So the trail today came in three types – bog, slippery rock, and bog with slippery rock! Between the trail and some interesting chats with hikers coming the other way, it was a slow 37km
I woke up with the rain coming down on the tent. It was a restless night as I woke up every two hours either too hot or too cold. And I was woken up at 1am by a group of fisherman walking by, I could see their waders through the mosquito net vent at the bottom of my tent. I slowly made breakfast and then read my book for half an hour as there is nothing more demoralising than leaving the tent to walk all day in the rain. It finally relented around 7.45 so I headed off into the gloom. While it wasn’t raining, I was still soaking wet from head to toe within about 20 minutes from the trees crowding the trail and the moisture in the air. I even stopped to wring out my gloves
I climbed up to Gasakhlakho in the mist keeping a close eye on the trail markings. Visibility was pretty poor in the fog and if I lost the trail I would never find my way back to it. Fortunately here it is pretty well marked with fluoro orange!
I met a French couple half way up the hill in the process of breaking camp at 10.45 :-). Like me, they were finding the trail slightly tougher than expected with the damp and the cold (as well as the absence of refuges with wine and cheese)
I left them behind and enjoyed the best walking of the day across the hill, passing a lovely herd of reindeer and the most hilarious emergency shelter I have ever seen. It looks ok from the outside but I wouldn’t have wanted to go inside.
I did ponder a bit today the question people often pose me as to what I think about when I am hiking. Sadly, no great thoughts! Hiking is one of the few activities I do which I focus on single mindedly and without multi-tasking, maybe that is why I like it so much. Apart from the odd thought about where I might camp, am I hungry and where is the next water source…. I just mostly think about where I am putting my feet. When I stop concentrating on that, even for a minute, I pretty much fall on my butt and have loads of scars to prove it :-), so apologies to anyone who was hoping I was out here solving the worlds problems
Heading down the hill I ran into my first solo thru hiker of the day. In global hiking rules, good manners requires a stop and a chitchat, especially if you are coming from the opposite direction and on a lightly travelled trail and I was surprised that the German lady I passed didn’t even pause for breath. No matter, shortly after I ran into Diego y su casa (‘Diego and his house’), he was from Spain and had started with a 30kg pack which was now 25kg, and he was having a tough time lugging it up the hill. After a good gossip on the trail and who was on it, I continued on and stopped a hot lunch by the lake as the rain has stopped for a while
The rain set in again, and I tried to figure out where to camp. I had come back down in altitude and was inundated with mosquitos. Higher up, where I was headed, was in the clouds, so would be damp. I compromised and climbed as high as I could before hitting the clouds. Have pitched beside a lovely river but the rain hit shortly after I got the tent up so am snugly inside my tiny tent brewing a cuppa. Tomorrow I should easily reach Kvikkjokk and a bed and a shower 🙂
Distance travelled 37.6 km from Gabdak lake to near Barkavaratj
Ascent = 637m