Topptur och longboard i Norge, jaha!

Det är sällan saker och ting går precis som man planerat. Men ibland går det inte alls som man planerat. I fel sällskap kan det betyda att det roliga är över och stämningen förstörd. I rätt sällskap kan det bli riktigt bra ändå. När jag och Tiina åkte till Norge förra veckan gick det inte riktigt som vi hade tänkt oss. Vi skulle till Lofoten två dagar för att reka inför ett jobb, men vi hann inte längre än till Abisko innan vi insåg att bilen var trasig. Den var inte så trasig att vi blev stående, men efter att ha konsulterat flera kunniga personer över telefon blev vi avrådda att köra för långt.

Efter en lunch på Abisko turiststation bestämde vi oss för att köra vidare de 7 milen till Narvik så vi åtminstone fick se havet när vi ändå tagit oss hit. Och tur var det, för vi fick två riktigt härliga dagar med både en topptur på fjället och longboard vid havet i solnedgången. Norge, jaha. Det blev inte som vi tänkt oss men Norge är fint ändå. Och jag fick njuta av en natt i stugan, som balsam för själen.

En kaffe i takbaren på Scandic Hotel i Narvik medan kvällssolen målade allt i ett vackert varmt ljus.

Solnedgång över Narvik. Här jobbade jag en sommar när jag var 18, lastade malmbåtar i LKAB. Hytten där jag satt var längst ut i malmhamnen med, förmodligen, Narviks vackraste utsikt!

Vi sov första natten på Scandic i Narvik, efter lite parkeringsproblem lyckades vi till slut checka in och gick upp till min favoritrestaurang when in Norway – Peppes Pizza. Vi drack vin, käkade pizza och pratade om allt möjligt mellan himmel och jord. Efter det gick vi tillbaka till hotellet och drack en kaffe i takbaren medan solen gick ner. Trots att vi inte kom oss till Lofoten som planerat, var det skönt att ha tid att verkligen sitta ned och prata. När vi ses hemma är det oftast en snabb kaffe mellan olika jobb eller ett snabbt stopp på väg någon annanstans. Nu hann vi verkligen umgås.

På ett av mina favorit stopp just innan Narvik. En strand med perfekta mack-stenar och fantastisk utsikt.

Så fort man kommer bort från vardagen och inte har några måsten som pockar på eller saker som väntar, händer det något med samtalen. Det går från ”hur går det på jobbet” och ”hur var resan” till ”Vad tror du det är som gör människor lyckliga på riktigt?”. Jag älskar såna samtal. Som går på djupet, rör om, förändrar och väcker känslor. Samtal som verkligen betyder nåt.

Jag och Tiina planerar ett roligt projekt i Lofoten till hösten. Vi hann planera och prata massor om det också. De djupare samtalen och sånt som verkligen betyder nåt är ett tema vi kommer ta med oss till det projektet. Blandat med glädje förstås, för inget är så härligt och förlösande som ett skratt som kommer från hjärtat. Och skratta, det gjorde vi mycket av på de här två dagarna. Så mycket att jag hade träningsvärk i magen när jag kom hem. Då vet man att det har varit kul på riktigt.

Trots att Tiina hade ont i ryggen och jag hade turskidor utan stighudar, kom vi oss ändå upp en bit på fjället. Det var Spanstind, en bit norr om Narvik, som vi tog oss an. Vädret var helt strålande och jag vill verkligen komma tillbaka hit med en splitboard och få njuta av åkningen ner efteråt. Nu blev det stig-helmer varning och ett par vurpor för mig på väg ner i den moddiga snön. Men det var det helt klart värt!

En kopp Lemmelkaffe kokt uppe på fjället gjorde dagen komplett!

Trots att vi inte tog oss upp på toppen var utsikten från fjället fantastiskt vacker. Fjälltoppar i alla väderstreck, den ena vackrare än den andra. Här känner jag mig hemma.

Det är något med Norge som gör att jag känner mig hemma.

Kanske är det för att jag spenderat så mycket tid här, alla somrar i stugan. Kanske är det mitt undermedvetna som känner av släktbanden här. Min farmor var från Signaldalen uppe vid Skibotn i Nord Norge. Oavsett vad det är, blir jag lugn här. Vid havet, fjällen, fjordarna och de otroliga vidderna. Här hör jag hemma.

När vi hade tagit oss ner från fjället körde vi förbi Narvik igen och ut mot vår stuga. Precis bortanför Efjordbron stannade vi och åkte longboard på den smala vägen som ligger alldeles nere vid vattnet. Tiina lärde mig att det bästa sättet att åka longboardpå är att göra det barfota. Vilken skillnad! Vi turades om att cruisa runt här medan solen gick ned och jag kände mig som en tonåring igen. En sån underbar känsla det är att känna sig som ett lekfullt barn. Ålder är ju trots allt bara en siffra på ett papper. Den barnsliga lekfullheten tar vi också med oss till vårt kommande projekt. ♡

Åka longboard barfota, verkligen något helt annat.

Det var skönt att komma ut till stugan, om så bara för en natt. Vi eldade bastun och badade innan vi gick och lade oss. En norsk favorit-öl och en burk med makrill blev kvällsmaten. På morgonen käkade vi frukost och drack kaffe, tog en promenad ner till havet för att spana efter en utter Tiina sett och sen åkte vi hem. Vi kom oss aldrig ut till Lofoten på den här korta resan, men vi hade det himla fint ändå. Ibland är det så. Ett fel blir ett rätt.

Morgonyoga på bryggan. Inte illa med den utsikten och ett stilla hav. Rogivande för både kropp och själ.

 

Det bästa av allt är ju att vi snart måste åka tillbaka till Norge för att göra det vi egentligen skulle hit för. Med tanke på omgivningarna, syftet och sällskapet känns det inte det minsta jobbigt att behöva åka tillbaka. 

Norge, på återseende! ♡

På skidor till Hunddalen Norge

För två veckor sedan vid den här tiden var jag och Markus mamma, Agneta, på väg till Hunddalen på den Norska sidan av fjällkedjan. Det här var andra gången jag var till Hunddalen, vi gjorde samma tur för ganska precis ett år sedan. Förra året tog vi oss dit i snöstorm och 30 cm ospårad nysnö, den här gången fick vi göra turen upp till stugan i strålande solsken. Det blåste rätt mycket när vi började gå, men när vi började närma oss blev det helt vindstilla.

Det var så vackert att komma upp i dalen, när solen precis var på väg ned bakom de vackra, branta fjällen och världen var helt stilla. Som att vara på väg mot paradiset.

Vid 17-tiden när vi var nästan framme vid stugorna. Så vackert och alldeles stilla.

Det var en stor grupp i stugan när vi kom fram. De hade kommit på snöskor från Nikkaluokta och skulle stanna en natt innan de gav sig av mot Katterat. Vi kom till en stuga som redan hade börjat bli varm och knep de sista två sängarna som var lediga. När det var dags att sova hade sovsäcken redan hunnit bli sådär härligt varm och jag sov gott, om än inte så länge. Klockan fem klev gruppen upp och började rumstrera om för att ge sig av, så det var bara att kliva upp.

Vi stannade totalt tre nätter. Efter att gruppen åkt kom det inga fler på hela helgen, så vi var själva där jag, Agneta och Sky. Riktigt lyxigt och mysigt att få vara själva i stugan. Att sitta framför brasan efter ett par timmar ute i snön och tina upp själen och låta tankarna bara vandra. Som en total reset för både kroppen och själen.

Utsikten från fönstren i stugan, fjäll åt alla håll. 

Tidigt på morgonen när solen färgar topparna alldeles orange. Så stilla. Så livgivande. Jag stod länge här och stirrade ut över fjällen, kände lugnet i själen och bara njöt. Det är svårt att förklara känslan i ord, men det är som att fjällen runt om utstrålar energi. Reconnecting to nature. 

På lördagen tog vi en promenad över den isiga snön. Vi gick mot solen och vände när vinden tilltog. Det blev en promenad på ungefär två timmar. Efter det eldade vi lite i stugan och låg i soffan och bara pratade. Det är skönt att bara vara, utan telefon och måsten. Samtalsämnena går från vardagens ytliga konversationer till djupa samtal om livet, världen och sånt som verkligen betyder något.

Det är som att man kommer lite närmare själen. 

Sky spanar ut över fjällen. Hon kan sitta så här i flera timmar..

Agneta försöker hitta täckning på satellit telefonen. Ingen lycka här.

Vi satt här länge och drack en extra kopp kaffe och pratade medan vinden tilltog ute. Livet.

På söndagen åt vi frukost länge, drack kaffe ännu längre och njöt framför brasan. Sen tog vi ännu en promenad, den här gången upp på fjället bakom stugorna. Vi gick till den första lilla avsatsen eller toppen och njöt av utsikten. Det var nästan helt vindstilla och varmt i solen. Det kändes verkligen som vårvintern gjorde entré. Efter en kort paus på toppen tog vi oss ner igen. Vi åt god mat, drack mer kaffe och eldade lite till.

Ovanligt hårt på fjället och väldigt lite snö jämfört med förra året. Vi gick med pjäxor överallt utan att sjunka igenom. Bitvis skare och bitvis ren is. Inte jätte roligt före.

Verkligen inte den högsta toppen, men väl så vackert. 

För att ta sig till Hunddalen tar man tåget mot Narvik och hoppar av i Katterat. Sen skidrar man direkt från perrongen, rakt upp på fjället. Sträckan från tågstationen upp till Hunddalen och stugorna är ca 12 kilometer. I ospårad nysnö och snöstorm tog det ungefär 6 timmar upp. I år, på hård snö och skoterspår, tog det just över 3 timmar. Katterat och Hunddalshytta är en vanlig första etapp för de som går på längre skidturer in mot Sverige och det kan vara mycket folk här senare på säsongen och på sommaren. Men i februari är det sparsamt med folk. Än så länge iallafall.

Vin och suovas smakar bäst på fjället, det är sen gammalt. 

Stugorna i Hunddalen sköts om av Narvik og Omegn Turistforening. Stugorna är fina och tas väl om hand. Man skriver in sig i stugboken när man kommer och betalar avgiften för vistelsen när man kommer hem igen. Enkelt och smidigt. Stora stugan har 10 sängplatser och den lilla stugan har 4. Samma regler gäller här som i svenska fjällen. Du har garanterad plats en natt (om det finns), kommer det nytt folk efter första natten får man flytta ner på madrass. Nya gäster har företräde till sängarna. Tur för oss att vi var själva hela helgen. 

Det är bra att tänka på att det inte finns någon markerad led hit upp. Är man van i fjällen hittar man ganska enkelt, är man ovan så bör man läsa på ordentligt innan man ger sig av. I år var det lätt att hitta då skoterspåren gick nästan hela vägen. Men förra året när vi gick hit fanns det inte ett spår, så då var det svårare att veta var det var säkert att gå. Går du tidigt på säsongen så tänk på att det blir mörkt fort!

Glöm inte att alltid vara försiktig om du ska ut i fjällen! 

Solnedgång bakom fjällen. Så vackert. 

Båda nätterna var det magiskt norrsken och månsken. Tyvärr hade jag inte med mig stativet och fick inga bra bilder på det vackra. Men ni ser potentialen! Magiskt att stå här ute med de mäktiga fjällen runt om och bara ta in allt.

 

En magisk helg på fjället med god mat, härligt sällskap, solsken, norrsken och månsken. Bättre kan det inte bli.

På återseende Hunddalen. ♡

Postcard from Åre covered in snow

Two days have passed since I left Åre. My four days there were intense. Filled with lots of fun, laughter, inspiration, amazing people, activities and work. I’ve seen Åre in both heavy snowfall and beautiful sunshine and I can really understand why people choose to live there. It actually feels a little bit like home, with the mountains and the water – and all the snow. The nature is almost as breathtaking as it is here, in the far north.

My drive home took 10 hours. I only stopped three times to use the toilet and refill my coffee. Ten long, lonely hours on the road – in storm, snowfall and darkness – takes it’s toll on both body and mind. I came home just in time to read a goodnight story to Erik. I fell asleep beside him and didn’t wake up until ten hours later. I guess driving that far requires just as much time sleeping, in order to get back on track.

Driving through northern Sweden can be lonesome. But it is so beautiful.

Åre was great in so many ways. Amazing people with interesting stories, who generously shared their knowledge and experience from life in general, and blogging specifically. The activities we did, snowmobiling and skiing (snowboarding in my case), were just as fun and beautiful as I had hoped. The arrangements of the whole workation/unconference thing were on point, Sara and Linda made a great job putting it all together. Work and fun in a perfect mix, with great opportunities to get to know one another.

The first night at this years workation, getting to know all these great people.

Ready for a snowmobile tour with Åreguiderna. Driving through beautiful forests and over frozen lakes. Nothing new, but oh so beautiful.

Jacqueline with her eyes on the prize. In this case, a snowmobile to take us through the forests outside of Åre.

It’s been slow days at home since I came back. It feels like I have filled my soul and mind with inspiration and energy, and gotten confused and tired at the same time. My head is slow, my body tired and my focus is everywhere and nowhere, all at once. I try to refocus and stay sharp and productive, but the harder I try – the further away my thoughts wander.

The restaurant Grow at Holiday Club Åre serves great food. This time everything on our menu was vegetarian. Always good combinations and great taste. A delight to eat here every night.

It’s not always that you return from events like these filled with energy. Sometimes it works the opposite. All the information, inspiration and knowledge can mess up your mind and throw you off the tracks. Sometimes it’s just what you need, getting a push in the right direction. This time I feel like I was going somewhere, and now I don’t know where to start again.

I’m gonna let all the impressions sink in and let my soul catch up with my mind. This weekend I’m just gonna rest, spend time with family and let my thoughts be exactly where they are. Inspiration and energy will come, sooner or later. Sometimes the best thing you can do is to not push it. When the water around you settles, you’ll be able to see clearly again. I hope I will after this weekend is over.

Photo: Jacqueline Wester. Snowboarding in Åre was a delight. Not much people in the slopes, soft fluffy snow and plenty of slopes to explore. I’ll have to come back for a little off-piste snowboarding though, another time.

Thank you Åre, Inos and all the amazing people that I got to meet.

See you soon again ♡

What I get to call work – Photoshoot in Stora Sjöfallet

You know when you’re young and you dream about what you’re gonna do when you grow up? I have never dreamt of becoming a doctor, singer or anything else specific. But I have always dreamt of having a job that keeps me active, where I can travel, see new things and spend my working days out in beautiful landscapes. Well people, I think I have actually found it.

This Saturday we woke up early and drove up to Stora Sjöfallet, about 90 minutes from home. The mission for the day was to take photos and film for Polarbearz, Markus ’band’. Since the hours of daylight are limited and the cold easily gets to you, we spent 3 effective hours shooting in different locations along the road. The forecast had said it would be cloudy with a chance of storm, and maybe a little snow. But when we came up there and night slowly made way for day, there wasn’t much of any of it.

The clouds dissolved slowly as we were stopping for pictures and then driving further west again. By the time we were done and ready for lunch, the sun was painting the whole sky in red, pink and orange. It was so beautiful we all just stood there for a long time, watching it. Then we had a little food and jumped back into the car and headed home. Two things stayed in my head for the whole ride home.

  1. I live only 90 minutes (give or take) away from this magnificent place. The old mountains, beautiful forest and the complete absence of city noises. It’s a luxury I don’t use enough. The inspiration level is high up here.
  2. I get to call this work. Dressing in five layers of wool and down, scouting beautiful spots, taking pictures, hanging out with amazing people. I think I am Ok to be grown up now, because this is what I want to do when I grow up.

This job of mine is also taking me to Stockholm next week. I have a few meetings to go to, people to see and inspiration to catch. And then on the 27th of January I’m heading to Åre once again. This time for a workation with Influencers of Sweden, and some Snowboarding with Elin. January is going to be an intense month, but filled with fun and plenty of things that the heart wants. Inbetween work and travel I will make sure to spend plenty of quality time with Erik and the rest of the family.

Two Polarbearz on road in Zlatan-land. Or The Land of Polarbearz maybe.. 

Cars should always be shot in this environment. I’d buy it straight away.. 

The hero of the day! Emma kept posting on social media and also did a lot of filming. She also took care of all the food and snacks to keep us going. ♡

Sunsets like these.. The sun never really made it over the mountains on this January day in Stora Sjöfallet. But it came darn close. And the wind makes the whole mountain look like it’s got a halo. Amazingly beautiful. 

Tomorrow is my first real day back at work after the holidays. We’ve had some great days off, spending time together, but it feels good to get the routines going again.

How’s things for you, are you excited that the holidays are over? ♡

Emma took this windy picture of me as we were done at the last spot for the day. Happy snappy!

This is how happy I am to be working with amazing people, in beautiful places. Hey ho 2018 – I’m ready for you!!

 

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A weekend in Åre with Kvinnliga Äventyrare

In mid August I was in Åre together with 30 inspiring women – a weekend event arranged by ”Kvinnliga Äventyrare” – or female adventurers. Female adventurers started out as a collaboration between the amazing Angeliqa from Vandringsbloggen (Swedens largest blog about hiking) and Morakniv.

 

The goal with Kvinnliga Äventyrare is to lift female adventurers and inspire more women to go out and explore. No matter if it’s spending more time outdoors, chasing after your dreams in life or going on big adventures out in the wilderness. Not only does the initiative lift all these cool women and give us a place to connect – Kvinnliga Äventyrare also redefine what an adventure is.

The event I attended in Åre gathered some of these inspiring female adventurers for hiking, talking, inspirational lectures and to make new friends. Not only did I get to know some amazing women, I also got the opportunity to share my energy through one of my passions – Zumba.

This was the first time I was in Åre. I have always wanted to go during winter to snowboard but have never actually been. And when I drove there I remembered why. I live so freaking far away. Many of the ladies attending came from Stockholm and they had been driving 600 km north to get there. I drove 800 km south. 800 freaking kilometers south. Damn, I realized I live in the freaking arctics.

Anyway, the weekend was amazing and I, surprisingly, really liked Åre. I have heard so much about it through out the years but have always thought that it’s probably overrated. I was wrong.

This small village was cozy and with great potential, where life and energy seemed to pour out of every open door. People strolling the streets, people biking, hiking and carting the slopes, great restaurants, cozy cafés in every corner, people kayaking and sup-boarding and plenty of other activities to enjoy if you wanted to.

This was a great weekend with amazing people.

I got to spend time with Angeliqa and Emelie, the two inspiring souls behind Kvinnliga Äventyrare. I got to learn a little about outdoor cooking from Katrin at Fjällochklackar.se – she cooked amazing food and is such a down-to-earth person. I also got to listen to Sara at Träningsglädje.se who talked about the joy in working out and spending time in the outdoors. And we got some great tips on outdoor photography from the talented Louise at Isbergsphotography.se.

All in all – it was a great weekend and I met so many amazing people. But the weekend was short and I immediately felt that I wanted to come back. And right now I am on a train – heading back to Åre. – this time together with Catharina at Peak Performance.

Angeliqa at Vandringsbloggen and Louise at Isbergs Photography. 

Sara and Katrin.

Outdoor cooking – workshop with Katrin.

 

That I am going to Åre this weekend is part of me following my dream.

My dream is to live a free life and my most important goal is to do all things I do – with all my heart. That way of doing things  have brought me to Åre this weekend. My way of doing things might take me even further. Walking your own way is hard sometimes. Not a day goes by that I don’t doubt. But I try to not let my doubts get in my way. Now I’m going on a weekend to Åre with hiking, zip-lining, spa and spending time with more inspiring people. And all of that happened because I decided to follow my dreams and make this life an adventure. 

So if I can inspire You to do one thing – it’s to listen to that inner voice and be brave. Do things that matter to you. Change things that doesn’t feel good. Don’t let people tell you how to do things and what to do – do things your way.

See you guys soon ♡

A guide to Kungsleden – Trail running from Vakkotavare to Nikkaluokta

In July we went trail running along Kungsleden, from Vakkotavaara to Nikkaluokta. A distance of 78 km. We spent five days on the trail, mostly in heavy rain and strong winds. But even if the weather wasn’t all too good, I came home with a feeling of calm and happiness. As I always do when out in the mountains. This trail is most commonly used for hiking, but it’s perfect for trail running as well.

The fact that we couldn’t run the full distance as planned didn’t make me disappointed at all. That’s just the way it is in the mountains. Unpredictable. You should make up a good plan, but then be prepared that the weather can change dramatically and you’ll have to reconsider.

 

 

 

The days before we left, the weather reports promised rain, rain and lots of rain. But as the weather can change for the worse, it can also change for the better. So off we went on a Tuesday morning, with warm summer air filling our lungs and hearts with hope. The bus trip from Gällivare to Vakkotavare takes about 3 hours including a 30-minute stop in Stora Sjöfallet.

bus 93 to vakkotavaare - swedish lapland - Photo © Amanda Matti

The closer we came to the mountains, the more our spirits rose. When we jumped off the bus in Vakkotavare we felt like we could conquer the world, and that the sun would shine as we did it.

We arrived to Vakkotavare around noon and made the last preparations (ie. Peeing, throwing away lunch leftovers, drinking water etc) before we started walking up the steep hill on Kungsleden towards Teusajaure. We walked happily in sunshine for another 2 hours before the sunshine gave way for clouds and rain.

View from Vakkotavaare Kungsleden - Photo © Amanda Matti

There was still a lot of snow up on the mountain between Vakkotavare and Teusajaure. And lots of snow that has just started to melt, equals plenty of water on the trails. Unfortunately the two combined did not create great conditions for running. We walked almost the full first 10 km. Then we ran a couple of kilometers before the wet and slippery downhill towards Teusajaure begun and we had to walk again. Since we weren’t in a rush, we rather walked than risked falling and getting hurt.

When we reached the lake we had to wait for the two couples before us to return with one boat. Lucky for us, the man who came back with the boat offered to take us with him so we didn’t have to row – not even once. When we came to the cabin at Teusajaure we bought dinner at the small shop, this first day called for meatballs and mashed potatoes.

That’s a good thing with hiking or running along Kungsleden, there are plenty of places to gear up and buy more food!

rowing over teusajaure - kungsleden - Photo © Amanda Matti

STF cabin - teusajaure - kungsleden

trail running kungsleden - downhill teusajaure - Photo © Amanda Matti

Since we only had small, 8 and 12 liter backpacks, we had to plan our food carefully. We bought all of our dinners, except one, in the small shops in the mountain huts. With us we had breakfast, lunch, snacks and one dinner (for Singi where there is no shop). We refilled our snack and breakfast-supply in Kaitumjaure, apart from that we didn’t feel like we had forgotten or brought too little of anything.

Actually, not a single time on the road did we feel like we had forgotten anything, or that we should have had something more with us. What we had in our small backpacks was just enough. And then we had to hike in heavy rain and strong winds – still there was nothing missing. My bag only weighed 4 kilos, not 20 as I have been hiking with before. Reality check.

Once we had dinner that first night we took a nice and warm sauna before going to sleep. I fell asleep in about half a second and didn’t wake up until 12 hours later.. (!)

view towards kaitumjaure - kungsleden -Photo © Amanda Matti

kaitumjohkka - kungsleden -Photo © Amanda Matti

 

We had decided to run between the cabins each day, even though some distances were short and wouldn’t take more than a couple of hours. Both my cousin and me like to really enjoy nature – so having time to stop, sleep and enjoy was important. The second day we only had 10 km to go so we left the cabin around lunch and reached Kaitumjaure around half past three. This distance was easy to run – not so much stones on the trail and no rain.

The most common question I have gotten before and after we went on this adventure is “What race are you running?” Today trail running races are getting more and more common and we have learned to compare minutes, distances and performance. Doing something only for fun and enjoyment seems further away to people than doing it for competition. I’m telling you – we should do more of these things just for fun. I love the feeling of being out there because of no other reason than that I want to.

kungsleden towards kaitumjaure - Photo © Amanda Matti

lunch at kaitumjohkka - trail running kungsleden - Photo © Amanda Matti

trail running kungsleden - Photo © Amanda Matti

KAITUMJAURE. Let’s talk about Kaitumjaure. The most beautiful mountain hut I have been to so far on Kungsleden. Located on a hill overlooking the river. The warden at the mountain hut was so kind and caring, asked where we were going and how it went. Asked all the people who came to buy food where they were heading next and how prepared they were for the bad weather. One woman from Germany decided to stay another day at the hut after consulting with the warden. If you’re not used to the mountains, it’s a good decision to take when the weather is getting worse.

Kaitumjaure - STF mountain hut - Kungsleden - Photo © Amanda Matti

It’s about 13 km from Kaitumjaure to Singi. We partly walked and partly ran the whole distance without stopping. It was windy and raining heavily, about an hour after we left Kaitumjaure we were completely wet. We just inhaled some raisins and nuts on the way and didn’t stop, apart from a couple of pictures, until we came to Singi.

Even though our backpacks were small, we both had first aid kits and other things that are good to have if you fall or in any other way end up in an emergency. In Sweden we see an increase in rescues made by the Mountain Rescue teams, and they are expensive. Many of the rescues wouldn’t happen if people were prepared for the worst and knew what to do if things get tough.

kungsleden close to Singi - Photo © Amanda Matti

You should always be prepared for the worst when you’re out trail running in the mountains. We didn’t need any medical supplies, except for a few plasters, but I would never have left without it. Because you never know when you might need it or what might happen when you’re out there. And if you get hurt, help might be hours away.

On day four we left Singi for Kebnekaise in rain and did the same as the day before, walked the whole distance almost without stopping. Walked, because the trail was so slippery and wet that we didn’t want to risk falling. Also, this distance is covered in sharp stones that force you to focus like crazy on where you put your feet, even when walking.

kungsleden between singi and kebnekaise - Photo © Amanda Matti

The small jokks that are usually easy to jump or walk over, without getting wet, had all grown into big rivers. Or at least that’s what it felt like. After the first two we didn’t even care about trying to choose the best way over, we just walked straight through them.

At one part we accidentally ended up on the winter trail and walked for about 20 minutes in a swamp, with water up above our ankles. After that I had to run and jump like a crazy person – just to get my feet back into this universe. They were so cold I couldn’t feel them at all, it was like walking on stones attached to my legs. Once we reached Kebnekaise and the mountain station, we were drenched and we headed right for the shower and a sauna. This last distance of 13 km took us about 4 hours.

Kungsleden - Photo © Amanda Matti

Tuolpagorni - Kungsleden - Photo © Amanda Matti

Singi - Kungsleden - Photo © Amanda Matti

trail running kungsleden - Photo © Amanda Matti

It was packed at the mountain station. Because of the heavy rain, people tried to dry clothes, tents and gear everywhere. Just as we sat down for our three-course dinner, the rain stopped and the sun came out. We enjoyed the amazing food and went to bed early. Then we got up at 5.30 am and ended our trail running adventure in sunshine.

The last 19 km from Kebnekaise to Nikkaluokta went by so fast I hardly took any pictures and didn’t film a single thing. We took the boat over Láddjujávri and then ran the last 5 km to Nikkaluokta, all in sunshine.

Kungsleden kebenkaise nikkaluokta - Photo © Amanda Matti

kungsleden nikkaluokta kebnekaise - Photo © Amanda Matti

trail running kungsleden nikkaluokta - Photo © Amanda Matti

 

Even if these five days trail running Kungsleden, mostly consisted of rain and strong winds, we managed to stay positive all the way through. There is something about being up in the mountains, far away from your everyday life and totally out of reach, that makes you see life in a new perspective.

I think it might be feeling so small compared to the enormous power of nature around you. It could be the way you focus your energy on one thing and one thing only. Or it’s the monotone movement, putting one foot in front of the other, for hours and hours. Or maybe it’s the fact that you are following a plan you made, reaching a new destination every day. A feeling of completion, empowerment, accomplishment and happiness as you manage to do what you set out to.

vakkotavare kungsleden - Photo © Amanda Matti

trail running kungsleden - morning coffe STF - Photo © Amanda Matti

Me drinking my morning coffee in Teusajaure. A good start to a day in the mountains! 

hiking kungsleden - Photo © Amanda Matti

No matter what it is, I know I will do this again and again. Running from cabin to cabin, buying food along the way, gets a little more expensive than bringing a tent. But it’s nice as a change to walk with light feet and a light backpack. Even though we walked large parts, I felt like I was flying. And as we sat on the bus back home we already started planning for our next adventure! I had suddenly forgotten all the cold hours, the drenched clothes, frozen feet and sideways rain.

All I could remember when we got home was the sunshine in my face and all the laughters we had along the way. That’s what sticks! 

 

 

snow on Kungsleden - Photo © Amanda MattiIf you are planning on trail running Kungsleden, prepare to run on snow and through water. Cold, slippery but also fun and challenging. 

Happy runner - trail running kungsleden - Photo © Amanda Matti

boat ride with enoks laddjujavri - kungsleden - Photo © Amanda Matti

 

I also made a little film from trail running on Kungsleden. You can watch the full film below!

If you like running and spending time in the mountains, I definitely recommend that you go try trail running Kungsleden. It’s a good place to start! 

Have questions about this trip? Comment below or send me an email! I’d love to help!

Midnight hike to Nonstinden Lofoten

This vacation is definitely treating us well with warm, sunny days and endless possibilities to explore and create memories. At the moment we’re back in Efjord in my parents cabin, heading home tomorrow. Last week we spent four nights camping in Lofoten, one of the most beautiful places on earth. No joke. I have been here before but it was Markus and Erik’s first time and it’s always fun to show people you love and care about places that you love.

We left Efjord on Thursday, just as the sun started coming through the clouds. When you travel to Lofoten this way, you need to take two ferries. Erik thought it was so exciting to drive our car onto a boat and then cross the ocean. We spent the first day eating lunch on a beach in Lödingen before we started driving south.

ferry Lofoten

Three nights in tent and one night in a cabin

We spent the first two nights camping along the ocean. First night at Rörvik beach and the second night in Eggum, overlooking the atlantic sea. Both spots were truly beautiful and gave us many ’aahs’ and ’oh wows’. After having breakfast by the ocean, we spent the first two hours of the day driving to a new spot. Then we played by the sea, dipped our toes in the water (cold as h…), cooked food over open flames or our kitchen. And then when Erik fell asleep around 8 pm, me and Markus stayed up late, talking about life, our dreams and things that we never get to talk about in our everyday life.

Midnight hike to Nonstinden Lofoten

On Saturday we stayed in Ballstad. Just as we were about to go to sleep, I looked up at the mountain behind us and felt an urge to go midnight exploring. Markus went to bed with Erik and I took my camera and hiked the 30 minutes up to the top. I stood there on the mountain top, watching the world below me fall into pastell colors as the sun dipped into the ocean. I listened to the distant sounds of the summer night, looked at the high mountains, the rolling sea and the flowers that swayed in the light wind.

 

I walked back down the mountain just as three sheep made their way up the top.

My head felt silent. My breath went slow. I walked back down the mountain just as three sheep made their way up the top. I watched them get up the trail as easy as a sunday walk. When I went to bed around 2 am I was light as a feather.

 

And happy to be alive. ♡

Let summer have it’s go – slow down and enjoy life

It’s been a little quiet in here after our week in the mountains. That’s because we’re on vacation with the whole family. At the moment we’re exploring Lofoten with it’s amazing Views, mountains and beautiful fjords. Even though I’ve been here many times before, the nature here never seizes to amaze me. 

Since my internet connection is varied and unstable I’m going silent for awhile. Trying to enjoy every moment of this summer and the days that become life. You should really try to disconnect too..

The real world is buzzing with life, and they see nothing of that. 

So far on this short trip I’ve seen plenty of families and friends, sitting together at a table on the ferry. Or at a campingplace by the sea. Everyone looking at their phone while the real world is buzzing with life and nature is stunningly beautiful around them. They see nothing of that. 

So, see you in a couple of days. Let’s let go of our phones and make sure we enjoy summer and the days that, in the end, will be what we call our life! 

Let’s go make memories! ♡😘

Picture recap of our 78 km trail running adventure in sunshine and rain (mostly rain..)

Five days in the mountains have come to an end. We arrived home on Saturday after completing the last 19 km, from Kebnekaise to Nikkaluokta. We’ve had both rain and sunshine, even though the rain was what effected us the most. Even though the trail was covered in water and too slippery to run on many parts, we’ve had a blast all the way. I loved every second of this wet, cold and amazing adventure.

trail running king's trail - Amanda Matti

I’m gonna give you a proper follow up on the distances and anything you might want to know on the full adventure. But I’m letting this nice, slow feeling of being totally unreachable and off the grid follow me for a couple of days and haven’t begun sorting it all out yet.

Until I do, I’m just gonna share some unedited pictures directly from my phone that describes these five days very well. Sunshine, rain, beautiful sceneries, intense movement and total relaxation.

The perfect adventure ♡

Met some friends on top of the mountain between Vakkotavara and Teusajaure. I was so happy when they said they got inspired by my post about this adventure, that they chose to hike this trail just because of that! I was so glad I had to ask them to get a picture with me! Thank you 🙂 

Boat over Teusajaure, luckily we didn’t even have to row once! 

With temperatures between 4-12° celsius, the down jacket came to good use. 

trail running king's trail - Amanda Matti

Washing my t-shirt in Singi. When you’re not bringing so much you need to wash what you’ve got. 

Lollo preparing for one of the first crossings between Singi and Kebnekaise. Then came a hundred more.. 

Well sorted shop in Kaitumjaure. 

Preparing hot drinks and lunch by Kaitumjohka on Wednesday. Stopped for one hour lunch, Carpe diem! 

First course of our three course meal at Kebnekaise Mountain Station. Tasted like a dream together with an non-alcoholic beer! yum! 

Running the last distance to Nikkaluokta. 

My beautiful cousin who have not been doing anything else but smile all week. Couldn’t find a better companion for such adventure! ♡

Muddy and wet shoes after crossing several jokks and walking in water covered trails for a couple of days. Even though the conditions have been varied, my feet have made it through without any damage. Thank you Salomon! 

Until next time ♡

Hiking guide to Skierfe – Sarek National Park

Have you always wanted to go to Sarek, but don’t want to do the full into-the-wild 10 day hike? Then you’ve come to the right place. This is a guide that takes you into Sarek and up to Skierfe over a weekend. Skierfe is an iconic cliff and a mountain famous for the magnificent view over Rapaätno and Sarek from the summit. The mountain is situated in the south-eastern part of Sarek National Park, but reachable in a three day hike.

We went here on a weekend, Friday to Sunday, and it was absolutely stunning – a great way to spend a weekend. If you haven’t been here yet, it should definitely be on your ”go-to” list. A lot of people make the hike up to the summit of Skierfe as a day trip, while hiking the King’s Trail between Kvikkjokk and Saltoluokta.

Here’s a hiking guide to Skierfe – the 3-day weekend version.

How to get to Skierfe and STF Aktse

For this three day hike, the easiest way to get to Aktse and Skierfe is to drive. You follow the road from Jokkmokk (or Gällivare) towards Kvikkjokk. In Tjåmotis you turn right onto a smaller road (we almost missed the sign – keep your eyes open!) that lead to the bridge over Sitoälven. You pass a water power station on the road, and it feels like you’re on the wrong road. You’re not – just stay put.

Road to Tjåmotis

The small road after you’ve turned right in Tjåmotis. 

You have to park your car before the bridge, there’s a large parking space available. From the parking lot you can either walk the 10 km to the lake, Laitaure, or you can bring bicycles. We chose to bike which was great! It took about 90 minutes for us to bike. The road is rather big and in good shape so you can bike easily.

Once you reach the lake, you have to leave your bikes. There is boat transportation available over the lake, but as with all boat transportations in the mountains it’s rather expensive. The boat leaves two times a day in summer time, here you’ll find more information for the summer of 2018. We chose to walk the last 6 km to Aktse. It was a nice path through the forest, not so much to see but plenty of good places to stop. The walk took another 2,5 hours.

 

Where to stay – tent or cabin

In Aktse you can stay in the Aktse mountain cabin hosted by the Swedish Tourist Association. The cabin is rather big and looks like it’s been partly renovated not so long ago. If you are a member of STF, I think the rate is somewhere around 300 SEK per night. It’s always cheaper to buy your nights online, but beware that even though you pay for your night before you go, you’re not guaranteed a spot in the cabin.

Read more about how to book and what rules apply here.  

We chose to stay in tent and put up our tent close to the cabin. We payed the service fee to use the kitchen so that we could cook inside and dry some clothes. Perfect for us since it was raining when we got here, and also when we came down from Skierfe on Saturday.

Sitting inside a warm cabin, in the mountains, after a long days hike, drinking wine (yes, we brought wine), while the rain is pouring down outside – is one of the most satisfying feelings ever.

tentspot in Aktse

The cabin was rather quiet when we were here, only a handfull of people who stopped to sleep for the night, but if you go later in the season it’s probably more busy (after all, it is right on the King’s Trail).

If you want to get away from the trail and the people, there was plenty of beautiful places to camp up on the mountain. I didn’t see so many jokks higher up on the mountain though, so it might be a good idea to bring some extra water if you’re planning on camping there.

View from the mountain cabin at Aktse.

Hiking to the summit of Skierfe

We arrived to Aktse in the afternoon on Friday and slept for a good 10 hours. When we were here, it was supposed to rain all day but we put our rain clothes on, packed a little food, our kitchen and some extra clothes in our daypack and headed up the mountain.

The start of the hike is steep and goes through birch forest. Once you reach the top and get above tree level, you take a left onto a trail into Sarek and to Skierfe, off the King’s Trail. It was easy too find and easy to walk this far. We’re talking maybe 20-30 minutes through the forest. The trail then goes along the ridge of the mountain for a couple of kilometers until you reach Sarek National Park. This is where it get’s steeper and you begin the climb towards the summit.

If you are experienced hiker, this is an easy hike. There’s a lot of rocks at the end when you get closer to the summit, so be careful you don’t hurt your wrists. The hike took us around 4-5 hours in total, including a short stop for lunch. It’s 7,5 km from Aktse to the summit, with a total elevation of 770 metres according to information on Wikipedia. The last kilometres are rocky and can be tricky to walk in bad weather.

Posing on the summit of Skierfe

view from skierfe into sarek national park

View into Sarek National Park.

view from skierfe over Rapaätno

View from the summit over Rapaätno.

Experience Sarek and the Swedish mountains over a weekend

The view from the top was truly amazing and we stayed here for about an hour, even though the wind was strong. We made lunch right below before we returned back down to Aktse. When we got down we used the kitchen in the cabin to make dinner, had a glas of wine and then went back to our tent to sleep. On Sunday we packed up an walked back to Laitaure, took our bikes and went home. 

This is a perfect way to experience the mountains, hiking and Sarek National Park without going for the full adventure with all the preparations it takes. If you want to make it easy – you walk the whole way, sleep in the cabin and just focus on enjoying and exploring. A couple of days in the mountains without cellphone coverage is better than most therapy!

 

passing over sitoälvsbron

Passing over Sitoälvsbron, the bridge over Sitoälven.

The road from Sitoälven towards Laitaure.

The trail from the lake Laitaure to Aktse goes mostly through forest.

sign to Skierfe

This sign is right on Kungsleden, this is just above the hill from Aktse and it’s where you turn left to get to Skierfe.

Our camping spot close to Aktse mountain cabin. 

Happy dogs. Here they’re taking a swim and drinking some water on our way to Aktse on Friday.

 

Hope you enjoyed this shortcut hiking guide to Skierfe – Sarek National Park. I try to keep this post updated with new information so that you can have use of it for a long time! 

Happy Hiking! ♡

 

Want to read more about hiking? You find more of my hiking guides and trail reports here

You might also want to read:

Trail running on Kundsleden from Vakkotavare to Nikkaluokta

Preparing for a trail running adventure

Ski touring to Hunddalen Norway

Experience Lofoten with kids

 

 

This post was last updated 2018.05.07

Preparing for a trail running adventure – part one

Time really flies! I have written about this summers adventures before, and now the biggest of them is on only 1,5 weeks away! Woah.. Where did this spring and summer go? We will be heading out on a trail running adventure in the Swedish mountains on July 11th. A lot of people have asked me where we are going and what we’re doing, so I thought I would do a mini series on the subject. I’ll share the preparations, my expectations and fears, the gear I’m bringing and then the actual adventure.

And since the preparations comes first, let’s start there!

 

What I am preparing for – the trail and the distance

We will start from Vakkotavara, about 2 hours west from Gällivare, running north on the Kings trail. Our plan is to run to Kebnekaise Mountain Station in four days. We will take the bus from Gällivare on Tuesday and get out on the trail around lunchtime. The first day we have 15 km to go and our first stop is Teusajaure. While out on the trail we will spend our nights in small mountain cabins hosted by The Swedish Tourist Association.

Day 2 will be the easiest day with 10 km to Kaitumjaure. Glad that the distances are varied so that the body can recover from any possible fatigue and damage. I’m thinking a sauna and some mountain yoga here in the afternoon will be suitable..

Day 3 is a little bit longer with 13 km to Singi. This is supposed to be relatively easy to run with not so much difficult terrain and only 700 meters in height difference between the two. Day four from Singi to Kebnekaise holds 15 km in a rather narrow valley called Laddjuvagge. When you reach the end of the valley and come out close to Kebnekaise, it’s by far one of the most beautiful places I’ve seen so far.

view from Kebnekaise
Mountains around Kebnekaise and Laddjuvagge

 

In Kebnekaise we’ve booked a room and a three course dinner at the mountain station. I have two possible scenarios that can come into action here.

  1. We arrive, have a sauna and a shower and the dinner is be the best we’ve ever had.
  2. We’re so tired when we arrive that we don’t even make it to dinner..

On day 5 we will continue from Kebnekaise to Nikkaluokta and complete our 78 km /48,5 miles trail running adventure by getting picked up by car from Nikkaluokta and head back home.

Kebnekaise mountain station summer
View from Kebnekaise Mountain Station

 

Running long distances before heading out – is it really necessary?  

When it comes to physical challenges I am not really a person who prepares. I like to just throw myself out there and try things, not really knowing what lies ahead of me. With okay physics to start with, most challenges are okay that way. But since this one includes mountains (and I have large respect for mountains) I’ve actually done some preparations. I started running longer distances already 8 months ago. But as if the universe knew I had done something right – I hurt my foot and couldn’t run for 8 weeks.

My foot got better and I started running again in early May. My plan was to run at least 15 km more than five times in mountain terrain before we head out.. I have this far made ONE 10 km run in the proper terrain.. Not at all what I planned. But on the other hand, I feel strong and light and since this is not a race, we have time. Even if we might need to walk longer distances.

Doing Strong by Zumba has been my savior

Those of you who have been following me for a while knows that I am a Strong by Zumba instructor. I have my Strong classes to thank for still being in shape even when there hasn’t been much running. Since I started doing Strong in August last year, I have become a much better runner, too. I do 1-2 classes a week on top other workouts and it has really improved my over all fitness. And I am not saying this because I’m an instructor, but if you’ve been searching for a fun and good cardio workout – stop looking. This is it.

 

Pictures from a previous hike around Kebnekaise – totally love this place ♡

bridge swedish lapland
There will hopefully not be so much snow left when we set out, but maybe a lot of water. Luckily most places where you need to cross have bridges.
Kebnekaise
Ending our trail running by coming through this valley feels like a dream.

If you have read my first blog post about this adventure (also on Instagram), you know I have never considered myself a runner. I have always done sports but always told myself ”I am not a runner” as an excuse for not running. This whole adventure is my way of redefining my picture of myself with the goal of becoming a runner. 

Stay tuned for upcoming post about what I fear the most about this adventure, and why. 

I love you, Swedish Lapland

I have always loved to travel and explore. I have spent much of my time after graduating from school, now 10 years ago (!), exploring Asia and North America. After spending the winter in Canada in 2011 I came home and took a job working with marketing for the local destination company. The job included getting to know all the hidden gems in the area. I met local tourism entrepreneurs and then I would travel and sell their products to Tour Operators in Japan, Germany and other European countries.

During the year I worked there, I travelled Swedish Lapland a lot and got to visit so many beautiful places I had never even been to before. The nature here is truly breathtaking. After having been out for so long in all different parts of the world – I realized I was born and raised in one of the most beautiful places on earth.

 

A love story between me and Swedish Lapland

After that year I kept exploring close to home, even if it wasn’t longer part of my job. It was like a love story between me and my home area that I had to explore to see where it would take me. I went hiking, biking, skiing, driving and ate my way through Swedish Lapland and I fell in love with it more and more every day. There is something special about the open spaces, beautiful old forests and rolling mountains. I love the untouched nature, walking in the woods for hours and not seeing another human being and I love the changing seasons. There are so many thing here that I think people need and have forgotten about. Like silence.

In the beginning I would bring music on my hikes to keep myself motivated. I filled my brain with guitars, lyrics, podcasts, information and distraction because I didn’t know to look for motivation from inside. But then one day I ran out of battery and reluctantly unplugged my headphones. The silence filled my soul in a way music never could. I watched the sun slowly go down and turn at the horizon to go back up and start a new day. Sky (my oldest dog) was lying beside me watching it together with me. As I walked back down the mountain in the middle of the night, with only the sound of nature in my ears, I realized that this was exactly what I needed.

 

 

 

 

I was born and raised in one of the most beautiful places on earth.

 

I listened to the silence and suddenly I could hear my thoughts.

Today we are so busy filling our time and our brains with information and distraction that people tend to not know who they are without it. I didn’t. All that noise became my personality, it took over Me. And then I started exploring the area where I grew up. I listened to the silence and suddenly I could hear my thoughts. It didn’t take long until I realized that the silence held all the answers. That I already had the answers.

So thank you, Swedish Lapland, for bringing peace to my mind.

You have a way of doing that to people. And for that – I love you.