The day we started our hike was an adventure in itself. We arrived early at the bus stop, but when no bus appeared we went into the depot only to discover that the bus was leaving from the railroad station, and was probably already gone. And the next one would not come ‘til noon. The agent was very concerned and apologetic, but there was nothing to do but run like mad toward the highway, hoping to hitch a ride. We got slightly lost ducking between old buildings and trying to find the highway, but suddenly Gullvi spotted a bus way down below in what we were to discover was the railroad station entrance. We started waving our arms and running, yelling like a couple of crazies. No way could we cut off and go down the hill, because of a high fence. Instead, we had to go around the long way. Breathless, we arrived to see the driver standing in front of the bus with a big smile and the greeting, “I thought you’d be coming, so I waited. The agent from the bus station called and said two ladies were in distress. I have a sixth sense.” And a big heart. Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus!
When we reached Bjorkliden Fjallby we stopped at the Hotel Fjallet and talked with a guide about our trail. The day was cold and foggy and the directions were anything but clear. Nor were the markers. A normal trail, unmarked in spots, and a winter trail shown by two red markers (like a slender cross) atop a tall pole. This was probably a ski trail in winter and went up and over a lot of residual snow. We even found another trail intersecting these two. But the hiking suited me fine, since it was cold. Rushing brooks and wildflowers abounded, and before we knew it we were at the foot of a tremendous ice field that stretched further than we were willing to go. There were no footprints and without ice axes it looked pretty dangerous. We were definitely lost, and even with our compass, were unsure of which way to go. Just as all seemed lost two figures appeared in the mist. Kim Madsen and Bo Mortensen, chemical engineers from Denmark, who took us under their wing. Together, we made it through several ice fields and over lots of jagged rocks to the summit. How grateful we were to our new friends! They went off to set up camp (it would not be the last time we’d meet), but we headed for a bright red cabin, Laktatjakka, for the most luxurious stay I’ve ever had in any mountain hut. A charming young hostess, a sauna, a fancy meal served with wine, and my second experience with the midnight sun. Pure delight.(click here for pictures)