Woke up early, frankly a lot earlier than I had to, with most of my stuff already packed. Only had to add the fresh food and then get some gas for the stove (they don´t allow that in checked in or carry on baggage…) as well as some red for the first evening after landing in Kiruna. It turns out the pack ends up at 30kg…too heavy for my taste…gotta eat some salami and parmesan cheese during the first days 😉
Leaving home at 5:45AM to catch the airport coach, check-in is smooth and I have plenty of time for a coffee at Arlanda airport. Departure is slightly delayed (original time 8:30), conditions are good and we land on time 10:00.
On the plane I reflect on the fact that I still have not really planned out the tour and feel weirdly relaxed and even content about that. That´s something different, a new observation and I look forward to where this non-planning might lead me – trusting that it is all for the best I order a ticket online for the train leaving Kiruna at 11:58.
I normally prefer going by buss in this area as there´s so much more to be seen, this year the connection was just to off and I didn´t want to spend 2,5h extra in Kiruna.
Approaching Abisko, the place that popped into my head when ordering the ticket, I decided on short notice to stay on the train a little longer. One of the main objections for me on this tour was to have the quite time by myself to internally work through my recent divorce and some deeper issues in my relationship to her.
So, it felt proper to start the tour on the same trail the two of us started our four week hike last year, and so I did.
Getting of the train in Katterjåkk around 14:00 I immediately got onto the trail, first part being more of a dirt road, heading south along the Norwegian border. Weather was overcast and mostly rain free though it was obvious that there had been some rain earlier. Trail was in part pretty muddy and I was grateful for my high shaft boots, never needing to have a second though when passing wet areas. The same day was the start of “KEX” a mountain race for long distance runners and most of them had used parts of the trail leaving it a bit run down and very muddy.
Just about 4km in the traces of these runners disappeared and I found myself virtually alone in nature, just the way I like it to be.
Compared to the year before river crossing proved to be super easy with low water flow in the creeks and rivers, the result of less snow last winter and a summer that had been a lot drier than in many previous years. Some of the smaller creeks were actually carrying no water at all and I quickly picked up the habit of drinking a little extra every time I crossed a bigger one. It´s just a bad idea to let oneself get dehydrated during a hike!!!
Despite of the rather heavy pack I did the good 10 km to Stour Kärpel in about 3,5h and decided to stay near the security cabin. With no one else around it just was comfortable to get out of the cold wind and cook inside, later hitting the tent I raised in a decent spot I know from earlier hikes.
First night out is always special, I really enjoy the close proximity to nature, the sound of flowing water is comforting and, knowing my gear, I´m super convinced that the tent can take any beating the wind brings on during the night.
The journey continues, please share this with friends and loved ones who might benefit or be interested!
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Peace // Claes