Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Day 4: Swedish Weather is Brutal!

August 19: After setting up my tarp the previous evening, initially my sleep went well despite the strong winds and light rain, but soon after darkness settled in--or at least what counted as darkness in this land--the rain picked up and turned into a heavy downpour and the wind shifted blowing into the open end of my tarp.

I moved my umbrella to block the hole, and the larger tarp size paid off handsomely giving me more space to to set up the umbrella and stop the rain before it reached my groundsheet. But more worrisome, for me, at least, was that the strong winds picked up and became even stronger--strong enough that I began to fear it might start pulling out stakes and cause my tarp to flap around uselessly.

Before the rain became too heavy, I got out of my sleeping bag and tarp to make some adjustments, lowering the profile of the tarp and tightening the lines holding it town. I was glad for the adjustments as the wind speeds and rain both continued to increase, but I worried for hours that maybe it wouldn't be enough.

I had to hold the umbrella in place so the wind gusts didn't blow it out of place, but around 12:30 in the morning, I both the rain and wind had stopped rather suddenly. Did we enter the eye of the storm and it would pick up again? Was this the end of the storm? It wasn't clear.

But I had lowered the roof of my tarp so low that it didn't give me much room to sit up, so I got out of my sleeping once again and raised the roof a bit. Not as much as I would have liked on a calm day.

But an hour later, the wind and rain returned. It was a long, miserable night!

Rainbow over the trail!

The wind and rain continued through to the morning, and I packed up camp under the protective cover of my tarp. The last of the rain finally ended about 10 minutes before we left camp at 9:00am. Karolina, strangely, seemed unbothered with all of the weather the night before.

The wind would continue all day long, and light sprinkles would occur on and off throughout the day. It was brutal weather to hike in, but a caretaker at the Serve Hut told us to be sure to take advantage of the two emergency shelters along the route further ahead--which was a pleasant surprise since we didn't know that they were up the trail.

At the first of the emergency shelters, we went in for a snack break, happy to escape the brutal weather outside. There we met a fellow from Germany named Philip. He also got out of the weather for a long break, cooking himself a warm meal before hitting the trail again.

We caught up to him again a half hour further down the trail after he had stopped to help a woman who had fallen and hurt herself. We saw them from a distance with reindeer wandering nearby and at first thought they had stopped to admire them or take photos, but when we got closer we realized it was due to the woman injuring herself. Apparently she had twisted an ankle pretty badly and he had given her some aspirin and wrapped her foot. She seemed like she was in pain, but she was standing and everything seemed under control so Karolina and I continued onward.

After passing them, we could look behind us and see them both in the distance. The German wore a bright yellow raincoat that we could see for miles, following behind us closing in. Woman wore a bright, pink jacket and was equally visible for miles, slowly heading away from us in the opposite direction. Given her injury and how late in the day it was, we figured she'd probably stop for the night at the emergency shelter and continue on in the morning.

As for us, we eventually reached the next shelter where we stopped for another rest. We planned to camp somewhere in the area, but when rain started bearing down on us, we decided to quit for the day and spend the night in the shelter. We had hoped to find a good spot, hidden behind a large boulder to break the wind, but after one miserable night of high winds and rain in an unprotected location, we decided to use the emergency shelter instead.

And that was our day. Mostly just battling the brutal weather that Sweden was throwing at us. Was the weather ever nice in this country?!

Taking a break from the wind and rain on the front porch of the Serve Hut.

The first of two emergency shelters that we'd pass for the day. (That's an outhouse on the right.)
Phillip, our new German friend, cooks a dinner in the shelter while I'm enjoying a snack break.

That's Phillip, catching up to us again on the trail.
This was the second shelter of the day which, after it started raining again, we decided to call it quits rather than face another night of high winds in rain on an exposed plateau.
In other news, Karolina's trekking pole broke and wouldn't stay in place, so we duct taped the crap out of it and it would keep her trekking pole together for the rest of the trail. =)


DarkZen said...

I remember days like that when backpacking. I actually miss them.

Great scenery! Thanks for sharing your adventure.

Michael said...

How can Karolina not be affected by the rain? What did she do differently? Ryan needs to learn from her.