Finally my journey continued northwards again. It had been mentally tough to walk east during so many days, I was fighting with the feeling, that I don’t get anywhere, a feeling of endlessness. I also realized that I had overestimated this sections length and I had supply for 7 days and 120km… A miscalculation in the right direction at least, so I sent a package home from Rötviken. A plan had been to walk over the fjell along the border, but taken how much it had been raining the last days – and the forecasted rain, it felt wiser to walk via Vinklumpen and Lobbersjön and follow the Sami’s tracks over the mountain.
Day 24 (II)│ July 11│ Rötviken – Myrbodarna 20 km
When I left the supermarket in Rötviken, the clouds got little bit lighter and the sun even came out for a few minutes. This didn’t last for too long thow, and soon it started to rain again. No wind, just the silent rain, and me walking along the road and lake Hotagen. I was quite happy despite being wet!
I decided to have lunch in a wind shelter, where I met two fishermen, father and son, and the son knew about Gröna Bandet, he had even thought about doing it (if you read this: how are your plans going? Just do it! 🙂 ). While the rain switched between “a lot” and “downpour” they offered me soup, coffee and gifflar (cinnamon buns, but smaller). After one hour or so, the rain still hadn’t calmed down and the father told his son to drive me to Valsjöbyn. He looked quite surprised of our heavy negative reaction to this (it was quite funny to see actually, a combination of “is that girl crazy to not want a ride in this weather?!” and “Have I managed to teach my son anything at all in life?!”. However, after an explanation he understood how crazy that offer was 😀
Eventually the rain reduced and I continued northwards, 8 km of asphalt still, but feet and body were quite happy after the long break.
In Valsjöbyn, there are a tow options to get to Vinklumpen. Either by a gravel road, that most hikers seem to choose, or by a marked trail. After being undecided for a while and not finding anyone to ask, I just called Myrbodarna (a beautiful ancient mountain farm) and asked if they know anything about the trail. The answer was positive, so I chose the trail, and it was perfectly fine. Well, very wet here and there from all the rain, but well marked. The forest didn’t offer so many good places for a tent though and in the end I decided to put my tent at a wind shelter by a lake. It was surely a beautiful and new wind shelter, obviously prepared for fishing in the lake! But around midnight, a car came, stopped, someone went out of the car and after a few minutes back into the car and they continued. An hour or so later, the car drove past my tent again.
This is one of the few moment I was scared during the hike, and I felt quite unprotected in my tent. But I fell asleep soon and slept very well with the rain dripping on my tent.
Day 25 │ July 12│ Myrbodarna – Vinklumpen 7 km
Shortly after I woke up it started to rain again. I packed my stuff and then I waited in the wind shelter, hoping that the rain would stop. It didn’t, it became heavier. Well, I got tired of waiting, and continued in the spirit of “I’m not made of sugar!”. And after 10 min I was completely wet. After 20 min I was probably wet down to my underwear, as the rain clothes just gave up in the downpour. Arriving at Myhrbodarna was quite a relieve and I was offered coffee and could wait inside until the rain stopped, which it eventually did in the afternoon.
Before I left I was treated with a stut with getmese (a sort of bread with… well… anyone knows how to describe getmese?!) and the advice where to ask for a suitable camp site. The weather forecast promised NW, 12 m/s with 18 m/s in the gusts, and my original plan to sleep on the open fjell had to be adapted. It would certainly not be a problem, but if I can avoid to camp unprotected in that wind, I will. So my new plan was to camp sheltered by trees close to Vinklumpen, then cross the mountain during the day and hopefully find a nice and sheltered camp site at the slopes of Brattlidsfjället the night after.
As suggested, I walked towards the house “in the left curve of the road” and the husband of the family just came back from a run, so I caught him right away and asked him if my plans were reasonable and here I could camp. His advice was to follow the road, cross a river and to the left there is a goahti where I can put my tent behind. Great! And the plans for tomorrow seemed good too, he promised me to find soft and dry birch forest well sheltered from the NW wind. (Maps are great, but you asking those that live in these mountains is always better!).
So I continued down the road, over the river, found the goahti… and trees and bushes behind it. Beside it was a yard with flat, short grass between a woodshed and another house, and 20 m away was the main house, and nobody was there…. I was puzzled. Did he really mean here? In the middle of someones garden? Well, I hesitated, decided to find the trail that should start somewhere here, called Johanna who walked here last year and asked for advice… But in the end I decided that he probably meant there. Taken how warmly and hospitable I was welcomed in Jänsmässholmen, I came to the conclusion that this must be how you treat people here, and put my tent in front of the shed.
A while later a car drove into the yard… so I got out and the woman in the car just greeted me like she had expected me there (which she maybe had actually). I told her about the advice and she seemed a bot worried about all the bushes behind the goahti, but was very happy to hear that I had found a good place for my tent – and invited med for tea “in 20 min, I just need to make a fire, it is cold and humid out here!”.
So suddenly I found myself sitting inside, sharing stories and food with this marvelous woman. Well, sharing… She treated me with stories and tea, bread and reindeer meat… and a few words in south sami which I have unfortunately already forgotten. A meeting that I will carry with me, one of many on this hike.
(Unfortunately I didn’t take many pictures this rainy day…)
Day 26 │ July 13│ Vinklumpen – Brattlidfjället 22 km
I woke up and walked into the house for breakfast, as I was told before I went to bed the night before. Not only did I get breakfast, I also got to try cooked reindeer tongue, which was delicious! And she gave me the rest to take with me!
After packing my stuff, she showed me where the trail starts – and then it was not difficult at all to follow it, although the last years it seems that not many people are using it, possible only us that walk the green ribbon actually.
It was a windy day, but the rain stayed away most of the time, the sun even came through, and only after lunch there were some rain showers. When I reached the hill where I could see Lobbersjön, the summer settlement of Jijnjevaerie sami village, the sun suddenly came out and a rainbow appeared over the lake. And once again when seeing this type of landscape with water, a few birches and soft green, the word that came to my mind was “paradise”.
As expected I didn’t see anyone in the settlement, it was too early in season and they had not even started the calf marking yet – still waiting for better weather…
Eventually I arrived at the promised wind sheltered birch forest and there was indeed no wind at all. Walking most of the day in a strong, cold NW wind was tiring, the wind actually regularly just blew me off track. Putting up my tent and cleaning myself, putting on dry and clean(est) clothes and eating was so nice. And I realized how safe and “at home” I feel in my tent. I could have left the door open, but I didn’t, I just wanted to be in my tent, feeling cosy and sheltered, and I had no urge to look at the view and the surrounding anymore. I was happy.
Day 27│ July 14│ Brattlidfjället – Hällingsån 16 km
I woke up and prepared myself for a day in the forest by making pancakes. On the good side, I would be sheltered from the hard wind. On the bad side, it is said to be the most bear dense forest in Sweden. If that is true, I don’t know though. I wasn’t too worried about it though, as the bears certainly don’t want to meet me.
So well, I walked, and walked, and walked, Lost the path, found it again, took breaks, smelled strong smells in random places in the forest (bear?), sang a little, walked even more. The path was extremely wet and several times I just sank in the swamp and got water inside my hiking boots… My feet didn’t care and were as happy as ever!
Eventually I arrived at Hällingsåfallet, a big and famous waterfall. Now I am not the biggest fan of waterfalls, I actually am mote amazed by those streams of fresh water on the mountain for some reason, but I took some pictures with the obligatory rainbow (there was some sun even this day 😉 ) and continued to finally set up my tent at the wind shelter/parking a few km south of the waterfall. I remember being a bit frustrated, because I actually wanted to walk more, and sing and dance(?!) along the road. But finding tent spots along roads is not an easy task, and it was only 22 km to Gäddede left, where I wanted to take a resting day….
Day 28│ July 15│ Hällingsån – Tjeedtege/Gäddede 22 km
I woke up really early, probably because a sunny day was forecasted and I looked forward to getting on the road. So after a quick morning I was out on the road before 7 am!
Walking roads is always physically tiring, but it is fast and thus kind of rewarding. Early in the day I met a man and his dog, later I tried to find a good spot for lunch, but realized that there are mosquitoes everywhere, so I decided to just eat standing. Around this time a man in a car stopped and said “So there you are, I heard you would walk in to Gäddede today”. By now, I was not even surprised to be expected (I had actually called the night before to reserve a hut at the camping), so we chatted a bit until I continued.
I arrived at the camping before 1 pm, and was warmly welcomed by the owners, who also had my next resupply package for me. They are one of those supporters of us walking the green ribbon and they even offered one night for free, apart from love and care. trail magic!
I first put up my tent to dry, I had packed it with all moisture from the last night, and then I went to search for ice cream. I felt like the right thing to do to celebrate 1/3 of the distance was to have the biggest ice cream in town!
After dinner and a nice bear in outside the bar at the camping, I took my camera and went sunset hunting. It felt like the first day in ages with no wind and sunshine. And I really enjoyed it!
Day 29│ July 16│ Resting day in Tjeedtege/Gäddede 0 km
The perfect day to rest, as the rain was pouring down the whole day. So I spent the day eating (they have great burger at the camping!!), sleeping, washing clothes, taking a walk through the village and talking to people. A great day!