Monday July 6th 2015. Stjuultjie 25 km.

Han ontwaakt in zijn tent in Rävfallstugan

 Han waking up in his tent in Rävfallstugan


Korte pauze

Short lunch break: Han, me and Tosca


Samen houses

Helicopter brengt vissers naar hun visplaats

Helicopter brings fishermen to their fishing place

Rendieren. Tosca is bijna niet te houden

Rendeer. Tosca is untamable


Soppen door natte moerassen

Dredging through wet moors


Moeilijk lopen met trekkende Tosca

Walking is difficult with ever pulling Tosca

Overnacht in hut Stjuultjie met Duitser, op achtergrond. Zweeds koppel in midden gaat verder

Sleeping in Stjuultjie cabin with German in the back. Swedish couple in the middle goes on

25 Km. of mountain walking through Lapland, dipping in swamps, jumping over fast-flowing streams. Somewhere in the vast treeless fjäll plateau, after a lunch we lost the route. Now this was not evident here. All kinds of paths crossed, different signs for summer – and winterroutes, snowmobile trails, reindeer paths etc. turned the roadmap into a muddle. Making long detours to avoid a deep patch of swamp or a large snow field, and then again we stood in front of a mountain stream, of which was not visible where you could cross it. The marshes were sometimes so deep that we sank in the water a few centimeters, but sometimes the water flowed fast and it was hard to keep in balance and suddenly it was 10-15 cm deep or more. Moreover, the marshes were largely covered with dense undergrowth, 20-50 cm. high. Crossing this with a dog on a leash, is like they say in English “a pain in the ass.” Always the leash got caught in dense bushes, the knees had to be lifted up high, you had to jump from pole to stone, a few steps running through a deep body of water. Under a snow field a brook could run and you did not know if the snow cover over a mountain stream was thick enough to support your weight. Tosca and I had our own different ideas about what was the best route. I absolutely could not rely on her, because she gets crazy when she spots the reindeer. Once she has already rushed a group of animals hundreds of yards and that should not happen again. I was almost exhausted, but what choice I had? Just going on is the answer, and whether it is “fun” is not an option. Han’s feet were soaking wet. We can not be wrong? Get the map and the compas. This larger lake right here is on the map. But the place is full of lakes. And which branch of what lake will lead us to the cabin? It started getting cloudy around the mountains peaks, only 200m. above us. Strong wind and the first drops. Finally arriving at the unmanned Stjuultjie cabin the door didn’t open. Startled, a man, who later turned out to be a 59-year-old German, looked outside through the door window. Ho, ho,he shouted. He had tied the door in its frame, because the door was hanging in only one handle. Inside appeared to be a table with three small benches against the walls. The wooden benches could possibly be used as brits. While I was walking 300 m. to the lake to get water eight new guests arrived. They could not all go sleeping in the cabin. First I tore a few nails out of the wall of the neighboring firewood shack and then with an ax and a hammer I more or less repaired the door handle of our cabin. The Swedish couple and the German ate with us, and the two Swedes left to look for a camping spot 10 km. ahead. Another Swede with three Americans were lying in the sawdust packed against each other on the floor in the small wood shack. Therefore Tosca, whom I had placed there, had to make room for them and had to move out. Han thought he’d better sleep in his tent. Finally, the small cabin with three small banks remained for the German and for me. Get your dog anyway, he said. He would have done the same with his long-haired German Standing hunting dog. Well, great, overcrowding was solved and Tosca had good luck again.

It was funny that all the newcomers knew about a Dutchman with a dog who crossed Europe. They told me about a German who is right ahead of me and who also heads to  Cape North. Everyone talks about everyone and there’s a general feeling of being together. We have already become real Rangers: drinking from streams, ponds and rivers, of course, urinating ! in the wild, we no longer smell like aftershave, arm pit spray, Calvin, Joop, Guhl or lily of the valley. We enjoy having survived another day. Finally back to basics. Cool wah! Han’s like Tosca, indestructible, inter alia with the difference that he is not chasing reindeer and does not bark. He appears insect proof, probably will still sleep well on a bed of nails, running around only wearing a t- shirt at temperatures below 10 C. and with cold winds and crossing deep swamps like Jesus walking on the water. 1.95 m. tall and can do with less food than I can. While Tosca like a draft dog pulls me uphill,  Han drags his 100 kg. to the mountain top purely on his own. And he can read maps better. Soon I’ll have to do it all alone again. Maybe then I can then join some one. The question is whether such a person wants that, because here also run around quite some loners. Like our Swedish young lady in orange, who we incidentally have left behind us. Photo. And Magnus and a Scot, who braved swarms of mosquitoes in shorts and short sleeves. He probably smelled bad enough.
While Han installed the primus, I took water from the lake 250 m. away. The lake was cut off by the swamp with bushes. O.K., then just tapping bog water from the swamp. Terrified two adult grouse fled away. While the mother pretended she was lame, her chick ran through the low bushes in the opposite direction. Snow Grouse is here, like reindeer and elk, on the menu cards.
Han was sleeping in his tent. I with the younger elderly German on a cot in the cabin.

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