Thursday, November 28, 2019

Singi to Sälka, Kungsleden - September 2019

Today was one of those days where the walking gods smiled on me....

I woke fairly early again this morning. Not being accustomed to staying in a stuga I’d had a bit of an interrupted sleep last night and as soon as other walkers started shuffling about this morning I found myself wide awake. It turned out to be a pretty good morning to be up and about though, heading outside for a bit of fresh air I witnessed a fairly stunning scene as the rising sun kissed the tops of the mountains lining each side of the valley. After a couple of days of pretty average weather the mountains around me were covered in a fresh coating of snow and this morning they were under a clear blue sky.

Stepping outside first thing this morning this was the scene that greeted me.
I've got a good feeling about today;)

After staying outside for a little while in my thermals eventually the cold forced me back inside. Without a wet tent to pack up I soon had everything shoe horned into my pack, pulled on my boots and headed out the door. I was now continuing my journey up the Tjäktjavagge Valley that I’d started when I left Kaitumjaure Stuga yesterday afternoon. It was a slow old journey first thing this morning though, although it was slow in a good way as opposed to the more frequent ‘slow because I’m old, fat and unfit’ way. Yes this morning was slow because I couldn’t seem to progress more than 50 metres northward on my Kungsleden adventure without pulling the camera out and trying to do justice to the absolutely stunning scene around me. Yep I’m afraid this post is a bit of a photo dump!

It didn't take me long to pack up and head off this morning.
Looking back toward Singi - I'd already stopped a couple of times to take things in.
I'm thinking that this is Mádir Mountain.
There is a Sami settlement down in the valley near Singi.

After passing to Sami settlement down in the valley beside the Tjäktjavagge River I climbed over a low saddle. Now while this saddle was pretty low, crossing over it meant that I suddenly had some extensive views further up the valley, it was a bit like a theatre curtain coming up for the great reveal, as I shuffled my way to the top. Reaching the high point I stopped to awhile, chatting to a local Sami man who was out on his motorbike helping to herd up the Reindeer before Winter arrived. The Sami were herding the Reindeer down the valley using a helicopter and occasionally some motorbikes and I spent a little while talking to this bloke about the similarities with how we round up our cattle on the big cattle stations back in Australia.

I was climbing over that ridge in the shadows.

Once over the low saddle the valley opened up ahead of me.

With the Kungsleden staying fairly high up on the right side of the valley and the helicopter herding the Reindeer down the valley closer to the river it was safe enough to continue on, however if you came head to snout with the on coming herd in a narrow bit of the valley I’d be looking for a big rock to get behind (or on top). Continuing on I started to walk past a few side valleys that gave me even more glimpses of the rugged snow capped mountains, with Sweden’s highest mountain only a few kilometres away as the crow flies the mountains along this section are among the biggest on the Kungsleden.

Glancing up the side valleys revealed an alpine wonderland.
The Sami were herding there Reindeer using a helicopter and motorbikes.

By second breakfast time I’d arrived at the Kuoperjåkka Emergency Shelter. As usual on the Kungsleden it looked like some walkers were using the hut for accommodation so I didn’t go in this morning. The open grass around the hut provided a nice spot to sit for a bit and have a break, and the helicopter weaving it’s way up the valley below me provided the entertainment (yeah I know - it doesn’t take much!). Leaving the emergency shelter my northwards journey continued, if anything the mountains getting higher and more rugged and the scenery correspondingly getting even better.

Kuoperjåkka Emergancy Shelter.
While enjoying my second breakfast I was able to watch the helicopter action down near the river.
Guobirjohka River
I was very close to the highest mountain in Sweden now.

After crossing the substantial Guobirjohka River the valley opened up a bit and the Kungsleden once again started crossing some reasonably level river flats. I was now heading for the Sälka Stuga where I was planning on a long stop for lunch, although with a beautiful blue sky above and plenty of wonderful mountain scenery all around me my journey northwards continued to be a slow one! Eventually I passed through another Reindeer fence and started to skirt a few decent sized tarns, before shuffling my way into Sälka in the early afternoon.

Boardwalk on the Kungsleden heading up the Tjätjavagge Valley.
Another day...another Reindeer fence.

The Sälka Stuga is another spot that has a small shop onsite. Now this was always a good thing in my Feral world as it meant I could substitute out my traditional walkers freeze dried and muesli bar diet for something a little more palatable. My go to on the Kungsleden turned out to be Swedish meatballs with ramen noodles. I know that meal doesn’t exactly sound that appetising if you are sitting at home reading this next to your fully stocked fridge, however when you’ve walked 400 kilometres carrying everything you need to survive on your back then Swedish meatballs were tasting pretty good!

Approaching the Sälka Stuga the Kungsleden passed by some nice tarns.
The young lady in front of me is from Belgium - we'd actually end up finishing the walk at more or less the same time in a few days - not that I knew that now.

Sälka Stuga
It tasted better than you'd imagine....honest!

My plan this afternoon was to continue my journey northwards up the Tjäktjavagge Valley for another hour or so and then find a spot to camp before the last climb up and over Tjäktja Pass at the head of the valley. Emerging blinking into the sunlight after lunch it was probably a good thing that the afternoons walk was going to be an easy one, as with my stomach bulging with meatballs and noodles I was more inclined to curl up for a sleep than I was for any hard trekking. While the walking was pretty easy the scenery was still pretty good, I now had the quite a few beautiful waterfalls cascading down the mountains lining the side of the valley.

There was quite a few impressive waterfalls cascading down the sides of the valley this afternoon.
The easy walking continued this afternoon.
Tjäktja Pass at the head of the valley, I'd be crossing it early tomorrow morning all going well.

After passing by a couple of decent sized lakes I started looking in earnest for a spot to pitch the tent. While yesterday I’d been battered by the wind and the rain this afternoon the conditions could hardly be more benign. On finding a nice flat shelf just off the track I decided that this spot, which was around 4 or 5 kilometres north of Sälta, would do my for the night. In short order the tent was up, the thermarest inflated and sleeping bag spread out to loft. With my restless nights sleep last night it wasn’t too long before the temptation of the sleeping bag was beckoning me and I was in the tent a snoozing well before the sun disappeared, only being woken once as a short but heavy shower passed through, before I once again drifted off to sleep.

Arriving at some lakes I figured that it was about time to start looking for somewhere to pitch the tent for the night.
The view from camp wasn't too bad....!

The Dirt.
I walked around 17 kilometres and climbed 361 metres on what I’d call an easy-medium grade days walking on the Kungsleden. Over the 18 days of my Kungsleden stroll so far I’ve walked 395.9 kilometres and climbed around 9966 metres. Today’s walk was probably one of the easiest days that I’d had on the my journey and arguably probably the best day that I’d experienced as far as scenery goes I think. There were numerous spots today to camp and the stuga at Sälta would be the spot to stay if you needed a bed for the night. Once again I used Cicerone’s Trekking the Kungsleden guide book along with my GPS topo maps.

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

The mozzies are big and dopey up here....the Midgies on the other hand....
The view back down the Tjäktjavagge Valley.
I was safely ensconced in my tent by the time this heavy shower passed through.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Teusajaure to Singi, Kungsleden - September 2019

I managed to mostly keep everything dry while I broke camp this morning.
It was a wild old night last night with lots of wind and rain, however for the most part I slept pretty good, only the occasional stronger gust of wind flapping the tent fly really interrupted my slumber. I woke this morning to showers still passing through but thankfully, after eating breakfast and packing up in the tent I was mostly able to get the tent down between the showers. Setting off it looked like the cloud had lifted a little since yesterday afternoon, although things are still looking decidedly grey and miserable.
I only had a little more to climb after leaving camp this morning.
The snow level had dropped down pretty close to my camp last night.
I managed to get a few kilometres in this morning before the rain arrived again.
Having done the steepest bit of the climb away from Teusajaure yesterday afternoon my walk started of pretty easy today. I was now climbing fairly easily to a high saddle before dropping just as easily down into a large valley that I could see the Kaitumjåkka River flowing through. Dropping back down towards the tree line my weather window closed on me again and I was soon pulling on my wet weather gear, oh well I’d managed an hour of reasonably dry walking!
I was now starting to drop into this valley.
Early morning on the Kungsleden.

As I dropped down into the valley it was time to pull on the waterproofs again.

Apart from the rain the walk down into and then along this valley was a pretty nice one. The Birch trees had now well and truly changed colour which enlivened the grey morning a bit and there was also a multitude of little lakes and tarns around to add interest. The Kaitumjåkka River was the main game in town though, the river violently cascading down the valley. After tracking the river on it’s south side for a couple of kilometres I arrived at the inevitable suspension bridge which allowed me another vantage point of the gushing water. Crossing the Kaitumjåkka River I only had another half hour of walking before I arrived at the Kaitumjaure Stuga.
It was time to break out the waterproof camera again... everything got a little soft focus like now!
Conditions were pretty rocky and slippery again now.
Coming from Australia I found the colours amazing on the Kungsleden - even in these somewhat sub-optimal conditions.
It was before 10am when I arrived at the Kaitumjaure Stuga this morning so it was a little early to be able to access shared kitchen area, not to worry though as the wardens invited my to sit in the office and chat to them while I waited for last nights visitors to finish up in the kitchen. After paying a visit to the small shop the last of the paying guest from last night had left so I was able to cook up what turned out to be a bit of a Kungsleden favourite - Swedish Meatballs and Raman Noodles - it sounds pretty ordinary but I just needed to get carbohydrates into me by this stage of the walk. After relaxing for awhile chatting to a couple of south bound Aussies who were having a rest day I reluctantly decided that I’d better head off again, although the good news was that the rain had more or less stopped while I’d been at the stuga.
The substantial Kaitumjåkka River....
...was crossed on an equally substantial suspension bridge.
Kaitumjåkka River
Approaching the Kaitumjaure Stuga the sun made another brief appearance.
Kaitumjaure Stuga
Padje Kaitumjaure Lake from the Kaitumjaure Stuga - time to head in, dry off and have an early lunch:)
After a couple of hours at Kaitumjaure Stuga I managed to head off between the showers.
One last look back to the Kaitumjaure Stuga.
Setting off again I had a rough plan, and that was that I’d walk most of the way towards Singi before finding a camp for the night a kilometre or two before the Singi Stuga. Leaving Kaitumjaure Stuga everything was going pretty good for awhile, I even got some nice views along the length of Padje Kaitumjaure glinting in the weak sunlight. I was now climbing gently up into the Tjäktavagge Valley, a valley that I’d now be climbing up for the best part of the next two days. Initially the Kungsleden sidles the side of the valley before crossing some large, bare rock slabs as it headed towards the suspension bridge that spans the Tjäkjavagge River. Unfortunately for me I didn’t make it to the bridge before once again the weather closed in on me though.
I was now climbing into the Tjäktjavagge Valley, a valley that I'd be gently climbing for the next couple of days.

Approaching the Tjäktjajåkka River bridge, my day was about to change for the worse again!

Yeah, I'm not sure why I'm smiling either?
Tjäktjavagge River
Tjäktjavagge River
Tjäktjavagge River
Now while I’d had a bit of average weather on the Kungsleden so far, the weather this afternoon got a little more serious. After crossing the river I climbed a little into a wide open section of the valley that had the skeleton of an old kåta still standing on it. Normally on a big grassy plain like this I’d be thinking that it might be a good camping option however this dose of rain had come with a biting strong wind which meant that I was definitely going to need a bit of protection from the wind this afternoon.
In hindsight it was all about atmosphere today.
I was heading up this long valley.
The skeletal remains of an old Kåta.

Once again field of vision on the Kungsleden was reduced to what I could see out of my storm hood on my Gortex rain jacket. Sloshing my way north along the Tjäktavagge Valley I was hoping to see some kind of sheltered spot to call it quits for the day but it never came. I did explore off the track in a couple of likely looking spots but really I didn’t find anywhere that looked like I’d get a comfortable nights sleep. After around three hours of sloshing my way north I looked up and noticed the buildings at Singi on a rise a few hundred metres in front of me. After a quick risk versus reward calculation I came to the conclusion that a good nights sleep was probably more likely in the stuga tonight than in a violently flapping tent, and that’s how I came to spend my first night in a stuga (in the dog hut to be precise!). There were only 4 of us in our 8 bunk cabin (and no dogs) so crowding wasn’t a problem and to be honest it was nice to be able to relax and cook out of the rain. After sitting around eating and chatting for a couple of hours I crawled into my sleeping bag with the sound of the rain splattering on the window beside my bunk.
The wind was howling along this valley this afternoon...and then the rain got serious!
The further I trudged this afternoon the more the weather deteriorated.
Approaching the Singi Stuga this afternoon.
The Dirt.
I walked 20.1 kilometres today and climbed 269 metres on what I’d call a medium-hard grade days walking on the Kungsleden. Over the 17 days of my Kungsleden adventure so far I’ve walked 378.9 kilometres and climbed 9605 metres. In reasonable weather there would be numerous spots to camp today, in dodgy weather things are a little more limited. If you don’t want to camp them you can get a bed in both the Kaitumjaure and Singi Stugas. Kaiumjaure has a small shop, Singi doesn’t. Once again I used the notes and map out of Cicerone’s Trekking the Kungsleden book along with my GPS topos.

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

I enjoyed my first night in a stuga tonight.
My bunk at the Singi Stuga.

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...