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!

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 lifeofajenni.com – 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!