Hike of 2016 – Day 13 & 14

August 31st, Day 13, turned out to be another rest day. My friend, Helge, never showed up and I had a lazy day at the cabin, read a lot, did some writing and topped it up with a sauna in the evening.
Decision was made to give Helge until late AM the day after and then leave for Mårman if the weather allows!

I woke up early on September 1st, managed to get the tent dry between showers in the morning and had everything packed and ready. Spent some time in the cabin chatting with other hikers and sorting my stuff for the next few days of the hike.
Finally at 11:15 I left Vistas and defined the weather as good enough to give Mårman a try 😉

From that side it´s a pretty tough hike (I´d actually forgotten how hard…), lots of elevation and the stones and blocks were damp and slippery. The gradient is partly rather steep and standing on the peak of the pass I felt the total of about 1100m (3300ft) elevation in my legs – awesome feeling to get up there, though, and totally worth the effort!

Hope You could get the sound on that video, wind was pretty hard up there…

Anyway, first part of the decent to Mårman Cabin was a slippery mess of wet stones, gravel and some clay. Good thing there was no hurry and I made it down without any incidents, having reached the valley it´s a comfortable hike to the cabin and I was grateful to get out of the icy wind when finally reaching it.

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Peace // Claes

Hike of 2016 – Day 12

It’s a tough day, you just have to embrace it – rest day 😃
Woke up rested and relaxed, feeling no hunger at all. Had my coffee, read and sit staying at the camp a little longer with the novel for company while the tent dried out from the nightly showers.
As I knew I’d stay at Vistas cabin and wait for my friend Helge I was in no hurry at all, we plan to meet today or tomorrow and I have all the time I possibly need and only a good 5km to go.
Arriving at the cabin just prior to 11 am I cross the bridge to find a spot at the camp site, this early all where available and I picked a really nice one.
Perfect size for the tent, flat and smooth and pretty close to the river. After fetching some water for tea the rain kicked in and I spent the next few hours relaxing in the tent.
My track record with rest days is not really convincing, I normally get bored after just a few hours and want to move on, yet this year this day this spot felt blissful. I can’t say if it’s the weariness i still experience, if I start to educe a peace of mind I lacked up to this point or if it is due to some combination of these. Maybe something entirely different is at play here, whatever is going on I’m thoroughly enjoying the hours in the tent, reading, drinking tea, relaxing,
                                                                 meditating and contemplating life.
A visit to the cabin renders more tea and some pleasant conversations with the hosts and other guests. It’s a bummer the hosts don’t want to do an interview, naturally I feel opposed to persuade them, though.
In the end I lived through an immensely enjoyable day, shot a bunch of photos and commenced experimenting with different filters, met great people, engaged in inspiring conversations and still had sufficient time for myself to relax, unwind and contemplate life.
In short it was the perfect rest day!


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Peace // Claes

Hike of 2016 – Day 11

On of these mornings when it seemed perfectly right and appropriate to just refuse getting out of the sleeping bag. The hard wind continued throughout the night and my sleep got really impaired. Hadn’t I already know that the tent could take some beating the last doubts would have been removed after this night.
As I ended the day before rather early and already spent quite a few hours inside the tent I got restless some time after my reading and meditation and got the stove going for coffee. Not really hungry so breakfast could wait until later in the am and with a couple of coffees downed I got myself going.
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The view into Vistasvagge as always breath taking yet the hike was slow and rather difficult, normally I’m really good with blocks yet with the rain that
started last evening and still came down in showers the rocks were really slippery and treacherous. I even took a couple of falls, thankfully without any real damage.
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Finding a bunch of cloud berries along the way made a short break necessary, crazy late in the year to still find these delicious treats, and I just ate what I found right on the spot. Fresh berries are a wonderful addition to the usual diet out here.
Hiking slowly has its advantages and I apparently moved silent enough to not disturb a few reindeers resting in the greenery, beautiful serene animals I’m
img_4597grateful to catch a few pictures of.
Ending the first part of the day in Vistas cabin got me some rest from the cold wind, cooking and eating lunch inside was really nice and it cost some discipline to continue past the cabin after the meal. What pushed me on was the memory of another potentially amazing camp site just over 5km (3+ miles) south along the river. I walked past that spot quite a few times and this was the perfect occasion to give it a try.
img_4616Finding the place just as marvelous as I remembered it I built camp while the clouds lifted and cleared the sky for a wonderful late afternoon and evening. There still were lots of them around the area yet I had the privilege of sitting in the late afternoon sun, reading a novel while my dinner was cooking. During all the hours I spent there only two people past by, the rest of the time was undisturbed nature with the constant soothing sound of the river right there.
Needless to say I had a very enjoyable evening and drifted of to sleep easily, especially as the night before had been anything but restful.


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Hike of 2016 – Day 10

Woke up early and observed that the rain must have stopped sometime during the night, my tent had dried nicely in the wind and for a change I got out right away and got everything down and inside while it was dry. Perfect timing, carrying the last load down to the cabin I could feel the first drops of the day falling.
Keeping really silent due to the early morning hours I enjoyed a few mugs of coffee while reading and writing in the kitchen of the cabin. Not long after I finished my first cup othimg_4578er guests started showing up to eat breakfast and get started towards the next cabin.
I was in no hurry, clouds were still heavy in Unna Vistasvagge, the valley I plan to follow, and I was prepared to wait until mid day before changing my plans.
This also rewarded me the video for part 3 of the cabin host series as things started to slow down and they had time for me.
With an almost perfect timing the clouds started lifting just before noon and I went for it, not the best view yet I did have some space between me and the lowest clouds. Unna Vistasvagge was as peaceful and beautiful as ever and I’m grateful to be off the beaten path more, as comfortable life around the cabins can be, I missed the silence and solitude. Being virtually alone in the valley quickly got me reconnected to nature and myself, hiking at a moderate pace and checking some camp sites for next year was relaxing and easy going. Weather actually cleared up and I could even see the sun a few times looking back towards Kungsleden, though, after passing the highest point and looking towards the opening into Vistasvagge, I knew that sooner or later I’d get wet again.
It looked murky already from a distance.
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Good thing I could pass the really stony parts leading past Unna Vistasjaure before it got any more rain, wet rocks are frankly more challenging than fun.
Moving rather swiftly downhill towards where Unna Vistasvagge opens up into Vistasvagge the weimg_4586ather got rougher again, an icy cold wind came down the valley and hit me in the back intermittent bringing rain mixed with some snow. Knowing there are no places to camp for quite a while once out in the larger valley I kept my eyes open and found a really nice spot with a magnificent view on the glacier.

Utilizing a short interval between showers I got everything set and lay down in the tent for a while before cooking dinner in the vestibule facing away from the wind.
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Even this early in the evening I was already sure about two things, first that my sleeping bag had to prove itself and that the tent once more would be thoroughly storm tested.
Turned out I was right, the wind was magnificent and I was grateful to have the warmer sleeping bag despite its higher volume and weight.
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Though my sleep got vastly disturbed by the wind, I was never even close to feeling cold and managed the night in short sleep periods frequently waking
up, yet always got back to sleep again almost immediately just focusing on the sound from the stream next to the tent!

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Hike of 2016 – Day 9

Waking up rather early I hear the rain on the tent and can feel the wind still pulling at it, the weather had been rather rough throughout the night and I did not sleep that well, leaving me weary in the morning, lazily staying inside the sleeping bag grateful for the decision of crossing the water yesterday. Once again considering myself the luckiest guy on earth, waking up on the other side and crossing this morning had been clearly a cold and wet endeavor.2016-08-27-10-31-18
Weather prevailed and after a few hours I got myself ready, for the first time this year I packed everything while still inside the tent before going out in the rain and break the camp.
Gloomy day, cold wind from the north and the light yet constant rain made it an easy decision to head straight for the cabin in Alesjaure. Already I had spent more nights near cabins than planned at the start, and considering the weather with showers most days and the wind getting colder day by day I accepted that the trend would continue. Reminding myself that I’m not here to prove how much hardship I can take, looking forward to the evening sauna became increasingly easier as the day went along.
2016-08-27-10-46-06Considerably more water in the streams now than mere days ago I was happy for my high shafted boots, still taking in some water from the drenched vegetation pulling my rain trousers and moving moisture up the boots.
Coming close to the Sami camp it was impossible to discern which of the many paths to follow, I stayed too close to the lake and hade to pass through the camp before I found the trail emerging from Vistasvagge and followed it the last few km.
After a chat with one of the cabin hostesses, during which we agreed on a time for the first interview here, I put my tent up to dry in the wind. Ironically enough the weather got more and more friendly once I got inside, the next valley I planned to hike through still covered in clouds, though, made my decision to stay valid.
I spent the afternoon taking care of some long overdue cleaning, greased the boots and re packed my stuff as the amount of provisions decrease day by day and the pack needed rearranging.
img_4565Several pleasant conversations, one interview and a very enjoyable sauna later, dinner was on, it was raining again and I fully enjoyed the luxury of being clean, warm and dry.
Soon after there was a gap between two showers and I made it to the tent, leaving boots, socks and rain gear to dry inside over night.
The tent stood on highest ground possible to keep the rain water from gathering around it, wind had almost died completely and I drifted off almost immediately after last nights disturbed sleep.

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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.

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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.

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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:

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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.

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Hike of 2016 – Day 5

Woke up just before 7am in a very moist tent, happy for all the condensation been caught on the outer tarp leaving the interior of the tent almost completely dry. Looking outside I got confirmed on what I already suspected, I’d been sleeping in a cloud and it was still there…
Visibility even lower than in the evening I decided on a lazy morning waiting for the clouds to lift, drifting from sleep into a meditative state and back several times was immensely enjoyable and relaxing and made the hours pass quickly. As nothing had changed at noon I made the decision to break camp and hike back down to Hunddalshytta and get everything dried up.

Hike was slow, first due to the mist and low visibility, later just because I was weary. So grateful that I followed my intuition and did not get caught up in the pass with these conditions.
Approaching the cabin I crossed the river at the closest point that looked possible instead of doing the extra 3km total to get back and forth to the marked crossing. With the cabin so close I didn’t change and so got some water splashing into the boots, no problem when they can dry inside. Had this crossing been anywhere else but right next to a hut, my Crocs had been on dutimg_4493y.
Upon arrival I met a elderly Swedish couple, Cajsa & Sören, still going strong while approaching their
70’s. Just love to see people continue doing what they love doing instead of blaming age!There can be such a big difference between biological and chronological age.
After kindling a fire in the stove of the mail cabin and putting my gear to dry I went down to the river and raised the tent, there’s nothing like some wind to dry a tented long as it’s not raining!
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Coming back to the cabin I meet three seriously soaked guys from the university of Uolo, Finland, being part of a much larger group of 30 people, on their yearly summer hike.
After drying their stuff they wanted to continue and I gave them a few tips on where to proceed, actually pretty happy being left to my own company again.
The cabin is comfortable and build in a truly beautiful spot where two valleys meet and with the clouds finally lifting the view was spectacular. I was playing with the thought to get back up to Leirvatnet and continue over the pass to Lossi next day, knowing it was a bad idea and not going to happen as I thought of it. My right Achilles’ tendon was just not up to that, clearly inflamed though without any dysfunction. Meening that as long as I could manage the pain walking should be no issue.

After dinner and a pleasant and interesting chat with the couple I retired to my tent and fell asleep almost immediately again. The feeling of weariness that had been with me for the last two days would turn out to be a more faithful than welcome companion.
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