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!

The journey continues, please leave a comment to tell me what You think and share this with friends and loved ones who might benefit or be interested!

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Peace // Claes

Tour of 2018 – Day 26, August 21st 2018

Camp at Gautelishytta

Another day I woke up early and snuck into the cabin at 7 am when I had heard that the only other guest also was up already.
Picking a break between the rain showers to wipe my tent and bring it inside to dry ensured that I could pack everything the way I want it this morning.

Having an extra cup of coffee, talking to the cabin host, Leif, and taking my time packing my stuff, left me with a departure time at 10 am and I headed northbound on the trail back towards Norway.


Depending on the circumstances my plan was to either do a short day and stay at Gautelis or push on to Caihnavagge. There’s virtually no real good campsite in between these cabins.

The wind was rather mellow for the first hour or so, then it quickly picked up and reached the same strength as yesterday, just considerably colder and accompanied by ice cold rain showers chasing each other until midday. Suddenly the sun started to fight its way through the clouds and the rain stopped for a couple of hours.

The trail is easy to follow and mostly easy to hike, just a few stretches with the rocky ground to consider. This season the streams hold so much less water than normal, allowing rivers, that normally need a change of shoes, to be crossed by just walking over them. On the other hand, the ground was still very wet from all the rain, again making a point for high boot shafts!

The wind continued to be a challenge the entire hike, and to be frank with You, these conditions with cold wind and rain are not just unpleasant. They’re potentially dangerous as it, for one, is very easy to underestimate the cooling effect of the wind (it’s definitely possible to get both frostbites and hypothermia at temperatures well above the freezing point), secondly, the conditions invite to rush, and make poor decisions to get to the goal sooner. Just be aware!

During my descent to Gautelishytta, I got hit by another rain shower, and that, in combination with the sauna at the cabin, made me decide to save the 12km to Caihnavagge for tomorrow instead.

I’m still well on schedule and the next stretch is just not as easy and so I’d rather do that one after a good night’s sleep.
I’ll just hike all the way to either Cunojaure or Unna Allakas tomorrow instead of hitting the pass between here and the next spot this afternoon. Safety first!

 

Side note: The weather starts getting at me, and some of the plans I have for the rest of the tour are just not safe to do under these conditions. So I made the decision to consider breaking the tour early, depending on the weather forecast for next week that I can access on Friday.
Hoping for a positive weather change so I can safely do what I came here for!

 

The journey continues, please leave a comment to tell me what You think and share this with friends and loved ones who might benefit or be interested!

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Peace // Claes

Table Mountain, The Ledge – January 21st 2019

Arrived back in Cape Town yesterday, checked into the Park Inn by Radisson Cape Town Foreshore for my two remaining nights in ZA, got settled and cleaned up before meeting a couple of friends for dinner.
We went to a really nice Thai place, unfortunately not really up to par on the portion sizes and we had to get some starters after the main course to be satisfied.
I met Eva and went for a short hike with her in 2017, yet it’s the first time her boyfriend Mike and I meet in person, good conversation and lots of fun, they’re both wonderful people and very including. Being a guide in the area, Mike points me to a route up the eastern side of table mountain and later they send me photos from one of the rare guide books describing this route.
I decided to try it out, knowing that I might have to turn around if it gets too sketchy, and being totally ok with that. Starting from the hotel it takes some walking to get to the trailhead up towards Devils Peak where I started up the mountain.

Hiking up to the saddle following the main trail is easy and comfortable, my main concern being to find the right fork where to turn off from the train before it’s a descent down on the other side of the saddle.


Turns out it’s not that hard to find (and, yes, I mindfully chose not to point it out as the route is frankly not suited for most people) and soon I’m heading along the smaller trail up towards the table. First, it’s just a faint and rather steep trail up the mountainside, yet after passing over the ledge that gave the route its name, it starts to involve some vertical climbs and becomes increasingly harder to navigate.

On a few occasions, I have to double back and find the trail again after hitting a dead end. More and more climbing, at one point coming through a crack in the rock almost resembling a tunnel, I contemplated turning around a few times yet always finding a good hold for hands and feet and being able to carry on.
Finally I found myself standing on a narrow ledge with a sharp drop off to the left about 100m or more (300ft) and looking at the uppermost part of a steep ravine with nowhere else to go but up, I have to admit the only thing that got me to continue was the simple fact that climbing back down seemed even more sketchy than climbing up the ravine.

Obviously, I made it, though slowly and consciously, and always keeping three limbs on the rock, cautious not to slip on the wet and muddy spots and staying away from the grass and bushes barely finding grip with their roots in the superficial soil.

As usual, after completing a route like this, the feeling coming out at the top is indescribable, that last stretch really got some adrenaline pumping and I enjoyed the aftermath of the rush while making my way across the table towards the station on the western side.
A friendly woman at the coffee bar kindly refilled my water bag and soon I made my way down the mountain, once again following the India Venster route, that admittedly felt very timid and easy compared to the adventures coming up. Please see previous posts in referens to that route, ok?

Arriving back at the hotel I had been out moving for just over seven hours and had definitely earned my dinner, and this being my last night I went for a fantabulous Prime Rib to close off an intensely fun day filled with adventures in nature!

Thanks for checking out the post, please leave a comment below and let me know what You think, ok?

Peace be the Journey // Claes

Tour of 2018 – Day 25, August 20th 2018

Camp at the Hukejaure cabin
The day started like yesterday ended, rain and wind. During most of the night, the rough wind shook the tent and there were several long and heavy rain showers, making it hard to sleep well. So grateful for the separate gear shed that let me keep all the wet stuff out of the inner tent.
In the early morning hours both wind and rain calmed down and I slept really good for a few hours until around 8 am when the next wave of weather hit the tent hard.
Around 10 am the rain lessened and I decided to break camp and do my best to get the tent and gear shed reasonably dry.
Half an hour later I started the hike and it turned out that if I’d stayed an hour longer, I could have packed everything more or less dry.
Besides a few short showers the rain cleared up completely during midday and only the strong wind remained. Part of the hike was a constant fight against the wind and every time the landscape blocked the gushes for some time was a real relief.
I moved on a pretty direct route towards Ruskajavri, staying north of Ruskajogas, following some pretty clear reindeer tracks all the way over the pass leading into the valley.
Once down by the lake, I stayed close to the shore, trying to be as low as possible to avoid as much wind as I could.
The hike along the lake is beautiful and I, once again, felt a longing to camp at quite a few spots along the stretch!
Just a little bit north of the lake I crossed the river feeding into it and continued along the western mountainside, after some time passing the small lake where I camped last year.
Passing Raktasjavri on it’s south and west side I soon crossed Raktasjohka and cut over the southwest side of Raktas before coming down on the trail leading from Sitasjaure to Hukejaure and following that the rest of the way to the cabin.
Because of all the rain that fell the last few days and weeks, the ground was soaked with water and the wetlands were wet for real. Once again I cannot emphasize enough the value of using boots with high shafts and putting in the effort of keeping them watertight!
If You’ve been following this blog for some time, You already know that this is one of my favorite cabins to visit and I always enjoy coming here. This time I also got to see the same cabin host as three years ago, always nice to meet again and catch up.
After putting the tent to dry in the wind (time to make some use of it at last…) I had some tea inside and warmed up a little, before chopping wood and fetching water for the sauna. I also fried some mushrooms I’d found along the trail on the way here!
The weather has been still unsteady with some decent rain showers, yet also some sun coming out between the clouds. All in all a lot better than yesterday and I definitely hope for it to clear up even more overnight. Anyway, camping at a cabin guarantees that I can dry everything in the morning regardless of the weather, and that’s always awesome!

The journey continues, please leave a comment to tell me what You think and share this with friends and loved ones who might benefit or be interested!

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Peace // Claes

Tour of 2018 – Day 24, August 19th 2018

Camp just north of Viddjajavri
Wow, I’m so grateful to be dry and warm, this day was really rough weather wise.
Started out being quite nice, I had to wipe the tent twice in the morning due to a short rain shower, yet then I could start the hike just shy of 9:30 wearing my ordinary hiking pants. About an hour later I changed into rain gear and that was it for the day.
During a short coffee break in Kaitumjaure cabin, I learned that the forecast promised random rain showers throughout the day. That didn’t sound too bad and I continued in the direction of Hukejaure, leaving Kungsleden behind and finding my trusted reindeer tracks on the mountainside.
Shortly after I left the cabin the rain started falling again and then only stopped for briefer periods of time.
Additionally, the wind was really strong and actually pushed me around at times, which is alright when hiking on solid ground, though it gets a little sketchy when on loose and wet rocks.
I hiked north pretty high up on the mountainside parallel to Kungsleden until passing a group of beautiful small lakes on my right and then turning westward into Sanarvaggi. Now the wind hit me straight head-on, making it impossible for even the best rain gear to keep me dry. It was a relief to reach  Viddjajavri and turn northbound again along the shore.
My original plan was to reach Ruskajavri and camp at one of the sites I spotted last year, though when I was on the north end of Viddjajavri I saw a suitable spot of grass while the rain had lessened to almost nothing at all.
Unfortunately, it picked up again soon after I started to raise the tent and I had to accept getting the inside wet before managing to get the rain fly in place. Because of my wet backpack and rain gear, I also pitched the gear shed, hoping to manage to dry the inside of the tent and keep it dry after that.
After a few cups of hot tea, dinner, and coffee while covering myself with the sleeping bag, everything looks and feels a lot lighter. Though the rain continues outside and the wind still shakes the tent at times.
We’ll see what tomorrow brings, whatever comes up I know I go to Hukejaure.

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Peace // Claes

Tour of 2018 – Day 23, August 18th 2018

Camp just north of Teusajaure cabin
I woke up really early, just shy of 5:30, and started getting all my stuff together. The tent had some condensation from the night and I hung it outside to dry completely.
Before breakfast, I had everything packed and ready to go, the food and gas I got in that package brought the weight of the backpack up to 25kg again. So much less fun than the 18.5kg I arrived with…
Breakfast was just as good as the day before and afterward, I sat outside with a coffee until it was time to go down to the boat. Weather was mostly sunny and pretty warm, good day to get back on the trail!
The boat ride costs SEK 140:- if You’re a member of the STF and on the other side of the lake waits for the bus to let You continue Your journey.
My next stop was Vakkotavare, the trailhead for the northbound Kungsleden. There’s basically no way to get around using the trail for the first stretch as in particular one river and a lake are hard to cross without bridge and boats.
In Vakkotavare I met the same hosts as last year, Birgitta and Anders, and we had a nice chat catching up before I hit the trail at 1:30.
After ascending the first part of the trail it gets very pleasant and easy to walk. I did the 16km to the lake ‘Teusajaure’ in 3.5h without hurrying and found two rowing boats on that side of the lake. This meant I could just take one and use to get to the other side, had there been only one, I’d had to row the distance three times to make sure there are one or more boats on either side of the lake.
In that case, I would have waited for the schedule motor boat transport an hour later, now I didn’t have to.
Though I have to admit I’d forgotten how lousy these rowing boats actually are, no fun at all to row the 1km across the lake, especially not as the wind had created quite some waves on the lake. It was a struggle and, once over on the other shore, I went into the cabin for a break, some coffee and to get dry and warm again.
Turned out that it suddenly started raining while I was having that coffee and I ended up cooking dinner inside as well.
Finally, the rain subsided to a mere drizzle and I went up the initial ascent to camp up on the plateau, I just felt I needed some free space around me after two nights at Saltoluokta.
Found a really nice spot and got everything set up for the night!

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Peace // Claes

Tour of 2018 – Day 22, August 17th 2018

Camp at Saltoluokta
Being more than half a day ahead of schedule due to the weather, I had decided on beforehand to take one day completely off here in Saltoluokta.
My rest day started with the breakfast buffet they serve every morning between 7 and 9, what a treat to have eggs, cheese, ham, and some fresh veggies for breakfast!

My plan was to intentionally and purposefully overeat and overcompensate some for the lower intake of food during the tour so far.
This plan was effectuated to perfection, now just during breakfast, I also bought some peanuts as an extra snack, and had my normal dinner in the evening.
I promised myself a real rest day and spent my time reading, chatting with other people at the station, sauna and just relaxing.
Saltoluokta is a perfect place to take a day off, comfortable chairs, generous sauna hours and great food!

The journey continues, please leave a comment to tell me what You think and share this with friends and loved ones who might benefit or be interested!

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Peace // Claes

Tour of 2018 – Day 21, August 16th 2018

Camp at Saltoluokta mountain station
Once again I woke up early to the sound of rain falling on the tent, the weather had changed completely overnight and the beautiful clear evening last night had been replaced by thick fog and rain.
Thankfully it stopped raining while I was going through my morning routine, still, the fog made it impossible to get the tent dry.
Knowing I only had 15km to Saltoluokta and there would probably be enough wind at the lake to dry out the tent before evening, I made an exception and packed it wet just to get going in the morning. There was no way telling how long the fog would stay…
Visibility was really low for the first half of the hike, yet the trail is so clear that it was super easy to follow. The weather didn’t invite to any extended breaks, still, I was in no hurry and took the time to look around for some mushrooms during the last few km, finding well enough for a good-sized snack upon arrival at the station.
My package with food for the last 15 days of the tour had arrived and was waiting for me when I checked in after pitching my tent to dry in the air.
I then kept myself busy throughout the afternoon sorting, repacking and taking care of equipment. Especially the boots needed some attention, cleaning and greasing to get them watertight again for the next part of the tour.
Finally, I got to sauna, dinner and some socializing with other hikers before calling it a day and retiring to my, now completely dry, tent.

The journey continues, please leave a comment to tell me what You think and share this with friends and loved ones who might benefit or be interested!

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Peace // Claes

Hike around Robberg outside Plettenberg Bay, ZA, January 5th, 2019

Totally recommend this hike around Robberg, my friend Jim did the shorter one by Witsand, while I rounded the entire peninsula.


The trail was mostly well marked and easy to both find and walk, stretches are rather steep and You need to take Your time, yet as long as You’re reasonably fit, You should be able to get around the longer trail. Just be forewarned that a few parts involve more or less climbing up and down rocks and hillside, and You need a certain degree of agility to manage those stretches.
Most of the first half runs along the top of the northern cliff ridge of the peninsula, opening up a stunning view of the bay with a beautiful beach stretching far towards the horizon and, of course, the city of Plettenberg Bay, in season overflowing with tourists and summer guests while more or less empty the rest of the year.


You will probably hear the sound of seals from the cliffs below and be able to view them from quite a few spots along the trail, just make sure to stay on the trail as I’m unsure about the conditions of the cliffs. The rock looks like it could be brittle!

At the halfway point You get a fantastic view of the Indian Ocean and will probably notice the contrast between the rather calm bay and the ocean to the west. The trail continues over rocks and cliffs closer to the shoreline, before turning back up the hillside and a stunning view of the coast to the west.


Gotta love the irony of, at some points, having to virtually use Your hands to scramble and climb up rocks and cliffs, and a little later walking on boards and down a wooden stairway. Personally, I don’t really get the thinking behind that…

Along the west side of Robberg, there’s a cabin for an overnight stay, a permit must be obtained ahead of time, and I have no idea how long in advanced the place is booked. Definitely gonna look into it for my next visit in this area. Falling asleep to the sound of the waves crashing over the rocks must be just awesome!!!

Passing over a fantabulous sandy beach, the trail soon leads back up the hillside for quite some elevation on the way back to the ‘Gap’ and farther on to the parking area.

The signs at the trailhead recommend 4 hours for the round trip, I did it in just under 2 without hurrying through, and I think most people will find their true time somewhere in between. Just bring water and, unless You’re reasonably fat adapted, maybe some snacks, take Your time and enjoy the view and the adventure – it’s all good!

Let me know what You think and Peace be the Journey!!!

Much Love // Claes

Tour of 2018 – Day 20, August 15th 2018

Camp along the Kungsleden 5km North Sitojaure
Again I wake up early, and again to the sound of raindrops falling on the tent. Not very alarming at 6 am, I’m in no hurry to leave, yet looking out and seeing I’m literally camping in the clouds at 1100m was a little more disturbing. As I mentioned before, I really don’t like packing a wet tent and there’s no way to tell when clouds will move on. Just rain isn’t as bad, there’s always a half hour break somewhere between showers, and that’s enough to dry the tent reasonably.
Today I was lucky and just after 9, the rain got lighter and shortly after also the clouds started lifting and it made sense to wipe off the tent.
Just shy of 10 I was all packed and ready to go, though the visibility was still really bad and I was giving up on visiting Skierfe with its famous scenic view over Rapa valley. Staying higher up on the mountainside to cut some distance, suddenly the sky opens up and I realize there is a chance to get some view over the valley.
Instantly I change direction and chose the shortest possible route to the summit of Skierfe. Doubtful if it was also the fastest, as it took me through quite some bushwhacking areas and steep uphill slopes, yet it was fun and I got where I wanted.

The clouds not high above me, yet high enough to show the magnificent valley and let me get some photos and a video!

A cold wind drove me to continue my hike after just a shortstop up there. Using the trail down from the cliff, I soon abandoned it to get a better line of travel and, I have to admit, to avoid meeting all the people going on a day tour from Aktse up on Skierfe. I wanted some additional time of solitude before hitting the Kungsleden on my way north.
Crossing the Njunjes hill from southwest to northeast I came down to Kungsleden just before the descent to Sitojaure began. I followed the worn down trail downhill and through the woods, again finding more than enough mushrooms to supplement my dinner generously.
Reaching the lake I was lucky enough to catch a motor boat transport right away, it costs SEK 350:- to ride the 4km over open water. In my book that’s totally worth not having to row the distance!
Once on the northern shore, I passed by the Sitojaure cabin, got an interview for the Cabin Host Series, had a couple of coffees and some nice conversation before continuing just over an hour up the trail until I found this beautiful spot among the small lakes here!
I’m actually more than half a day ahead of my intended schedule and made the decision today to reach Saltoluokta already tomorrow, giving myself a real rest day on Friday and continue northbound on Saturday!

The journey continues, please leave a comment to tell me what You think and share this with friends and loved ones who might benefit or be interested!

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Peace // Claes