Distance 22km | Time 7hrs | Ascent 260m | Descent 120m
After breakfast I had to buy food for the next week. I phoned Innset to make sure there was no shop there before buying food at the shop in the giant Abisko hostel. Mueseli and milk for breakfast, a bar of chocolate for lunch and a dehydrated meal with mash potato for supper. I would lose weight over the next week. However my rucksack went from 17 to 22 kilos which was the limit.
I phoned about my skis and they had been dispatched to Innset this morning so should be there when I arrive. I then dithered a bit and chatted with Andre who was staying a day here. I eventually left at 1130. It was yet another beautiful day.
I took the wrong turning en route to the lake. I whizzed past the sign to Bjorkliden before I saw it and carried on skiing to the lake ending up a half km to the east of the hostel. I then had to double back.
The estury from the river which entered the lake at Abisko extended a surprisingly long way into the lake. I thought I was skiing over ice but kept seeing stones poking through the snow. Eventually I found some fresh scooter tracks heading to Bjorkliden and followed them.
It was a fast surface to ski on and I made good time covering the 8 km to Bjorkliden in an hour and a half. There was a train line beside the lake, perhaps the most northerly in the world. It was used to transport huge amounts of iron ore mined in Swedish Lapland to Narvik in Norway. Here it was either exported or smelted. If felt odd to be skiing over a lake with an ore train of 100 wagons trundling past in the snow.
After Bjorkliden the train and road veered away from the lake and descended to the coast. I also veered from the shore and crossed a bay to the east end of a peninsular. It was very warm and I had to strip down to my vest to avoid soaking my newly washed jacket with sweat. There were just some old tracks here to follow and the going was much slower
The was a mist coming across the lake behind me but I was still in brilliant sunshine. I slowly neared the STF cabin of Polnosstugan. I was quite curious to see what it was and how many visitors the warden met in the course of a winter. There was a deep gorge beyond the cabin where I would go tomorrow past a cabin on the Norwegian side and on to Innset.
When the old tracks I was following reached Polnosstugan cabin I looked round for it. All I could see was a small shed. I went in and realized that it was in fact the cabin. This was not what I had expected and there was definitely no warden. There was no gas and no wood. I could easily have spent a cold night here but the Norwegian cabin at Lappjord was just another 2 km across the border. I decided to go to it quite confident it would be better.
The route up to it was difficult. I went to the end of the lake and found a fence. There had been a party of some 10 skiers coming down this way. I followed their tracks but could not climb the steeper sections without zig-zagging through birch forest. It was slow hot work. A couple of months ago it would have been dreadful but I was quite fit now.
Just before the route really started to climb there was a reindeer carcass which was half buried in the snow beside the fence. I wondered if a wolverine had killed it in the autumn and stored it here. It was now getting picked clean by foxes and ravens by the look of things.
The next one and a half km were hard. The small skins were no match for the slope and I had to zig-zag up the steeper bits wrestling with birch branches. Luckily the snow was getting firmer but I was still sinking in 15 cm. I had been spoilt over the last 3 weeks with shallow scooter tracks so this was a reality check. It would have been very, very hard with a sledge.
Before I saw Lappjordhytta cabin I smelt woodsmoke so knew there were people there. I soon saw it a god bit above me. It was a slow long slog up to it but eventually I arrived. It was a very nice cabin.
There were 8 people already there. 7 Germans and a Swedish guide. They were very welcoming and invited me to the dinner of pasta and bacon they were just about to eat. They generously gave me wine and coffee also. They were a very nice bunch from Stuttgart area and made a Swedish tour every year with the same guide for the last 9 years.
There was a lot of banter and laughter in the evening. I joined in a left the blog until 2200 when they had all gone to bed. It took me an hour and a half to rattle it off and deal with the pictures before crashing out at 2330.
It had been yet another good day. The ski across the 20 km of lake could have been tedious if the conditions were bad. But they were good. Polnosstugan was a bit of a joke really. The climb from there to Lappjordhytta was hard but worth it to reach this nice cabin with good company.