Part one of this trip can be found here.
Start of day four: this cairn marking the Swedish-Norwegian border.
The next day started dry as I left the Unna Allakas hut to hike towards the Swedish and Norwegian border, sporadic rain showers greeted me near the border where I quickly took a few self portraits as evidence!
An ‘interesting’ bridge design.
I find that the Norwegian mountains feel like a bigger version of the Scottish mountains but with added glaciers and rain deer! What I hadn’t really planned for was the boulder fields, these take time to cross safely hoping from rock to rock and I was very glad of the extra balance from my hiking poles.
Break in the rain on route to Oallavagge hut.
Thankfully the showers weren’t as heavy as the previous day and I made good progress for most of the day. My aim was to reach the Norwegian Oallavagge survival hut and dry out before taking an alternative shorter but steeper route to the next campsite over the mountain’s shoulder.
Inside the Oallavagge survival hut.
The short cut was indeed a time and distance saver but it was quite allot of work, the rain and cloud had settled in by then so despite starting out from the survival hut dry I was soaked again fairly quickly. It did get me to the Hunddalshytta huts quickly and I was lucky enough to find them occupied so I could go inside for the night to dry off instead of pitching a tent in the rain and wind!
Inside the main Hunddalshytta hut.
The final day started overcast with some drizzle and stayed that way for most of the day, the first stage of my route was simple enough following the trail along the valley and crossing some more boulder fields. The next stage was a very steep ascent with some stream fording, there wasn’t as much zig zagging to break up the climb as I’d have expected so it was very tiring work.
Start of day five, lots of boulder fields.
On reach the top of the climb I was rewarded with a view of the lake I’d soon be skirting around, which was glacier blue in colour. Following the trail I was dismayed to find a sheet of icy snow covering the lake side and it was bordered by the cliffs above. So I had the choice of attempting to kick steps in the snow and risk a swim in the lake or work my way back and climb the snow to traverse between the snow and the cliff. I took the later option which was still fairly sketchy but felt safer than risking a swim with a 19 kg pack in cold water!
Just after the snow field traverse, icy blue lake just visible through the rain.
After crossing the snow I was hoping for an easier time only to discover the traverse around the lake was going to be on granite slabs, with water was streaming over them as the rain had picked up with the clouds descent. I was glad of my previous rock climbing experience and the whole experience was accompanied by mutterings of ‘Fast is slow, slow is fast’ as I tried to resist the urge to rush across the slabs. A fall felt like it would turn into a slide which would most likely end with a fall and/or a swim in the lake. The descent from the lake to the forest below was not over broken ground as I’d hoped but more slabs with running water and the dull roar of unseen waterfalls..
The rain washed granite slabs, red route markers just visible.
Eventually the slabs started to break up and I saw through a break in the clouds the forests below and Narvik off in the distance. This was great morale booster but I had to double my efforts to resist the urge to rush down the final sections. After the descent was complete and I was on the gravel forest road I was safe to eat, drink some water and then yomp the last 10 km into Beisfjord.
Narvik: the destination visible for the first time!
After all my efforts I was happy to wait for the bus to cover the last 10 km to Narvik and I later saw from the bus that there’d have been no path on the road to Narvik anyway. Narvik itself is on the side of a step hill so I had one final ascent to make to the hotel before I could have a shower, eat some food and then sleep!
High above the fjords on the Lofoten railway.
It was a great trip, I’d wished the weather was better as I could have spent more time taking pictures in the evenings. The Swedish and Norwegian mountain huts were a revolution, I saw a few parties who only stayed in the huts and that meant they only needed small day packs!
An mountain village between Narvik & Absiko.
Narvik itself was an interesting little town, the war museum is great and the Lofoten railway from Narvik to Abisko is amazing as the train line winds its way up the mountain sides above the fjords. I even managed to get an upgrade to a empty sleeping compartment on the train ride back!