Kungsleden day 8 – there is a reason it is called the Arctic circle

So this photo is the only photo I took in the first 10 hours of my day, as my fingers were too numb to open my jacket or use my phone.  In case you can’t tell it is my socks for the day, soaking wet in a glacial puddle in the corner of my tent. 

 It rained all night but I was warm enough, and slept quite well.  I was awake at 5.30, had breakfast in bed and headed out to pick up the 9.30 boat to Sitojaure which left from Svinne, 9k away.   

It was cold this morning, with a bitter strong wind, and then the hail came.  And then I slipped off a bridge and fell arse deep in a stream.  I made it to Svinne by 8am, but I was shivering and had no feeling in my fingers.  There was a shelter near the jetty, so I woke up the three young Germans who were slumbering inside (nb don’t feel bad for them, you are not supposed to sleep in the shelters).  I had a coffee, warmed up slightly and then jumped on the boat at 9.30 for the 4K trip across the lake.   By the time I got off I was shivering so badly the Sitojaure hut warden took me into her house to warm me up and give me a coffee.   

I sat by the fire for a while and summoned up the courage to head out to Saltuluokta – 20k further – which wasn’t my original plan, but I knew they had showers, and my original destination 35k further did not!  Alexsandr – a young Swedish guy wanted to see if he could keep up with my pace so we set out together 

Once outside I immediately started shivering and lost feeling in my fingers again.   After 10k, there was respite in the form of another shelter so I stopped for tea and pasta, Alex kept going as he said he needed to slow down a bit, as my pace was killing him.  Once inside it was hard to leave as it was warm and there were fun people inside (including two Germans with rum :-)), but after an hour I did, and same problem…. Bad shakes for most of the rest of the way.   

I arrived at the mountain lodge, resigned to pitching my tent, as I had called them from Sitojaure and they said they were full.  Miracle – they had a bed.  Better miracle I have had a hot shower and a sauna (I finally get the Scandinavian obsession with the  sauna!!!!) and finally stopped shivering.   

Not every day in the mountains is a perfect day! And sometimes you just need to grit your teeth and endure.   It was beautiful but I was too cold to notice.   Hoping for warmer weather tomorrow 🙂

The day was fully redeemed by a lovely Swedish dinner with awesome company!  With 8 women around the table – 2 Dutch, 1 Dutch/French, 3 Swedish and one German, we had a wide ranging and hilarious conversation which covered everything from universal income experiments, the US election, vegetarianism, the refugee crises, and who we would all sleep with out of Lord of the rings!   We had to break up the amusement at 22.15 (well past hiker midnight) when someone upstairs thumped on the floor to demand quiet.   Women are amazing! 

I also got to meet Holle and Martin who were very groovy Germans.  Holle is a small ball of unstoppable force, and Martin is a fellow gear freak who got excited about lightweight gear and that was his entry into hiking (I think it is a guy thing :-)).

I had an amazing nights sleep and feel wholly restored

Distance = 28k from the ridge above Aktse to saltuluokta 

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