14 July 2008

Sailors in the Snow

July 14, 2008

We just got back the other day from spending a couple of days hiking in the mountains near Bjorkliden, some 250 miles north of the Arctic Circle. At this time of year in this part of Sweden the sun never sets. Unfortunately, sailors legs aren't made for walking, so we got pretty exhausted by the end of it all. Still, the views were spectacular and if you are interested in hiking in unspoiled arctic tundra, the north of Sweden can't be beat.

Above, two pics of Gammelstad in Luleå. An old church village where farmers would build cottages so that they could attend church and have a place to stay since they had to travel long distances.

Kristen's first time across the Arctic Circle.

This is what you'll see if you look out the window in 95% of northern Sweden. Lots and lots of tall pine trees.

The road to Björkliden.

We killed a lot of mosquitoes with the car driving up north.

Lapporten, a famous landmark in northern Sweden.

Kristen checks out the midnight sun.

Our first campsite, can you spot the tent?

Kristen had some trouble getting up the steeper parts of the trail with the heavy backpack... it was especially hard when she started laughing.

The intrepid voyagers.

Wait, I thought it was summer. What's this white stuff?

Kristen stops for a drink of water. The water up on the mountain is super clean and tasty, no need to add bleach here.

Hans treks up through the snow. Crunch crunch.

Not a bad campsite.

Hans takes a minute to do his best Obama impersonation... nodding his head significantly.

We had to rent these boots to trek through the snow.

Hans leads the way back down the mountain.

Reindeer! The red X marks a snowmobile trail.

Pretty flowers.

Kristen surveys her domain.

A snow-melt river in the mountains.

In Sweden you can find a train station just about anywhere, this one was at the trailhead to Låktatjåkka Mountain.

We went to Norway... and we're never going back. Kristen's new slogan is: "Norway? No Way!" It was cold, rainy, no good coffee shops, and the beer cost 23 Norwegian Crowns ($5.00) a piece at the grocery store.

Despite the Norway? No Way! general atmosphere, the scenery was still beautiful. This is a fjord.

Hans tries to stay warm at the fire in the cold, rainy north!

Kristen grimaces with the cold as she cooks up dinner... who's idea was this anyways?

Abisko Canyon, where a lot of the melted snow drains into the big lake, Torneträsk.

Tulips in July?!? We're definitely north of the arctic circle now.

Kristen makes friends with a stuffed reindeer.

Have you ever seen a road sign for an igloo? You can see this sign in northern Sweden... it's for the ice hotel.

Jukkasjärvi Church constructed in 1902.

After a few days in the mountains Kristen seeks replenishment and nourishment at Max, the best hamburger joint in the world.

Giant cheese slicers.