Hardly slept at all last night on account of all the snoring! Had earplugs in, but still it felt like I was sleeping in a saw mill. Finally morning came.
We got up early as we wanted to beat the crowds heading up Skierfe, a 15 km detour from Kungsleden and a very popular scenic summit ascent. We hit the trail by eight. The first part out of Aktse is a pretty gruelling climb. I don’t mind climbing, but I hate climbing right after breakfast. I am no morning person and I also have pretty slow metabolism so I don’t feel like the food has converted into energy yet. So it is all a mind game for me before my body catches up, then I am fine. We met a hiker coming down the trail though who actually recognized me from Instagram and greeted me by name. Interesting. Not too many purple haired hikers I guess… a small world.
Once up the mountain we turned left towards Skierfe. The morning fog had been a thick as a blanket down in the valley, but up here it already was starting to dissipate. A little bit at a time it slowly revealed the iconic profile of Skierfe and colorful Rapa Valley in the distance, a little bit by bit, almost like unwrapping a present… a bit mystical.
It was actually shaping up to be a gorgeous day! We are so lucky considering the weather for the past two days, perfect for a summit ascent. We dropped our heavy backpacks a little ways off the trail and packed water and a lunch in the top lids of our backpacks using them as day packs before moving on. It took a little getting used to hiking without the heavy weight on our backs, but it would be nice to travel fast and light for the day.
The experience on Skierfe was truly amazing! The cliff formation is pretty special with a steep 90 degree drop-off, but what makes it so unique is really the location facing the stunning valley below. You could not construct nicer bleachers for the Rapa Valley delta if you tried. The ascent to the summit was pretty steep and rocky, felt almost volcanic in nature, but was not too difficult to manage. We made pretty good time so we almost had the summit to ourselves, save for three other hikers. Nice! By the time we left it started getting crowded up there… but before then we had time for lunch and did some photo sessions. The views were unreal! While I was sitting on the very edge dangling my legs, fighting vertigo and posing for a photo, a golden eagle flew by just a few meters below my feet! Amazing! I feel so lucky! It was also incredible to finally get to see the Rapa Valley delta in real life! I have seen so many photos, but they cannot capture the grandeur of it all. You really have to be there!
Almost a surreal feeling to actually be here, and the feeling lasted for a good while on the way back too. I felt almost drained, like all synopses in the brain had fired all at once like fireworks, leaving me completely spent. Brain does not work too good now, but I am happy anyway. Changed me for life I think.
We had no plans on returning down to Aktse. Instead we wanted to find a place along Kungsleden to put up camp for the night. But we ended up having to hike across the entire mountain before finding water. It was completely dry everywhere! So even though we were tired we had to push on. Cannot make camp with only a few deciliter of water left… We ended up doing about 19 km today, including a summit ascent, yeah baby! Hard core! We finally found a beautiful tent spot though. We are on the eastern slope so I am looking forward to the sunrise here. Will decide what to do about the next stage in the morning. We could make Saltoloukta a day early or take our time getting there. Worth seeping on it before deciding.
While eating dinner we actually got some company! This is unusual. We have not had company at our wild campsites yet on this hike. We had already tucked in for the night, but hopefully we will get a chance to say hello in the morning. Too tired to read… no sleep last night and a very, very long day today… nite nite!