Day 11 – August 12th, 2019

Camp overlooking Valfojavrit

What a fun hiking day! I woke up early, again with a dry tent – guess I might have figured something out here.

Had a very lazy morning, weather was great, I felt relaxed and recovered, had an extra cup of coffee and said goodbye to my neighbors around 10. Had I stayed on the trail I would have been in Unna Allakas no more than 6 hours later, waiting for the sauna to warm up. Yet the nice weather and my energy levels invited to some exploring, and shortly after leaving the hut I turned southeast past a row of small lakes higher up on the mountainside.

Among the lakes, I stopped for some time as the sun came out behind the clouds and I really needed to charge my phone for photos, etc. This far north the morning sun isn’t strong enough anymore to do the trick with an iPhone. That turned out to be my only longer stop today and I thoroughly enjoyed sitting in the sun and read! Continuing I passed Stour Gearbil on its west side and turned east just south of it, aiming right at Jorba Gearbil.

During the ascent, I passed many small lakes, many of which were still semi-frozen, and quite a few places I’d like to camp someday. I was tempted to climb the summit of Stour Gearbil, yet decided against it due to the lack of water at the elevation I was at.

The descent to the lakes below was partly rather sketchy and at one point I needed to turn around and backtrack as proceeding would not have been safe. That’s also why I’m a little vague with the description here if You want to try this area, You need to have the experience to make the right decision yourself on the spot.

Otherwise, I highly recommend staying on the trail, I can assure You that it’s a beautiful hike as well! Finally down by the lakes I stayed on the west side and moved south, passing between Stour Doaresoalvi and Unna Doarsoalvi until I had to change shoes to cross Valfojåkka downstream from Valfojavrit.

Had the water been higher I would have to move upstream and cross at the lakes, under these conditions everything went smoothly. Soon after the crossing, even before I reach the trail I was aiming to get back on, I found a really soft and nice spot to camp. Feeling a little tired, especially mentally from concentrating on every move, I decided to stop. The distance left to Unna Allakas for tomorrow is a joke anyway and I’d rather have an early dinner than push myself when I know I’ll have a slow day tomorrow in any case.

It’s now 5:30 pm and despite having done quite some physical work, I’m still not really hungry. Dinner is going to be my first meal for today and I’m pretty stoked about the level of ketosis I must be in. Perfect energy, mental clarity, motoring along for hours with just water and some salt. It’s just very comfortable! Still, I believe I should start having some snacks during the day, regardless if I’m hungry or not. There’s just no way I can continue to hike like this on so little food!

Day 10 – August 11th, 2019

Camp at Stour Kärpel

Woke up with a dry (!!!) tent after a very windy night, didn’t sleep very well, though, got disturbed by the wind several times during the night and the Oura ring indicated an extremely low amount of deep sleep. Anyway, I felt well enough and decided to ignore the recommendation to take it extra easy and continued as planned.

Without having to dry the tent I got started a little earlier and was on my way at 9.45, heading down the trail towards Vassijaure. Once more I left the trail and stayed on elevation to work myself around the mountain into the next valley, though today was not nearly as smooth as yesterday. No real tracks, quite a bit of wetland and just about an hour into the hike it started raining and I stopped to change into rain trousers.

The rain never got really bad, just stuck with me until my lunch break at Vassivagge emergency cabin, and I have to admit it was a bliss to get inside and out of the rain and wind for a little while. Maybe the hardest part here is to avoid rushing when the goal is in sight, it’s so important to stay calm and make sure where to put the feet for every step.

My shortcut around the mountain probably cost me way more time and energy than if I’d just followed the trail all the way down and then the next one to the cabin, yet it was a lot more fun finding my way around and I’d totally do it again! No hazards of any kind, just more tedious than hiking on a trail, and more mentally challenging to find the best route and keep the feet in the right places. All in all, it took me just over three hours to get to the security cabin at Vassivagge and I was impressed how well maintained it was. I spent a little over 1.5h there, had some snacks (more than usual), lots of tea and then finished off with a coffee and some chocolate.

The rain stopped while I was inside and after my break, I headed up the mountainside just left of the waterfall coming down from Lairevaggi, and once at the top, I followed that valley all the way until I came down to the trail leading from Katterjokk to Unna Allakas.

The hike through the valley was beautiful and I saw several campsites that looked really inviting, gotta come back here again! Once on the trail, I only had a couple of km to Stour Kärpel and the clouds were looking ridiculously dark where I was going.  I totally kicked up a gear and moved faster, not wanting to get caught by the rain so close to ‘home’, arrived dry, got my camp set up with just a few drops falling and then had dinner inside, away from the strong wind I headed into most of the day!

Later I got company in the shape of a very nice couple with a dog, also planning to camp here at the emergency cabin. We had a really pleasant evening chatting about hiking and more and time just disappeared, leaving me pretty much ready for the sleeping bag!

Day 9 – August 10th, 2019

Camp at Rissajavri

The rain that started yesterday evening continued through about half the night and I woke up several times until about 2 am when I finally got a longer period of sleep.  When I finally woke up for real it was already well after 7 am and the sun was warming the tent, actually, I think it was the difference in temperature that woke me.

The outer tarp of my tent was, once again, soaking wet both in- and outside, one from the rain and the inside from condensation. I really need to figure out how to ventilate this tent properly or I can’t use it under these conditions any more…
Anyway, things got sorted, I did my morning routine and at 10 I left the campsite and started today’s hike! The first stretch through the valley followed a beautiful and soft trail, crossing meadows and leading through some bushes. After crossing the last stream before entering up into the pass, the trail was very faint and I just moved up the hillside in the right general direction.

Soon enough there were stone markers to be found again and during the rest of the climb it was easy to find the way, yet, naturally, physically pretty hard as steep ascents with heavy packs always are. I took a short break just before climbing the last pass and checked out the upmost area of the valley. Turns out there’s enough room for several tents and I probably include this spot into the group hike for next year as the place is really beautiful with several waterfalls pouring down from above.

Once over the top of the final pass, the hike turns so much easier and I even found several great snowfields that I could use to rest my feet from walking on rocks all the time.

Still, the first part of the day, from my campsite in Kårsavagge to Låktatjåkka, took just over four hours, though only measuring about 9km (5.5miles) on the map.  Two hours break and several cups of filter coffee with whipped cream (oh yeah!!!), some nice conversations with the staff and fellow hikers and charging my phone and power pack, and I was ready to continue the tour.

Descending down from the cabin along the trail towards the parking lot was a real walk in the park compared to the first part of the day. The trail is very well used and leads constantly downhill without ever really being steep.

Shortly after the bridge, where the summer and winter trails cross, I left the trail and headed west to find a shortcut into the next valley. This was a complete success as I almost immediately found a really clear reindeer path that led me perfectly along the elevation line and let me descend onto the trail leading to Rissajavri.

About three hours after leaving Låktatjåkka, I started looking for a place to camp, ending up on a great spot I’ve used several times previously. Now, after a pretty sizable dinner, I start feeling ready to call it a day!

Day 8 – August 9th, 2019

Camp north of Bajimus Gorsajavri

God will provide rest days!

When I woke up early this morning, the outer tarp of my tent was soaking wet both on the in- and outside and it was obvious that I had been paid a visit by some really low clouds during the night. Cold air, almost no wind, and an elusive sun collaborated to let it take several hours to dry it out, and I enjoyed a lazy morning until everything was packed and ready to go around 11 am. Here already I made the decision to make this an easy day, resting for a much longer and more strenuous day tomorrow. The initial ascent to the ridge and the following descent into Kårsavagge went excellent, the trail is so much better marked than several years ago when I last hiked the stretch. I reached the cabin in Kårsavagge after just about two hours and without having to change shoes for the river crossing. I’ve never seen so little water in the stream here! Just before crossing I found a couple of nice mushrooms and made myself a snack frying them in ghee with some beef jerky which turned out really nice. Weather is pretty unpredictable, sitting outside with the host, Anders, enjoying a coffee in the sun, we suddenly are forced to move indoors by a sudden rain shower. Shortly after which the sun shines once more, and the forecast promises more of the same erratic weather over the next few days. Taking care of my stuff, reading a little and chatting with the cabin host and a fellow hiker made time run fast and it was already just after 4 pm when I left the cabin for the last short stretch.

I hadn’t really planned my campsite, just wanted to get closer to the end of the valley and a good starting point for tomorrow’s tour. As soon as I spotted this site from afar I know I found my place to spend the night and, upon arriving, I just dropped my gear and headed right down to the lake for a quick dip to clean up. For the first time during this entire tour I was seriously bugged by mosquitoes setting up camp and the device I bought in ZA proved absolutely worthless. 

So, I just had to get into the tent despite the really nice late afternoon, cook my dinner while staying inside and kill off the mosquitoes sneaking inside the tent. Now, a couple of hours after I got my camp ready, another rain shower keeps me pinned inside the tent and I just have to wait for it to pass before I can get out, brush my teeth and get ready for the night!

Day 7 – August 8th, 2019

Camp right outside Abisko National Park along the trail from Abiskojaure to Kårsavagge

As expected after the early evening yesterday, I woke up early and had all my gear packed by 8:30. After finding my way up to the ‘Kungsleden’ (King’s trail), I decided to utilize it for a few km as I thought not many people would be in the middle between to cabins that early.

I was right and only met three people, one of them Jenni, who is planning to do the entire trail all the way to Hemavan on a unicycle, hiking the parts that cannot be cycled.

You can find out more about her at – I was really impressed with the idea, didn’t know that mountain biking on a unicycle was even a thing! Shortly after meeting her I left ‘Kungsleden’ and headed west on the trail towards Rovvidievva.

This is an area where the Sami do a lot of work with the reindeers and the area is full of 4-wheel drives tracks, partly overlapping the trail, yet it’s still so much nicer than ‘Kungsleden’. The river that is crossed on a bridge right before the trail connects with the one leading from Unna Allakas to Abiskojaure is really impressive and I always take the time for a short break here!

Continuing towards Abiskojaure the trail leads through birch forests as we typically find in the lower elevation valleys of this area. Soft and easy on the feet, and very easy to find and follow.

I was in no hurry and reached the cabin at Abiskojaure after about five hours total. The first person I meet is the cabin host Bosse, whom I’ve seen several times throughout the years and interviewed twice for the cabin host series. Besides saying hi to him, my first priority was hanging my insoles and socks to dry, thankfully there was a nice breeze and it looked like the sun would come forth and so I hung it all outside.  After coffee and some snacks, I chatted with some other hikers, had a nice conversation with the cabin hosts, and generally had a good time. Finally, at 5:30 I got going again, the last part was not far, yet it meant a climb of almost 500m (1500ft) of elevation, and I really wanted to avoid the interval training style. So I went very slow and easy and, in the end, the ascent was pretty comfortable. Once outside the national park, I quickly found a nice spot with soft grass and made camp.

Now, after having had dinner, it’s already 9 pm and I look forward to a cup of tea, some reading and soon I’ll head for the sleeping bag. I can already feel the chill of the evening and it promises to be a cold night.

Day 6 – August 7th, 2019

Camp west of the crossing between Radujavri and Miesakjavri

Woke up just after 6 from the sound of raindrops on the tent, didn’t even bother to look outside, just turned around and slept for another 1.5h or so. I had a strange night, slept pretty well yet woke up more times than I can say. For no good reason at all…Anyway, the rain stopped after a few showers and just after 10:30 I had everything packed nice and dry and could start today’s hike. And, for the first time this tour, I could fit everything except the tent inside my backpack. So even if it’s still pretty heavy, there’s certainly changes happening!

The hike itself went really well and I completed the 15km (just under 10miles) in about four hours, way faster than I had anticipated. Quite a few years ago I hiked the same stretch from the other direction together with a friend. We left the trail to check if it was possible to cross the water west of, it turned out it was too dangerous. Yet we never got back onto the trail and literally had to fight our way through the bushes for hours. So, I learned my lesson back then and took care to stay on the trail. That said there are a few places along the way where it’s pretty easy to lose track of the trail. One spot is on the hill when approaching the lakes, another one right after a river crossing with several streams to cross.

Just make sure You get back on the trail before continuing, there are stone markers so just look until You find one. The alternative of moving forward through the bushes without a trail to follow is pure punishment, believe me! About halfway up the valley it was clear that I would be much faster than planned and I thought about going farther, yet then decided to make camp as planned right after the crossing north of Radujavri.

Mostly because I really like the spot and at the same time give my body some well-deserved rest. Though when passing the crossing I, for the first time ever, slipped seriously on a rock and got my left ankle caught between two rocks. Leaving me not only with quite a bruise on the inside of my ankle but also with some stuff getting wet.

Worst was water splashing into my boots that were hanging around my shoulders. Thankfully there’s been a strong wind blowing all day and most of the stuff, like socks and underwear, should be dry after a few hours. The boots and insole might take longer yet it will not be an issue. The whole incident, though, is a great reminder of how easily an accident can happen, regardless of how many times one has gone through the moves and how proficient one has become. Sometimes it’s just necessary to know what to do when things go wrong. So, I found a spot, hung my clothes to dry, put the boots in the wind, made camp and got myself into the sleeping bag to warm up. Some tea and later an early dinner helped me get back to par and I look forward to spending the night here once more. Hopefully, I’ll enjoy some undisturbed sleep tonight and be ready for the days ahead!

Day 5 – August 6th, 2019

Camp near the bridge over Vierrojohka

What a wonderful hiking day – finally I feel that my body is back in the game and I thoroughly enjoyed every part of the hike today. I’m not going to pretend it was all easy, yet, although part of the tour was physically really challenging, my body responded as I expect it to.  I woke up after almost 10h of sleep and felt amazing right away, cleaned up in the lake, had some coffee during my morning read and did a short meditation before breaking camp and pack everything up. 

Already upon waking, I made the decision to take the detour, utilize the snowfield and climb to the summit of Vassacohka before moving down to the pass from the north, and the view from 1725m (5200 ft) was totally worth the climb!

Just be advised that moving at these elevations requires one to carry water, in my case adding another 2-3 lbs to the already too heavy backpacks.  The tour was everything I expected it to be, strenuous, beautiful, rough and fun, with the added pleasure of going down into Mårma pass for once!
Heading down the pass on the northeast side was tough on quads and knees, as always, yet all went well and I continued along the trail to the cabin where I enjoyed a long break with coffee and some jerky, coconut oil, mac nuts, and dark chocolate.

I just love the ketogenic lifestyle that allows me to do a pretty remarkable and strenuous hike before breaking my fast – completely hooked on this way of fueling myself! I spent about an hour and 45 min at the cabin, after which I continued down the valley, following the trail until just before the ‘Renvaktarstuga’ when I climbed the slope up to the plateau to take a closer look at the structures. Nothing special, yet nice to have seen it close up after passing at a distance so many times. Once down by the bridge, I found a marvelous spot of soft grass where I pitched my tent and now, after finishing dinner and sitting here with a cup of chamomile tea and some chocolate, I feel very satisfied and grateful to hit the sleeping bag early and treat myself to another long nights sleep!

Day 4 – August 5th, 2019

Camp at Vassajavri

I woke up just after 7 feeling not really rested, had some weird dreams during the night and woke up quite a few times. If I had to rate myself it would be between 6 and 7 on a scale from 1-10, checking my Oura readings confirmed this feeling, giving me a readiness score of 68 out of 100. Even before checking the app, I made the decision to stop at Vassajavri and do the pass over to Mårma the following day. Turns out to be a great decision as it dawned on me that I forgot my key to the Norwegian cabins at home and needed to find a spot with coverage so I could call my flatmate for help. Knowing it would be a short hike I was in no hurry, and I had some condensation on the tent after a pretty warm and windless night to take care of. Just after 10:30 everything was dry and packed so I left with the intention of doing the climb slow and steady. So I did, and most of it without a shirt to let the wind help keep me cool.

The sun was shining and I have the tendency to get serious warm during longer ascents.  I spent about two hours reaching the top of the first ascent and from there I continued to the summit of the most eastern peak south of Vassaloamijavri to make the call. Leaving the pack behind I made it there and back in about an hour and, grabbing the gear, I aimed for the first stream along the trail where I stopped for a midday snack overlooking the lake and one of my favorite campsites in the area.

Weather was amazing and I spent about 1.5h enjoying the sunshine and a slight breeze! Getting back into the trail for the last climb of the day, I suddenly start running into a ton of people (ok, in this case, it means a total of 10) after seeing so few other hikers earlier days. It seems like the pass over Mårma is totally gaining popularity, something it absolutely deserves and hopefully leads to some renovations of the cabin that has been neglected for ages.  Stopping and chatting with the people, answering a couple of questions of the type everyone asks when they meet someone coming from the direction they’re heading made the afternoon a lot longer, and more social than expected.  On the higher part of the uphill slope, there was connection once more and I heard back from Matz, unfortunately, the key wasn’t to be found where I thought it should be and so I just have to change my plans. Not a big deal as Norway will most probably be there next year still! It was already 18:00 (6 PM) when I had my camp set up and started dinner.

Now after a good meal, I hear some raindrops falling on the tent. Nothing serious, just enough to make me appreciate the coziness of my tent and the cup of peppermint tea just so much more! Looking forward to an early evening and hopefully some good and restful sleep, getting me ready for some action tomorrow!