07:40 Camp near Cunojaure cabin
Spent a really peaceful night here at the lake, naturally waking up several times during my more than nine hours in the sleeping bag and dreaming a lot, though nothing that sticks.
Right now I’m enjoying a cup of coffee with two spoons of PhatFibre to see what happens with my ketone production as a direct result of providing the liver with C8 fatty acid.
Most everything I brought into the tent or gear shed to dry is now good to go and the inside of the tent is also dry. Still have to check on my boots and socks, there’s kind of a rule of curtesy not to enter a cabin before 9AM if you don’t stay inside.
So, I’m just gonna finish my coffee, do another Ketonix measurement and pack up my stuff in the meantime. The hike today is not very long and I’m in no hurry to leave here!
19:45 Camp near the peak of Smallerienpass
Sitting outside at almost 1300m (3900ft) elevation, enjoying the evening sun with a cup of tea, is a rare pleasure to be had up here. Just after setting up camp the weather changed, clouds dissolved and I’m now looking at a beautiful summer sky with small white clouds playfully moving through the air. Sun still shines strong enough to charge my iPhone while I’m writing!
And the best part is that I didn’t even plan to make it this far today…
After packing my stuff in the tent this morning I left the tent standing in the wind to air out as much as possible. The abside got hung on a pole outside the cabin to dry, which didn’t work very well.
Thankfully the tent dried out perfectly and after greasing my boots I got everything together and was ready to start around 10:45. Prior to that I had another conversation with the Dutch, resulting in them following my advice and hike out through Unna Alakas, Valfojåkkå and Stoutkärpel towards Katterjåkk. From there they catch the afternoon bus to Narvik. I’m convinced that they’ll have a lot more fun this way than hiking along gravel and paved roads in Norway. And it’s good to point people to one of my favorite stretches of trail up here!
The first 10km of today were really easy, part of the trail was wet and muddy from all the rain, yet nothing even close to yesterday’s swamp experience. Several rivers to cross and like usual it could be done without a change of shoes, though a few of them demanded some extra thoughtfulness due to the high water and strong current.
I met just a few people, among them a Norwegian couple telling me that the forecast promised rain for the evening, night and the day tomorrow. After which it’s supposed to clear up!
After completing the 2km gravel road I got onto the trail again and after another km the only serious crossing of today. And that one was rather difficult…
Much higher water than previous years I’ve been through here, and much stronger current. It took me almost 30m of trying different spots and my feet were freezing from the icy glacier water before I finally got to the other side safely.
It can’t be repeated enough how important it is to take the time to keep safety first, I could probably have gotten through faster, yet with much higher risk.
Finally on the other side I dried my feet and put my boots back on, planning to have some snacks to warm up and energize for the last few km’s up the valley. Fortunately a light rain made the place less cozy and I continued up the trail.
One might ask ‘what’s fortunate about that?’ and the answer is simply that when I reached the intended camping spot it was only 15:00 and I wasn’t really tired. So I decided to continue after finally having my snack!
I’m not gonna kid you here – the hike up here was hard… From where I had my snacks to the place I made camp it’s only 4km, yet it covers around 500m of elevation climbing up the valley and to the peak of the pass.
Hiking uphill is always strenuous, especially with a rather heavy backpack and one has to give oneself time. Sometimes a lot of time…
Today it took me 2.5 hours to hike those 4km and I’m totally ok with that, backpack is still way to heavy to be carried comfortably. Every pack is different and I found with this one that with over 26kg it just doesn’t carry well. Adjusting the straps over and over, changing how it lies on the hips and shoulders and generally fidgeting around takes time. And I also decided to put it down frequently to avoid sore spots from the straps while climbing.
Anyway, needless to say, it was totally worth the effort to reach this beautiful spot on earth. And, frankly, I used every occasion along the route to stop, admire the view, make a photo or two and rest my legs for a minute!
Now l everything is dry except the boots, and they are only moist, not soaked, even the abside dried nicely in the wind up here. I had an early and well deserved dinner and am pretty much ready for some reading and then my beloved sleeping bag!
After the sun set behind the mountain temperatures fell rapidly and I expect a rather chilly night.
Which reminds me that the only thing I forgot to pack was my little thermometer that I bought for this tour. Never had one before so that’s probably why I didn’t remember it… Next time!!!
Funny enough I suddenly hear voices outside the tent and first think that I make it up, yet then there’s another pair sounding and I look out just to see to women and two teenagers passing by on the trail at this last hour. Turns out they spent a lot of time crossing the river, going up and down the stream to find a possible spot. They were on their way to Cainavagge and then on to Gautelishytta and Hukejaure so I expect to see them again.
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Peace // Claes