Øyjord – Abisko (Sweden)
03 July 2017 – 10 July 2017
TOTAL: 948 km
03 July 2017 (Monday) — Rombak Train Station
Distance: 22.7 km
Sometimes days turn out completely unexpected. We packed up in the rain falling on our heads. We walked a bit through the villages, then along the E6, stopping at bus stops to drink and eat something. Although it rained most of the time, we were lucky, and we managed to prepare and eat dinner in the only weather window on that day. Then it started to rain again and did not stop. After dinner, we began to walk up the forest road. Our destination for today was a train station, where we had a train to catch the next day. We were going unsure what we will find there. After all it was a small station, somewhere in the mountains, away from the road, only a gravel road led there. We did not know if we will be able to find a place for a tent somewhere near the station. We got to the railway buildings, and even though it did not look great, there was a waiting room inside, and what’s more, it was open and fully functional. We went inside, and there were leather seats, tables, toilets, hot water and even free Internet. There was no living soul around, but it seemed that the station has just been renovated and prepared for touristic purposes. Everything was in working condition, the timetables were up to date. We dried ourselves a little, drinking coffee, while it was pouring out outside. When we looked through the window, we were less and less eager to leave this place. We were wondering if we could stay for the night, in the end it was a waiting room, and our train was leaving the next day. We bought the tickets yesterday. As it was so quiet around and the station was far away from any town or village, we decided to spend the night inside. In the evening we took out our sleeping bags and lay down, trying not to move too much, because the light were operating on the motion sensor. We were woken up about three in the morning by a railway worker, but he only came to use the toilet, then left, and we fell asleep again.
04 July 2017 (Tuesday) — by the path, close to Riksgränsen, Sweden
Distance: 14.5 km+10 km by train
After the breakfast, we had some time for ourselves, as our train was to arrive at 11:20. We had only one stop to go, just 10 minutes, but it was a great experience anyway. Beautifully located Ofotbanen railway line (The Ofoten Railway) between Narvik and Kiruna, one of the most beautiful in the north, going on the slopes above the fjord. It is located quite high, at the highest point it reaches 523 meters above sea level. On its route, it passes thorough countless tunnels. It mainly accommodates cargo traffic. Passenger trains run only twice a day.
We got off at Katterat, from where we started following the path. We were very pleased that we found this option as an alternative to the walk along the busy E10 road. The path was once a route built during the construction of the railway line. Sometimes it goes below the tracks, sometimes above the tracks and tunnels. It is nicely prepared for tourists, with picnic tables, information boards about the construction of the railway. We were going up all the time, until we reached about 500 meters above sea level. In the evening, just after crossing the border with Sweden we set up our camp. It got very cold, and at this altitude, there was much more snow lying around.
05 July 2017 (Wednesday) –by the path, Låkta Vindskydd shelter, Sweden
Distance: 17.3 km
We went to a nearby store to refill supplies. After a dozen or so kilometres, we left the railway and got onto the path leading through the mountains, and we started climbing. The higher we were, the colder it was, the wind was stronger, and later on it stared snowing. Fortunately the wind was in our backs. Soon, we spotted a small hut on the horizon, and we decided to get there. Right before we reached the hut, we had to face the icy river. There was a bridge, but not installed yet for the season, it was lying next to the river. The hut turned out to be open, but it was an emergency shelter only, staying for the night was allowed only in critical situation. We dried and warmed our feet, then we ate dinner and when it stopped snowing for a moment, we pitched our tent right next to the hut. In the evening we were thinking whether we would be able to cross the mountains, since at this altitude there was so much snow and the wind was so strong and cold. We were at about 840 meters and still had about 400 meters to climb.
06 July 2017 (Thursday) — by the path, above the Kårsavaggestugan Hut, Sweden
Distance: 16.0 km
After breakfast eaten in the hut, we continued to climb. Initially the path was still clearly visible, because it was partially not covered by the snow and also fresh footprints were visible. There was more and more snow around, it also stared snowing a little, but as the snow was dry, it did not bother us too much. The walk was quite good, as the snow was frozen and did not collapse. We came to the pass at 1228 meters. We knew that there should be a hut, but we did not expect a fully services mountain hut. That was Låktatjåkko Fjällstation, the highest mountain hut in Sweden. So we got inside and treated ourselves to coffee and waffles. There were only few people inside, as the hut opened for the season just a week ago. We were glad, that we managed to get here without major problems and that confirmed our decision to go further through the mountains. There was a lot of snow here, but the path was well-marked, so we had no problems when navigating. We just looked for red marks on the stones, which we followed. Late in the afternoon it cleared up, and we began to descend to the valley and leaving the snow behind. In the evening we were so low, that there was not much snow, and we could easily find a place for a tent. We set the camp on a rock overlooking two large lakes.
07 July 2017 (Friday) — by the path, above the Kårsavaggestugan Hut, Sweden
Distance: 0.0 km
When early in the morning we were woken up by the rain pouring on our tent, nothing indicated how beautiful the day will be. About 8 o’clock the Sun came out, the clouds disappeared and so it remained until the end of the day. As the place we stayed was so nice and the weather was great, we decided to stay here or one more night. We prepared our seating are on a ledge, just below the tent and there, sheltered from the wind, we sat for most of the day, watching the area from above. And there was a lot to observe. Down below in the valley there was a path going to the hut by the lake, where we saw a dozen or so walkers. Our pastime was to watch them deal with crossing a river that had five tributaries. We cheered them on from above, and looking at their behaviour we tried to guess their gender, age and tell their life stories. The Sun was shining all the time, however the wind was cold, so most of the time we had our down jackets on.
08-09 July 2017 (Saturday-Sunday) — by the small lake, about 2 km from Abisko, Sweden
Distance: 20.6 km+0.0 km
We went down to the lakes, and now we had to cross that river, which we were observing yesterday from above. However, we already had a plan, which we made after watching others, so it did not cause us any problems. We were heading towards Abisko, and the closer we were, the more wooden footbridges were placed over the marshes. The path became wide, well-trodden, so walking was smooth. We also met a lot of people, as we were approaching the tourist centre.
For dinner, we planned roasted sausages, which for several days waited in our backpacks for the right time. We chose the right place, with fire already prepared, and we quickly made our meal. It started to rain a little, but we were not bothered, and the sausages tasted great. We arrived at the tourist station in Abisko, we took our raincoats off, as down in the valley it was very warm. We asked about the possibility of camping, then we went to a shop which was 2 km away. We bought supplies for two days and went out of town into the forest. We set up our camp near a small lake, away from any paths and had a quite nice day off in the company of mosquitoes :)
10 July 2017 (Monday) – Abisko STF Touriststation, Sweden
Distance: 7.1 km
In Abisko we had planned a few days’ rest. At that time I had to fly to England for few days to settle few matters, and Marcin got the task of looking after the tent, which he gladly agreed to :)
The tourist station in Abisko is a large centre with a hotel and restaurant, a hostel and camping ground. You could sit in the main building or in a hostel, that had well-equipped and organized kitchen with seating area. It really came handy, because for the next three days it was pouring down, and Marcin instead in a cold and wet tent could sit in a chair and stay warm :)