Monday, 8 October 2018

Northern Europe: Southern Kungsleden 1

Youth camp along the Southern Kungsleden
As soon as I started on the Southern Kungsleden in Sälen the landscape changed dramatically! Now I was in the "fjäll", the mountains and tree line here is at 800 metres above sea level. Above that altitude there were no more trees whatsoever - and therefore not much shelter from the elements.... The Southern Kungsleden is by far not as popular as its Northern counterpart but on day two I came across a big youth camp with dozens of tents. It was already late in the evening when I walked by and loud snoring came out of one of the tents. Poor kids, apparently they had to put up with a snoring teacher ... I found a secluded spot next to the river and had a quiet night.

Eating lunch inside a rest shelter
The weather had been incredibly good during almost the entire hike so far - very hot and unusual for Sweden. But now it changed for a few days and showed me that hiking without tree cover can be very exposed. Luckily there is a good system of shelters along the Southern Kungsleden. After one long rainy and windy day I was incredibly happy to be able to sleep inside and out of the weather. I just watched the rain on the windows ... Next morning the rain had stopped but the wind had increased. It got so strong that it made hiking really hard. I had lunch in a rest shelter along the way. Getting into it had been a bit of problem because due to the wind it had been difficult to open the door ....
 
Idyllic hut on the Southern Kungsleden

I really liked the different shelters along the Southern Kungsleden that I had all to myself because it was still early in the season (end of June). Some were old farmhouses and I even slept in an old school building!

Expensive resupply in Flötningen
In the small village of Flötningen I had to do a big resupply. According to google maps there is a supermarket right at the Swedish Norwegian border which is open 7 days per week. But when I reached the main road on a Sunday afternoon there was hardly any traffic and my hopes of food dwindled. But to my big surprise there really was a rather big supermarket with a decent selection - but the highest prices I had seen in Sweden so far. I paid 80 EUR for the food shown on the picture. Sweden is generally around 20% more expensive than Germany, but here I paid nearly double German prices! But I had no choice because there is no alternative except hitchiking to a bigger city ....

AYCE buffet in Grövelsjön
My next rest day took place in Grövelsjön Fjell Station, the Southernmost mountain station in Sweden - and unfortunately there is no supermarket or other shops there. You can buy some hiker food at the station but at even higher prices. Grövelsjön was very expensive but worth it! I had a small but nice single room and booked breakfast and dinner. Both meals are served as an AYCE buffet and the food was excellent! You are seated at specific tables which means that you are not sitting alone but you are placed next to other people which led to interesting conversations. I was sitting next to a retired dentist who told me interesting "war stories" of her long career. I enjoyed the free sauna and wifi and was able to wash my clothes in a washing machine. Grövelsjön even has an outdoor shop where I bought new trekking poles. I had bent my old ones when I fell a couple of days earlier. Nothing had happend to me but one pole bent so badly that it would break sooner or later.

1 comment:

Benny A Borgh said...

There is a shop near to STF Grövelsjön, it's called Fjällbua in Storsätern, http://fjallbua.se/. They have a decent stock of food and gear.
Call them at 0046 253 230 10.
You can actually hike from Södra Kungsleden up to Treriksröset and have access to stores every 2:nd, 3:rd or 4:th day with few exceptions: Jäckvik - Kvikkjokk, Kvikkjokk - Saltoluokta, Saltoluokta - Abisko. A through hiker normally sends out depots to be collected on the way. While on the trail you'll find mini-shops in the manned huts. Expect higher prices here, of course. Sweden and its mountains have been inhabited for thousands of years. There is plenty of cultural remaining’s, and if you talk to locals they will usually tell you more, with pride. Almost everybody talks English in Sweden, some German and French as well. As a through hiker you'll have many friends along the way, supporting you with food, comfort and shelter, often for free.
The Swedish mountains is not for everyone. During my years I have met a lot of unprepared persons here, mostly Germans actually and especially in the winter. Every year there are fatal casualties due to lack of knowledge and/or experience.