So as far as I can tell, while the sun when down last night, it didn’t ever get dark. I woke up to pee a few times (a combination of the cold, the babbling brook feeding the lake, and too many cups of tea before bed) and it was bright all night
There was a fair amount of nocturnal activity as well. I thought I was totally alone but heard voices and the noise of an engine around 11pm. I clearly hadn’t been out of London long enough as I started looking for my knife, and then I remembered I was in one of the safest countries in the world. I couldn’t actually see anyone but noise carries a fair way over water, and they puttered around out there until about 1am
First night in the tent is always a tough one, so I gave up trying to sleep around 5.30 and had a leisurely breakfast of cheesy grits and powdered eggs and a litre of coffee. I set off into the mist around 7 to walk through a stunning bridged section of the archipelago. The sun was trying and failing to burn the mist off, but I actually enjoyed the eerieness. I passed a few tents en route to the next hut but didn’t see my first hiker until 9.30, and they had just left the hut…. It’s a fairly laid back approach here…. Most people walk for no more than 15k per day, and like to take extended breaks
The swedes are extremely friendly and I did stop to chat to a few. One lady in particular was a fellow gear aficionado who recognised my tent poking out of my pack! She had also been to NZ (as had many of the folks I talked to today) and asked why I wasn’t wearing shorts over thermal underwear – which is classic kiwi kit (but not good for tanning the legs).
I also made friends with a few dogs. Unlike most countries, dogs are allowed in the national parks and I saw seven gorgeous dogs today all carrying their own packs! ( this pic isn’t very good but you can see the dog backpack)
I walked the 27k to Serve hut then stopped for pasta and coffee on a log beside the trail in the sun. After that another 20k to Aiger with a nice climb up a mountain. I did see a lovely 2 bed hut which I contemplated overnighting in as the view was stunning, but a young German guy had beaten me to it and I didn’t fancy sharing. The scenery returned to the moon, but I am beginning to appreciate the different hues of the rocks, the fluffy flowers, and the lovely tarns and lakes.
The weather here is highly changeable and a bit goldilocks. When the sun is out, it is lovely and almost too hot! But when the sun is behind the clouds and the winds pick up it is mighty cold. For context it is mid summer and the highest temperature so far has been 16 degrees.
I have stopped short of the hut at Aiger to pitch camp off the trail and beside a nice river. Had a lovely dinner sitting in the sun followed by industrial quantities of chocolate (my pack weighs too much with all the food so am incentivised to eat more). But the wind has picked up so am now sheltering in my wee tent hoping it is secure.
Bizarrely some hikers have just stopped and are putting up their tent….there are thousands of acres of grass and they literally are pitching right next door! For those of you who aren’t experienced back country campers, it’s the equivalent of being the only person on a deserted beach and having four people put their towels down one metre away from you. They are English!!!! only English people would think it was ok to go for a row of terraced tents…. Just as well my tent has an ensuite. Oh well, will wake them up nice and early when I leave. I am 8k short of finishing this first section of the Kungsleden which the guide says takes 5-7 nights.
Distance travelled 44.8 km from Stokkelklippen to 1km short of Aiger hut