måndag 30 juli 2012

Day 15 - wet, wet and even more wet

Large heavy raindrops werepattering against the canvas when the hikers woke up this morning and it continued to rain until about 17.30. At a quarter to ten o'clock they left their camp and they went about 3 kilometers until Munsvattnet. They followed the trail of a quad bike, a track that at times was very unclear, and after about 1.5 km, they had lost it. They then passed over the wet bogs with 5-10 cm of water to walk in and as they were passing a small stream Håkan slipped and fell into the water. With water both above and below it was just to put up with wet feet.

Unfortunately, he discovered that the newly purchased rain jacket brand ARC teryx keeps the rain out but respiratory function is practically nonexistent and worst of all - the pockets become water filled. Sadly, Håkan had put his camera in one of the pockets, so now it's broken, but luckily, his phone is waterproof, because it was also in a water-filled pocket.

In spite of the persistent rain todays walk has been quite good due to some exciting animal encounters. A raccoon suddenly came running about 15-20 feet in front of them. Both Birk and Håkan were very surprised and didn't react before it was gone and they were equally surprised by the the big birds that every now and then suddenly fluttered up a few meters from them.

Today's stage will be about 40km, but tomorrow it will be a day of rest at Gäddede camping in front of the TV and the Olympics.

Birk is waiting for Håkan to be ready

Hällingsåfallet a spectacular waterfall which they passed. The water falls 43 meters

As Håkan turned his back towards Birk he jumped to the table

Trying to find a nice route through the  woods

söndag 29 juli 2012

Sunday 29:th july

Håkan and Birk has now hiked quite well after the stop at Jänsmässholmen (which means Midsummer
Holmen in Jämtland) and has only about 30km to Gäddede. From Jänsmässholmen they went about 10km to Ansäter which is an old fädbod. In a relatively poor trail among mosquitoes and gnats but enjoying a rich and beautiful flora they went on. At Ansäteråns canyon, they went on a "path" that seemed to be an old snowmobile trail and then about 4-5 km free orientation of the wetland. By coincidence, Håkan had sight of an old chips and could with its assistance find his way. Saturday's stage was rather dull walk that did not offer any specific experiences. Eventually, they reached the lake Hotagen and Rötviken where they slept the night from Saturday to Sunday. They also took the opportunity to stock up little by Rötvikens trade and Birk had the last part of Håkan's ice cream which he seemed to appreciate ..

Sunday was if possible even more boring with continuous rain and walk on the tarmac road towards Valsjöbyn. In Valsjöbyn Håkan hired a small apartment. The night he devoted mostly to rub his bad leg. The foot is better, basically good, but now a little muscle in his knee is hurting.

At 12 noon today, Sunday 29 July, they went in the direction of Gäddede. They passed Gunnar water. Here Håkan met an old acquaintance from Värmland, sometimes the world is small. After a nice chat, they went to Skottland, through Hotagens nature reserve to Munsvattnet where they now have set up camp. On the way there they passed Lobbersjön. On the banks of the lake is a Sami camp. When Håkan and Birk arrived they could see the smoke from a fire, but they saw no one. However, a large loose dog to meet them. The dog was curious about them and came right up. Håkan was a little worried about what would happen, you never know when two males meet, but Birk showed, as usual, no signs of aggression so the meeting proceeded calmly. Today's stage was quite long because the weather forecast says rain tomorrow.

Håkan with Flisa (one of Yvonnes dogs) and Birk just before leaving Jänsmässholmen

Tired hikers


Birk had the last part of the icecream

Birk in front of the house at Skottland

Birk has shown to be really tough passing the streams without hesitation

torsdag 26 juli 2012

Dinner at Jänsmässholmens hotel

After about 18 km hike in changing weather, Håkan and Birk arrived at Jänsmässholmens mountain hotel, an old Sami school that has been converted into a mountain hotel.
Yesterday when they were hiking on a road a car with a woman and 4 samojedgirls stopped. It turned out that Hakan was acquainted with the woman, Yvonne. They had met at one of samojedklubbens annual winter collections. Yvonne offered Håkan sauna and dinner at the mountain hotel which Hakan thought sounded like a good idea.
After a very tasty dinner of trout, there was a sauna. Birk decided then that they would stay and sleep in the hotel, simply by laying down and fall asleep after having visited the four samojedtikarna.
Håkan's bad foot becomes steadily better. It is still swollen but it makes less and less pain when he walks.

This bridge used to be a border where one had to pay tax to be allowed to pass. How much depended on how many animal and which kind one brought. Håkan would have had to pay 160 SEK

Yvonne, Birk and the four samoyed girls at the bar

onsdag 25 juli 2012

Swollen foot - but lovely weather

Håkan's foot is still a bit sore and swollen, but the sun is shining from a clear blue sky so he can not lie still and be lazy. After studying the map, Håkan changed their plans and will go on the east side of lake Kall. The next stage is not likely to be an amazing scenery. It feels more like a transport distance of forest roads and to some extent by dense forest.

Hakan has for the last day and night enjoyed the luxury of running water, a soft bed, and above all mosquito-and gnats-free. The short stay with Rasmus and Karina has charged his and Birks batteries - now I  only hope that the foot will hold. He said,  he would take it easy today.

The cottage where they slept last night

Some of the malamutes at Night Trail

Karina prepares the food for the dogs

Sleepy hikers

This morning the hikers slept until 10:45, by then they had been in the tent for 13 hours. They did not sleep properly at all this time but both had great need of rest.
Today's hike took place in fair weather and Håkan have had shorts and still thought it was almost ot to walk. At half past four they had walked about 15km and reached Tångeråsen & Gärde which is a community center with many exciting activities (those interested can read more here (http://www.tangerasen-garde.se/). From night camp to Tångeråsen  Håkan chose to use his his thumb compass (being an old orinteer, he seems to rely more on it than on the GPS that he chose to leave home). They went straight through the forest for 4 km and Håkan told me with satisfaction that after 4 km of 100 000-piece map they ended up only 25 m wrong.
The vicious foot is slowly improving, when he goes on the road it feels almost ok, it's worse when the ground is uneven.

Birk looks to that they keep up a good speed

and he's a good path finder

always with a smile on his face

Birk on the bridge at Tångeråsen. This bridge respresented a rainbow in the theatre about the  Web of the Nornor

tisdag 24 juli 2012

Many elks in the forest

Today's stage has gone well. Håkan believes that they have covered about 30km. In the package I had sent to the Night Trail were among others a new pair of insoles.

- Very good, I feel like I just started walking, was Håkans comment.

Today quite a good part of the distance have been very dense forest terrain without any paths or roads.

They have during the day, seen six elks and a badger. Birk probably thought that the badger was more moderate in size than the moose, horses and cows, so he had trouble standing still with Håkan. He ran a few meters but stopped when Håkan in a more distinct gave the command "Stay."

The bad foot is still swollen and a bit sore, but not so bad that isn't OK to hike.

Sun and rain have succeeded each other during the day. During a very intense burst that lasted about 30 minutes, they sought protection under a big tree, where they stayed almost completely dry. Håkan even managed to sleep for a while.

Night camp is at Getbäcken not far from Kaxnäs.

The big tree was a nice shelter 

måndag 23 juli 2012

Tough nightly march

From the church in Undersåker the hikers yesterday followed Mittnordenleden through paddocks and parallel to grazing fields for cows. Birk and the cows curiously greeted each other nose to nose, but as the cows gave off a powerful sniff Birk felt that they had to move on.

The night before today it was thought that they should sleep at least a few hours in Bergvik hut (a shelter), but despite that Håkan with various tricks tried to keep the gnats away from his face, it was impossible to sleep. Eventually, he succeeded by putting a towel on his forehead, just below the screen on his Beppe hat, this made the mosquito net keep some distance from the face, and he was able to get a few hours sleep, but at 2 o'clock, he had had enough.

It was a tough march, and they hiked about 25 km in less than 5 hours. When they arrived at the Night Trail in Järpen they were royally received by Rasmus and Karina. Håkan had the privilege of lodging in a guest cottage with a made ​​bed, and he was invited to breakfast. He has also taken the opportunity to wash some of his clothes. The day he will spend mostly in bed with the now swollen foot i a high position.

If his foot is ok tomorrow the plan is to quite early begin the trek along the road 336 and on the small roads / paths move towards Valsjöbyn.

Yesterday, their path was crossed by both moose and reindeer, in just a few meters. Normally our dogs try to hunt if they smell or see a moose, so I was very surprised when Håkan told how Birk, trembling with eagerness and excitement, very obediently stood still next to Håkan.

I hope that Håkan will send more photos soon, the battery in the phone was running out, so that's why either elk or reindeer meetings were perpetuated.

Rain and gnats - but good speed

In the last two days the weather has been really bad. It has been raining and windy and in between the gnats and mosquitoes formed a troublesome pest. Håkan's injured foot is better, but his feet are sore after he walked several kilometers without insoles.

The night from Saturday to Sunday, they slept in the STF cabin in Lunndörren. At 13 o'clock today they had already hiked about 30 km and the plan is to go hiking during the night to be able to arrive at Järpen (at Karina and Rasmus on Night trail before they start work tomorrow) where I have sent food and some other stuff that Håkan is missing.

They are now walking on the road which makespossible to keep a higher speed Håkan was in very good spirits when he called today and he has only praise to say about Birk that impresses more and more. The swaying suspension bridges, he can now cross without beeing afraid, even though he was initially quite hesitant.

Unfortunately I have no new pictures to post - it has not been photo-friendly weather.

Worse weather

With the wind whistling in the handset, I tried to understand what Håkan had to say. The weather today was not the best, rain and strong winds.

On the night of Friday, they s lept at Ljungan hut and later in the day they arrived at Helags where Håkan met old adventure racing buddies who photographed him and Birk.

Last night they had gone a little too late to try to find a good resting place. When darkness came Håkan didn't see where he went and trampled down in a bog, luckily no more than knee height, but hiking boots and socks had became wet.

Birk is incredibly responsive, he keeps himself constantly close to Håkan and listens fantastically well to all commands. They have encountered several chicks and Birk, despite considerable interest, has been content to watch, after Hakan has told him to do nothing else.

I wonder what Birk thought of this

It looks a bit shaky

They made it!

Happy hikers at Helags

Close encounter

The night before today, they spent in the tent in the mountains northwest of Funäsdalen. In the middle of the night Birk suddenly rose and sniffed the air with pointed ears. Outside the tent Håkan could hear the sound from any living being, not just one, but several. They listened for a while for the sniffling, scratches and other indeterminate noise. As Håkan had gathered some courage and looked outside the tent he saw barely three meters from the tent was moving large dark bodies with quiet movements. The tent was surrounded by a herd of reindeer, which curiously was snorting, inhaling the scents of Håkan and Birk. Birk also peeked out but made no attempt to leave the tent. After a short time the herd left and Birk and Håkan then went to sleep again and slept until about 8.30 am. Ahead lay the path down to Ramundbergets ski resort, a path that turned out to be very poor. At the ski resort they had some lunch and a bit of a rest.

Birk is looking for some rein deeer

With some pancakes in the stomach Håkan and Birk started the heavy hike uphill from the ski resort towards Fältjägaren.

Håkan has during the day had quite a pain in the ankle which he injured last night when the backpack got stuck in a birch tree branch as he went under. Håkan lost his balance and staggered back against Birk. To avoid damage Birk he made an unsuccessful attempt to pirouette and landed hard on one leg. En bang like a branch breaking echoed across the valley. Håkan gently straightened the leg, it did really hurt, but did not seem to be broken.

After the night's rest the injured leg felt pretty ok, a bit stiff and sore but it was probably just a severe sprain.

Resting on their way to Fältjägaren

Short cuts often makes a slower way

The shortcut that Hakan took to get to Skedbrostugan proved to be very demanding.  As I previously said, he ended up in a landscape of rocks. He had to make an effort to maintain balance constanly striding up and down and Birk sometimes even got stuck between rocks. Håkan decided henceforth to follow marked trails, even if distance is longer. If you are going to Skedbrostugan he recommends to pass Rogenstugan not Femundmarka.

 Gnats and mosquitoes have been hard to Hakan. They have an ability to put themselves in places where he can not reach to wave them away, like at the backs of the gaps between the backpack and carrying straps and it's hard to self-anoint this spots with insect repellent. Birk has passed the mosquito plague better, but have been allowed to sleep in the tent to avoid both mosquitoes and rain. The weather so far has been good hiking weather, with cool weather during the day and rain at night.

Hakan began his walk with about 30kg on his back. He was a bit chocked as he had weighed his baggage, what would he be able to pick off? The conclusion was that everything had to follow. After a few days of walking, he has evaluated his pack and he will send home some things. Birk does not seem to have any trouble carrying the approximately 6 kg is in his bags. He just keeps on walking holding his tail happily high charming everyone they encounter with his winning smile and he is a very good company for Håkan.

So far, hikers have moved about 20 km / day, which is slower than the plan and the shortcut really slowed them down. During six hours, they struggled among the rocks and covered only 5 km. But Håkan is in good spirits and hope that a slightly lighter backpack and better choice of path will mean a slightly higher speed.

Last night they slept in Skedbrostugan where Håkan unfortunately forgot the insoles to his hiking boots. After a few hours walking with increasingly sore feet, he came to grips with why the boots were no longer so comfortable, but it did not seem an option to return after the soles. He would rather try and get hold of a pair of new in Tandådalen where he now has enjoyed trout for dinner at the mountain hotel.

Today's stage was about 25km and ended at 21 o'clock in the mountains northwest of Funäsdalen.

söndag 22 juli 2012

First day

I have today (the 16:th july), just after 16 pm, had a short message on my answering machine from Hakan. He and Birk had taken a short cut from Grövelsjön by Norway in the direction of Femundens National Park. The shortcut turned out to be very tough, with lots of stones everywhere and to put up the tent was impossible.

They were both in good spirits and Birk worked very well. I don't know at what exact time they camped but at least they had stopped at 22.

The samoyedman

As I was going to participate in the Femundrace in 2010 I wrote a blogg "Thoughts from a samoyedmusher".http://samojeder.blogspot.se/ I did not write this in English but those of you who know Swedish could take part of my training and thoughts for this race as well as the Polardistace the same year. At the finish of Polardistance, which me and my samoyeds won over all the other polar dogs ( we were five hours ahead of the second team - siberian huskies included) the head of the competition, Anders Hörnlund, greeted me and my team.calling me the "Samoyedman". The performance of the dogs and this word from Anders is stuck in my mind and it's with great humility I carry the epithet "The samoyedman"

On the 16:th of july, I and the samoyed dog Birk, will start our hike from Grövelsjön going north. I will send MMS to Christina, my wife, as I have cover for my phone and she has promised to try and represent some of our calls via this blogg.

Please keep your fingers crossed that I and Birk will keep healthy and you are welcome to follow us on our hike.

///  Håkan N