Friday, October 5, 2018

Day 2: The Day After the Storm

August 17: By morning, the rain had stopped but the wind was fierce! Gusts would shake the whole shelter and we were glad for the protection that the shelter provided--especially because I'm not entirely sure that my tarp would have survived such a huge pounding. I remembered my miserable night on the Colorado Trail, suffering through rain with a strong wind, wet and cold and genuinely worried about my well-being, figuring out what I'd do if the tarp blew away completely and deciding that my best best would be to hike a few miles in the dark to take refuge in an outhouse I had passed earlier in the day.

I imagined if this shelter hadn't come along, I'd have done the same thing. Except we would have hiked in the dark back to the last hut we passed. With every gust of wind that rattled the shelter, I was glad we had camped in it.

Karolina and I--as well as the fellow from the Czech Republic--all slept in late, none of us anxious to venture back out into the bitter wind. By thermometer standards, I didn't think it was particularly cold out, but factoring in the windchill--it was downright cold! We ate breakfast, chatted and didn't leave the hut until about 11:00.

The weather didn't improve, though. It was overcast and still super windy.

The Kungsleden continued through a treeless area, climbing over a small hill after which the wind died down substantially. We saw more reindeer in the distance, so I pulled out my fancy camera to chase them down but a couple of Swedish hikers coming from the other direction scared them off before I got the shots I wanted. *sigh*

We stopped for a lunch break under a suspension bridge by the Syter Hut, but we packed up and continued on when the first drops of rain started falling again.

We stopped for a lunch break by the suspension bridge near the Syter Hut.

It wasn't a hard rain--just a demoralizing sprinkle--and it only lasted for about an hour, but neither of us were happy about it. The weather forecast we saw had predicted that the afternoon would mostly be nice. We would quickly learn that whatever the weather forecast forecast.... it was likely to include more rain than it showed.

Later in the day, the trail passed over a series of islands through a large lake, linked together with 5 large suspension bridges. It was absolutely beautiful, and there was a lovely campsite in the middle of the largest island. Although we had planned to hike further that day, we decided to call it quits early. The wind had stopped, as did the rain, but it looked like the rain could start up again at any time. Not only was this such a beautiful spot for a campsite, but we hoped to get settled into camp before any rain started up again.

There were a few, tentative drops of rain shortly after I set up my tarp. I wouldn't have even noticed them if it wasn't for hearing the drops hit my tarp--I could hear very light rain on it better than I could see it or feel it! But nothing substantial fell, and later while cooking dinner, the sun even came out.

Life was good!

I set up my tarp at an island campsite with wonderful lakeside views!

The red X's mark snowmobile routes. The Kungsleden Trail can be skied or followed on a snowmobile during the winter, and the route is slightly different than the summer hiking route, but over many sections the two overlap so we end up following these snowmobile markers.

The trail crosses the large lake ahead along a series of large suspension bridges linking island to island. And some of them have campsites! Which is where we'd end up spending the night.

Although rain can be miserable, we'd see a lot of rainbows afterwards!

You can tell if it's been raining or had been raining recently because Karolina will have that red cape on over her and her pack.
Two of the suspension bridges linking the islands together where the trail crosses the lake

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