Kungsleden Trail Sweden – Part 3 – Salka to Alesjaure

Hiking Kungsleden trail Sweden

Photo: Hiking north through the scenic Tjäktjavagge, Kungsleden trail, Sweden.  Sept 2012

Sälka to Tjäktja: 12km – Tjäktja to Alesjaure: 13km

[This is part 3 of my hike along the northern section of the Kungsleden trail, Sweden from Sept 11 – 20, 2012.  Part 1 HERE, part 2 HERE.  For a general overview of hiking the trail in autumn, CLICK HERE ]

I woke in the morning with a sore throat and a bit of a headache, which for me typically means one thing.  I’m about to get a cold.  I probably picked something up in Germany, most likely from my coughing neighbour at the festival, who also happened to sit behind us on the train, constantly coughing until we had to change trains.

It was another blustery day as we left Sälka, heading north towards Tjäktja pass, the highest point on the Kungsleden’s northern section.  And unfortunately this day, the wind was heading directly into our faces.  It was also on this section in 2009 that the wind was so strong, it blew my rain cover right off my pack, which unfortunately I didn’t notice for a few minutes then had to turn around and go chase it down.

At 1,140 meters in elevation Tjäktja pass is not especially high.  But as it sits at the northern end of the long Tjäktjavagge, the views south are some of the most spectacular along the trail.  Unfortunately for my camera, I didn’t choose the most scenic day to head over the pass.  I gave some thought about spending the night in the shelter at the top, but eventually decided to continue to to Tjäktja hut.  Arriving at Tjäktja hut, we were now a little more than half way though the 110km distance of the trail.

After a cold windy day hiking, my cold had worsened, and infect we were both now sick.  I loaded up on Ibuprofen and tried to make the best of it.  If there is one hut that seems to be most often skipped along the trail, it is Tjäktja.  And as it ended up, it was just the two of us there for the night.  I actually feel a little bad about staying in an empty hut, as it takes a lot of wood to head the place up for just two people.  The hut warden, an old lady that didn’t speak much English, but was always smiling, must of thought me to be a bit crazy as I was running around and setting up my cameras to shoot time-lapse sequences.  I tried to explain what I was doing, but I’m not sure I got the point across, but she did seem amazed at the amount of crap I was carrying!

As the morning light increased, a fresh layer of snow was covering the ground around the hut.  And so once again, we headed out into the wind and snow and rain for a relatively easy hike to Alesjaure hut.  Luckily the wind was back to our backs again, it what turned into a pretty grim day for the most part.

Partly because of our colds and partly because we were a few days ahead of schedule, we would spend two nights at Alesjaure hut.  I knew the area around the hut to be fairly scenic, so this would also give me a change to see if the weather might decide to clear up.  And as luck would have it, I would have the pleasure of meeting another one of my blog readers here, this time from Austria.  I’m always amazed at how small the world can be sometimes.

So some lazy days passed.  A few photos here and there, but the light largely remained elusive.  We even spoiled ourselves and bought a can of beans, perhaps the most expensive beans I’ll ever eat in my life, and instant mash potatoes to bring some variety to our bland diets of couscous thus far.  I think even one of the worlds most expensive apples was bought, though I don’t think I received any.  Oh, and a nice warm sauna in the evenings was nothing to complain about!

Hiking Kungsleden trail Sweden

Photo: Mountain sidewalk, Kungsleden trail, Sweden.  Sept 2012

Hiking Kungsleden trail Sweden

Photo: Hiking north towards Tjäktja pass, Kungsleden trail, Sweden.  Sept 2012

Hiking Kungsleden trail Sweden

Photo: Awaiting the arrival of a snow flurry, Kungsleden trail, Sweden.  Sept 2012

Hiking Kungsleden trail Sweden

Photo: Hiking over rocky terrain, Kungsleden trail, Sweden.  Sept 2012

Autumn snow from Tjaktja hut, Kungsleden trail, Sweden

Photo: Overnight dusting of snow at Tjäktja hut, Kungsleden trail, Sweden.  Sept 2012

Hiking Kungsleden trail Sweden

Photo: A brief moment of light on the way to Alesjaure, Kungsleden trail, Sweden.  Sept 2012

Alesjaure mountain landscape kunglseden trail Sweden

Photo: Dark skies to the south from Alesjaure, Kungsleden trail, Sweden.  Sept 2012

Autumn mountain reflection in river, Alisvagge from near Alesjaure mountain hut, Kungsleden trail, Lappland, Sweden

Photo: Mountain reflection near Alesjuare, Kungsleden trail, Sweden.  Sept 2012

 holding axe to cut firewood at mountain hut, Kungsleden trail, Lappland, Sweden

Photo: Perhaps I should sleep with one eye open? Alesjaure hut, Kungsleden trail, Sweden.  Sept 2012

cutting firewood at mountain hut, Kungsleden trail, Lappland, Sweden

Photo: Preparing the evenings firewood at Alesjaure hut, Kungsleden trail, Sweden.  Sept 2012

Kungsleden Trail Sweden – Part 2 – Kebnekaise Fjallstation to Salka

Female hiker with mountains in distance, Ladtjovagge, near Kebnekaise Fjällstation, Lappland, Sweden

Photo: Leaving Kebnekaise Fjällstation under sunny skies, Kungsleden trail, Sweden.  Sept 2012

Kebnekaise Fjällstation to Singi: 14km – Singi to Sälka: 12km

[This is part 2 of my hike along the northern section of the Kungsleden trail, Sweden from Sept 11 – 20, 2012.  For part 1 CLICK HERE.  For a general overview of hiking the trail in autumn, CLICK HERE ]

As morning came to ebnekaise Fjällstation and we prepared for our third day on the trail I had already seen more sun than my entire 10 day journey in 2009.  With an easy 14km to Singi hut, we lazed around for a bit, not taking to the trail until mid morning.  This goes slightly against my normal advice to take advantage of good weather when you have it.  It is never a question of if it will rain, but rather, when.  And so in tempting fate, we hiked west into the Ladtjovagge while surrounded by some of Sweden’s highest peaks which already carried a dusting of the season’s first snows.

About an hour into the day we came across a group heading our way.  “You have three options – wet, wet, or wet.”  The warning from a Swedish woman who had just passed through the particularly flooded and boggy section along the trail, which we now faced.  Another couple from their group sat on the side of the trail putting their boots back on, having given up any attempt at keeping their feet dry and preferring a barefoot crossing of the river.

So there I stood in my light trail runners, still fairly dry at that point, looking for any sort of weakness in the in 100+ meters of Swedish super bog interlaced with series of small rivers that needed fording.  The following few minutes weren’t particularly elegant:  a quick hop onto a slightly submerged rock, almost slipping into knee deep and ice cold water.  Another long step saw me onto a broken bush, the bog creeping up around my shoes with every second my foot remained.  Moving fast I found another, more secure bush with which I could use scout out my next few moves.  More steps and more cursing as the mud crept up around my feet, the first hints of moisture beginning to penetrate though.  Another small stream to hop across and then I came to the final section with no way around.  I put my trekking poles as far forward as possible and did a sort of flying leap into another clump of small bushes.  My poles flexed and sank as I used them like crutches in a desperate attempt to keep from sinking past my ankles.  Finally across I surveyed the damage: left foot somewhat wet from taking the worst of the bog, right foot muddy, but overall pretty dry.  Success.  Or at least success for my preferred use of trail runners in a country where people often hike in wells.

The next hours passed uneventfully as the valley narrowed and we hiked in the shadows of mountains and along crystal clear rivers and waterfalls, everywhere.  We passed another large group of school age kids taking a break on the side of the trail.  My thoughts immediately diverted from the scenic terrain to one of dread; that we might encounter another such a group at Singi, where they would literally take over the whole place.  While I don’t go to the Kungsleden expecting some isolated wilderness experience, I also don’t expect to share a small mountain hut with 19 (yes, I counted) teenagers.  It’s good to give kids an outdoor experience, but I feel such large groups have too much impact on their surrounds in an isolated mountain area and the small huts that shelter us.  So it came to my relief as we arrived at Singi just prior to the rain that we would have the place almost totally to ourselves, just an elderly Swedish couple across the hall in a separate room.

Morning arrived to clear skies once more, but a fresh, to put it nicely, wind was coming from the south and I knew it wouldn’t be long before some not-so-nice hiking weather would arrive.  So before 8:00 we were back on the trail, this time heading almost perfectly north, towards the Sälka hut, 12km away.  This part of the journey was now familiar with me, as Singi had been my southernmost point while on the Kungleden in 2009 when I hiked from Abisko to Singi and back to Abisko again after I learned there were no more busses running from Nikkaluokta for the season.

With the wind at our backs, I wasn’t paying much attention to the weather behind us until I stopped for some quick photos and saw a wall of snow quickly heading our way.  Having taken chances in the morning and not wearing rain gear, we we both in for a rather chilling change of clothes on the side of the trail.  Minutes after our backpacks were back on a terrible mix of snow, sleet, and icy rain hit us with a fury.

A couple more hours of hiking saw us arriving to a warm fire at Sälka.  It is here that I learned some wisdom from the hut warden: wood warms you twice.  Once while preparing it for the fire, and once while in the fire.  It was also at Sälka that I learned that I was somewhat known in this part of the world, as a nice young Australian couple at the hut had read my blog about my 2009 journey.  Cool!

I knew Sälka to be a nice place.  I knew there to be some good potential for photos in the area, but once again, like 2009, the weather chose otherwise.  This is a frustration that I, and we, as landscape photographers often face I think; that I’ve hiked several days to get to an isolated place, only to be shut down by the weather.  I made the most of the light and conditions that I could, but already put a note in my mind that I’ll have to come back once again, not that I would complain!

And so our 4th night on the Kungsleden arrived as we sat warm and dry from the heat of a glowing birch wood fire.

Female hiker leans on bridge in Ladtjovagge Lappland, Sweden

Photo: Enjoying the day, Kunglseden trail, Sweden.  Sept 2012

Hiking trail in Ladtjovagge with Tolpagorni - Duolbagorni mountain in distance, Lappland, Sweden

Photo: Autumn colors fill the landscape in Ladtjovagge, Kungsleden trail, Sweden.  Sept 2012

Panoramic view of Ladtjovagge viewed from near Kebnekaise Fjällstation, Lappland, Sweden

Photo: Mountain peaks surround Ladtjovagge, Kungsleden Trail, Sweden.  Sept 2012

Singi hut Kungsleden trail Sweden

Photo: Night arrives at Singi hut, Kungsleden trail, Sweden.  Sept 2012

Singi hut Kungsleden trail Sweden

Photo: Candlelight at Singi hut, Kungsleden trail, Sweden.  Sept 2012

Hiking Kungsleden trail Sweden in Autumn

Photo: Autumn colors and snowy mountains; late season hiking on the Kungsleden trail, Sweden.  Sept 2012

Hiking Kungsleden trail Sweden in Autumn

Photo: ‘Mountain sidewalk,’ Kungsleden trail, Sweden.  Sept 2012

Hiking boots rain kungsleden trail sweden

Photo: Are your feet wet? Kungsleden trail, Sweden.  Sept 2012

River at Sälka mountain hut along Kungsleden trail, Lappland, Sweden

Photo: A river flows near Sälka Hut, Kungsleden trail, Sweden.  Sept 2012

Small river flows south into Tjäktjavagge, near Sälka mountain hut, Kungsleden trail, Sweden

Photo: A river flows near Sälka Hut, Kungsleden trail, Sweden.  Sept 2012

Kungsleden Trail Sweden – Part 1 – Berlin to Kebnekaise Fjällstation

Autumn view over STF Kebnekaise Fjallstation mountain hut, Lappland, Sweden

Photo: Kebnekaise Fjällstation mountain huts in Autumn, Lapland, Sweden.  Sept. 2012

Days 1-2 Berlin – Kiruna – Nikkaluokta – Kebnekaise Fjällstation

[This is part 1 of my hike along the northern section of the Kungsleden trail, Sweden from Sept 11 – 20, 2012.  For a general overview of hiking the trail in Autumn, CLICK HERE ]

Beep, Beep, BEEEEEEPPPP! WAKE UP!!!  My imaginary mental alarm wakes to the 4:00 am darkness of Berlin.  My real alarm wasn’t too far behind; my head likes to give me a bit of a warning so I have a moment of brief calm before the day begins.  Showered (would be the last one for a week) and packed, we head out the hostel door into the mild morning air barely 12 hours after we’d arrived in Berlin the previous afternoon.  Hopping on the U-bahn, we ride with the early morning commuters, most looking like they wouldn’t have minded a few more hours in bed.  But despite our tired faces our backpacks give us away.  Just passing through…

At 7:00 am we were in the air heading north to Stockholm.  A few hours later, we were landing north of the Arctic Circle, under the grey, misty skies of Kiruna, Sweden.  Though it doesn’t really ever appear on any schedule, or at least not the two times I’ve flown to Kiruna, there seems to be a bus that appears from somewhere mysterious and takes you to the city center.  The last guy to get on the bus asked if there would be another one later that night, as his girlfriend would be arriving on another flight.  ‘Nope,’ the driver replies.  ‘Only one bus today.’  That seems to be how things work in the north, and I’m always wondering if the info I read, especially if found online, is accurate.  Does the bus actually come when the schedule says it will?  Or do they just go by their own rule.  Luckily, the bus taking us to Nikkaluokta did show up at the bus station in Kiruna and by late afternoon were were deposited at the trail head. The next 120km would be by foot.

The clouds hung low in the valley, concealing the peaks around us.  A light drizzle fell from the grey sky.  One of those rains that temps you not to put on rain gear, but then ends up getting you unexpectedly wet somehow.  After taking shelter to change into full waterproofs, we took to the trail for several hours of uneventful hiking into the fading afternoon light.  At the estimated halfway point, I found a nice flat spot amongst the autumn birches and setup camp.  I did put a little effort into trying to find someplace slightly scenic, trying to remain optimistic that I could put my camera to work at sunrise. As morning came heavy drops pelted the tent, a bit more sleep seemed the best idea.

The only thing worse than setting up a tent in the rain is taking down a tent in the rain.  And the rain was falling, and falling as the morning hours passes.  Finally tired of waiting to see if the storm would relent, we packed up camp and continued along the trail.  In my best swag (scientific wild ass guess) of an estimate, we’d reach Kebnekaise Fjällstation is about 3 hours, around noon or so.

The rain was relentless a we continued down the sloppy trail and through forests of golden birch trees.  We passed the ghostly silhouettes of hikers, hoods up and heads down, more closely resembling waterfalls than men.  My (supposedly) waterproof shoes soon began to show their submission to the weather, and my thin fleece gloves left my hands wet and cold.  We continued in silence towards the dream of warmth and of fire, of a place to dry off and relax, of an expensive bunk at Kebnekaise Fjällstation.

And then, out of nowhere, the clouds parted and a brilliant blue filled the sky!  My first thoughts where that we should have waited in the tent longer.  My next thought was that it probably would have rained for a week straight had we waited.  I think the North sometimes likes me to suffer a bit before she offers me any rewards.  As we neared the surrounds of hut, my thoughts drifted to finding a nice place to camp and maybe a few nice camping photos.  And then reality reminded me that the tent was completely soaked, sleeping bags were damp, clothes were wet, and most importantly, if I set up my tent, it would rain again.  And so I forked out the 500 SEK for a bunk bed and went even more extreme and bought myself a beer or two.  And since I was carrying a laptop for no other reason than I had no place to leave it, I even made use of some internets.  Luxury in the mountains.

Kebnekaise Fjällstation turned out to be a busy place, or at least much more so than I imagined, it being so late in the season.  And entering the guest kitchen I was presented with the dilemma I always seem to find myself in: Yummy free food to eat or the beginnings of a lighter backpack.  A mix of both would do on this night.  And so my head hit the pillow that night, full, dry and warm.  Luxury in the mountains…

1662 meter Tolpagorni - Duolbagorni rises above Ladtjovagge viewed from near Kebnekaise Fjallstation, Lappland, Sweden

Photo: 1662 meter Tolpagorni – Duolbagorni rises above Ladtjovagge viewed from near Kebnekaise Fjällstation, Lapland, Sweden.  Sept. 2012


Autumn tree with summit of Tolpagorni - Duolbagorni in distance, viewed from near Kebnekaise Fjallstation, Ladtjovagge, Lappland, Sweden

Photo: Autumn tree with summit of Tolpagorni – Duolbagorni in distance, viewed from near Kebnekaise Fjällstation, Ladtjovagge, Lappland, Sweden.  Sept 2012

Skottinden Hiking Guide

Skottinden Lofoten Islands Norway

Photo: Reflection of Skottinden, Lofoten Islands, Norway.  September 2012

It’s another year and time for more mountain pages to be added over at 68north.com  The first for 2013 is Skottinden -CLICK HERE- to check it out.

Skottinden is one of those peaks that I’ve always thought about hiking up, likely due to its Matterhorn-like appearance, but never really got around to hiking.  Thanks to some young Germans at the hostel who had borrowed the book ‘På Tur I Lofoten’ – The best hiking guide for Lofoten Islands, though only in Norwegian, I saw where the route went.  And so, on one late September day about a month later, I found myself on the summit and watching sea eagles circle in the distance.

Skottinden Lofoten Islands Norway

Photo: Skottinden, Lofoten Islands, Norway.  September 2012

Northern Lights - Aurora Borealis in night sky behind Olstind mountain peak, Reine, Lofoten Islands, Norway

10 Best Landscape Photos 2012

Reine, Lofoten Islands, Norway

Photo: Night comes to Reine, Lofoten Islands, Norway.  February

-10˚ C with not even a hint of wind, the end of an absolutely perfect winter day on Lofoten.  This was the first clear night after a week on the islands, so I was waiting around the Reine area in hopes of seeing some aurora’s later that night, but first, I was presented with this scene as an extra gift.  Perhaps my favourite image of the whole year, as well as the coldest day of 2012 on Lofoten.

Northern Lights - Aurora Borealis in night sky behind Olstind mountain peak, Reine, Lofoten Islands, Norway

Photo: Aurora behind Olstinden, Lofoten Islands, Norway.  February

I had been waiting a week for the right conditions to hopefully make this photograph.  To me, the pyramidical peak of Olstinden, as is rises out of the cold waters of the Kjerkfjord, is an icon of the Lofoten Islands.  The Aurora wasn’t as big as I was hoping for, but it’s a start to an image that I hope to refine over my next journeys to the islands.  I think the clouds make it almost look like an erupting volcano.

Å I Lofoten, Lofoten Islands, Norway

Photo: Approaching storm, Å, Lofoten Islands, Norway.  February

My last full day after two weeks on the islands was one of winter storms sweeping the lands.  One of those days when you watch the snow heading towards you, take shelter for 20 minutes, then rush out again between flurries to hopefully grab a few photo.  The cliffs here, past the village of Å, and looking west towards the end of Lofoten are one of my favourite winter locations on the islands.

Lofoten Islands winter, Norway

Photo: Ice flower, Lofoten Islands, Norway.  February

Warm temperatures brought snow melting rain to the islands.  My hope of ‘snowy mountain landscapes’ was lost and I was left searching for other interesting elements of winter to photograph.   Here, in a small tidal bay near Eggum, a rock had created a ‘flower’ like shape as the ice receded.  Now that the snow was gone, this added an element of interest to what would otherwise have been a fairly flat and mundane scenic.

Reine, Lofoten Islands, Norway

Photo: Olstinden winter panoramic, Lofoten Islands, Norway.  February

In the cold and the calm of this evening the surface of the fjord began to freeze over.  With the inner waters still, Olstinden reflects in near perfect symmetry.  I wish there had been a bit more interesting light to work with, but I think the subject is still strong enough for me to like this image.

Mount Whintey, Sierra Nevada Mountains, California

Photo: Camping beneath mt Whitney, California.  April

I like the contrast of my yellow tent and the deep blue of the evening sky while camped at Iceberg lake on the mountaineers route to mt. Whitney.

Horseid beach, Lofoten Islands, Norway

Photo: Horseid beach, Lofoten Islands, Norway.  August

Horseid is a brilliant, Isolated, beach on the northern coast of Lofoten.  I hiked several hours through rain and whiteouts that at first I thought I had made a mistake heading there.  But by the next morning, the rain had stopped while the dramatic skies still hung over the mountains.


Summer evening twilight, Stamsund, Lofoten Islands, Norway

Photo: Summer twilight over Stamsund, Lofoten Islands, Norway.  August

Even in late August, Lofoten’s sky still glows at 1am as the next day quickly approaches.  I took an evening stroll up the hill behind the hostel to check for auroras but found this scene instead.  I just stood there for a while in the stillness, glad to once again be in the north.

Kungsleden trail, Lappland, Sweden

Photo: Autumn on the Kungsleden trail, Lapland, Sweden.  September

I can feel the cold in this image (as well as remember it).  The bright reds and oranges or the small scrubs in the sub-Arctic tundra of northern Sweden’s mountain, combined with snow covered peaks and grey skies are what the Kungsleden trail in Autumn is.

Offersoykammen, Vestvagoya, Lofoten Islands, Norway

Photo: Afternoon light on Offersøykammen, Lofoten Islands, Norway.  October

After an unsuccessful afternoon of chasing light around the islands, I finally decided to head up the small peak of Offersøykammen and see what cards the weather would deal me.  As the sun neared the horizon, clouds began to rise around the mountain.  But before I was enveloped in a gray so thick I could hardly follow the trail back down, the mist lit up in the sunlight shining a golden light across the Autumn mountain landscape.

Time for another year to draw to a close, though truthfully, I can’t say it comes too soon.  2012 was a difficult year for me,  one of more setbacks than accomplishments.  A few dreams have fallen through the cracks or been put on the the back burners indefinitely, with little hopes of revival.  I also didn’t get out photographing nearly as much as I’d planned (as I write this now, I haven’t touched my camera in almost in 2 months.).  If it wasn’t for a few trips to Lofoten, I’d basically have nothing to show for the whole year; 8 of 10 images here being from the islands, although maybe that speaks more about the brilliance of Lofoten.  I felt I was often stuck in the paralysis of inaction, unable to make any decisions or move myself or my career forward.  Maybe I put myself under more pressure to return with something ‘good,’ and ironically, chose locations to travel to where this is less likely to happen.  Or maybe I’ve simply raised my standards to something that I can only rarely achieve; and thus that lack of apparent achievement continues the cycle ad infinitum.  Who knows.

On the positive side, I do think there are a few good images here.  Maybe even a couple that I’d say are some of my all time favourites.  Although I’m not sure if this isn’t more based on my memories than of the actual photo.

In a couple more days I head north to Scotland to bring in 2013 on a small little island at the edge of the world.  So here’s to a good start of the new year; one that hopefully I can find some focus and kick some ass in!

Ryten – New Mountain Hiking Guide

Ryten, Lofoten Islands, Norway

Photo: Lofoten’s northern coast from the summit of Ryten, Lofoten Islands, Norway.  August 2012

New hiking guide for Ryten -CLICK HERE- 

Ryten is one of the last peaks in the northeast tip of Moskenesøya.  But the small mountain is better known for it’s spectacular views down to Kvalvika beach.  I now have a new guide up at 68north for hiking this scenic little peak.

This will be my last update at 68north for the year, I’ll pick things back up in January with a few more hiking guides and also some more general travel ‘itinerary’ type guides and so on.  I’m also going to really put some effort into writing some more photography-specific guides to each island which I can hopefully turn into some (free) eBook’s so you can download and take with you on your photo tour of Lofoten.  Only setback will be the design aspect, which I’m not so good at…

Looking down on Kvalvika beach from near summit of Ryten, Lofoten Islands, Norway

Photo: Spectacular Kvalvika beach seen from summit of Ryten, Lofoten Islands, Norway.  August 2012

Person stands under rainbow near summit of Ryten, Lofoten Islands, Norway

Photo: Summer rain and rainbow over Ryten, Lofoten Islands, Norway.  August 2012

German Photo Gallery Update

Watzmann Berchtesgaden national park, Bavaria, Germany

Photo: Dawn comes to Watzmann, Berchtesgaden national park, Germany.  October 2012

I forgot to mention in Monday’s post that I’ve added a few more images to my German photo archive -CLICK HERE-  Other than a week in the Alps in October, I really haven’t photographed much in Germany since I left in 2009.  So I guess I was a bit overdue to add a few new images.

Evening sky over Aggenstein Allgaeu, Bavaria, Germany

Photo: Indian summer twilight at Aggenstein, Allgäu, Bavaria, Germany.  October 2012

Berchtesgaden alps germany

Photo: Afternoon light across the Alps from the summit of Schneibstain, Berchtesgaden national park, Germany.  October 2012



Himmeltindan Hiking Guide – Lofoten Islands

View from summit of Himmeltindan

Photo: View from summit of Himmeltindan, Lofoten Islands, Norway.  Oct 2012

There’s now a new hiking guide for Himmeltindan over at 68north.


The highest mountain on Vestvågøya, Himmeltindan is a steep hike up to the 931 meters of the south summit.  The higher north summit is closed to the public, as it is used as a military radar station.  And there is actually a tunnel/elevator running inside the mountain.  On the day I hiked the peak though, there were a few army dudes at the top who said I could hike over to the north summit as the radar was down for repair that day.  I may have been a bit unlucky with the light, but at least I got access to the highest part of the mountain.  If I was in the army, I think I’d take the elevator up there to watch the northern lights, would be a pretty awesome place!

Himmeltindan and Utakleiv Lofoten Islands Norway

Photo: Himmeltindan rises above sea at Utakleiv, Lofoten Islands, Norway.  Oct 2012

Islands in the Sky – Allgäu Germany

Breitenberg,  Allgäu, Bavaria, Germany

Photo: Alpine foothills rise above fog, from summit of Breitenberg, Allgäu, Germany.  Oct 2012

At the end of October I found myself cruising around the Alp foothills along the German – Austrian border.  In what is somewhat typical autumn weather in Germany, a heavy layer of fog hovered over the lowlands of Bavaria.  Luckily it only rose to about 500 meters, above that it was glorious sunny weather with temps in the mid 20’s (˚ C) with hardly a cloud to be seen.  It was actually a bit too hot for me, only having somewhat warm pants that I had used for hiking in northern Sweden where I had already experienced snow storm in the middle of September.

One of the days I headed up to Breitenberg, a small peak near the village of Pfronten.  I stayed at the Ostlerhutte, which to my surprise, I ended up being the only guest which actually felt a bit awkward for me.   In the afternoon I headed up Aggenstein, the highest peak in the area. I thought about sticking around up there until sunset, but I also didn’t want to get back to the hut too late (this was before I knew I was the only person).  Breitenberg proved to be a fairly decent spot as the fog came up right to the base of the mountain.

Breitenberg, Allgäu, Bavaria, Germany

Photo: A sea of clouds and islands of mountain, Breitenberg,  Allgäu, Bavaria, Germany.  Oct 2012

Mountains emerge above inversion layer fog, from summit of Breitenberg, Allgäu, Bavaria, Germany

Photo: Evening light from Breitenberg,  Allgäu, Bavaria, Germany.  Oct 2012

mountain shadows on inversion layer fog, from summit of Breitenberg, Allgäu, Germany

Photo: Mountain shadows in late afternoon, Breitenberg,  Allgäu, Bavaria, Germany


Hoven – Lofoten Islands

Hoven mountain peak, Gimsoya, Lofoten Islands, Norway

Photo: Hoven rises above marshland of Gimsøya, Lofoten Islands, Norway.  October 2012

New hiking guide for Hoven -CLICK HERE- over at 68north.com.

Hoven is a small little peak/hill that rises alone out of the boggy flats of northern Gimsøya.  It makes a nice easy hike for those days when the weather isn’t the best but maybe you still want to get outside.  The low elevation means that the summit is usually below the clouds while the other higher peaks are concealed.  And the views aren’t that bad anyhow.  Would actually probably make a good place to watch the northern lights from as you get a true 360 degree view without much effort…

Also…  I’ve already posted links to the full galleries here, but again, at 68north.com I’ve added two new galleries for my summer and autumn trips.

-CLICK HERE- for summer Lofoten photos

-CLICK HERE- for autumn Lofoten photos