Tour of 2018 – Day 28, August 23rd 2018

Camp at Stuor Kärpel
Woke up already 5:30 and managed to go back to sleep until 7:00, had a few short and rather mellow rain showers during the night and early morning. After my first coffee the rain had stopped and I wiped off the tent.
Just after 8am I began packing up my stuff inside when drops started hitting the tent again and soon there was heavy rain going on outside. Nothing else to do than pack what I could to be ready as soon the shower was over, and then lean back and wait.
Roughly 40min later the rain had passed and after wiping down the tent again I managed to pack up reasonably dry!
I hiked the 3km to Unna Allakas, getting there just minutes after the next shower started and I stayed there for a good 2.5h. Eating fried mushrooms, nuts and jerky for breakfast and chatting with a nice couple, Eva and Joakim, who had a rest day in the cabin.
Side note: The last few days I’ve been ridiculously hungry, I think it’s the cold and especially the wind that takes a lot of energy. Anyway I’ve burned through a weeks worth of snacks in just two days, need to change things up a little so tomorrow I’ll have coffee only in the morning and then just go slower and see if that turns up the utilization of body fat more.
Turns out that by taking this long break I actually avoided most of the rain today, only got hit by a few short and light showers during the rest of the day.
I just love the stretch from Unna Allakas towards Katterjokk, and especially the part from the water crossing at Valfojåkkå to Stuor Kärpel. It’s so amazingly wild, remote and desolate, rocky and beautiful!
The trail separates from the one leading to Abiskojaure and climbs up the slope towards Shangeli, continues past the old mining area to the security cabin at Valfojåkkå. Soon after passing the cabin there’s a water crossing that needs a change of shoes.
Important to pass the winter trail crossing and continue around the first small lake to get to the safe spot. It’s a little tricky to get down the cliff and over to the first big rock in the stream, just take it easy – after getting into the water, the rest is easy.
Immediately after the crossing, the trail leads uphill into a wonderful landscape of rock and water.
So much wild beauty and fun hiking experiences here, as long as You like hiking on rocks and are comfortable with it.
If not, this is another area to stay away from, there are so many other places to get Your feet wet and learn the skills of rock hiking!
The rocks and cliffs continue until about 1km before reaching the cabin, last part of the trail is a pretty nice path and easy to walk.
Side note: Stuor Kärpel is another security cabin and overnight stay is only allowed in case of emergency. There are a few pretty nice campsites near the cabin and camping there provides a great opportunity for dinner and/or breakfast out of the wind and rain.
Please only make a fire if really needed, someone might need the firewood in a real emergency situation!
I’ve always used the same campsite here, this time I’m trying out a new location, closer to the lake and with a nicer view.

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Peace // Claes

Tour of 2018 – Day 27, August 22nd 2018

Camp at the eastern shore of Cunojaure
What a joy to wake up without the sound of rain on the tent, it had been a few showers during the night, the last in the early morning hours, and none of them even close to the ones yesterday.
I woke up already at 5:30, getting into the cabin 30min later to make a fire in the stove and then broke down my tent to hang it inside to dry. Turns out it would have dried just as well outside in the wind, yet why take a chance when having access to a cabin, right?!

The wind had turned during the night, not longer coming from the west and bringing the weather from the Atlantic Ocean. Normally here that means an improvement in the weather conditions, and today was no exception!
After a few cups of coffee and tea with my neighbor, everything was dry and I packed all my gear to be ready to leave.
8:45 I said goodbye and left Gautelishytta until next time, and now, after finally trying out the sauna they built here a few years ago, that will probably be next year already!
The weather was so much more pleasant, no rain and a pretty mellow breeze, that also was quite a bit warmer than previously. Shortly after I left I had to stop and take of my jacket, later changing quite often between wearing it or not, depending on wind and the intensity of the hike. I’m happy to say that I must have hiked about half the day wearing only my t-shirt.
The trail northwards from Gautelishytta is wild and beautiful, quite easy to walk in the beginning, then, getting closer to the pass, very rocky and desolated. Frankly, if You don’t like jumping on rocks, this is the wrong tour for You. Unless You’re considerably good at moving on rocky ground, You could spend hours in frustration hiking this stretch.
That said, the marking of the trail is enormously better than I remember, someone has really put in some effort making the trail clearer and more visible. There are stone pillars at very close distances from each other throughout the entire pass!
Once on the other side of the pass there are two river crossings, both could be done without changing shoes this time. Always look for a wide spot in the river, remember that some stones can be stepped on under water with perfectly maintained safety, and, once again, get high shafted hiking boots!
I arrived at Caihnavagge in clear sunny weather and decided to take a break and have some tea and snacks as I still had some ground to cover.
Getting out of the wind really amplified the warmth from the sun and the place was really pleasant. Besides, I finally got a decent shot at charging my phone again as the sun was out so bright.
A good hour later i started the second part, as different in character from the morning stretch as night from day. Being so much lower in elevation the trail was mostly soft, leading over grass or low scrubs, mixed up with wetter areas. Shortly before the bridge over Caihnajohka there is a short distance that is rocky, muddy and bushy at the same time. Just take it easy and slow down and all is good!
The bridge is as reassuring as any of the Norwegian ones, I totally recommend to let one person pass completely before the next stepping onto the bridge!
The trail continues over the flat valley floor of Gallanbuolda, again mostly scrubs and grasses, some wetlands and bushy areas. And one real river where You might to have to change shoes, this time I got over there dry once again. It took some skills, experience and, once more, high shafts on the boots, to get it done, though!
Finally there’s another bridge to get to the north side of Cunojaure where the cabin is located and the trail continues around the lake and into Sweden and towards Unna Allakas.
About halfway between the Cunojaure cabin and Unna Allakas You find the beautiful beach where I chose to camp tonight. The weather was finally good enough to get back into solitude. As much as I love the comfort and warmth of the cabins, I missed being by myself in my tent!
Turns out that the Norwegian weather forecast workshop right, I just managed to get everything set inside the tent when I heard the first drops on the outer tarp. So far nothing alarming and very mellow compared to previous days and weeks. I’m kinda curious what tomorrow brings!

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Peace // Claes

Tour of 2018 – Day 12, August 7th 2018

Camp at Røysvatnhyttene
Well, my restful night inside the cabin turned out to be everything else but as expected.
I woke up at 00:15 by the loud noises of people arriving, turned out that a group of 8-10 people just came in and intended to start cooking. After asking them twice to keep the noise down (according to NOT rules it shall be quiet after 11 pm), I just grabbed all my stuff and moved over to the smaller cabin. Hoping that these people would at least have the sense not to disturb there as well…
Luckily enough they didn’t and after some initial difficulty going back to sleep, I finally slept until 7 am.
Having had a rather large dinner the night before, finishing off the first batch of pecans as desert, I went for coffee only in the morning. Before 9 am I had everything packed and went to check on my fellow guest from the other cabin, yet she already departed. The group was also gone and I noticed that none of them had registered their stay in the cabin, thereby also clearly indicating that they didn’t intend to pay the fee. On top of that, they also left the cabin without either cleaning or locking it. This is, of course, completely unacceptable as the whole operation with the cabins here in Norway builds on trust and people paying the fees voluntarily.
Looking out I could still see the group on their way to Sitashyttene, yet they were too far for me to catch up easily enough and so I just started my hike towards Røysvatnhyttene.
There is a system of rowing boats to get past a narrow part of the lake and while on the water I’m overflown by a helicopter. They landed not far ahead of me and I soon saw the chopper on its way back again.
Reaching the first bridge I was presented with the explanation, three guys doing repair work on a bridge that definitely needed it.
Turns out they work with the NOT and one of the guys is the father of the boss.
Besides, these guys are 84,82 and 75 years of age, and still doing rather hard physical labour out here – respect!!!
I mentioned the issues with the group and that they’re heading towards Sitas and the three men were very interested in taking care of the matter. I hope they managed to land a helicopter on the group and set the matter right! Anyhow, I could now drop the whole thing.
Also, I got the number of the bosses father and he asked me to report anything that needs attention along the trails in Norway!
The whole rest of the day was just a pleasure, the weather was really nice, partly sunny summer day with a breeze that was far from chilly. The trail was pleasant to walk yet in some stretches really faint and poorly marked, at the same time there’s a bunch of reindeer tracks.
I highly recommend being really observant for the markers and, if You chose to hike this part, to make sure You’re ridiculously comfortable following map and compass. Chances are that You’ll lose the trail more than once, it always shows up again, though!
I took a short break at the bridge south of Skuogejavrre to charge my phone (sun came out brightly right there) and pick some mushrooms before continuing the last part to the cabin.
Arriving here I found the place deserted and, looking around, there was a sauna in a separate building!!!
Sooo good to be able to clean up again for real, the water in the lake was cold yet not freezing and sitting in the sauna first even allowed for a short (very short…) swim.
Finally, after cleaning up myself and washing some clothes, I had dinner after around 22h fasted. Adding in the mushrooms made it even more delicious and enjoyable, I’m just stoked how energetic and content I feel hiking that far in this region without having to eat all the time. I love being in ketosis and enjoy the freedom to choose when to take in food!
Having found a really nice campsite just a little bit away from the cabin, I look forward to an undisturbed nights sleep!

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Peace // Claes

Tour of 2018 – Day 11, August 6th 2018

Pauro cabin
After a rain-free early morning, the weather turned and rain shower after rain shower filled the morning hours.
I spent more time than planned in the cabin and only left at 11 am when it looked like the rain had passed. No need to start a hiking day with rain if not absolutely necessary, especially with just 23km ahead. I had time to linger.
The plan to wait for the rain to pass didn’t work out too well, though. Just after I left the gravel road and hit the first ascent it started raining again and continued more or less constantly for the next three hours. After that, there was about an hour of no rain followed by several heavy showers.
The hike itself was beautiful and very enjoyable, no real physical challenges yet rather mellow ascents and descents. The area around the highest pass was a little rocky yet that was more than compensated by the soft and pleasant trail after the first descent. Also, the rocks gave remarkably good grip even while being wet from the rain, and I never once slipped.
All in all a very nice hiking day, I’m so grateful that my new rain gear does its job really well!
Shortly before I reached Pauro I got hit by another rain shower, this time it still continues on outside, more than three hours later. The constant rain made me decide to stay inside for the night, the first time in 20 years I sleep inside a cabin.
Thankfully there’s only one other guest here and she’s got her own room!

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Peace // Claes

Tour of 2018 – Day 10, August 5th 2018

Sitashyttene
For once I’m actually writing this sitting inside of a cabin, I just finished dinner and enjoy a cup of coffee and some 90% dark chocolate.
Got up this morning at quarter to 7 am after almost 11h in the sleeping bag, my body needed rest and it was raining in the early morning hours so no point in getting up early. As usual, tent got wiped off before I started my other morning routines and a good hour later all was dried out.
I left the campsite at 8:40 and started downhill towards the Gautelis dam and the gravel road on the other side that would take me to the trailhead for Skoaddajavre.
The sun showed itself just moments before I reached the dam and was an intermittent companion the entire day, making a great difference in temperature. It was rather chilly in the air, just over 10C (50F) midday, yet as soon as the sun came out it was very pleasant.
The hike from the gravel road to Skoaddajavre cabin was great, first a long stretch of moderate uphill, followed by more or less level with some tendencies to descent towards the cabin.
I had planned for a midday stop there and the weather was perfect and the cabin is located in such a beautiful place!
The afternoon started with a slight ascent to the most wonderful highland plateau, beautiful rock formations and a marvellous view of the surrounding higher mountains!
Descending includes about 260m of elevation that is brutally steep and hard on the legs, I’m stoked how well mine handled the challenge after what I put them through yesterday!
Now, there’s not much to say about the last stretch of the day… 14km (8.75 miles) of gravel road, fast to walk yet not very interesting. And there might be alternative ways going off trail over the mountains, this tour I just don’t have the time to go that route.
I have been planning to follow this part of the Nordkalottenleden for years and finally, I found a good window to do so. Some gravel in the process is a low price to pay, looking at the low water levels everywhere, the rest of the trail should be a blast!
Still, I have to admit, that 34km in a day is a little too much, even counting the ease of walking on gravel. I’m tired and my feet are pretty sore, it’s gonna be another early night and I’m happy that no one else is here in the cabin.

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Peace // Claes

Tour of 2018 – Day 9, August 4th 2018

Camp below the southern mouth of Dolbotvagge
This day had a theme of walking on rocks and covering elevation, most of the tour happened in higher altitudes, over 900m, and involved a lot of stepping from rock to rock.
I started at 990m, went down to 630m, up to 1270, down to 1100, up again to 1210 and ended at 910m. Quite a few of the climbs and descents were rather steep!
Got woken up by heavy rain around 4 am this morning and lay listening to the drops falling on the tent for quite some time before I fell back asleep. Next time I woke up the rain had stopped and when I got up at 7 am my first action was to wipe off the tent so it could dry in the wind.
Wasn’t hungry at all so I just had a plain coffee without any fat while going through my morning routine and getting ready for the day!
Just shy of 9 am I picked up my backpack and went down to the glacier river, this time planning to give it a try upstream of the sediment delta. It worked out pretty well, I just had to change to get over the last stream and the bottom was made up of rocks so this was so much easier.
Once past the stream, the descent back to the gravel road was rather swift and soon I had made my way to the next trailhead and back into nature!

I love the hike up to Smaileriehpas, it starts with a fun river crossing (there’s a new bridge close to the lake that I deliberately ignored) and the valley is wild, beautiful and always different. This year there was so little snow left on the other ridge and an almost inconceivable amount of water came down from the snowfields and glaciers.

The ascent was rather heavy, yet I can’t say if that was due to the late evening climb up to Storsteynshytta or my fatless morning coffee.
I reached my favorite spot, right next to a little waterfall, close to the highest point of the pass around 1 pm and stopped for a coffee with PF, some jerky and walnuts.
The sun came out behind the clouds and warmed the air, yet as soon as it got obscured again the temperature was rather chilly and I moved on after an hour.
My plan was to continue for 3-4 more hours, or until I find a really nice spot for my tent.
Compared to last year the tour was rough, no snow at all, just rocks and some small patches of dirt. Even for me, it takes a lot of concentration and mental focus to keep the pace on that kind of ground and after some time it becomes rather tiring.
I got to the south end of Dolbotvagge in good time and originally wanted to do the 3km gravel road leading over towards the nest stretch of trail. Mainly to avoid having to do it first thing in the morning tomorrow.
Yet on the way down, I spotted a great campsite near the waterfall coming down from the mouth of Dolbotvagge and quickly decided to stay in the wild and do the gravel tomorrow.
Thereby, it turned out, I also got my tent set up just in time to get inside before the first rain shower really got started. And since then the rain has barely stopped at all…
There’s definitely been a complete weather change from the first week out and I’m so grateful that the girls got to experience the nice weather!
Even down here, at about 900m of elevation, the evening is rather cold and I’ll probably get into the sleeping bag early!

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Peace // Claes

Tour of 2018 – Day 8, August 3rd 2018

Camp near Storsteynshytta
Woke up early and just stayed in my sleeping bag as I didn’t want to disturb the guests inside the cabin. Turned out I should have followed my first instinct and packed everything up – minutes after 6 am it started to rain heavily.
Not until 8 the rain lightened enough to get from the camp to the cabin without getting totally drenched. I grabbed everything except the tent and went for breakfast.
As the cabin was rather cold and damp I made a fire in the stove, very appreciated by all the other guests!
After a couple of mugs of coffee with coconut oil, I went back to the camp and took the tent down. One of the groups had left their room already and I could hang my tent to dry, two hours later it was good to pack!
Still, I lingered in the cabin, waiting for the host to be ready for an interview, finally, I left at around 1 pm.
Getting into another rain shower on the first stretch, I dropped into the cabin at Cunojaure to have a cup of coffee away from the rain. Between chatting with two Austrian guys and a Swedish couple I met already on the trail to Unna Allakas yesterday, I stayed until 4:30 pm.
In the meantime, I had decided to go check out Storsteynshytta, as my original plan of going up towards Smaileriehpas felt a little cocky due to the weather. Pitching my tent in the clouds isn’t one of my favorites…
The hike up to that cabin was only around 12km and I’d easily been there before 8 pm if it hadn’t been for the last river crossing. Right below the glacier, the meltwater stream spread out into a kind of delta, leaving islands of sediment between the arms of the river. I made it about 1/3 of the way before I had to change into my Crocks and pack my trousers into the backpack. Water was more than knee deep and painfully cold, worse, the sediment wasn’t stable… I sank into the bottom and almost lost one of my Crocks, the last arm I did barefoot, carrying the wading shoes in one hand.
Once through the river, I didn’t stop to change yet continued up the hill all the way to the cabin in a successful attempt to get warm.
The cabin itself turned out to be a disappointment, though, there is a nice one that is privately owned, the NTO cabin didn’t have a stove to make fire and the ceiling was so low I couldn’t stand up. After a quick glance, I went and pitched my tent instead!
Soon I had dinner ready, followed by a couple of mugs of tea, and soon after 10 pm, I went to bed.
Even if the hike was neither long nor hard this day, the last 3km involved quite some elevation and the river crossing was tiring and I’ll have no issues sleeping well tonight!

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Peace // Claes

Tour of 2018 – Day 7, August 2nd 2018

Camp at Unna Allakas
The rain had stopped just after midnight and the sky looked a lot more friendly when I got out and shaked most of the water off my tent at around 7 am. Ashleigh was already awake and we ended up chatting for a couple of hours having several cups of coffee while Cornelia slept in.
Altogether a very pleasant morning that led to a rather late start just shy of noon. The girls decided to make it to the campsite 3km (2 miles) before Abisko and aim for breakfast at the tourist station tomorrow morning.
So we agreed that I take them up to Kungsleden, make sure they recognize the markers and then move on westwards towards Norway, aiming to end the day here in Unna Allakas.
After spending a week with them and having a lot of adventurous experiences and fun together I have to admit getting a little emotional when we parted.
I’m confident that they make their way just great and will enjoy that breakfast immensely.
I, on my part, looked forward to the sauna in Unna Allakas and to clean up thoroughly for the first time in a week.
Didn’t make any real breaks during the hike, and didn’t need any, just stopped for water a few times and ended up being on the trail for almost 6 hours straight.
Feels so great how the body adjusts itself and has moved into hiking mode again. Of course, it’s also helpful that I’ve been using up some of my food and the weight of the backpack goes down.
I’m still amazed, though, how much less food I need than anticipated. My guess is that my body is well aware of the extra body fat I intentionally put on before the tour, use that first and that my hunger will increase down the road.
Obviously, we can’t fool nature and my trick to lessen the load a little by putting on some weight seems to backfire slightly as less food leaves my backpack.
Anyway, the sauna was wonderful, as expected, and the lake was warm enough to actually swim around for a while. The first time that happens up here!
After cleaning up I enjoyed a nice dinner inside the cabin, chatted with the other guests and got down to my tent just after 10:30 pm.

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Peace // Claes

Tour of 2018 – Day 6, August 1st 2018

Camp west of the crossing between Radujavri and Miesakjavri
The day started very relaxed, all woke up rather early and we got going at 9:20 without any rush in the morning!
Continuing the trail up valley at a pleasant pace we reached the meadow where we originally planned to camp after just 1 hour and 20 minutes, stopping for a longer snack break.
After another hour we reached the northwest ‘corner’ of Bajip Cazajavri and Cornelia wanted to stop for lunch.
That taken care of we followed the trail through the Sami village Alisjavri and continued on the east side of the lake. Soon we heard thunder in the far and looking back the clouds were building up closer and closer.
During a short water break we all changed into rain gear, anticipating to get wet soon.
The first rain shower was surprisingly light, yet the thunder storm came closer and moved around in the area. When the first heavy rain hit us we found shelter under a protruding rock formation, moving on as soon as it lightened up.

Not long after we got hit by the next, even heavier shower and reaching the crossing over Godujohka we had to wait a while for the rain to get lighter before we could attempt to cross.

Crossing the river was rather sketchy, I’ve never seen the water flow that high and the current was stronger than I was really comfortable with. At one spot the water was knee high with very strong current and I had to ask the girls to wait in the cold water while I went all the way over to the other side and could come back to help them through the roughest part.
After everyone of us was safely on the other river bank we continued down to the crossing between Radujavri and Miesakjavri. And You really need to love irony as this crossing, that was planned to be an adventurous end of the tour before reaching Kungsleden, ended up being a pretty easy anticlimax after the river crossing right before!
We made camp right on the west side of the crossing and used my gear shed to have dinner after killing off the mosquitoes that already found their way in. The rain had started again just shortly after we got our tents set up and I’m so grateful we could still sit together for a meal. Totally worth carrying around those extra 900g!
During dinner, we heard voices outside and later they got disturbing enough that I got out to check what was going on. Turns out some family had pitched their tent just about 30m (100ft) away from us, having loud conversations among themselves.
I asked them to quiet down a bit and after that, it was possible to sleep.
Side note: In just short of 30 years up here this is the first time anyone has been inconsiderate enough to pitch a tent that close to my camp when away from the cabins. So most people actually behave very well and enjoy their own privacy as well as respecting others.
We could still hear thunder far in the distance through the early hours of the night and it rained on and off

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Peace // Claes

Tour of 2018 – Day 5, July 31st 2018

Camp across from the large boulders in the middle of Vistasvagge
Great night at Vassajavri, woke up with morning sun and a light breeze and enjoyed a slow morning. Got started towards Vistas (one of the girls wanted to visit the shop) and got further delayed as I found service on top of Vassanjunnji ridge and got some messages sent.
The descent to Vistas was pleasant and without any challenges, we arrived at the cabin shortly after 12:30 and left over three hours later. The girls went down to the river for lunch, sunbathing and a dip, and I chatted with the cabin host and a couple of other guests while enjoying a cup of coffee!
Once back on the trail we all enjoyed the ease of the hike up the valley, the sun was shining and it was rather hot so we took it easy and made many short breaks for water.
Originally we aimed for the meadow right after the bridge over Moahrmannjohka yet made the decision to stop early at another beautiful place as the long stop in Vistas led to it already being 6:30 when we got there.
We enjoyed a very nice evening, bug-free due to the wind and a small campfire, and kept chatting for some time. Finally, around 10 pm we split up and went to our tents!

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Peace // Claes