I took a flight to hemavan, two hours from Stockholm, it felt like landing in NZ. Only 20 of us on the plane and most with backpacks, and the luggage guy pulls the handcart out in front of the terminal for you to get your bag. I walked into town, bought gas for my stove, dropped off my food parcel at bussgoods to send on to Kvikkjokk for resupply, bought membership to the Swedish youth hostel foundation (saves tonnes of money on ferries and if I need to stay in huts if it rains) and had some coffee.
I finally got started on the kungsleden (after a few wrong turns in town, I can’t navigate around buildings) at 1pm. The forecast was for rain, so I figured out where the huts were, but crossed my fingers for calm weather so I could camp
I passed about 50 people that afternoon, coming and going in both directions. Swedish hikers dress like Nz trampers (our word for hikers) in the 1980s in the snow. They all have enormous backpacks and are dressed from head to toe in heavy waterproofs, together with gloves and hat and the obligatory heavy boots. I, of course, was in shorts, tshirts and trail runners. Two people actually told me to slow down and breathe, which was quite amusing as I was only ambling along, but wasn’t encumbered by a huge pack (though the 10kg on my back was more than enough).
The scenery was lovely but unremarkable. After a short and easy climb out of Hemavan, there is a long section through a lovely alpine valley. I couldn’t figure out why I thought it was so moonlike and then I realised that not only were there no trees but I hadn’t seen or heard any birds for a few hours. It was bleak but interesting
The Kungsleden is both a hiking and a cross country ski trail, sometimes using the same paths, some times separating for a while. The paths alternate between boggy mush and rock. Not really surprising it is boggy as it is under snow for 2/3s of the year. In lots of places the STF kindly put some planks for you to walk on, but I did have wet feet most of the day.
I decided to walk until the archipelago at Stokkelklippen, just over 27km, and find somewhere to camp. I arrived around 6.30 to an enthusiastic welcome from a swarm of mozzies who were more annoying than aggressive. I did end up eating in my tent after my first cup of tea ended up a mosquito graveyard, and I didn’t fancy eating that extra protein
In bed now, feeling warm enough, even though it is significantly colder than I expected it to be!!! It’s 8.30pm/hiker midnight, although the sun won’t fully set here until 10.30 and it comes up at 4. Listening to the sound of the stream outside
Distance travelled 27.5k from Hemavan to Stokkelklippen
Ascent 825m (it’s very flat here!)