GOOOD MORNING SWEDEN! Day 5 is here and light-packed Jasmin is ready to go!
The place I had picked to set up camp was far from ideal, but the waterfall proved to be a good background-noise for falling asleep. Feeling well-rested (or, let’s say, adequately rested) I made my way down the river to fill up on water. My knees and feet were feeling quite sore but nothing too bad. Just as I was packing up Randy walked by. He started way earlier than me so he had been on the trail for quite a while.We had a little chat before he makes his way and I continued to pack.
Since Randy and I couldn’t find the bridge we were supposed to the day before, I have lost all faith in bridges, so I tried to navigate myself on the map without using them. Thankfully, I checked out the ‘How To Read A Map’ guide that came with my compass one of the nights before. (Which eventually ended up being less helpful than expected, it’s actually pretty straightforward.) Being distracted by the location of hills and water and myself, my hike went pretty smoothly, despite the slight constant elevation.
My pack has gotten significantly lighter over the past few days, and I’m walking a good pace. Every now and then I stopped for a few minutes and just stare at the view. As the elevation became higher, the views were even better. Mother nature had decided I’d gotten enough sun over the past few days, as it was a bit more clouded that day. It’s pretty cold when the sun is hidden, but the clouds playing around with the sunlight, creating a rather nice light-spectacle in the valley, more than makes up for it.
Halfway my way up the ascent there’s a fork in the road. One way takes a longer route that passes by the Singi huts, the other way is a slightly shorter but more elevated road. Both roads converge somewhere not too far from the next huts. Since I didn’t have much trash to get rid of, or needed anything else from the huts (and was also hoping for good views), I decided to take the shortcut.
It was getting colder, but as long as I kept hiking it was okay. The route does not disappoint, the view is constantly amazing and I pass by some nice lakes. Too bad the sun was nowhere to be seen because I would have enjoyed a picknick by the lakeside. As this is kind of a shortcut, and not the route that passes the hut, there’s less to no signs (the red-painted stone cairns.) Good thing I’ve been practicing my map-reading skills!
After the lake it’s a nice downhill, not too steep which my knees were very thankful for. By this time the sky was covered in clouds with the sun peeking through very occasionally. My original goal was to get as close as possible to the next stop, which would be the Kebnekaise Fjällstation. I realized very soon I wasn’t going to make it but I kept going until I found a nice place to set up my tent. I continued another hour and a half until I stumbled upon a tiny bit of grass next to a little creek. According to the rules I was camping a bit too close to the water, but I made sure I didn’t dispose of anything close to it.
The wind was picking up so I continued building a little wall of stones that was already there, so I could cook my meal. The pegs were hard to put in the soft ground and the wind made sure that the ones who I managed to get in didn’t stay there for very long. The little wall didn’t do much of wind-breaking so I used some of the stones to weigh down the tent. Not sure how bad or good of an idea that was but it worked so, fine by me! The wind made for a very restless night, but I’m just glad it didn’t get any worse than that.
The next day it was clear the clouds were there to stay (check out the video on the bottom of this post) and were joined with bits of rain every now and then. After about an hour of walking I saw a tree, hadn’t seen one of those in days! The landscape got more and more interesting, with more nice waterfalls and a rapidly increasing number of trees.
A bit passed the first tree (and many more after that) I arrived at Kebnekaise Mountainstation. Just in time so it seemed, cause it started pouring just as I took off my backpack. I got rid of any trash I still had and went inside to check out the shop. After days of being all alone the place felt a bit crowded (even though there were maybe 10 people inside.) I didn’t need anything from the little store but it was fun to browse a bit, relax while waiting for the rain to stop. After about ten minutes I continued the hike.
Kebnekaise is the highest point in Sweden, and the views from up there are phenomenal. If not for the bad weather (wouldn’t be able to see much from up there) and the fact that I lost a day due to a weird bus-schedule, I might’ve tried to climb it. Ah well, maybe next time.
Further on the trail I passed by a lake of which I can’t remember the name. I tried to get closer but the amount of mosquitoes was crazy. I went near the water for not more than 20 seconds and they managed to bite at least as many times. Another reason fall is the best time for this hike, mosquitoes are almost nowhere to be seen.
The sun decided to join me again from time to time, which was nice. Around 4pm I started looking out for a good spot to camp for the night, which proved to be quite a challenge. Trees were everywhere of course, and the terrain was very hilly, rocky, and hard…y. I decided to spend the night in a little open spot in a small forest. Since there were trees again, I could make a little campfire. Seemed appropriate, since we also made one the first night. I just sat there, enjoying the fire, thinking about the trip that would almost come to an end.
Not sure why, but the last night was the best night for sure. Even though it rained and there was more noise than in the valleys, it was less cold which helped me get a good night’s rest. In the morning I was greeted by the sun, who would join me for the rest of the trip. I really enjoyed the new views. The sun lighting up the already golden looking trees was quite a sight to see (and hard to take a good picture of.)
Here’s some examples of the nice views of that day:
I left around 9.30 am, and had to be at Nikkaluokta at 4.30pm at the latest because if I’d miss my bus, I would miss my flight the next day (There’s 2 buses / day and If I took the bus the next day, I would arrive at the airport about 10 minutes after my flight leaves -_- ). Despite my developed map-reading skills it was still hard for me to actually imagine how far the distance was between my position and my goal, and so it was hard for me to calculate how long it would take. I knew I had enough time to reach the bus in time, but wasn’t sure how long it would actually take me, so didn’t take any breaks. To my surprise I arrived at my goal, the little village of Nikkaluokta, at about 12:10pm. Just in time to catch the first bus of the day! Both happy and sad I get on the bus, and soon I was on my way to Kiruna.
I arrived at Kiruna about 2 hours later. I had looked up a few places to stay beforehand. To my surprise, there were a few hostels. I was surprised by that because this is a really small village. But apparently this region is very popular in winter, people visit Kiruna (and Abisko) for their range of winter activities, and for seeing the northern lights. I went to the nearest hostel and unsurprisingly there were tons of beds available (it was very late in the hiking season, and way too early for winter season.) I dropped off my pack, had a little rest on the bed (felt good after a week of hard-floor-sleeping!) and then went out for a walk, which was SO NICE without that heavy pack. I walked around the little city to find a shop, got some food and shampoo and a sweet drink (Two of the things I missed most in the past week). I walked back to the hostel to take the best shower in my whole life. Talking to some people in the hostel I learned a little bit more about Kiruna.
The main source of employment in Kiruna is an iron ore extraction mine, the biggest in the world, which produces about 90% of all the iron in Europe. But because they’re mining in the direction of the city, the whole city has to move! So they started building a new city about 5km further. Some buildings will be replaced, while more iconic structures will be deconstructed and rebuilt in the new city. One of those buildings is the Kiruna church, which they suggested I check out. It was once voted as the prettiest building in Sweden. Also, this little weird mining town has a space research center (that they call Rocket School)! After my evening walk of checking out the church (which did look really cool), Rocket School and more exploring, I went to bed. Even though I had only hiked a few hours, I was still exhausted and the thought of sleeping in a bed made me very excited.
That was the end of my trip. The next day I packed up and went home. This was an amazing first solo hike of hopefully more to come.
Thanks for reading and or watching! Hope you enjoyed the story and or pictures!
I added two short videos as a little extra. The timelapse one is very short, I didn’t take enough pictures out of fear of not having enough battery/memory card space for the entire trip. The clouds were on the second to last day on which I realized I would have enough of both :)
[vimeo width=”580″ height=”327″]https://vimeo.com/145436271[/vimeo]
[vimeo width=”580″ height=”327″]https://vimeo.com/145780082[/vimeo]