Thursday, October 31, 2019

Tjäurakåtan to Rávgga, Kungsleden - August 2019

My day started off with some of my best Kungsleden photos so far.

Fuck me, here I was trekking my way north, now well above the Arctic Circle, when suddenly I could of been back in Australia. After a long day I had a couple of lakes pencilled in as my most likely camp spots tonight, they appeared to have what I was looking for in that they were above the tree line, they had water and they were close enough to the next boat crossing that I could get there before the boat left in the morning. So what I’m I waffling on about? We’ll the lakes were dry, yes just like back in Australia water was now an issue, even up here above the Arctic Circle, like I said fuck me! I’d already noticed that some of the creeks mentioned in the Cicerone guide’s notes had been dry, but now whole lakes had dried up, hmmm. To darken my mood even more I’d been walking for the last hour in the cold rain on what turned out to be a long 37 kilometre day, I guess you gotta take the good with the bad on these long walks sometimes!

I was on my way just after sunrise this morning.
I didn't have to look far to see that the good weather wasn't likely to last long.

My day hadn’t started off this crappy though, actually the front end of the day was a bit of a classic really. I’d woken up early this morning (not too hard considering I was dozing in the tent by 6pm the night before) and I was lucky to witness a great sunrise. Whilst I’d raved a bit about my camp on the high rocky plateau yesterday this morning things were next level, scenery wise. The light was just about perfect and the scenery stunning, so needless to say I wasn’t making much progress on my walk northwards as I took photo after photo.

It took me a long time to walk the first 5 or 6 kilometres today.
It was magic camping up here last night.
Early morning on the Kungsleden.

I’d camped almost as soon as I’d arrived on the rocky plateau yesterday which meant I still had another hours walking to get across it this morning, with the country bathed in a soft golden light and the views ever changing it was a very enjoyable hour. Eventually all good things come to an end though and the Kungsleden started to drop down towards the huge Tjeggelvas Lake. Once back down below the tree line things got a bit damp again as the track skirted around some lakes, although in typical Kungsleden style most of the boggier areas were crossed on long sections of boardwalks.

One thing I noticed on my Kungsleden walk was that most walkers don't hit the trail until around 8 or 9am, with me being walking most mornings well before 7am I normally managed to get a couple of hours to myself.
The huge Tjeggelvas Lake.

The Kungsleden drops down towards the lake - sometimes fairly steeply.
Once down below the tree line again things got a little damper again.
There were signs that people had been here before.
The light was still pretty good at this stage.

With the watery expanse of Tjeggelvas Lake visible through the trees to my right I soon arrived a large campsite. This camp was my option if I’d decided against camping high last night and had a rubbish bin and a toilet, however looking around the rooty camping spots I was even more convinced that I’d made the right call last night. The deserted camp made for a nice spot for my second breakfast this morning though, although the changing weather took my mind off my food a little. The weather was now taking another turn for the worse and while it wasn’t really raining much it was definitely looking pretty threatening, so threatening that I decided to slip into my wet weather over pants.

Morning on the Kungsleden.
Sections were a bit boggy this morning.
The substantial camp beside Tjeggelvas Lake.

It wasn’t long after leaving the lakeside camp that the Kungsleden crossed over the very substantial Pite River on another large suspension bridge. To keep my mind occupied on these strolls I sometimes like to imagine how I would do the walk if there was no bridges, checking out the creeks and rivers to see where it might be possible to ford them. Well let me tell you there is no way to ford the Pate River, the deep channel of swiftly moving water draining Fálesjávrre Lake into Tjeggelvas Lake. Once across the river the Kungsleden followed long sections of boardwalks upstream for awhile, passing a camping spot that, to my eyes looked better than the one back on Tjeggelvas Lake.

The Pite River - you won't be fording this one!
There are some long sections boardwalk as the Kungsleden tracks along beside the Pite River.
Check out the bonsai conifer growing out of the granite.

I now headed off on around ten kilometres of more or less flat forest walking, the weather was still looking threatening but mostly hadn’t delivered on that threat so I was starting to sweat up a storm in my wet weather gear. Being stubborn (or maybe lazy) I persevered with the wet weather gear though, sure that as soon as I stopped to take off my wet weather gear the rain would arrive! A couple of hours after crossing the river the Kungsleden dropped down to pass through a Reindeer fence before starting what would be a fairly long climb. Initially the climb was below the tree line but I soon broke out above the trees, now climbing along the rim of a gorge that the Fálesjåhkå River was cascading down. With my legs now ringing wet with sweat and still only the occasional sprinkling of rain falling it was now that I admitted defeat and finally removed my over pants, thinking to myself that even if it started to rain my legs couldn’t get much wetter!

I'm about to pass through another Reindeer fence. I needed to remove the wood slats before walking through and then replacing them.
An overgrown section - a very rare thing on the very well maintained Kungsleden.
I climbed up beside Fálesjåhkå River. I'd been expecting rain for a couple of hours by now and hadn't really got much. It was time to get out of my waterproof gear in case I drowned in sweat!

It was early afternoon by now and the Kungsleden now climbed back up over 900 metres again, now I’d like to tell you about the epic views up here, but I can’t. Climbing the open fell I was soon enveloped in cloud and would be for the next couple of hours. Occasionally I’d glimpse a lake shimmering in the valley below or a herd of Reindeer would mysteriously materialise out of the mist only to just as mysteriously fade away again, however for the most part it was just me and my thoughts. Eventually the track dropped off the higher country down a bit of a shallow gorge before heading towards the Tsielekjåkkå Stuga, thankfully dropping out of the cloud on the way.

It was looking like I'd be walking in the cloud for awhile now.
Once in the cloud I got the occasional glimpse of lakes shimmering down in the valleys below me.
I'm guessing that there was something big towering above me here, but guess is all I could do.
The Reindeer were moving in and out of view like four legged ghosts this afternoon.

It was around now that my day went a little pear shaped though. After deciding to give the stuga a miss I crossed over the suspension bridge that spans the Tsielekjåhkå River where I decided that afternoon smoko was well overdue. Just as I’d dug my food and water out of my pack the rain that had been threatening for hours finally arrived, hmm. With my relaxing stop cut short (it’s no fun sitting around in the rain) I threw everything back into my pack and set off for my nights camp. Now in theory it looked like I’d only have to walk a couple of kilometres before arriving at a fresh water lake that I could camp at, however as I eluded to in the first paragraph, when I arrived at the lake it was bone dry, and so was the next one. I ended up walking over 4 kilometres in the rain tonight before I found a spot that had some water and also somewhere I could pitch my tent, and even then it was the dodgiest camp that I’d had so far on my Kungsleden walk. Needless to say after quickly throwing up the tent and heating up some freeze dried, I was into the tent and out of the rain.

Eventually the Kungsleden dropped down through a shallow gorge.
After a couple of hours of walking in the cloud I started to drop down towards the Tsielekjåhkå River. 
The Tsielekjåkkå Stuga.
Crossing the Tsielekjåhkå River. It was here that the rain finally caught up with me.

The Dirt.
I ended up walking 37.8 kilometres and climbing 796 metres on what turned out to be a hard day on the Kungsleden. Over the ten days so far I’ve walked 262 kilometres and climbed 6648 metres on my Kungsleden journey. Apart from the last 4 kilometres that I walked, camping spots were fairly frequent today. Water was also not hard to find except for the last 4 kilometres. I used Cicerone’s Trekking the Kungsleden guide book along with my GPS topo maps again today.

Relevant Posts.
Day 1 on the Kungsleden, 2019.
Previous Day on the Kungsleden, 2019.

After walking a past quite a few dry lakes I eventually I dropped off the track down to this lake to grab some water.
A couple of minutes later I found this fairly average campsite.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Vuonatjviken to Tjäurakåtan, Kungsleden - August 2019

Looking back towards Riebnes Lake on my gentle climb this morning.
Today turned out to be a Feral favourite.

Now I’ve got to say straight up today was a good one, my favourite day so far on my journey north on the Kungsleden. The day didn’t start out exactly that way though. After a fairly warm and humid night I packed up this morning with a heavy dew covering everything, quietly shoehorning my ringing wet fly into the outside pocket of my pack. With Matt and Alex walking a more relaxed itinerary than I was we’d said our goodbyes the night before and I didn’t want to wake them this morning. As with a lot of friends I meet on these little adventures I’m not sure that we’ll ever cross paths again but I’d really enjoyed our time together and they’ll always be in my memories.

I had a warm and dewy night down at Vuonatjviken.

With my wet tent safely stashed on board I shuffled up through the random scattering of buildings that is Vuonatjviken, the Kungsleden being particularly vague here. I basically had to pass just to the right of the restaurant before I picked up the familiar red paint markers heading off into the forest. I’d set off just after 6am this morning and it wasn’t long before the rising sun started to paint everything in a golden glow. With the track passing the usual selection of beautiful lakes and rivers as well as having Riebens Lake slowly receding behind me I found plenty of excuses this morning to stop and take things in.

Leaving Vuonatjviken meant passing just to the right of the restaurant.
Once in the forest I soon found my red markers.
It was a beautiful morning.

As was fairly standard the Kungsleden was a little rough and rocky again today, not too bad but you certainly have to concentrate, although with no rain for a couple of days at least things weren’t wet and slick. Maybe it was because today was again turning out fairly warm, or maybe I’d got lazy after yesterdays fairly easy day, whatever it was I seemed to lack a bit of energy today and with the first half of the day climbing the whole way I was feeling it a bit this morning. By late morning I’d just about climbed above the tree line again so when I came upon a beautiful tree lined creek I decided that it was time for a long smoko. Oh yeah, it was all bit surreal considering the weather I was walking in however it was along this section this morning that I crossed over the Arctic Circle, now that is something that doesn't happen on every walk!

There were plenty of beautiful lakes and tarns around this morning.
After a couple of days without rain the boardwalks were pretty dry today.
Have I mentioned the lakes...?
I've already mentioned it but the infrastructure on the Kungsleden must cop a pounding over winter. 
The Bartek River, I was glad this one was bridged.

Looking at my map it appeared that I could walk a fairly long day and camp low by a lake tonight or I could walk a shorter day and camp high. With low camps beside lakes pretty well guaranteeing insects and a high camp guaranteeing views I was pretty keen on the high option today, especially with the weather looking good, so consequently I’d already decided that there was no real urgency to push on this morning. The beautiful weather only encouraging me to stop and linger even more now. After my fairly long smoko I climbed off up onto the open fells and if anything the day got even better.

The weather makes such a huge difference to my day when I'm living in it.
I took an extended smoko at this beautiful creek before climbing onto the open fell.

Climbing onto open rocky country the views today were probably the best so far on my Kungsleden walk, with lakes, tarns, snow speckled mountains and sheer crags visible wherever I cared to look. Once I’d staggered up to the high point of today’s walk I once again decided on an extended break, a beautiful little creek providing water for lunch while my tent dried in the light breeze, life on the Kungsleden was really in slow motion now. Eventually, and with some reluctance, I shouldered my pack again set off again. I was now passing across a wide rocky fell. When the large Tjeggelvas Lake started to appear way down in the valley in front of me the Kungsleden soon started it’s long descent down to it.

The pay off for this mornings climbing.
Easy fell walking.
Water for lunch was sorted.
My tent dried out while I basked in the sun eating lunch.

It wasn’t the still fairly distant Tjeggelvas Lake that was holding my gaze now though, I was more interested in a large rocky plateau that I could see in the middle distance. This rock and tarn covered plateau was where I hoped to find a camp spot tonight, the distant lake could wait until tomorrow. Like the climb up onto the fell, the descent, whilst long was fairly easy, the track never getting overly rough or steep. After crossing another nice creek I arrived at one of the more photographed spots on the Kungsleden, the traditional wood and turf kåta at Tjäurakåtan. This old kåta is listed as an emergency shelter in my notes, however on prying open the heavy door I could see that some walkers have decided to use it as a rubbish dump (which just goes to prove that there are dick heads all over the world!).

The rocky fell.
I wasn't totally alone. 
I was dropping down to that rocky plateau to camp.

The Kungsleden dropped down onto my rocky plateau immediately after leaving the old kåta and I started looking for a likely camp. Being only mid afternoon there was no real hurry to find a camp spot this afternoon however when I arrived at the first creek I found the perfect camp…day over! My camp on the rocky plateau had a bit of protection from the surrounding rocks but they weren’t that big that they blocked out my beautiful views. Apart from the views I also had easy access to a medium sized creek where there were plenty of rocks to sit on while the ice cold water massaged my calfs and feet, sweet! To say that this afternoon was relaxing is a bit like saying Donald Trump could be a bit shifty, I was so relaxed that I was in the tent and asleep before 6pm. Laying on my back, on top of my sleeping bag, in my sun warmed tent was a very pleasant way to end the day.

Thankfully I was in no hurry this afternoon.
I managed to find another walker to give the photo some scale.

The Dirt.
According to my GPS I walked 27 kilometres and climbed 856 metres, looking at those figures maybe the day wasn’t as easy as I remember! I suppose I’d rate this as a medium-hard grade days walking. Over my 9 days of walking the Kungsleden so far I've walked 224.2 kilometres and climbed 5,852 metres. Once again the camping options are plentiful again today although once up on the open fell things are very exposed. The track today was typical Kungsleden - a bit rocky and rooty down near the lakes but pretty good up high. The camping on my rocky plateau was stunning and there were a lot of places up there to camp too. Once again today I used Cicerone’s Trekking the Kungsleden along with my GPS topo maps.

Relevant Posts.
Day 1 on the Kungsleden, 2019.
Previous Day on the Kungsleden, 2019.

The traditional turf and wood kåta at Tjäurakåtan.

My camp on the rocky plateau below Tjäurakåtan was probably my best yet on my Kungsleden adventure.

I was snoozing in my tent on top of my sleeping bag by 6pm tonight...yeah I'm hardcore!

Mushroom Rocks, Baw Baw National Park - June 2016

I mentioned in my last post that I was heading out and doing a snow walk next and indeed that's how it turned out. The weather in Me...