Ever since I my first visit to Sweden I have been wanting to go to Lapland during summertime and trek along the Kungsleden from Abisko to Nikkaluokta. Last month I finally did it! While at times I got rather frustrated during the trek it was overall a great experience.
Several days before Midsummer, after a 22 hour trainride departing from Gothenburg, I arrived in Abisko. And there, right next to the train platform, the trail begins. The first part of the trail through Abisko National Park is a bit like a highway, with many wide trails. The nature is already beautiful though, especially the river flowing from Abiskosjaure to Torneträsk. After about 10 kilometers I noticed something wasn't right with my left ankle. 'Damn it', I thought, 'not during this trail'. I continued, had a short break at Abiskosjaurestugan, and continued to Ratojaure, where I set up camp, and was joined by a single traveler from Belgium. And of course the sun never went down, ohhh that great Midsummer sun!
The next morning we continued together to Alesjaurestugan, and from there on to Tjäkta. Unfortunately my ankle was hurting a lot, and so after unsuccessfully trying out some things I decided to continue on my sandals from Alesjaure and bound my shoes to my backpack. What a relieve, no pain at all! I definitely got some weird faces from people passing by me though!
The following morning I woke to the sound of rain in rather high quantities. We decided to stay at our camp, and continue as soon as it would be dry again. Well, it wouldn't stop raining until the morning after when we had a perfectly clear blue sky! Nothing better than having the bright sun in your eyes when you open your tent :-) We decided to split up and continue solo again. The weather was great, and I continued in a high pace, passing Tjäkta pass and on my way to Sälka. The route between Tjäkta and Sälka was amazing!
Early afternoon I arrived in Sälka, felt like I could walk a bit more, and decided to continue to Kebnekaise mountain station. I decided against going via Singi but instead to take a shortcut, which lead me to higher grounds. As soon as I was at the highest point I noticed a storm front building up in the valley I was about to descent into. Continuing to Kebnekaise was definitely no option, as the wind speed was increasing rapidly, and returning to lower grounds didn't appeal to me. So, instead, I decided to to pitch my tent at this plateau. Well, this was perhaps a terrible idea. The wind gusts were very strong, causing so much noise I couldn't sleep at all. Great Midsummer Eve! My plan was to move on early, but the wind was still strong in the morning, and it seemed to me it was too strong to pack my tent. Well, after some time I simply had to move on, so I packed the tent which obviously didn't go so fluently, and continued down into the valley towards Kebnekaise, at a certain point loosing the trail ending up in a big heap of mud.
The mountain station is quite a bit different from the cabins or stugorna along the trail. While those are relatively small and simple the facilities at the mountain station are huge and the reception with restaurant is also very luxurious. Too luxurious, if you ask me. Having such facilities along a trail here in Lapland just doesn't feel right to me. The same I found of the facilities at Gjendesheim in Jotunheimen, Norway. Anyway, I basically wasted a day and a half at the mountain station, hoping a window would open for me to climb the mountain, even though I knew it would be a bad idea with the injury I was having. Except for going up during nighttime there was basically no sane possibility. So, slightly disappointed, I continued to Nikkaluokta, passing Ladtjojaure and LapDonalds. After some hours and some fierce battles with mosquitoes I arrived in Nikkaluokta where I spend the night in a cottage. Noon next day I took the bus to Kiruna and a full day later I arrived back in Gothenburg. Home sweet home :-)