It wasn’t really warm, maybe 10 or 12 degrees, but also not cold. It was a bit drizzly when we started, however this worked to our advantage as the super bomber mosquitoes bite through everything here, EXCEPT rain clothes. So we wore our rain clothes pretty much the whole time.
We walked for a good few hours. The track was a bit like a highway. Clearly we were not the only ones with the idea of taking this path. There were also choppers flying over head which we simply put down to tourists, but we later learned were also to do with the recovery/clean up of an airforce plane crash on Kebnekaise earlier in the year. So it was not quite the peaceful experience we were used to in NZ when we headed out hiking. On the other hand, we had been warned that this was an extremely popular hike to do, so it was hardly a surprise.
Did I mention we have a small tent? It is supposed to be a 2 man tent. Well, in this case, 2 man means that M and I must empty our backpacks, lay the packs flat no the floor (there is no little shelter part on the front of the tent), put our sleeping rolls over the top of the packs, the sleeping rolls overlap each other at the feet cos there is not enough space to be side by side, and then spend the night saying “roll” as one or the other of us wants to roll over. Or sleep with our shoulders overlapping each other. Which is ok with me as long as I’m on the top side! Our boots get tucked very carefully into the front of the tent so they don’t get wet inside, and that’s home!
M is always on dinner duty when we do things like this. I am not much of a cook, or much of a night person, whereas he is good at both. In return, I always do breakfast duty, which might not seem like a fair trade, but if you ever see M in the morning, you will know he is happy with this deal. Maybe I should say, if you are ever forced to eat my cooking…? Dinner is never a very fancy affair in these situations, because neither of us want to carry much on our backs, so we had good old macaroni pasta, with some pesto mixed in. On any other day, I would say this is a terrible meal, but after being outdoors and walking and chaffing your hips on your pack’s waist strap, and (re) discovering walking with 15 kg on your back actually is harder than just jogging the 18km, this seemed like tasty stuff to me!
Next morning we woke up early – it was hard not to sleeping in a bright orange tent when the sun doesn’t really go down all night. But it’s really cool! I love the whole super long days/almost no night thing (as I sit here writing this we are very close to the super long night no day thing and I really really don’t like this part!). We both stay awake reading until we can’t stay awake any more (I am always the first to fall asleep). But sadly, it was misty and still drizzly and it didn’t look like it was going to lift anytime soon. So we asked people we passed on the track a few times, did they know the weather forecast for the day. But no, it was due to stay overcast and foggy for the next few days. Darn! There is simply no point (in my opinion at least) in hiking up some big fat old mountain that you can’t see on the way up, can’t see the view at the top, and can’t see coming back down. So disappointing. We waited all day, as long as we could possibly wait. It is a 10 hour return trip to do Kebnekaise in a day, so by early afternoon we realised we had missed our window, and decided to make the walk back out. We had weighed up the options – wait another day, another 2 days, another 3 days? It sounded like the fog was in for the long haul, so we decided not to waste precious holiday time, and enjoy ourselves and the rest of the sites Sweden had to offer.