Day started out with excitement and anticipation after talking to one of the friendly hosts at Abiskojaure. She told me what I could expect from today’s hike to Alesjaure – a bit of climbing in the beginning of the walk, but after that it would be a beautiful, easy walk through the valley. Hot and sunny, 18 C! After the previous day I welcomed the change in weather.
After only 30 minutes of walking, I stopped to enjoy water straight from a cool creek into my kåsa.
Found a nice spot near a creek for lunch halfway through the 20 km walk to Alesjaure. Because it was sunny, there weren’t many mosquitos during the walk. But after having stopped for some time to boil water for my freeze-dried meal, I somehow attracted a swarm of mosquitos and small flies. It was hard for me to enjoy the views or my lunch. I almost felt like I was forcing my freeze-dried meal down because I didn’t expend THAT much energy the day before or this day. I felt so stuffed afterward I could barely walk 2 km during the hour after my lunch stop. I think on future hiking trips I would plan to bring smaller meals that didn’t require cooking, so I could eat quickly and not feel weighed down.
I debated taking the boat for 200 SEK (runs at set times) the last 5 km from Abiskojaure to Alesjaure. Grey clouds and sudden strong winds made me really, really nervous. But the woman at Abiskojaure said that it was windy through that particular section of the mountains, and that it wasn’t supposed to rain… For me, 200 SEK is a lot of money and I also wanted to be able to say that I walked the entire way… As well, the 5 km saved is completely level terrain, or rocky for most of the way, but when it’s not raining it’s not so slippery or difficult. So I faced my fears and continued on bravely.
And then I learned – grey clouds and wind means… grey clouds and wind! I only got a few drops of rain on me. The boat could have been good to save on slogging my boots through the mud for the last 2 km to Alesjaure. (Later on I heard from other hikers that I could have been slogging knee-deep in mud, so I shouldn’t complain.)
I wasn’t sure if I had made the right decision to walk the last 5 km at first, knowing I was the last one on the trail. I think if I were utterly alone somewhere, it could be terrifying. But as I approached Alesjaure, I could see 2 walkers ahead in the distance, and suddenly felt relieved. The female half of the walking couple didn’t seem to be in very good spirits, as I saw quite commonly during my time on Kungsleden.
By the time I arrived at Alesjaure, the sun peeked out of the clouds. I made it! I really felt like I earned my sauna and cold beer I had planned to purchase in the evening. After checking in, I found out that the females’ sauna time slot was about to start. (They have time slots for males only, females only, and a mixed time slot around 8:30 PM or 9 PM.) I asked about where to bathe, and the woman, not as friendly as at the last hut, briefly stated the river and pointed in a vague direction near the sauna house.
I practically ran to my cabin, threw my things in, and towards the sauna house for a much needed bath. I bathed in the cold river at the boat dock, but when I walked into the sauna house, I found out there was fire-heated water availabe inside! (And why didn’t the STF host mention this to me when I inquired about the bathing area??) Oh well, too late now. And I found out that I had went for a dip in the wrong area as well, as there was a steep wooden walkway down from the other side of the sauna house to a faster moving part of the river.
Oh, what luxury! Cold beer in hot sauna. And I had my room completely to myself! I almost burst with happiness! One of the benefits of being a slow walker and female! (STF seems to try to group females and couples together, and males together.)
Dinner was freeze-dried, Norwegian produced Real Turmat Sweet and Sour Chicken, one of the better tasting brands for purchase in Sweden, and a recommended flavour by one of the staff at Naturkompaniet. The first bite tasted… ketchupy. But then… the more I ate, the more I liked it. The bits of deep-fried chicken were pretty tasty and a nice change in texture from the usual freeze-dried meal mush.
I had gone to bed with a sleep-mask after rolling down the black-out blinds, but awoke by a bright light leaking through a small crack that the blind couldn’t cover. Was it time to start walking again? Nope, it’s 3:30 in the morning.
to be continued…