The first inkling that there might be mosquitoes, was while we were waiting for the bus to take us from Lulea airport to the hotel. It was evening and we suddenly became aware of being eaten by the nasty things. At the last minute, I had packed a brand new bottle of Mosi-Guard for the trip, but hadn’t really been expecting to use it! Luckily, we didn’t have long to wait for the bus that night though and soon arrived at the Comfort Hotel Arctic for a well earned rest after our two flights that day – Manchester to Stockholm, then Stockholm to Lulea.
The next morning, Lulea was unbelievably quiet as we wandered to a supermarket for supplies and then onto the station.
Once at the station, I looked after the rucksacks whilst James went off to the local outdoor shop hunter-gathering the gas we needed for the next week.
That day we had a two hour train journey followed by a four hour bus journey, to get us to Kvikkjokk, our jumping off point for the trail.
I wasn’t looking forward to the bus section – but in actual fact it turned out to be delightful. The driver never went above about 40 mph, and there were several stops along the way. It was obviously a local service too. At one stop I managed to pick up a Magnum – strawberry ice cream smothered in white chocolate – and at another place enjoyed a most delicious chai latte.
The countryside was all lakes and trees, with houses nestled in the forests.
We finally arrived in Kvikkjokk in the early evening and set off walking to our first night’s camp. This initial section of our route followed the Kungsleden Trail.
Athough this would arguably be the busiest section of our entire route, we still hardly saw anyone until we got to where we planned to spend the night. Here, there were already several tents pitched, this being a kind of unofficial spot where people on the Kungsleden congregated. There was also a wooden privy – very civilised!
The most notable thing for us though, was the mosquitoes. Loads of them. Huge things, the size of helicopters…..
Out came my Mosi-Guard and James’ headnet. Unfortunately, James hadn’t brought any repellent at all.
I did share.
James’ version of Part One can be read here.