The next two days were spent hiking around the Abisko area on the many trails. While sitting having coffee at the lodge, who should walk in but Kim Madsen, one of our Danish buddies who helped us get on track the first day. What a pleasant surprise! Gullvi was having a problem with a nasty blister, so she rested while Kim and I walked through the woods to the campsite where he and Bo had stayed the previous night. It was close to one of the seven meditation benches placed at scenic overlooks in the national park. We hiked next to a roaring river, which catapulted around immense boulders to produce a series of powerful waterfalls, spraying water into the air as it flowed along a channel carved by years of erosion.
At places, the trail became so marshy that we had to walk on wooden planks. On either side the forest was a fairyland of light green ferns (a delicate type I had never seen before), tall birches, purplish pink wildflowers, and a variety of brightly-colored mushrooms. The higher we walked the more spectacular the river became, rushing and crashing over the rocks. We looked down to the shore from the first meditation spot and there was Bo with his feet dangling in the freezing water. Down we ran. It was a terrific campsite! Bo proudly showed me his cook stove (Triangria), then we had a collective hug and I left. Several minutes later I turned and waved from a high outcropping. I could see them way down below, wading knee-deep in the water. Brrrr.
Upon returning I walked across a small bridge and stood watching the river. The water churned as it raced down the deep channel and under the bridge, continuing into a much narrower hole, like a tunnel. Its power was tremendous as it forced itself into the hole. It reminded me of the popular blowhole at Acadia National Park in Maine.
That evening, after a meal of vegetables and reindeer meat (my first…and last), we sat by a fire that burned in a beautiful modern fireplace, and talked with hikers from all over Europe. We had a perfect view of the largest of the many lakes in the park. Just before sunset I took a walk in the woods and came across an area where environmental groups were calculating the amount of CO2 exchanged between the birch forest and the atmosphere. It had been roped off with warnings not to disturb. Returning, I sat on the porch and watched the sunset. (click here for pictures)