30th. Turunc. 3 hours. 1200ft vertical

Left around 8.30. Found the trail well engineered and way marked until the very end. Very glad to be doing the initial climb in the cool of the morning. Soon got to a nice look out over Icmeler and,in the distance, Marmaris.


Soon saw my first flower. Colin style I had to snap it, plus I needed another break.


Mainly walking through pine forests or low scrub. The latter was a pain. Occasional low trees, some even making me resort to crawling. At one point I got caught round the throat by a strangling creeper. 

this on had me on my knees

Finally I got high enough to have a great view south east to Lycia. The high pointed mountain, if visible , is on the Lycian way and has a cable car up it.


Shortly after this I started the descent down into Turunc and this is. Where I lost the trail. The first time I just was not sure where it went. My GPS soon showed me the way. The second time I was so far off trail it was not worth back tracking uphill, sand beside the gps showed I was on a legitimate track so I keep with it and exited the forest through a cemetery, and was soon down by the sea.



I found my way to my hotel at the back of town. 


I must have been a bit of a sight cause they asked if I had had a fall. No I said, just had to crawl I bit. What about the ring of blood round your throat? Apparently the strangler had drawn blood! Any way they gave me a towel and showed me to a washroom before checking me in. I think I am the only guest tonight. Tourism is really down this year.

After a shower and doing my laundry I came down town walked the front and settled here ( trip advisor no 2 restaurant in town) for a grilled fish lunch and use the wifi.

It is too hot for walking in the afternoon so I am looking for ways to continue to do half stages for a while, at least until Wednesday when a cold front is meant to come through.

Enough, time to go for a swim and see if I can some of the turtles that are said to frequent this beach.

29th. Sept. Icmeler 

3.20pm. Well here I am, and in my mind I still don’t know how this is going to go. I got to Marmaris late last night after driving, flying, and finally taking a local bus and then a taxi from the bus depot tony hotel. The bus was only $7 for an hour trip, compared to $80 for a taxi, however I did have to wait an hour, the busses are only scheduled to met people off domestic flights, tourists are all met by tour or hotel busses, or subject to taxi touts.

Any way, checked in, had a cliff bar and slept.

Work slightly early so decided to try sketching this view from my balcony.


It went reasonably well until I decided to try and give it some colour via water colour wash. First I don’t think the paper is right for it, and second I seem to have a very heavy hand. With colour.

After this I had a small explore before breakfast. Found hotel was very close to the central, and very large, veg market, a vegetarians dream. This picture does not show its size, approx a square with 40m sides, solid with rows of vendors.


This was followed by a nice Turkish breakfast at the hotel. 

At 9.30 I set off to explore Marmaris and then to walk here. I found my way to the yacht harbour, where else did you expect and saw the usual range of boats, including this old friend.


Then I started the walk along the water front to here. It’s the end of the season here so while there are still plenty of tourists it is not packed to the gills and so quite pleasant to walk through. It is definitely a beach resort with lots of nice Hotels, appartment buildings and restaurants lining the sea front. Mid morning I stopped for a very nice ice cream, a mix of lemon and pistachio, and by 12 I was just outside Icmeler so stopped for lunch in a restaurant with a great view and which caught the light sea breeze that had just started.


It was here, after sending Tina a snap of the view that I got a message from Bell. That I had used 80% of my roaming data allowance. An allowance I had hoped would last my 4 weeks burnt through in just one! 

After a leasurely beer and grilled chicken salad found my way here to the Hotel Private. Checked in showered and then went to find the beginning of the trail. I followed it until it hit the hills. It looks, as advertised, rocky.


Back here, dealt with roaming issue, I hope, had a swim and now writing this while drying out and working up a thirst for the buy one get one free cocktails. Is 4.00 too early?

OK what am I worried about re tomorrow’s walk. Well it was 33 C today with only slight cooling breeze and not a cloud in the sky. I managed the walk here ok but it was flat and smooth under foot. But I still had hot feet. Tomorrow should be no greater distance but it is going to be rocky with a fair bit of vertical and my pack is heavy enough I am going to notice it going uphill.  However it does start under trees so that might help . One thing I don’t have to worry about is accomodation as that is booked . It’s the next day that I really start into the unknown.

Ok cocktail time.

10th. Sept. Kebnekaise to Nikkaluokta. 19k., 5 hours.

We woke above the clouds!


Set off at 8. An hour later we were below the cloud. It was warm and still enough that we did not needed coats which was nice. Indeed we registered our second complete day without rain. Though the low cloud meant that we still did not get the full benefit of the scenery. The path was the usual combination of rocks, bridges and walkways, but generally easier going than we were used to so we were able to pound along at a reasonable clip.



We stopped for lunch part 1 close by where there’s a ferry service down a long lake beside the trail and part 2 6k on at the ferry dock st the other end of the lake in time to see the morning ferry arrive.


We did not stop for a moose burger at Lap Donald’s, sorry Danalds!


Nor a reindeer steak at the fancy nearby Cafe.


From here the trail improved markedly, even being gravelled in some places. We met several groups who were obviously walking the 6k from the village at the end of the trail to have lunch at the cafe, they included a wizened Sami grandmother and a couple with a very small dog.

Nikkaluokta had a nice Cafe come boutique shop come art gallery where we had first a cup of tea and later a whiskey flavoured ice cream.


We had a 4 hour wait for our bus to Kiruna. We inquired about the cost of a taxi but it was over 10 times the cost of the bus so we dropped that idea. However after three hours a taxi van sped in and offered individual seats at only slightly more than the bus fare, so eight of us piled in and off we went. The taxi driver was good delivering us all to our individual hotels.

Colin looked at hotel’s menu and decided we would use the hostels excellent cooking faculties instead. So we marched off to the local supermarket and brought supplies and did just that. Then bed by 9.30.
Fitbit stats: 26.5k., 770ft vertical, 33441 steps, 4838 cals.

9th. Sept. Excursion to Tarfala lake. 16k 6hrs 45mins

Today we went for a nice walk up a side valley. We reverted to our old routine and left around 9.30 after a leasurely breakfast. The weather was cloudy with rain forecast for the afternoon. The valley we went up was a narrow erosion valley created by the runoff from glaciers.


We passed the usual waterfalls and crossed the usual bridges as we worked our way up. The upper valley has three glaciers feeding it and is home to one of the earliest research stations dedicated to glacier study. A couple of guys were doing studies down stream of the centre and polluting the atmosphere with a fire. The centre itself was Marie Celeste quiet as we walked through it. Half a k further on was the mountain hut and lake that was the day’s destination. Under blue skies it must be spectacular, with the mountains mostly hidden by clouds it was still pretty good.


It took us almost exactly 3 hours to get up there. We had our soup and sandwiches sitting looking over the lake and the started back down, hoping to beat the forecast rain. The clouds started to lift so we could see a bit more of the surrounding mountains and then a very light drizzle started. Still we got back quite dry.

The usual afternoon activities the followed. At dinner we met a swedish couple who live just outside Gotenburg. He is a carpenter for a prestigious yacht builder so he and Colin had lots to talk about. We were also next to the couple of guys we met at Vistas. They arrived very late and had had to detour round a moose. The lady of the couple was not impressed, she had been walking around her village with ear buds in and had inadvertently come too close to a moose and had been chased round the village by it. Not s happy memory. Some fall colours.


8th. Sept. Excursion from Kebnekaise station towards Kebnekaise itself.

A rainless day was forecast and the plan was to walk as far as possible along the west route to the summit of Kebnekaise, turning back when meeting clouds or snow.

While we woke of a clearing day, windy, high clouds and sun. So by 6.15 we were at breakfast and on the trail by 7.30.

An hour saw us at the base to the first step bit up a gully.


Another hour to the top of this section and a bridge in a bowl before another section leading steeply up to a col.


The col was in cloud most of the time, though the main peak was usually clear. It also looked pretty windy up there. That was enough for me but not for Colin. He thought it was lifting so carried on promising to return when he hit the cloud or after an hour. Well I rested 15 minutes then said bugger it and followed him. An hour later I was at the col and knackered. However the cloud was lifting somewhat, though the peak at the top of the next section was still invisible . Enough for me, 2600ft vertical in three hours. So after some soup and a small delay I case Colin returned, I started to make my way down.


It was hard, and my knees started really complaining and I lost trust in them so the going got very slow and frustrating. At the end of the first steep section, an hour down, I stopped and snacked and took two Tylenols. These helped somewhat. Here is a view of the mountains above including a nice little waterfall.


After another 2 leasurely hours in glorious sunshine, and for the first time in two weeks being able to shed both rain jacket and rain pants, though over the usual rocks and rivers I got back to the accommodation.

Talking of rivers, spot the stepping stones.


I used the quiet time to Skype Tina and have a beer while waiting for Colin to reappear, probably having made it all the way up.

Sure enough he appeared at 5. Having made it to the top. He hitched his wagon to two fast guys who knew what they were doing and they towed him to the top and back down again. They turned out to be guys who arrived very late at our previous hut, Singi. I did not see them at the time retired to bed by then. Very fit 50 year olds. Apparently Colin could only keep up because one of them keep stopping to take pictures.

We chatted for a while over a beer and arranged to met latter for dinner. Late dinner (8.30) and eventually bed at 10.45!

Fitbit stats: 2880 ft vertical, 5643 cals. , 22.2 k, 27769 steps.

7th. Sept. Singi to Kebnekaise 14k. 4 hrs 45mins.

For once we started early, 7.30am, having both woken around 6 and not feeling like going back to bed. So for once we were ahead of the morning rush. Also, while it was overcast, it was not raining.

We had the usual hour of hiking before the rain started. In that time we had climbed steadily up. Passed two groups of reindeer and several waterfalls.

At one point it, the low cloud cover made it feel as though we were walking under a grey roof.


The rest of the hike, illustrated below, was done in alternating periods of rain and non rain, and increasing wind. We had our usuall stops for bars and soup.


We finally arrived here in a burst of sunshine.


Mind you it did not last long and was soon pouring again, but by then we were registered, so we were free to populate the drying room and using the cooking facilities to have a late lunch.

Then our first shower for two weeks, and an enormous hot chocolate.

Great meal tonight, with wine. Sauna and. At 9.30 , bed. It is stilly blowing a gale and raining outside.

Fitbit stats: 1310 ft. Vertical., 5433 cals., 21.41 k., 26748 steps.

6th. Sept. Salka to Singi 12k 3hrs 45min.

I was roughly woken at 12.15 by Colin demanding I get up. Eh! Northern lights. Oh. Apparently I missed the best part of the display, but still good. Notable for their full coverage of the sky, not just to the north of us but way to the south of us as well. Logical, but just not what I expected.

Best up at 7. A lovely frosty morning with blue sky and no wind. On the morning run to the loo met the custodian who put a dampener on the morning by saying there was a possibility of showers later.


For once we were the first up, but in no rush. Just finished our breakfast when others started appearing. One lady is carrying a cartoon of eggs! On talking to her we find this is her first multi day hike. She is learning!


We made an earlier than usual start in perfect weather, sun and no wind. We could even see the tops of the surrounding mountains, or at least some of them.


Easy walking, though for a route that was essentially following a river down the valley it still had 500ft. of vertical. It was nice to walk and see the peaks for once.


However, needless to say, after a couple of hours it started clouding over again and a slight breeze came up.

We stopped twice on the way down for snacks, and got here in good time and before its started raining as usual.

The afternoon was spent as usual.

Dinner then bed.

Fitbit stats: 610 ft vertical, 5128 cals., 15.9k., 21411 steps.

5th. Sept. Rest day

Well the weather did change over night. It got colder. At one o’clock it was blowing a gale with sleety rain. Not nice for the 150m run to the toilets! By six at least it had stopped snowing temporarily though the gale blew on. The scenery had changed dramatically, the snow line had dropped 1000ft.


We took an unusually leasurely breakfast , did the chores and generally hung about. The wind was forecast to drop during the day, with the occasional shower. We had planned to explore a side valley, waterfall and lake, but now it was above the snow line. Also we were informed that we would have to wade a deep, fast flowing river to get to the base of the valley, so instead, after lunch, we went for a walk up the trail in the direction we would have come from if not for our detour via Vistas and Nallo. Given the drop in temperature, I decided to try out my extreme cold clothes set up. Three layers on the legs, another top layer, gloves with liners, toque and baseball cap. Thick socks. More than I would wear hiking in -20 in Ontario. Needless to say while I was toasty warm I could hardly move my legs, and my energy levels were low. Colin’s were not so he strode ahead while I ambled after. After 45 mins I stopped and had a 20 rest/nap while Colin went on. I then ambled slowly back enjoying not having to pace on and the sun and the wide open desolate empty space that is this wilderness. No wild life except for just one crow.


Back at the hut I had my soup and read until Colin turned up. The usual lazy afternoon, then dinner, sauna and bed.

Conversations:

Swedish guy, ~ 35, who had just (18mths) returned to Sweden after 10yrs in London. He was having a hard time adjusting to Swedish life. He says he prefers speaking English to Swedish. He was a carpenter, and now works for IKEA building prototype furniture.

French guy also ~ 35, who used to trail run . Has done the TMB. Says his knees are not as good as they were. Still he plans to return and run the Kungsleden.

Fitbit stats: 680ft vertical, 3943 cals., 12.5 k 15590 steps.

4th Sept. Nello to Salka 11k. 3hrs 15 mins.

Heavy rain over night and into the morning, but stopped by when we left at our usual 9.30. As usual it was around 5C. And overcast.

An hours walk took us to the crest and into the wind and rain.


Then a long hard boring slog across a plateau with the more than occasional watercourse to traverse. Pretty soon I had my usual wet feet. A small backtrack  when we found we were passing a lake on the wrong side. Then much much more of the same. After 2 hrs a standing stop for soup with our backs to the wind and rain, then on again.

Suddenly we were at the edge of the plateau and descending on a clearly defined path, the rain stopped, even the wind lessened, and the huts came into view. Colin shot off ahead, but I sauntered slow down enjoying the open scenery and the reduction in stress that comes with knowing the the journey and its uncertainties are vertually over, and that it has stopped raining at least for the present.


We got installed in our allocated hut (undressed in the drying room) and claimed our bunks. Had the rest of our soup and crisp bread then went shopping for three days of supplies. Both Colin and I being almost completely out of the supplies we brought with us.

Leasurely afternoon, a few chores, writing notes,  a brief yoga session, then an early supper. Not freeze dried, but mashed potatoes and salmon in lobster sauce with a side of mackerel. Then sauna, tea and trail mix then more notes, chat and bed.

Wind has swung round to be from the north, perhaps the weather will improve tomorrow.

Fitbit stats: 1000ft. Vertical, 5538 cals., 18.34 k., 22909 steps.

Sept 3rd. Vistas to Nello. 10k., 3 hrs. 15 mins.

Woke at 1 to find someone in the bunk above me where no one was when I went to sleep. Apparently they arrived a midnight having hiked the 34 k from the trailhead stating at midday. Apparently the met a moose on the trail who would not move so they had to go round it.

The cloud base was very low as we had breakfast but as we got ready to leave it started looking better. Temperature around 5 C. We left at our usual leasurely 9.30. Fortunately we stopped at the bridge to take pictures because our hostess started waving at us, Colin had left one of his bags of bits behind.

It was the best mornings walk yet. No rain, little wind, generally easy underfoot, and up a very nice wide valley with mountains on both sides whose tops were lost in the clouds.


We had one interesting river crossing. I got one wet foot, but didn’t care as they were both wet already. Here is Colin’s passage.


Two young women walking with there dogs passed us going the other direction. Other than those two we saw no others on the trail. We had lunch sheltering behind a boulder and the continued up the valley.


The hut here is superbly situated where two valleys met, close to a waterfall.

We got here in good time. We are here with just one other person.

In the afternoon it continued to clear and sun occasionally broke through but the wind also came up so I did not sit outside.

So, laundry, second lunch (crisp bread and mushroom cream spread, trail mix and tea), chat, nap, fetch water, dump waste water, read and write notes and then it’s dinner time.

Fitbit, as of 7.30: 1200 virtical feet, 4793 cals., 14.9 k., 18653 steps.