have to check on my boots and socks, there’s kind of a rule of curtesy not to enter a cabin before 9AM if you don’t stay inside.
So, I’m just gonna finish my coffee, do another Ketonix measurement and pack up my stuff in the meantime. The hike today is not very long and I’m in no hurry to leave here!

19:45 Camp near the peak of Smallerienpass

Sitting outside at almost 1300m (3900ft) elevation, enjoying the evening sun with a cup of tea, is a rare pleasure to be had up here. Just after setting up camp the weather changed, clouds dissolved and I’m now looking at a beautiful summer sky with small white clouds playfully moving through the air. Sun still shines strong enough to charge my iPhone while I’m writing!

And the best part is that I didn’t even plan to make it this far today…

After packing my stuff in the tent this morning I left the tent standing in the wind to air out as much as possible. The abside got hung on a pole outside the cabin to dry, which didn’t work very well.
Thankfully the tent dried out perfectly and after greasing my boots I got everything together and was ready to start around 10:45. Prior to that I had another conversation with the Dutch, resulting in them following my advice and hike out through Unna Alakas, Valfojåkkå and Stoutkärpel towards Katterjåkk. From there they catch the afternoon bus to Narvik. I’m convinced that they’ll have a lot more fun this way than hiking along gravel and paved roads in Norway. And it’s good to point people to one of my favorite stretches of trail up here!

The first 10km of today were really easy, part of the trail was wet and muddy from all the rain, yet nothing even close to yesterday’s swamp experience. Several rivers to cross and like usual it could be done without a change of shoes, though a few of them demanded some extra thoughtfulness due to the high water and strong current.
I met just a few people, among them a Norwegian couple telling me that the forecast promised rain for the evening, night and the day tomorrow. After which it’s supposed to clear up!
After completing the 2km gravel road I got onto the trail again and after another km the only serious crossing of today. And that one was rather difficult…
Much higher water than previous years I’ve been through here, and much stronger current. It took me almost 30m of trying different spots and my feet were freezing from the icy glacier water before I finally got to the other side safely.

It can’t be repeated enough how important it is to take the time to keep safety first, I could probably have gotten through faster, yet with much higher risk.
Finally on the other side I dried my feet and put my boots back on, planning to have some snacks to warm up and energize for the last few km’s up the valley. Fortunately a light rain made the place less cozy and I continued up the trail.
One might ask ‘what’s fortunate about that?’ and the answer is simply that when I reached the intended camping spot it was only 15:00 and I wasn’t really tired. So I decided to continue after finally having my snack!

I’m not gonna kid you here – the hike up here was hard… From where I had my snacks to the place I made camp it’s only 4km, yet it covers around 500m of elevation climbing up the valley and to the peak of the pass.
Hiking uphill is always strenuous, especially with a rather heavy backpack and one has to give oneself time. Sometimes a lot of time…

Today it took me 2.5 hours to hike those 4km and I’m totally ok with that, backpack is still way to heavy to be carried comfortably. Every pack is different and I found with this one that with over 26kg it just doesn’t carry well. Adjusting the straps over and over, changing how it lies on the hips and shoulders and generally fidgeting around takes time. And I also decided to put it down frequently to avoid sore spots from the straps while climbing.

Anyway, needless to say, it was totally worth the effort to reach this beautiful spot on earth. And, frankly, I used every occasion along the route to stop, admire the view, make a photo or two and rest my legs for a minute!

Now l everything is dry except the boots, and they are only moist, not soaked, even the abside dried nicely in the wind up here. I had an early and well deserved dinner and am pretty much ready for some reading and then my beloved sleeping bag!

After the sun set behind the mountain temperatures fell rapidly and I expect a rather chilly night.
Which reminds me that the only thing I forgot to pack was my little thermometer that I bought for this tour. Never had one before so that’s probably why I didn’t remember it… Next time!!!

Funny enough I suddenly hear voices outside the tent and first think that I make it up, yet then there’s another pair sounding and I look out just to see to women and two teenagers passing by on the trail at this last hour. Turns out they spent a lot of time crossing the river, going up and down the stream to find a possible spot. They were on their way to Cainavagge and then on to Gautelishytta and Hukejaure so I expect to see them again.

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

Day 3 – July 30th 2017

The rain started around 20:30 last night and has continued so far with few breaks in between long showers. It’s rather soothing to listen to the drops falling on the tent and my body definitely didn’t mind the extra rest it meant to sleep in today.
Not that fond of starting the day packing up a wet tent I intend to give it some time and see if it clears up a little.

I woke up around 6:30, giving me a good 9 hours of sleep tonight, and after that just drifted between sleep and meditation. I thoroughly enjoy not having any fixed plans and being able to adjust according to conditions.

It will take an hour or more to get ready and have breakfast, after that I’ll just see what the weather looks like and get moving.

 

Finally in my tent after a long and wet day, having had a good dinner and waiting for my tea to get ready.

Actually I never wanted to camp near a cabin this early on the tour, yet the hike today literally soaked my boots and they would take days to dry in a tent. Two guys staying here were kind enough to let me hang them inside the cabin to dry, and I spent some time chatting with the before making camp.
So nice how people help each other out here in the wilderness, I don’t think we find the same friendliness and connection between almost everybody and anybody back in civilization.

An elderly German couple, Traude and Eckhard, whom I met several times in the trail, even invited me for a cup of hot tea after I’d been out in the rain raising my tent.

Well, let me go back to this morning – I packed everything inside the tent and then went out to take it down. There was just no way to get it packed dry, the outer tarp was soaked and I just shakes of as much water as possible. Worse was that it was still raining so the inner tent got moist as well and I had no opportunity to dry it on the way as it continued to rain more or less the entire day.
While I was packing up there was a group of four from the Netherlands passing, whom I later passed and met again at the first break.

First part, down to the security cabin at one of the larger lakes in Oallavaggi, was easy and at the first water crossing there was no doubt about changing shoes. Funny how less enjoyable getting the feet wet suddenly gets when it’s raining and there’s a rather cold wind!
This was also the first time I met the German couple and, though they seemed to know what they were doing, I kept an eye on them during wading. They did amazingly well!

Once arrived at the small cabin I put a kettle with enough water for me and everyone following to boil. As I knew the hike would be mostly level and down hill, I saved my PhatFibre supply and did coffee with coconut oil and some snacks.
The Germans came and left again rather quickly, the Dutch arrived when the Germans left and stayed for a while.
I enjoyed being in the warm cabin and was in no hurry to leave, so we chatted a little. This gave me the opportunity to help them avoid some unpleasant surprises and possibly some bad experiences. They planned to hike Lossi-Hunddalen on their way back and, hearing my description of the conditions, decided to change plans.
This is why talking to others about your plans can sometimes be crusial or even the difference between a successful, enjoyable adventure and a dangerous disaster.

Moving on after the break the trail was really nice at first and I was able to cross the streams without changing, though they carried considerably more water than last year. Passing the highest point of the valley and starting the decent towards Cunojaure it became obvious just how ridiculously wet the area had become. Last year it was difficult to get through parts of the trail without getting the feet wet, this year those parts resembled small swamps, acting as obstacles on the way down.

Crossing one river dry, and almost slipping, led to wading at the next larger one. Knee deep at the deepest part and with a really strong current I was grateful that it wasn’t wider and I got through it without getting my feet too cold.
Reaching lower and closer to the lake, the trail grow increasingly muddy, still at last water crossing I had to wade through, my boots was ok. Well, they were wet, but not soaked…

Once in to the cabin at Cunojaure, I checked again and, as stated above, there was no way to have them dry in the abside of my tent and I decided to stay.

Right now it only rains very lightly and I’ve gotten rid of most moisture inside the tent, enough, anyway, to take in my gear and get ready for the night. Hopefully waking up to a drier day tomorrow, I’m still amazed and grateful for my high spirits during this day today. No matter the rain, the wet trail, soaked tent or cold feet – I’ve spent a very happy day in the mountains.
Also I start to adapt to the load and am definitely getting full blown fat adapted again, probably even burning a solid amount of ketones. After the most difficult hike I went downstream to help check the south part of the wade for Traude and Eckhard, who choose another spot for crossing, and returning to my backpack I actually ran up the hill without thinking about it until afterwards.
Looking forward to another awesome day tomorrow!

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