Well rested after a sunny day in Klimpfjäll I started what felt like the last “wild” week – it is not walking Kungsleden, the high-way trail of the Swedish mountains. I had two options, one leading closer to the Norwegian border, the other was slightly shorter, more road but less scenic. A part of me was eager to get to Hemavan, which marks the half-way point of the hike, so I chose the latter option. But I definitely want to walk that other paths sometime, it must be beautifully wild! But as every time I had to chose one out of many options, I told myself, that the mountains will not go anywhere, and I can walk explore that area some other year.
Day 35│ July 21│ Klimpfjäll – NN 27 km
Having chatted with Linus, another fellow green ribbon hiker (@kublaikhagan) walking north, we planned to keep in contact (if mobile network allowed) as he would catch up with me at the camp site (wherever it would be) that evening.
The day promised to be sunny and scenic, and both were very true. What was also true was that this would be one of the most mosquito-dense days of the hike, together with the following two days… I left Klimpfjäll in the morning and was happy to be back on trail again, and what a trail! Soft, scenic and lonesome. And after a few km I already saw Durrenskalet, which felt like a gate to a different world. A truly beautiful world! On the other side towards Tjåkkelestugorna there was no wind whatsoever and I encountered one million mosquitoes, which joined me all the way to the huts. Once i reached there I decided to take a longer break and wait for outside temperatures to drop a bit (and possibly Linus to arrive – there was no mobile reception to check for his progress).
After a few hours in the hut I decided to continue and told the guy that stayed in the hut to tell Linus about my plans. Temperature and amount of mosquitoes was now much more pleasant, and the path eastward was also rather nice, even though it disappeared in swamps and bushed every now and then – there is probably more traffic in winter than in summer here.
Eventually I found a spot for my tent and after an hour or so, I heard someone talking. It was Linus who had finally arrived – and so had another ton of mosquitoes. After pitching his tent, Linus joined me in my tent and we ate chips and pancakes for dinner. (well, second dinner)
Day 36│ July 23│NN – Gielas 26 km
The forecast had been convincingly sunny, and we didn’t take the clouds we woke up to seriously. Nor did we take the first rain seriously (well, I didn’t, and was too lazy to change to my rain jacket…), so when we arrived at Ljuslidenstugorna at lake Ransarn I was wet to the skin. We were lucky to find it heated already with three fishermen sitting inside and waiting for the rain to pass while drinking Whiskey. We occupied the overheated neighbouring room and spread all our wet clothes to dry while having lunch, hanging around and listening to music. The fishermen went fishing, the sun came out, the fishermen came back, and we were still there… We just weren’t so eager to walk and Linus has a habit to walk late in the evenings anyhow, so we weren’t in a hurry. With just some 13km left to the planned camp site, we had plenty of time.
When the fishermen came back, they gave us an arctic char, and then we spent some time in the afternoon sun at the open fire outside the hut, listening to their stories and eating the fish, and also palt, which the also gave us! We definitely weren’t hungry when we left that hut!
I don’t remember so much of the rest of the hike. A part from mosquitoes and beautiful evening light, nothing really happened. But we found just a perfect camp site by a stream, and as temperatures dropped quite quickly, fog came in just to make the setting perfect.
Day 37│ July 24│Gielas – Virisen 27 km
The best part of this day: hiking in company. Otherwise the first part was mostly roads, and the last part was forest from hell. in between (in Bojtikken), we met three really original men and a dog with whom we chatted for a while. They thought we were crazy to hike that far and offered us to come and work in their fields next summer if we had too much energy left 😉
From Bojtikken to Virisen, a restaurant by the end of the road, the trail was more than tiring. Another path that is hardly used in summer, so the “trail” was more like hip- to shoulder high plans with mud and stones underneath. And sun, no wind and mosquitoes. Linus who is a much faster hiker, soon disappeared in the distance, which was probably good: like that I didn’t have anyone to complain to 😀
When I finally arrived in Virisen (and if I had found a tent spot before, I had probably just pitched my tent earlier out of frustration) I was tired, thirsty and sweaty. Stepping into a fancy restaurant, to where the other guests had taken the helicopter(!), just felt awkward, but joining Linus on the terrace with a beer and food (leftovers from the restaurants – probably the best sandwich I have ever eaten…) quickly made me recover!
Linus is a whiskey nerd and had already spotted the whiskey selection – and as I have said for years that I want to learn to drink whiskey, I got my first lesson right there. Later we pitched our tents on the meadows belonging to the restaurant with a beautiful view over lake Virisen… No wind that night neither, and after a tough day and some whiskey I truly slept like a baby.
Day 38│ July 25│Virisen – Ängesdal 30 km
Road, road, road, sun and no wind. When we packed up the camp site in the morning, it was already hot. Standing on a hill, overlooking a mirrorlike lake, we realized it is going to be a hot day. The first goal of the day was Rönnbäcken, where one of my instagram friend’s whole family lives during summer! They already expected us and treated us with smoked fish, pizza and water melon! Happy and full we continued on the gravel road with forest on both sides. After probably 15 min we were both bored… Well, step by step and tree by tree we eventually reached some more scenic roads – but still roads.
During the afternoon I suddenly got a bit overwhelmed with everything. Reaching Hemavan, and then heading out on Kungsleden (which is partly over crowded with hikers…), it felt like the solo hiking part was over. I became really sad actually and needed to spend the evening alone, just being solo again. So I asked Linus to continue in hos own pace (much faster than mine) and we would reunite the next day in Hemavan to celebrate half way.
I eventually found a spot by the lake and inherited a fire from the family that lived close by and allowed me to put my tent there. The woman also told me about how it was to grow up in this area, and how it had developed during the last 50 years. Such a lovely family!
Day 39│ July 26│Ängesdal – Hemavan 24 km
The last day of the first half of the hike… also this day started sunny, but soon I realized that some cumulonimbi started to form – and my goal for the day was to reach Hemavan before the thunderstorm… Spoiler alert: I did! And technically the thunderstorm didn’t hit Hemavan, but it was in the area.
Well, more roads today. And walking the last 10km on a busy tarmac road was not too inspiring. I arrived in Hemavan with mixed feelings, and a bit of a chock: suddenly it felt like it was a crowded city (it is not 😉 ), but that definitely had it’s advantage: there is one restaurant which is absolutely great. If you ever get to Hemavan, go and ear at Nanna’s kök. Super friendly and just amazing food!
Well, we celebrated half way with both Champagne, beers, and more whiskey… After 700km of hiking, I might not have been 100% sober that evening 😀
Day 40│ July 27│Resting day
Not sure how we spent this day. Slept long, went to the grocery store and bought fruits. And icecream. A lot of ice cream. And then we sat outside eating ice cream directly from the package. And we had lunch at Nanna’s kök. And we also had dinner there. And then we went to bed. Yep. A resting day at its best.