Sälka hut to Kebnekajse mountain station, almost but not quite via Singi hut (26 km).

We are now back on the main Kungsleden trail, with red crosses to mark the trail, occasional snowmobile traffic etc. Just before Singi we left the main trail for a short while to cut off a corner, skipping the descent to the huts, and then rejoined the Kungsleden again slightly further to the east.

From Sälka to Singi things were still relatively quiet, but after Singi we were clearly approaching civilization again. The trail was wide and numerous skiers and snowmobiles had left their tracks. It was slightly downhill, and many sections looked like scaled-up corrugated cardboard: down and then slightly up again, repeated over and over. We pitied the few groups who were skiing the same section in the opposite direction, going up all those downhill sections.

My camera ran out of juice in the morning so the only photos I have are from the afternoon when we had reached Kebnekajse mountain station and its electrical outlets.

A mountain station is a hybrid between a hut and a hotel, which meant all kinds of luxuries: electricity, running water (showers!), a restaurant, fresh food, rooms with real beds and so on.

But getting back to this spot of civilization also meant that our trip was almost over. We were about to leave the peace and quiet behind and go back to crowds, noise, smells, stress, and all that. I felt sorry that it was coming to an end.

People go on hikes for different kinds of reasons. I tried to untangle my reasons and figure out what I actually get out of this kind of trip.

There are of course the general benefits of a well-planned and well-organized all-inclusive group vacation. I am not responsible for anything or anybody other than myself. I do not need to plan, prepare, manage, schedule or prioritize anything at all. This is a welcome change from my everyday life where I manage something almost all day long: a team at work and a household at home.

When it comes to hiking in particular, I like the physical challenge: exerting myself just enough, feeling my body do what it is supposed to do, and do it well.

I like the beauty of nature. I particularly like mountainous landscapes, and especially if there is also water of some kind. There is something special about mountains, about being above the world.

But above all I like the serenity, the peaceful silence, the lack of people and noise. I need this kind retreat into nature at regular intervals. Even just a few hours in a forest near home works, but this was of course many miles better. The snowy emptiness here was a bit extreme when it comes to serenity, but at times I wished that it could have been even more so: I wished I could have done this alone, to truly be away from people and not see a soul around me.

With these points in mind, this was a good hike but not the best one ever. An ideal hike would have had:

  • More beautiful weather, with some blue skies.
  • Slightly slower pace. Both in general, so I could relax more and not have to think about keeping up with the group, but also because it would give me more opportunities to take photos, perhaps even leave the path for better angles and views.
    This is of course a very personal preference and difficult to achieve when hiking with a group – if the whole group had to wait each time someone wants to take a photo, it would get annoying fast for the others. The group cannot spread out too far either, especially in winter when getting lost can be life-threatening.