It rained hard all night. I woke many times due to the noise and high wind. Miraculously the rain stopped just as we got up and then we had decent weather for most of the day, just some clouds. We really had picked a beautiful campsite. It was rather magical seeing the morning come rolling out of the valleys below.
The first part of the hike today was fairly easy along a ridge with scenic rolling moors, but I was in a bit of a funk. Not sure why. After a rather wet and muddy descent down to Rävfallsstugan, a pretty nice unmanned rest hut, we stopped for lunch. We had about 7 km left to go to the planned campsite for the day, but somehow we got sidetracked and had to double back, adding another 2,5 km to an already long day. Sigh. Once back on the trail waited the most demanding climb so far, up Nulppa. The trail was narrow, muddy and partially very steep. A very sweaty climb but we finally made it, tired but pleased.
We had two possible campsite options in mind, at bridge two or three on the highland moor. By the time we got to bridge two it was really windy and raining hard! Once again having made the wrong decision about rain gear, we were already soaked, so we decided to hike the additional 3 km to the next bridge and hope the rain would stop by the time we got there. It did not. In fact, I think it got worse!
I am a faster hiker than my friend, so hiked on ahead. Actually we do this most of the time. I hike on for a while, then wait. We are hiking our own hikes, but together… works pretty well actually. I get us going and she gets us pausing. A little hard to wait in this kind of weather though. As soon as I stopped I was freezing. So I either had to keep on moving or stop to put more clothes on, and it is hard to do that when it is raining so hard. My kingdom for rain pants with full zip! In the meantime I dream of fashioning a rain skirt. I actually got a huge trash bag in Ammarnäs and was planning on using that as a makeshift skirt, but I did not put it on because my pants were already soaked from the knee down from walking through the wet vegetation up Nulppa. I reasoned that the pants could not get much wetter. I was way wrong. I learned something today: You can always get more wet, even when you think you are already thoroughly soaked!
By the time I got to the intended campsite I was soaked through to the bone. The jacket kept my upper body somewhat dry (aside from sweat) but otherwise I am soaked… boots are wet too, partially due to the poorly maintained trail with few or crappy footbridges over the wetlands. My brain was not quite in gear all day either which did not help. Rough day!
So this was the first camp pitch in a full on rainstorm. Good thing I had thought this process through ahead of time as it is tricky business with a very small solo tent. It went like this: Pack down rain cover facing up while quickly pitching the tent. This is one of the biggest benefits with Hilleberg tents, you pitch inner and outer tent simultaneously, so the inner stays dry. The other is ease of use, I can pitch my Soulo in under 3 minutes, even in high winds. Still, I had to get my wet self and all the wet gear inside and get organized without getting the inner tent soaking wet. First I tossed the pack into the small vestibule. Next I unhooked half of the inner tent to make room for myself too in the tiny vestibule. I duck in and close the door then all my wet clothes off. Next, get organized. First unpacking the backpack by tossing all the dry gear into the dry zone, the inner tent. Then hooking the inner tent back up again and sliding in, leaving the wet gear in the vestibule with the backpack. A footprint during this maneuver is really required. Worked well!
After cooking a hot meal in the vestibule I am now tucked in and will read for a while before going to sleep. I boiled some water for the Nalgene bottle and have been alternating boots back and forth all evening trying to aid the drying process but I am not optimistic. I am waiting for a break in the rain before I dash out to brush teeth and do a bathroom run. Fingers crossed.
Song of the day: Flicka med guld by Thåström… to match my melancholy mood today I guess.