Kungsleden day 5. 19km.
What a treat to sleep in a warm place, but of course there’s no radio silence as the last nights with so many people sleeping here and getting up at 5.30am. It’s foggy and rainy outside so I decide that I will only walk some 15km out of the 19km to Nikkaluokta where I will catch my bus tomorrow. I had thought about going to Tarfala, but the weather is just so bad I wouldn’t see much anyway. So I take it very lazy, long breakfast with the two Swedes I met yesterday on the Kebnekaise, then sitting in the cozy lounge area of the Fjällstation and reading a book.
Followed by lunch and then I finally decide to start walking at 2.30pm. It’s drizzling and foggy but after a while I start to enjoy walking, the autumn colours are still as beautiful, even in rain. I meet a few other hikers coming my way and the Swedish “Hej, Hej” has become also my standard way of greeting by now (there’s just the problem that they all assume I am Swedish and start talking in Swedish to me!). I reach the boat ramp (again you can skip about 5km of walking by taking an expensive boat), then the other end where there is a very nice looking restaurant (closed) and a sign for Lap Donalds with reindeer burgers, also closed.
I am cold and wet and don’t feel like a cold, wet night in my tent… So I decide to check if there’s a bed available in Nikkaluokta and call the hut. Yes there is, and it’s not even expensive! I take it and almost start running the last 5km to reach Nikkaluokta already at 6.30pm.
It’s official, I have become too soft during the last few months at home! I would have slept in my tent no matter what before, but the cold and wet nordic weather has gotten on me. Maybe 3 months weren’t enough to fully “recover” from my year of travelling, my longing for comfort still being real high. Speaking of which, the reality in Nikkaluokta is not as nice as expected. The guy at the reception shows me on the map where we are and just behind the service building with sauna and showers, then points my dorm. It’s about 700m away! I ask him if there are at least toilets, he says yes at the lake. Well, long drop toilets. No running water. A small electric heater that manages to get the room temperature to about 11 degrees Celsius. That’s why it was cheap! I share the 6 bed room (which also has a stove and big table) with two very young guys from the UK and we make the best out of it. At least it’s dry and warmer than outside in my tent and in my sleeping bag it’s cozy and warm. I sleep early and well, very tired.
The next day starts again lazy, my bus only leaves at 11.30am so I take my time and try to dry my stuff, especially my boots at the heater. I forgot how much I hate having wet feet 😉 It’s still raining and foggy outside, time to go home!
The bus ride to Kiruna is only an hour, then I enjoy a little lunch and cake in a café before checking into my hotel where I spend time again in the sauna, the weather outside is really bad now! Tomorrow it’s time to go home, I look forward to it!