Table of Contents
Total distance: 204,3 km
Hiking days: 9
Day 97: Kvikkjokk – Pårte
20.08.2022 | 16 km
After being brought back down to earth in Kvikkjokk, we pre-book our cabins for the route along Kungsleden to Saltoluokta that same evening. Since we won’t be able to take our rest day in Kvikkjokk, we will have a bit more time for the northern section of Kungsleden and can take it easy over the next few days. The weather is also supposed to be rather mixed and the prospect of spending the night in the huts is tempting.
All good things come in threes
In a slightly better mood we go to sleep and also enjoy the breakfast buffet of the mountain station the next morning. We chat a little with some other hikers, before we make our way to Pårte. This section is a home game for me, since I am walking the Kungsleden here for the third time. However, for today 53 millimeters of precipitation is predicted and the rain is not waiting long. It is raining like cats and dogs!
Merciless rain and slippery roots
The trail covered with roots is exhausting to walk, because the roots are slippery and the puddles in between are unpredictably deep. So today we stumble more than we hike and need surprisingly much time to reach the cabin. When we arrive there, however, the fireplace is already burning and we are expected with warm juice. The coziness and the comfort of the huts on Kungsleden is a great comfort, especially on days like these. Norge på langs only with tent and completely without solid accommodations would certainly be a completely different challenge.
The cabin fills to the last bed this evening, while a storm and heavy rain rages outside. Here we meet Jakub and Nir in the evening, who are also walking on Kungsleden towards Abisko. We will meet again more often over the next few days.
Day 98: Pårte – Aktse
21.08.2022 | 21 km
The next day starts early, as we have the challenging section to Aktse ahead of us. Today, the trail also leads through the Sarek National Park on a section of twenty kilometers. The storm has subsided and the humidity is now in the air. There is no breeze and the steep climb right at the beginning of the day leads us directly into a good sweat.
New bridges with steep stairs on Kungsleden
We are relieved when we finally reach the tree line. Right there, the air also becomes a bit less humid and the trail easier to walk. The STF has also put up new bridges here. These have partly quite high and steep stairs made of perforated sheet metal, which are actually quite difficult for Lando to walk. We help him a little on the way down, since he sometimes gets slightly out of balance with the bags on his back.
At the Jågge shelter we take a small lunch break. Here we also meet Jakub again. However, all in all it is too crowded for us in the hut. Several hikers have spent the night here during the storm yesterday and clothes are hanging everywhere to dry and people are busy packing. After all the rain from the day before, the rivers we cross have reached considerable heights and we are grateful that we find bridges everywhere.
At the shelter at the boat landing we then have maybe the most unusual encounter of our entire tour: as we arrive the door opens and an elderly man comes out. Unusually old to be on the trail on Kungsleden. But what else would bring someone here? While I’m still thinking about that, my eye catches a hammer he’s carrying on his belt. A hammer? With a grin on his face, he asks us if we want to come inside the hut. He would have just taken a nap there. The situation feels somehow weird and it is sunny, so we deny for the time being.
In the following conversation, it turns out that Alan is a geologist and breaks open stones with his hammer. After all, you can only really identify the stone from the inside. He is actually also hiking Kungsleden and that with over 70 years. He has spent two years preparing for this trip, studying geological maps, and now he is turning this dream into reality. If I just had the feeling to be part of a bad horror movie, I now immediately sympathize with the guy and have great respect for his project.
High water and a hot sauna
The crossing of Lake Laitaure is adventurous. The water level is one meter higher than normal and the piers are under water. We therefore climb over the railing of the pier to get back ashore at least reasonably dry. The cabin host tells us that trips into Sarek are currently not possible at all due to the high water. Here it has rained significantly more over the last days than on the more southern sections, where we were walking.
Tonight, however, a sauna is waiting for us! Surprisingly, we have it all to ourselves. But maybe that’s also due to the extended sauna times that are now available in Aktse. In the past there was an hour of ladies sauna, followed by an hour of men’s sauna and a final hour of mixed sauna, but now there is another hour of mixed sauna between the ladies and men’s sauna.
Day 99: Aktse – Sitojaure
22.08.2022 | 8,5 km
When we wake up, the sun is shining. We are looking forward to the section that lies ahead of us, since the last time we hiked here we were surrounded by heavy fog. Today, on the other hand, we’re climbing up the mountain in shorts. The section is not long and so we take our time. A sign in the middle of the plateau finally indicates the last point with internet reception. Here we call the boat service and ask about today’s departure times.
We end up booking an extra tour because we don’t feel like waiting until late afternoon. Then the regular boat would go according to schedule. On the way down to Sitojaure we once again see really many reindeer. Lando is so fascinated by them that he keeps stumbling or falling into one of the numerous holes in the path. We are surprised that he does not hurt himself, but he somehow manages to keep on his feet.
The boat transfer across Sitojaure is quiet and we say hello from Björn, who drove us across the lake in Kvikkjokk. By the greetings we come into conversation and learn that the family has bought several extra boats in recent years. The demand for crossings continues to grow. Currently, they cross the lake three times every morning to transport all the hikers.
Stormy evening with internet and company
In Sitojaurestugorna we don’t stay in the winter room this time. There is apparently another dog room. We enjoy that this is a twin room which gives us some privacy. Also this hut is completely booked, as a group is staying here. Once again, we are glad to have pre-booked our accommodations. While we use the weak reception to read a bit on the internet while sitting in the big kitchen, another storm is coming up outside. The turquoise blue lake now has waves and little whitecaps. Good thing we didn’t wait for the late boat ride.
Day 100: Sitojaure – Saltoluokta
23.08.2022 | 19,9 km
We already thought that we wouldn’t need our shorts anymore. But fiddlesticks – today it is once again really warm and sunny. On today’s stage we walk through a great moraine landscape and enjoy every minute of it. We are also once again insanely fast on the trail. The longer we are on the hiking, the longer we can keep a good pace.
Energized by the prospect of a great dinner
But of course, a break is not to be missed. We meet Jakub again and stop for a quarter of an hour to chat a bit. But without moving it soon becomes too cold for us so we move on. Again and again we find broken stones on our way. In the meantime we have learned that the geologist Alan walks ahead of us and breaks them open. So we keep our eyes open and are excited every time we find a trace of him again!
After about ten kilometers we reach the shelter Avtsustjvágge. There we can not resist and take another break. We are also well on time. Our plan is to arrive early in Saltoluokta, since we intend to book dinner. And from past experience, we know it is sometimes already fully booked if you arrive late in the afternoon.
At the shelter, however, we first meet a father with his ten-year-old son. The two are hiking up here together for the first time. While the son quickly runs down to the river to get water for lunch, his father tells us about his first adventures in Lapland, which are now already 30 years ago. He now wants to pass on his enthusiasm for nature and hiking to his son. The two have brought quite a lot of time and always walk as far as they manage. They definitely have our respect for this approach!
Lights off in the sauna
In the end, we reach Saltoluokta already at 14:30 and also get the longed-for seat at the evening buffet. But before that we enjoy the sauna – unfortunately still separated by gender. Therefore, Manuel does not notice at all that my circulation collapses under the cold shower at the end of the sauna. I lie down on the cool tile floor and put my legs up. Everything goes black, but I manage not to lose consciousness. That was close. After the little shock we head for dinner!
Day 101 – 102: Saltoluokta – Vakkotavare
24.08. – 25.08.2022 | 31,1 km
We take a rest day in Saltoluokta. This is already a tradition with us and so we enjoy the sunny day to the fullest. We build up our tent and clean it thoroughly. Then we contact the support of Garmin, because our InReach Mini does not work properly anymore. It can only be turned on after a long charge and then it stays on only as long as it has a power supply. Garmin sends a replacement device to Manuel’s parents. For now we postpone where to send it afterwards.
Hello STF: it’s time for proper WiFi at the mountain stations of Kungsleden
Unfortunately, the WiFi of the Fjällstation is really bad. Actually, we were looking forward to watching a few movies, but we postpone that for now. Instead, we do some shopping for the next section. The store in Saltoluokta is still well stocked, while we have heard that there is very little food in the shops further north.
The next day, however, we are on our way again. While Jakub, Nir and Al take the bus to Vakkotavare, we have decided to walk. About 30 kilometers of road lie ahead of us. So of course we make progress quite fast, but on the other hand it is not very exciting.
Hiking into the sunset
The Naturum is a welcome distraction. We spend several hours here and complete our visit with eating a sandwich. Perhaps we have dawdled a little too long, because the way is still quite far. We therefore reach the hut in Vakkotavare only around 19 o’clock as the sun is already low.
Day 103: Vakkotavare – Kaitumjaure
26.08.2022 | 23,4 km
On this northern section of Kungsleden we want to pick up our pace again. We therefore always plan to hike two legs at once and book the cabins accordingly. However, the last boat trip is waiting for us today and that is scheduled to leave in the evening. After that, we still would have to walk a little more than eight kilometers.
To row or not to row? Manuel’s favorite question!
We consider whether we might take the rowboat this time. But first we ascend the mountain in front of us. The Kungsleden between Vakkotavare and Abisko crosses a lot of valleys and therefore it often goes steeply uphill or downhill. In between it is always quite flat for a while.
However, having hiked so much has its advantages yet again: we don’t mind heights much anymore. Of course, we are still sweating, but we are less slow and it doesn’t feel as exhausting as on our previous tours.
Rowing? No chance…
When we arrive at Teusajaure, we meet a group of Germans who just try to cross the lake with the last rowing boat. That’s it for us, because now there is no boat on our side anymore. A little later the guys are back on land. The wind whistles over the lake, which is covered with waves and pushes the boat directly back to the beach. They start another attempt, but it is futile. Rowing is not possible today.
So we hoist the bucket as a signal that we want to be picked up and then stare anxiously at the other side of the lake. But nothing is happening there. So I explore the area a bit and find out that there is a new shelter a bit inland. In fact, it’s so new that the chimney is still unused and a warm, damp scent of coniferous wood wafts up to me as I open the door. Well, at least you find a good shelter here in bad weather.
A rough crossing over Teusajaure
But we are lucky, the hut keeper just comes back from a fishing trip, because the wind has become so strong. He crosses straight over and cruises the lake several times, since he can only take three people with him at a time. He also needs plenty of skill to navigate through the waves. In his estimation, rowing is impossible today.
A farewell and aching feet
On arrival in Teusajaure we say goodbye to Al. He does not hike any further today, so now we slowly walk off from him. We have learned a lot about geology from him! Thanks Al!
Since we are at lake level, the first thing we do starting from Teusajaure is to climb again. Although it is only 15 o’clock, the way now suddenly drags. It becomes stony and exhausting to walk. Soon our feet hurt. All our concentration is required to set our feet safely. Only slowly we make progress and are glad when we finally arrive in Kaitumjaure around 18 o’clock.
Day 104: Kaitumjaure – Sälka
27.08.2022 | 24,6 km
While yesterday the sun was still shining brightly, today we put on our long pants again. The clouds hang low and fog lies over the Fjäll as we start around half past nine. The trail to the Singi cabin, which is located about halfway, is still little frequented and similarly stony as the previous day.
Autumn weather and a full Singi Hut
The fog turns to rain every now and then and an icy wind blows. It is uncomfortable today. We enjoy the great scenery and the hike through the long valley anyway. And arrive at Singi at about 13 o’clock. The cabin is totally full of hikers, who probably haven’t left yet because of the weather. In addition, the first hikers arrive wet at the end of their day.
We feel little desire to plunge into the crowds of Kungsleden hikers and therefore take a lunch break on a small bench behind the hut. Mentally we prepare ourselves for the fact that from now on it will be “more crowded” on the trail, since most Kungsleden hikers walk the section between Abisko and Nikkaluokta and we are exactly on this stretch from Singi on.
Oh, it is just so beautiful on Kungsleden
Today, however, we notice nothing of that yet. Most hikers are in the cabin and on the way to Sälka we hardly meet a soul. But the Tjäktja valley is simply magnificent. The steep slopes of the surrounding mountains shine in the dramatic twilight, which the constantly changing weather brings with it. Again and again, trails lead up into the side valleys and we dream of coming back again someday to explore all of these valleys with plenty of time.
Then we see the Sälka glacier to our left and we realize that we are almost there. Again it is only a few degrees above zero and so we are glad this evening that we have a comfortable bed and a warm fireplace once more.
When we arrive, however, our room is already completely full: tonight we sleep nine in a rather tiny hut. This is actually a logistical challenge, because there is not even room for all the backpacks. We therefore take everything we need from the backpacks and then leave them in the entrance area.
Day 105: Sälka – Alesjaure
28.08.2022 | 25,6 km
Today we will cross the highest point of Kungsleden: Tjäktja Pass. We leave the Sälka cabins behind us at nine o’clock. The weather is cloudy and cold and we put on our hats and gloves. For the almost nine kilometers to the pass we need three hours and at an altitude of over 1000 meters the wind is sweeping. Together with the drizzle this is a very unpleasant combination and so we quickly take shelter in the small hut. We are not the only ones who have had this idea and the small window is completely steamed up by all the moisture that everyone brings in with them.
Motivation sought for wet, cold weather
Since Nir left only shortly after us, we wait until he also arrives. While we take an extended lunch break and look for new motivation to plunge back into the cold, wet weather, Jakub also reaches the shelter. We persuade him to head for Alesjaure as today’s destination just like Nir and us. Would be cool if we would meet again in the evening. He is not quite sure, but he wants to try.
After an hour’s rest, we start our descent, because the longest part of the trail is still ahead of us. We are surrounded by a scree desert, through which fortunately many footbridges lead. That is the advantage of Kungsleden: it is incredibly well maintained. However, we still have to be careful as hell on the wet planks, because they are really slippery from the rain.
Lando has a bad day
We therefore make only slow progress at first and Lando in particular is slow today. Wind and rain combined with the icy temperatures do not please him at all. We notice that he comes to his limits today. His harness with the bags also does not fit well at all, as he has lost weight in the last few days. We try to adjust it better, as best we can with our stiff fingers. And in our minds we write on our shopping list that we have to look for a raincoat for Lando in Kiruna.
The trail drags like chewing gum at first, but after an hour we walk past the Tjäktja huts. The last time we were here, the weather was similarly bad. With our descent into the valley, it also finally gets a little warmer. Good that in Abisko our winter equipment is waiting for us. We can really use it now.
How far is it to the Tjäktja cabin?
The further walk through the Alisvággi drags on, but in itself is not difficult to walk. However, today we have some encounters with quite exhausted hikers who come towards us. And they all ask the same question: how far is it to the Tjäktja hut?
We are amazed at how few people have digital maps with GPS support with them and how many at the same time can’t seem to interpret their paper maps at all. The faces at least get long when we talk about several hours of way.
Sold out STF Shop
After 26 kilometers, we also finally reach our destination. The day was energy-sapping because of the weather. In the store of the hut empty shelves await us and we buy what you can still get: Tortellini with goulash and parmesan. We have had this combination several times now on Kungsleden and apparently it is also available at the end of the season.
Also tonight the hut fills up again to the last bed. In our room the last hiker arrives at 22:30 in complete darkness and tells us that he has totally misjudged the length of the trail from Abiskojaure.
Day 106: Alesjaure – Abisko
29.08.2022 | 34,2 km
When we tell our roommate, who has misjudged the time, in the morning, that we will skip the Abiskojaure cabin after 21 kilometers and walk straight through to Abisko, I think he believes us to be completely crazy.
One last feat of strength on the Kungsleden
34 kilometers lie ahead of us today and we say goodbye to Nir and Jakub at 08:30. It was a nice time with the two, but today we want to complete Kungsleden with this double leg. Our plan is to take a longer break after that and to buy new shoes in Kiruna.
Once more we say “Let’s go”. In the beginning we walk on easy paths along the Alesjaure. My thoughts drift and I suddenly find myself back in 2018 when I hiked this section for the first time. At that time in the opposite direction. It was Manuel’s and my first long-distance hike together and back then it was pretty cold for August.
Are you the ones with the blog? We are recognized once again.
Speaking of cold: as we leave the climb to Gárddenvággi just behind us, an icy wind and whipping rain comes up. We are lucky, however, that the rain only streaks us and a few minutes later has already passed. But today once again there are not many people on our route. We wonder if it’s because fewer hikers actually set out from Abisko in bad weather. Could be, right?
But then it comes to one of the few encounters today: A young man with a dog comes towards us. He looks at us and then asks if we write a blog. This is now the third time on Kungsleden that we have been recognized. We are very happy that our articles seem to be read especially by Kungsleden hikers!
Can we please be there now?
The rest of the day drags on. Especially after the Abiskojaure mountain cabin the kilometers pass agonizingly slowly. Our legs are tired and my back hurts despite the light backpack. At 18:15 o’clock we finally stand at the entrance portal of Kungsleden and take a photo. Now we have made it, we have walked the complete Kungsleden. I get a little sentimental. The section behind us was definitely one of the most beautiful of this trip. Will it be so amazing again in upcoming sections?
We quickly exchange our doubting thoughts for fantasies of comfortable beds, sauna and delicious dinner while we walk the last meters to Abisko Fjällstation.
Day 107 – 109: Rest days around Abisko
30.08. – 01.09.2022
The following days are a bit chaotic. We plan two break days after Kungsleden and want to use them to go to Kiruna to buy new shoes. The trail runners have hardly any profile after about 1000 kilometers and Manuel’s shoes already have holes. In addition, my top is ready for the trash and I need to buy a new one.
Abisko – Kiruna
We therefore take the bus to Kiruna and can check into the hotel already at noon. Then we make our way to Intersport. But there are neither suitable shoes for us nor good advice. When we ask where else we can try, the saleslady tells us that the downtown stores are moving to the new city center this week and will only reopen in two days.
We have followed the changes in the city caused by the ore mine with interest every time we have visited in recent years, but the fact that the city center is being relocated right now comes at the worst possible time for us.
New gear for Lando
Well, then no shoes for now. Near the Intersport there is also a pet store and here we are better advised and buy new bags for Lando. The old ones have holes after eight years of use and one loop is torn out. Additionally we let Lando try on different raincoats and decide for a model what he can wear over the bags. On the last two rainy days we noticed that Lando did not feel comfortable in the wet and cold weather. At over nine years old, he is no longer the youngest and the temperatures during the day are sometimes only just above the freezing point. So the raincoat will certainly help him keep warm in the near future.
Kiruna – Abisko, Abisko – Kiruna, Kiruna – Abisko
Then we head back to Abisko. In the evening we return our package to the post office, which contains our summer equipment now. From this point on we walk with warmer sleeping bag and clothes. Spontaneously my parents, who are on vacation in the area at the moment, come to visit us. And so it happens that we drive to Kiruna again the next day to see the new city center including the opening ceremony. There is cake with the city logo and “iron ore lumps” as decoration. In the end we also find light hiking boots with Goretex membrane which are more suitable for the upcoming wet and cold days in the newly opened sports store.
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