We were greeted with heavy fog and mist, which kept the rocks wet and slippery and the trail treacherous. Again, it was poorly marked. Half the time it was little more than a stream, but that was fine with me, because the sun came out and it became very hot. We stopped at a small winter hut and forded several streams still swollen from spring runoff. After eating a lunch of bread and cheese near bushes of cloudberries—sweet yellow berries in a cluster of three, a local delicacy—we decided to take another hike up to a small alpine lake, Troll Lake (Trollsjon) through the beautiful Valley of Karkevagge. It was quite a bushwack to reach the trail, which was steep and rocky. I really appreciated the many small streams where I could wet my bandana to keep cool, and drink as much water as I wanted without fear of its being contaminated. Never had I seen such sparkling water and such lush vegetation. On none of my hikes did I have to carry a large canteen. I just kept filling up my small water bottle at every stream.
Many hikers were out to experience the perfect weather. I understand that it’s a rarity in this part of Sweden in the summer. Seems that winter is “the season.” By the time we’d worked our way up the trail and gawked at the unusual rock formations that seemed to have just tumbled haphazardly into the valley, I was ready for a swim. I put my feet in and out…abruptly. After a few moments I couldn’t even feel them! So much for the swim.
On the way down we looked more carefully at the massive rocks that covered the valley. Some were rounded and wore a mantle of moss and grass. Others seemed cut at sharp angles, stark and shiny black. I was reminded of Stonehenge gone wild, or the Badlands of South Dakota. We met several joggers with heavy packs (were they crazy?), which didn’t make us feel any better about our aching feet. But we made it down and headed for the railway station. It was a mile away and we’d have three hours to wait when we got there, so we stood on the highway between Narvik and Kiruna and put out our thumbs. A beautiful young woman picked us up, took pity on us, and drove us all the way to Abisko, the hostel that was our destination. Another angel from heaven. There we found a double room with bath. After dinner in the spacious dining room, we sat on one of the high verandas and watched the sun set.(click here for pictures)