Six years since I first started walking south from Abisko through the autumn forests and arctic tundra of Sweden’s Kungsleden trail, I will be making the journey again. This time I will be part of a team of four, and our goal, Hemavan, 440 kilometres to the south.
The team will consist of me, Cody – the photographer, my partner Justyna – the blogger, and the traveling couple of Theo – the filmmaker, and Bee – the writer, the duo behind vdubvanlife.com. I met and briefly traveled with them on Lofoten last year and they were also the first visitors at my new flat in Germany in May, as they were making their way home from a year on the road in Europe in their, can you guess, VW van.
Theo and Bee have also recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to help them get some necessary gear for the trip. Often with a week+ between power, the trip is going to require a lot of batteries and memory cards. They are also giving away some prizes, so go check them out.
Unlike the last few times in which I have visited the Kungsleden, during which I also combined with visits to other areas of Scandinavia/Europe, this trip will be dedicated to the trail alone. This is one of the reasons I moved to Germany in the spring, so I could focus better on the individual projects I have planned, as I have gotten a bit weary of the 3-6 month backpacking trips as my 30th birthday drifts further into the past. This also gives me the benefit of being able to pack lighter, as I don’t have to worry about splitting my time on the trail and in cities/hostels.
September 2nd will be the day we head south, into the wilds of the Swedish arctic, hopefully with the sun bright overhead. Well, hopefully anything but rain really; I’m from California, I don’t like rain. I have hiked this northern section of the trail twice, but it is a landscape that I don’t think I will ever tire of, especially in autumn when the trees are golden yellow and the tundra foliage a mix of oranges and reds. If all goes well, we will find ourselves reaching Hemavan around four weeks later.
Many of you reading this are probably familiar with my 68north.com website, focusing on Norway’s Lofoten Islands. I was a bit hasty when starting the site in 2010 and was a bit small in my focus. Even though Lofoten was, and still is, one of my biggest interests, I have long had plans for something more. A bigger photography and hiking site dedicated to all areas north.
Like Lofoten, the more time I spend in other parts of the northern Scandinavian landscapes, the more I know I will return again and again. There is simply so much out there to see and walk. If I’m lucky in life, when I’m 60 years old, I’ll be like one of the old German guys I often meet wandering alone on the trail. With stories about the autumn of 1980-something that was so warm they spent 2 weeks in a t-shirt, or the cool summer when they were still in knee-deep snow in July.
And so choosing the Kungsleden this year will be the start of another project set to keep me occupied in my spare time over the following years, in which I’ll hopefully be able to add another Scandinavia region to each year. Keep an eye out in the autumn for a new website…
As my gear lists always seem popular, HERE is what I will be carrying on the trail this year.