Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Day 7: More Reindeer, More Rain....

August 22: We woke to a beautiful, clear morning! The weather forecast wasn't looking good for the rest of the day, however, with rain expected by noon and continuing the rest of the day and overnight, so Karolina and I decided to hit the trail early and get in as much hiking as we could before the rain started.

Sunrise was gorgeous without a cloud in the sky!

The clear skies didn't last long, however, and even before we left camp at 7:00am, there wasn't a blue patch left in the sky. And it was cold! There wasn't any wind, but temperatures seemed to plummet throughout the morning after the sun came up. That's never a good sign for weather!

The trail passed over a long, mostly-flat plateau so the hiking was quick and easy. It was also prime habitat for reindeer which could be seen near and far--and we saw a lot of reindeer over the next few hours. We joked that it was another sign that the rain this afternoon would be brutal. So far, our theory that reindeer = rain has held true every day of our hike.

After a couple of hours, the trail descended off the plateau into a river valley where we reached the next hut, the Raufallsstugan, on the trail at 10:30, and given the dire weather forecasts for the rest of the afternoon, we talked about the possibility of spending a night in the shelter. We were surprised, however, when we arrived at the hut and discovered that there wasn't a caretaker and that all of the rooms were locked with a key. Apparently, to reserve a bed, one was supposed pay for it and pick up the key in town and drop it off at the next town.

But we didn't realize that and the idea of staying in the hut for the night was a last-minute decision so that wasn't really an option at this point.

However... one room was unlocked so hikers could get out of the elements which included a small kitchen, a few tables and chairs and two beds. So maybe we could stay there after all?

When we arrived, the German guy with the yellow coat we had first met a few days earlier--the one who helped the woman who ultimately was airlifted to a hospital for her injuries--was still there having spent the night there. We were surprised to see him figuring he'd want to take advantage of the lack of rain in the morning like we did. It was as if he were waiting until the rain started before continuing for the day! I think he just liked to sleep in very late, though, because we've caught up with him several times late in the morning still in his camp although we had already been hiking for hours.

He was packing up to hit the trail, though, and would leave about 10 minutes after we arrived. We wished him luck and good weather, but we all knew he was going to get miserably wet.

Arriving at the Raufallsstugan Hut

The rain hadn't started yet, however, so Karolina decided to go outside and pick blueberries and hike a short trail along the nearby river while I watched some Netflix shows on my smartphone. The hut didn't have any electricity, but our devices were fully charged after leaving Ammarnas and I had a solar panel charger with a little extra juice, so I could watch at least a few hours of stuff without any problems.

Having quit for the day at 10:30, we had lots of time to kill, and after watching a couple of shows on Netflix, I pulled out my laptop and started doing some work on Walking 4 Fun. I couldn't get online, obviously, but I could upload my work later when I did get an Internet connection. At best, I'd only have a couple of hours before running the laptop battery down so I didn't want to get too deep into anything complicated and wound up working on videos for the website.

If you don't use the website, it allows people to virtually walk trails. And, in fact, I was taking hundreds of photos each day so that after I finished the Kungsleden, I could add that trail as well. But a couple of months earlier, I updated the site to support videos as well as photos! So when you reach a certain point along the trail, you can watch a short video of that section of the trail.

I had hundreds of videos I needed to process. Deciding which ones to use, which ones not to use, adding closed captions, then figuring out exactly where on the given trail the video is supposed to show up. I didn't process them all before launching the new feature--I'll just work on a few here and there as time permits and eventually, someday, I'll finish them all.

Our home for the night!

So with the couple of hours that I knew the battery would last, that seemed like the perfect task to work on. Process as many videos as I could then upload them at the next trail town. And that's what I did. I wound up processing 7 new videos that I took on the John Muir Trail that I'd later upload in a trail town. When the battery level fell to 5%, I shut the laptop down and stopped working. My work was done for the day.

A little after noon, the expected rain started falling and it continued almost nonstop for the rest of the day and evening. Another hiker soon appeared, hiking in from the other direction, and decided to call it quits for the day as well. Inexplicably, I didn't write anything about him down in my journal so I remember absolutely nothing about him--not his name or even his country of origin. He didn't talk much in any case.

So the three of us settled in the for night. The rest of the afternoon we spent writing in our journals, cooking dinner, comparing notes about what to expect ahead on the trail and reading our Kindles. Looking out the windows to the cold, wet rain, it felt very cozy inside. =)

Lots of reindeer on the trail today! Which, of course, means a lot of rain....
Reindeer tracks!

If you notice the snowmobile markers along the trail, they look old, worn and faded.

But clearly, they were planning to replace those markers soon!
We would pass by piles of new snowmobile markers maybe every five or ten minutes along this section of the trail.
So many great suspension bridges along this trail! This one went over the river next to the hut.

Karolina took this while out picking blueberries before the rain started.
She was very proud of her haul! =) Also, she let me have half of them which I'd eat with breakfast tomorrow. Thanks, Karolina! =D
Karolina cooks dinner. As you can probably guess from all the warm clothes that she's wearing, the inside of the hut wasn't heated. We might have been dry, but it was still a little cold! Actually, there might have been a small, wood-burning stove for heat. All of the huts and shelters seemed to have them, but we didn't use it.

1 comment:

Karolina said...

That guy who joined us in the hut was from Germany. We never asked his name, though.

You forgot to mention the group of Swedish fishermen who stopped at the hut for lunch. They hanged out on the porch - in pouring rain! Horror! Men, those Sweds are tough...