Kungsleden 2016: Day 8

13th August 2016
2:30pm – 5:30pm 9km

It has rained all night and it appears that my seam taping and hole patching from yesterday has paid off. Not a drip in the tent. There are a few drips resting on the roof of the inner, but they have not come through. It does suggest that the general proofing of the outer is somewhat lacking, but as long as it dries out today it’ll hold up for this trip certainly.
I do however have to clear a whole load of flies from the porch which is not pleasant.

I dine at the breakfast buffet in the lodge. It’s a great continental breakfast with some lovely smoked ham, cheese, salad and plenty of coffee.
Breakfast over I accept that the forecast of rain to continue all morning is looking perfectly feasible. I cut my losses and pack down the tent. The outer is soaked and the inner damp. I’m praying for a good breeze when I set up tonight to dry it off.
Throughout the morning I take my items that are dry from the drying room. It’s proving very ineffectual but most items eventually get there. Just my socks remain a little damp.

Unfortunately I had lost track of the days when I arrived and failed to equate that this is the stop where you get a bus up to the other end of the lake. If I had twigged I would have jumped on the 4pm bus yesterday. As it is the bus won’t arrive in Vakkotavare until 14:20 this afternoon. I wanted to spend yesterday afternoon here but this will mean that I lose most of today as well.
I’m hoping I have the energy to put in a dozen or so kilometres this afternoon so that I’m pretty much back onto the plus-one day schedule. In any case these are the eventualities that being ahead of schedule can allow you.

Maybe the tone of my writing will show through, but after talking to the family yesterday I’m feeling quite homesick today.

A short boat ride across the lake and I board bus 93 which brings me up to the other end of lake where the trail restarts. There was a stoppage en-route at a rather smart cafe in the middle of nowhere. The whole experience reminded me of the Thailand Songthaew journeys where you get taken to a shop en-route to entice you to spend your ‘hard earned’.

Vakkotavare car park ... onwards and most definitely upwards
Vakkotavare car park … onwards and most definitely upwards

Stepping out the bus I’m headed up a steep climb of some 240 meters over the first kilometre. As I break my legs back in the heavens open and once again I’m soaked. Even between rain showers the view is of distant mountains with their own personal rain cloud. I’m not a happy bunny.

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At the top of the climb I find a small lake and whip out the map to take stock of where I am. I had earlier taken off my watch as it is not waterproof and as I put the map back I realise the watch is not there. I look around but don’t see it. I recall taking the map out previously when I broke out the treeline. The watch could be anywhere. I retrace my steps back over the last 150 meters but with no joy. Working back and forth I now have my phone on Bluetooth looking for a connection. After some 30-45mins I’ve given up and am back to the lake where I discovered its loss. There in the shrubbery it is.
I’m surprised, overjoyed and emotionally wrecked.

I walk on. Another 2km and I’m hungry. I’ve been dehydrating curried noodles and chickpeas in my bottle for the past few hours so I stop, heat them up, slurp em down and I’m off again with gusto. Another delish meal! By the time I’ve done 9km it’s 7pm and I’m ready to stop. Physically I could carry on, but emotionally I’ve had enough of today. There is only another half hour before dropping through the woods to the lake and I don’t fancy camping with mosquitoes or attempting a night row of the lake. To stop now gives the tent chance to dry off a little as well.

Tent pitch ahead ...
Tent pitch ahead …

Tent up and organised. Into my sleeping bag. I’m ready to write some diary notes and have a read before nodding off.
I reflect on the day and how tough it has been, not so much physically, but emotionally and mentally. The hanging around, cold, wet, homesick … certainly not a day to post in the memory banks.

Despite the weather I’m warm and dry in my sleeping bag and ready to “hit the hay”. Suddenly … Pop! I can feel that there is something pressing into my chest from below. Rolling gingerly off my mat a bulge the size of a watermelon is revealed. The remainder of an internal baffle peels away down its length. It is now conjoined into one long bulge. Aaaaargh. Surely nothing else can go wrong today!

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