KUNGSLEDEN: A Journey Through Northern Sweden | Kungsleden hiking documentary | 4K

KUNGSLEDEN: A Journey Through Northern Sweden | Kungsleden hiking documentary | 4K

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This is the story of Kungsleden. A story  which starts here, in Hemavan. Kungsleden,  or the king's trail, is a trail running through  the mountains of northern Sweden. Starting in   the southern terminus of Hemavan, the  trail moves northbound towards Abisko. The 443 kilometer route   lies mostly within the arctic circle and runs  through some of Europe's last wilderness.

This is the story of hiking through  the beautiful Swedish nature.   Of wild camping in the mountains. And the story  of the interesting people I met along Kungsleden. Let me take you along this  journey through northern Sweden.   Showcasing the beauty of untouched  nature... and the stories of the trail. My hike started with the stretch  between Hemavan and Ammarnäs.  

A popular stretch of Kungsleden and I could see  why. Walking mostly over open mountain the views   of the surrounding mountains are incredible. And  with the comfort of STF mountain huts close by,   this stretch is particularly accessible.  With blue sunny skies my three week long  

solo hiking adventure was off to a great start.  I hiked in august in swedish summer. Summer up   in the north is very special as the sun never  really sets: that means 24 hours of daylight. One downside to the arctic summer  is the fierceness of the mosquitoes:   they are absolutely terrible. Luckily the views are worth it the mosquitoes required firm measures  like a head net but eventually only   keeping on the move helped. So even  lunch wasn't a break from walking. but on the open mountain the mosquitoes were  in smaller numbers and the views amazing on the fourth day it was just a short descent into  Ammarnäs. Time for resupplies and a bit of rest After four sunny days I left  Ammarnäs in the pouring rain luckily there was a little hut to shelter  from the rain. Here I met Klaus from  

Denmark while we chatted over lunch. As  he was hiking in the opposite direction,   I asked him about his favorite parts on the trail  so far. I think it was the part between Kvikkjokk   and Jackvikk, because a very large part of it were  on the mountains... there were not so much birch  

forest. I think birch forest is a bit boring..  and there were some surprises along the road:   one there was a boat ride, where the was  some very nice lady that took me over   and further on I had to row - for the first  time in my life - row a boat to get where   I wanted to go! And I was very lucky with  the weather the weather is very important.   I also asked him about his  encounters with other hikers.  

You meet many wonderful people along the  way. I have the feeling that everybody is   very helpful when you walk the Kungsleden.  If you have a problem you can always...   then somebody will help you deal with it or if you  need directions, if you somehow got lost - it's   not very likely because the trail is very easy  - but every time you meet somebody you just stop   for a few words like where are you going and  how's the road further on and things like that,   so I feel, I think, hiking makes people happy  somehow! They're more responsive to others.   Finally I asked him about his  thoughts on hiking the kungsleden.   Well I suppose you could say that, well  that doesn't only go for Kungsleden, but   just the feeling of independence you get when  you go hiking like this. I mean I have every...   I have my backpack. That's all I have. I know  I have a house back home and a lot of things,  

but out here you need nothing but what you can  put in your backpack. That's a wonderful feeling. I continued my hike in eager anticipation of  the open mountains Klaus had told me about.   This feeling of independence was  definitely something I could relate to   and I was looking forward to what  Kungsleden had in store for me next. After a wet start of this second stretch and a  rainy night it was dry but windy when I woke up.  

On this day I crossed into the  northern province of norbotten   as the markings turned red from here onwards. Just before Bäverholmen, I set up camp and met  two swedes out fishing. I joined them for tea   as they cooked their freshly caught trout over  a wood fire. [it is phenomenal. I want to catch  

some more!] From then onwards it was mostly  birch forest, as Klaus had warned me about. after a long day on the trail  I set up camp at a sunny lake.   But it wasn't long before  the dark clouds rolled in Nice spot but unfortunately it's raining.  So no swimming in the lake tonight.   But after a short shower the sun came out again.

From the lake it was just a short hike  to Jakkvik my second resupply point a local delicacy I first encountered on this  stretch were cloudberries. Let's try a cloudberry It's good! And like nothing I ever had before... In Jakkvik I took a rest day at this delightful  place, which was a combination of a hostel   and a church. A true meeting ground for hikers  and backpackers, flocking in from all directions.   And with a giant supermarket next door this  meant pizza! It was here I met Elliot and   Zina from Australia and I asked Zina about  her favorite part on the trail so far. Um..   there's been two favorites. The first two  favorite parts: Abisko to Saltoluotka..   and that was good there as well. Um but between  Saltoluotka.. Abisko and Saltoluokta it was like  

beautiful vast, like scenery.. it was  amazing. And one white reindeer. It was   kind of the first time we saw reindeer, so it  was like really exciting. But it was rainy and   horrible? Like the weather was terrible  but it was still somehow magnificent. So,   that part. And then this part was also amazing  between Kvikkjokk and here was beautiful.  

I asked her why she liked hiking. I like hiking:  one it's great exercise. But I like being out   in nature and it's like my blueprint? It's like  you come back to what what... what is necessary?   Like basic survival: water, food, shelter and  just like that meditative process of walking   it's very relaxing.It's a nice detachment of  your regular life. So yeah, I love it. We left   delightful Jackvik for the third section towards  Kvikkjokk. What Zina said about coming back to  

what is necessary, was something I was hearing  from other hikers too. For me just thinking about   where to camp, when to eat and where to sleep,  is certainly a big part of the magic of hiking. A few kilometers out we encountered our first  lake crossing. It is quite harder than it looks!  

There are multiple lake crossings on Kungsleden,  but this was the only one we had to row.   On this stretch i started to hike together  with Marcus, who I met just before Jackvik.   It was great company but practical as well as  we both had to take the same lake crossings.  

As we had a couple of hours to kill before  the second lake crossing of the day,   I sat down with Marcus for a chat.  My name is Marcus, I'm from Germany,   North Rhine Westphalia area and i'm hiking the  Kungsleden. I asked Marcus: why Kungsleden?   I did a day hike in the Vakkotavare area, so back  and forth, and this was the time when I had the   idea it would be really nice to do a long hike and  I heard about it's called Kungsleden, this little   stretch. And yeah, so this idea was in my head.  Then nothing happened for some years but over time  

the idea came up more and more and  so someday I decided: so now do it.   We also talked about his highs and lows on the  trail so far. The highs... let's say, um...   The high areas when the landscape began becomes  vast and you can see the surrounding mountains.   So this is really really beautiful. Especially  if the weather then is good. Uh yeah... and   my personal low has been trying to summit Norra  Sytertoppen, which, ja, was kind of bad because   it was ..uh.. heavy covered in snow and when I was  up there the weather turned bad, with extremely   bad visibility. So, I got stuck on the summit  in an emergency shelter, so this was really  

bad.. I did not feel feel good there. Lastly we  talked about the people you meet along the way.   Especially when I stayed in the hostel in  Jackvik, where there is time to talk to people,   it's really interesting to see all the different  backgrounds of the people. So, personally where   they come from, the professions they have, and  so on. That was a really really a very diverse   group of people, which I think is very interesting  that they all have this common interest   to head out to nature, rather simple life  on the trail, yeah that is very interesting.

The story about Norra Sytertoppen  was one I would be hearing many times   in the coming days as a response to the  holes and tears I spotted in Marcus's gear.   A story for the books and  luckily with a happy end. As we cross the Riebnes lake together, little  did we know we would be walking together   on and off all the way to Singi. During  that time I really noticed how Marcus had   planned his trip for a long time and was  enjoying his dream hike to the fullest. On arrival we pitched near the dock  as a storm was expected. We met some  

friendly guys walking southbound; together we  enjoyed our dinner at the still peaceful lake. As the clouds rolled in and the wind picked up,  we prepared ourselves for a wet and windy night. The next morning we woke up to blue skies, but  the stormy wind was here to stay for the next   few days. As we said goodbye to the group  crossing the lake, we headed northbound.

On this day we cross the arctic circle,  somewhere around this wooden sign. As if nature was bound to this  circle, rainy weather moved in.   But besides some drops we kept it dry. This part of Kungsleden is the so-called remote  part. On this stretch there are no facilities, so   it can only be done camping. Even though, we would  still encounter a handful of hikers every day   and every now and then we were  joined by a herd of reindeer.

I will also remember this  stretch for all the boggy areas.   The paths are definitely less traveled. This is probably one of the  most scenic parts of Kungsleden.   The vast scenery on the open mountain, especially  in the evening light, is so incredibly beautiful. We woke up early to try and catch the early  boat to Kvikkjokk, our next resupply point.  

A couple of hours of easy walking as we caught  our first glimpse of the Sarek mountain range. The boat was driven by Helena a Kvikkjokk  local. During the very pleasant boat ride   she told us all about the surrounding  mountain ranges and local hiking trails. Helena: Just around on the left, eh right  side, that's where you have Rapadalen In Kvikkjokk it was time to pick  up our resupplies and rest a bit. I left Kvikkjok Fjällstation for  the fourth section to Saltaluokta.  

The trail here looked more like a dried up  riverbed, as i scrambled over the rocks. The forest was quite mosquito infested, so  I pushed on to the open mountain to camp.   It was just past Parte that I crossed  into the famous Sarek national park.   Here I met Samuel from Austria, who was  doing an overnighter back and forth from   Kvikkjokk. We talked a bit and set  up camp together near the river. After setting up camp I spotted Tomas and  Paniz, a Swedish couple I had seen a couple   of times before. I hiked up to ask them why they  were hiking Kungsleden. Well it started with me,  

asking him, if we could do Abisko - Nikkaloukta  and he said he would never go Kungsleden   it isn't the whole. It's uh it's an old joke from  with my friends that uh it's cheating to walk on   Kungsleden, unless you walk the whole thing.  I also asked them what is the best thing about   hiking Kungsleden? The best thing is when you  come up on the mountains and you see the views.   Then you think it's all worth it. Because  sometimes, you know, when the bag is too heavy   and it's warm or it's raining and you're just  walking... but when you come up to the mountains   you're like okay: this is why I'm hiking. I was  curious if they had seen any wildlife. Uh yeah we  

saw a moose and a lot of reindeer. We've seen  quite a lot of birds.. Maybe a king's eagle,   but it might have been a buzzard as well. I'm not  [sure], it was far away. A lot of mosquitoes..   and then a squirrel today! Yeah yeah exactly  yeah. [Me]: where did you see the moose? It was   actually in Bäverholmen, before Adölfstrom. [Me]:  Yeah really? I saw one just before Bäverholmen,  

in the birch forest! Yeah yeah yeah! It was  probably before or after.. like I don't remember   that day so much because we walked so much!  yeah yeah and it was kind of warm. Probably   it was! Probably right before Bäverholmen.  Yeah it was. It was before the bridge, right?   As we talked further it seems we  might have seen the same moose.  

Lastly I asked them what they liked  about hiking on the Kungsleden.   Yeah everything kind of gets more back to the  basics. Yeah it gets easier because you have   to like care about walking, sleeping, eating, and  taking a dump haha. It's a simpler life basically. I really like the reason behind Tomas  and Paniz hiking the whole Kungsleden.  

For me it's fascinating to see how the outdoors  is so much more part of life in Sweden or at least   here up north. For the rest of Kungsleden I would  be hiking together with Tomas and Paniz on quite   some days, and it was fascinating to see how they  both enjoyed the outdoors and wildlife they saw.   For me, this was the part I was looking  forward to the most before setting off...   as I caught a first glimpse of Skierfe. As we crossed the lake towards Aktse, Marcus and  I convinced Tomas and Paniz to join us up Skierfe.  

A peaky rock in Sarek national park which   promised spectacular views over  the Rapadalen delta down below.   After a short stop in lively Aktse for  some candy and the latest weather report,   we started our climb up to the tree line. Above the tree line, we left  Kungsleden and headed for Skierfe.   Along the way we saw other hikers  camping to summit in the morning.  

But we wanted to hike up with our packs and camp  just before the final summit. After climbing   most of the way through rain and wind we pitched  around 10pm in the evening and went off to bed. The next morning we woke up  early to a golden sunrise.  

However by the time we started  our final ascent at 5 a.m,   the clouds were moving in. Even though it was  clouded, the views over Rapadalen were incredible. As were the views over the mountains in Sarek. After enjoying the beautiful views, we headed  down to our tents to get our morning coffee. We packed up and then continued cross  country towards our next lake crossing. From here it was just one day to  Saltoluokta, my last resupply point.

Saltoluokta Fjällstation was a delightful  place. A great place to take a shower,   resupply and meet other hikers. I was  especially looking forward to the dinner buffet,   which was recommended to me by many hikers  along the way. And it didn't disappoint. The next morning the wind had picked up and  the morning boat crossing was cancelled.   As the wind died down, the ferry made the  afternoon crossing... but there was no  

connecting bus. We had to wait by the side  of the road for four hours. The bus drove   us over a 30 kilometer road stretch to the  northern section as it started to rain heavily.   It wasn't until Tessajaure that I  got my camera out of my pack again.   Since we left the bus, it started raining for  almost two consecutive days. Halfway Singi,   the heavy rain finally stopped. And as the clouds  lifted, the first signs of winter became visible. The next day I was off to Singi. This [Northern]  part of Kungsleden is served by STF mountain huts.  

I stopped in Singi for lunch and talked with  the hut warden. I asked him what the STF huts   mean for Kungsleden. So.. the role for the STF  cabins on the Kungsleden, it's to welcome people   and make them feel like they have a secure spot to  go in and warm themselves a bit and.. after a long  

day's walk. And also it's a really social thing:  they can meet a lot of other hikers and if you're   walking yourself, it's quite beautiful to see  people in the huts in the afternoon.. when they   turn up the fire a little bit, and yeah you can  meet people from all kinds of places.. all over   the world. And yeah it's a really nice meeting  spot. I also asked him about his guests so far.   So I've been up here for one week  now approximately, being a new   host, and something that... uh.. that I really  found is that hikers are super nice people.  

I mean uh I have just in one week - I mean - met  so many different but uh really really kind and   uh funny and helpful people. Super nice actually!  Finally I asked Per about his experiences as a   new STF cabin host. So I've only been here one  week.. It's pretty hard to tell how it will be   in six weeks after when we're closing here, but  I think.. uh something that's really astounding   is that even if i'm at the same spot, every  day looks really different. I mean ..uh  

you would think that get bored by the mountains  around you, but the weather... the conditions...   uh how high the clouds are: are they low... and  the lights: it's just different every day! And i'm   hoping that, since i've been doing this for every  day, I go out of the cabin and I'm just amazed how   beautiful it is and say it's like: 'wow damn it's  actually pretty nice out here!' And hopefully i'm   gonna say that in these upcoming weeks as well,  actually. Because it's still really really nice.

I left Singi for the scenic Tjaktja valley. Here  I said goodbye to Marcus who left Kungsleden to   summit Kebnekaise. It was very interesting to  hear a hut warden's perspective on Kungsleden.   Although he didn't move through the landscape  as we did, hiking Kungsleden, his experiences   were quite similar to ours with regards to  nature and the people you meet along the trail.  

The STF cabins are a great meeting point in my own  experience as well, and a great place for snacks,   a chat, weather information ,and a wealth  of knowledge on local trails and detours. I left the beautiful valley with a short but steep  climb over the Tjaktja pass. With just three days   of walking until the finish line in Abisko, I was  already starting to miss hiking the Kungsleden.   For one, the largely untouched nature had really  impressed me and i never felt so connected to   nature. Going to bed and waking up with the light,  reading the clouds for rain, camping in the middle  

of nowhere and eating my weight in blueberries and  cloudberries. Summer up in the north is kind of   a mix of spring, summer and fall in one. I saw  flowers bloom and snow melt, had hot and sunny   days, and at the same time fall colors started  to appear, mushrooms to pop up. Moving up north   over the lakes, forest and mountains of  Kungsleden is an unforgettable experience. Hiking and wild camping for over 450 kilometers  and three weeks, had also been a great experience.   Life gets easier and more manageable. You just  need to worry about your basic needs and walking.  

There is not a lot of stuff in your pack and  that is kind of liberating. I also found that my   body was up to more than I expected: pushing  30 kilometer days over the highest passes.   It is great to feel connected to both nature and  your body at the same time. That in combination   with the freedom and independence of solo  hiking, has been incredibly satisfying.

Lastly the people. I met so many kind  and warm-hearted people along the way.   From brief chats with other hikers, helpful  and friendly Swedes in the huts and villages,   to the people I walked with. I had a  great time with Marcus, Tomas & Paniz,   and many others I met along the way. Their  stories added a lot of color to my hike.   And then the last day. Hiking through the Swedish  wilderness has been the most rewarding experience.   Kungsleden, with its views high up the mountain,  little supply points with gems like Jackvik,   varied landscapes and lake crossings,  is definitely a journey of a lifetime.  

Even when the going gets rough, through  rain and wind, there is always some wild   scenery to lift your spirits. Lastly I would  say go: go and explore Kungsleden yourself.   As I reached Abisko, my Kungsleden  adventure had come to an end.

2020-12-24 23:31

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