Kungsleden: Hiking above the Arctic Circle
Trip Start Jun 15, 2004
40Trip End Apr 03, 2005
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
Jacquie and I have just returned from a 6 day, 112 km backpacking trip along the Kungsleden, which means Kings Trail in Swedish.
After an all night train ride from Stockholm and a grocery stock up in Kiruna, we took the train to the small town of Abisko where we were dropped off right at the trail head. Our first day of hiking saw us starting out in the trees for the first 10 km and then we climbed above tree line at about 800 meters. A little different than the Rocky's. We stopped off at the first hut where we thought we should fill up our water bottles. I asked the hut steward where I could get some water. She looked at me in a rather strange way and pointed at the very large river that I was standing beside
Day two dawned a bit rainy and we had a hard slog through both boggy and rocky terrain. There were several rivers that had to be crossed and not a bridge in sight. We learned later that these rivers would pretty much dry up in a month. Gaters and water proofing can only do so much and our feet were soon soaked. This added to the blister situation that was already plaguing our soft pink feet. We were not in the best of spirits and realized that our plan to get 20 km a day was not realistic. We spoke to the steward of the next hut that we came to to see about our options. The passes that we had planned to cross through were waist deep with snow and we could see avalanche signs on both sides. Taking the advice of the steward, we had a plan. We walked another few km's before making camp
Day three was a sunny and warm but we had to cross our highest pass which we had been told was fully snowed in. We had about 6 km of hiking through the snow with an elevation gain of about 3oo meters. The pass topped out at a little over 1100 meters. We had been told of hikers sinking up to their hips on every step so we got an early start hoping for hard snow. The view was breathtaking and we managed to get to the top of the pass sinking up to our knees on a few occassions but mostly only to a depth of 6 or 7 inches. We met a nice couple from Germany at the hut at the top of the pass and spent too much time chatting over lunch which allowed the sun to warm up the snow making our decent from the pass a little tougher. We did sink up to our middles a few times on this part. Soaked and very tired we found another beautiful site to pitch our tent. Did we mention that the sun never sets. It rained and blew all night but the rain had stopped by the time that we were ready to break camp. After a Capaccino, a handful of granola and a Mars bar, we were on our way again.
The rest of the hike was amazing
We are off to Norway next and will report further when we have some time.
J and D