Thursday August 9th 2018
I had to get to Malmö Central Station by 12:04 pm to catch my train to Stockholm, so I found a train from Copenhagen Central Station that departed in good time so I could meet my train. There was time to spare in Malmö so I sat at a café and enjoyed a coffee while I waited for my Stockholm train to arrive.
I arrived in Stockholm at 17:03 pm. Overwhelmed by the sheer size of Stockholm Central Station of which, the part I was located in anyway, was underground. I found a place to purchase some dinner and then made my way down to the track where I was to find my night train with a destination of Abisko above the Arctic Circle in far north Sweden. I found carriage number 12 and my two fellow passengers, Anders and Emil, a couple of nice Swedish lads who kept me company for the next seventeen hours. The train departed at 18:10 pm.
Friday August 10th 2018
I had a good night’s sleep and better than I thought I would get. At around 7:00 am I made my way down to the bistro carriage where I purchased some breakfast. I was really excited when the “YOU ARE NOW PASSING THE ARCTIC CIRCLE” sign passed my window while I drank my morning coffee. I think that is what the sign said or it was something similar anyway. You don’t see something like that every day.
On my way back to my carriage an announcement came over the speaker system that the train would go no further than Kiruna as there had been a fire in a tunnel further up the track. From Kiruna we were transported by bus up to Abisko Turiststation where we arrived around 11:15 am.
I made my way to the STF Abisko Mountain Station. It was complete with restaurant and accommodation and all the mod cons. I got myself organized and at 11:30 am I was under way.
My destination for today is Kårsavagge which is 14 km from Abisko. It is quite warm and the temperature is around 17℃ which is a lot more comfortable than the 31℃ that I experienced in Stockholm the day before. At 12:00 pm I was already in the mountains and found myself alone west of the traditional Kungsleden Trail. I would not start hiking on Kungsleden until the next day after I make it to Abiskojaure.
I climbed all afternoon up to 680 m elevation. The views were absolutely breathtaking and much better than my expectations. As the day progressed and around 16:15 pm I could see the Kårsavagge mountain hut in the distance. It seemed to take ages to reach Kårsavagge and I could see the mountain hut in the distance for a long time.
Looking over to the left I looked up at the mountain pass shadowing me. I had planned to climb it today and camp just over on the other side where I had located a flat area on my map. But as the afternoon developed I soon learned that mountain weather can change from one minute to the next and alter plans too.
On arrival at Kårsavagge at 16:30 pm I was welcomed by a friendly cabin manager. He warned me of the weather change on the way and strongly advised me not to continue today and to camp out the back of the huts for tonight and to continue on in the morning. He said that the winds up, where I wanted to go, could come up to 20 km/hr tonight.
Gusty Arctic winds started to blow and the rain came too. Well, I’m not from these parts and I’ve never been in the mountains before so I listen to the advice and settle in for the night.
The first thing that I did was to get my dinner soaking in my prototype system that I’m testing from Stormin Stove Systems. I emptied the contents of my vacuum packed homemade dehydrated food into the canister and added water to just over the food line. I replaced the screw type lid and got on with erecting my shelter and the normal camp routine of making my bed ready, collecting water etc.
The winds were now quite strong. My food had soaked for about one hour. I added some more water in the canister and sat in my Zpacks Duplex on the protected side and heated my evening meal in the vestibule.
I was really tired after traveling since early the day before. So I was in bed by 8:00 pm as I wanted to cover a lot of ground in the morning including climbing my first ever mountain pass.
It stormed with hard winds through the night and, even though I found a well protected location, the shelter was put to the test. I was happy that I listened to the advice that I received and made camp here.
TO BE CONTINUED