I’m on vacation. Two weeks! Amazing luxury, I don’t even want to hear when was the last time I had such a long a vacation. The cabin is ready enough to be my home for the whole period, I have hot water and the toilet ventilation works. The biggest problem I have with the cabin is the lack of furniture, the lack of storage space is driving me crazy. I have my things spread all over the floor (well, nothing new there, I have things all over the floor at home as well…) but it’s the kitchen area in particular where the lack of storage space is a problem. I’m waiting for Ikea to deliver my order, I was silly enough to think that the 5-7 working days delivery time mentioned on their home page would cover the whole country but I’m not so lucky, it takes them 10 days which means that I will only get the furniture on the 11th. Unless it’s delayed, of course.
I spent the Saturday mounting the furniture I already had. The weather is nothing stellar so it’s not like I’m missing out on anything major if I skip a hike and I also just realised that two weeks is a long time – there’s a lot of hiking to be done yet!
So the hiking started today. I drove to Rockvallen, it’s great for orchids and other flowers and then up on Kariknallarna you have the waffle cabin (even if their waffles are nothing special, what I really miss is Djupdalsvallen) and from there, it’s an easy hike to Hästkläppen so I can claim a new peak.
There’s really nice alpine forest on the way up. I was delighted to see all the ferns, the season is still early and the ferns are bright green. The early season was evident up on the alpine tundra as well, there is some snow left and in one place the trail was blocked by a big snowfield. I reckon some spots are only a month away from becoming glaciers – the snow is probably gone in August and in September it could already be snowing again. But of course it varies from year to year and somehow I get a feeling that the season is late this year.
When I started climbing up to Hästkläppen, I found a lot of dwarf cornel. It’s not a rare flower but maybe I don’t visit the places where they grow because I don’t often see them. So I made the most of the opportunity and picked a younger individual which still had a pale green colour, normally those bracts are white. And note, the actual flower is only the black cluster in the middle!
And something very cool happened when I was approaching Knallen. There was a huge bird in the sky, so I grabbed my binoculars (which I’m finally carrying with me, after years of cursing that my binos are in the car) to take a closer look. It was still only a dark dot against a white sky, but the size was obvious – must be a golden eagle! After following it for a while with the binoculars, I finally decided to try and take a picture. I only had the 150mm macro lens which is no bird lens for sure, but it was able to focus on the small dot without hunting at all. The crop is ridiculous but the silhouette is clear. Further in the distance I saw another big bird but it had a white tail, so I wasn’t sure if it was the same species. But when I checked the bird guide later, it turned out that juvenile golden eagles have white tails. This was the first time I saw a wild golden eagle, and I got two of them at once! And you know what, during all that time that I was observing the eagle, it didn’t flap its wings at all. Not once. What a cool experience!
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Towards the end of the hike I was developing a bad headache that started from aching shoulder muscles – either I hadn’t been drinking enough, or the backpack is too heavy. I now have a hydration system in the pack which is very nice, I can sip water without stopping but it’s difficult to say exactly how much water you’re drinking. Although I thought I was sipping often enough, it turned out that it wasn’t a lot anyway, I had one liter in the system but I had only drunk 1/3 of it. Not good. The backpack weighs about 9 kg with the stuff I had in it in today (9 kg!! I didn’t even have a spare lens in it, where does the weight come from?) and although it feels good and balanced on my back, it does wear me out after a trip up and down a mountain. But I’ll survive. What are painkillers for anyway?