Day 14 – August 15th, 2019

Cunojavrihytta

Wow, when I woke up first this morning just before 6 am and looked out at the cloud that was embracing me, suddenly the beads of water hanging on to the mosquito net of my inner tent made sense.

I have to admit I turned around, closed my eyes and tried to go back to sleep in the irrational hope that the weather was just a bad dream and I would wake up soon… In reality, I lingered in the tent for another almost 3.5h waiting for the clouds to lift and then I felt I had to make a decision.

As any other way from here but back to Unna Allakas would take me higher into the clouds on unknown ground, the alternatives I had was either sit tight until the weather clears up at some point, or go back down to Unna Allakas cabin to get my stuff dry! I choose option two, and at just under 1000m of elevation I finally had the clouds above my head and not all around me anymore. The river was swollen from the rain yet I could repeat the trick from the day before, mainly by choosing the widest point for crossing and trusting my high shafted boots.

The rest of the descent was all easy, and I picked up quite a load of mushrooms on the way to have a nice lunch as some solace for having to go back.

And being able to share with the cabin host Thomas, who ironically enough had planned to open a can of mushrooms for his dinner! Within minutes of entering the cabin I had a fire going in the stove and my stuff was hanging to dry, I know how fast you can dry equipment when there is enough dry air and not too much stuff hanging there, and so I aimed to be all done before someone else showed up with wet gear, and leave the space for them to take over. As it turns out I spent a few hours by myself in the cabin, having a couple of pleasant chats with Thomas, and not until I started chopping some wood before leaving, the first people showed up! I had made the decision to continue along the trail through Norway southward towards Hukejaure as the weather situation has made my initial route too unsafe, and planned to camp at the bridge about 1km beyond Cunojaure hytta.

The clouds had lifted and the sky looked pretty promising with a small risk of a rain shower or two. Arriving at the cabin a first met a couple of Norwegian guys working on a new gear shed for the cabin and used the opportunity to go inside the new cabin and top up the battery of my phone. Turns out the guys occupying the cabin were just about to leave, had left some hot water on the stove and I sat down with a cup of tea. 

A little later I met a German guy who stayed in the other cabin on the compound and, in a gut feeling, I made the decision to stay in the small cabin the Norwegians just left. Staying in these cabins is so inexpensive it just doesn’t make sense to pitch a tent outside and sleeping in a bed for once won’t hurt!

Day 13 – August 14th, 2019

Camp at Bajip Gorzzijavri

Trapped in my tent for the last three and a half hours with one violent rain shower chasing the other outside, giving me just enough time to stretch my legs in between. Hopefully, there’s another break soon so I can get out and brush my teeth before taking an early night here. I woke up early after just 7h of sleep, whether due to the relaxed day yesterday or for no good reason at all, I don’t know. Staying true to my decision to spend a minimum of 24h in the same place, I enjoyed a lazy morning reading, conversing with other hikers and the cabin host. Finally, after all the other guests had left the site, I sat down inside the cabin for my meditation and have to admit it was a lot more comfortable than sitting in my tent. Just when I was ready to leave at noon, the danish guy I met on day 4 showed up and we chatted for another half hour or so.

My plan was to do the short hike up to this lake and let the weather tomorrow determine where to go from here. Legs felt really good and recovered and I moved faster with less effort than during the last couple of days. The hike took me up the first part of the trail towards Alesjaure and right after reaching the first ridge I turned right and followed the valley towards the southwest. Right before the little lake, in the end, I crossed over and started the ascent just next to the waterfall.

The climb was demanding yet not very hard and soon I reached the top of the climb and started following the northern shore of Vuokpi Gozzijavri.

A short stretch south of this lake the river separates into several streams and that’s where I decided to cross. I managed to get across without having to change shoes and get wet, though it took every ounce of creativity, balance, and skill, and probably it would have been faster to just change into the crocks.

Very soon after the crossing, I felt a few raindrops, turn around to look behind me and saw a wall of rain coming up the valley in my direction. Quick change of clothes and the hike continued up the valley until I reached my planned destination here. At this elevation, good campsites are pretty rare and I also felt a little pressed for time as the rain slowed down and stopped shortly after I reached the lake. I spotted a site from afar, moved slightly faster to check it out, and it turned out well enough. While I was pitching the tent the rain started falling again and it was impossible to keep everything dry inside.

In these situations, it’s more important to get the tent set properly, not always an easy task with the stony ground up here, and get everything inside. Any drops of water finding its way inside the tent can be dried with a cloth or towel, a little water inside is a lot better than getting soaked outside! Anyway, now almost four hours later, the rain is as strong as ever and the time just sitting here has got me ready for an early night.  Can’t do anything about the weather and, at least I’m dry, decently warm and well-fed – not too much else to ask for out here!

Day 12 – August 13th, 2019

Camp at Unna Allakas cabin

What a wonderful and relaxing rest day!

I woke up early after just over 9 hours of sleep and felt rested and ready to start the day. Once more I had to put in the effort of wiping the tent with the wettex cloth as some low clouds had embraced it during the night. Funny enough it seems that my normal morning routine here leaves just enough time for the tent to dry in the wind after I wiped it! Leaving the campsite at 8:30 I looked forward to an easy and pretty short hike down to the cabin.

And the contrast to the day before could not have been greater, how easy and relaxing to follow a well-marked and used trail again. I didn’t feel any need to stop except for drinking water once and arrived at Unna Allakas after not even two hours of hiking.

A rest day here in the mountains means also taking care of equipment and I started out washing some clothes, greasing my boots, making a mushroom omelet for lunch, make my camp, etc.  A group of three Germans I have already met twice before in the mountains previously (Tanja, Marcus, and Uli from Frankfurt) was already at the cabin and we had some great conversations. Uli and I also did some work together chopping wood for the cabin and the sauna. Still, there was enough time to relax, finish the book I’ve been reading and have a sizable dinner (I decided to try to overeat some today to compensate for the last few days) before it was time for the sauna. It feels really great to be thoroughly clean again, I even washed my hair for real and took the time to shave.

Clearly later than usual, it’s now time to hit the sleeping bag and get some rest for tomorrow. I’m in no hurry to leave here, just the opposite, I plan to stay until midday or so to give myself a full 24h minimum in this place! The sky looks pretty nice and I expect the weather to stay as good as it has been for the next upcoming days!