Old Stone Cottage to Randalselva
The last few days it feels like my progress is stalling. Like I am standing still. Obviously, that is just a imagination from my side as I am continously hiking 35 kilometer days. Yet, I wonder where this feeling is coming from.
Back to the topic: for the first time since Nordkapp, I use my headlamp. It's dark inside the cottage and I want to make sure I packed everything.
The first few meters are a pleasure to walk on a a dry, well formed trail. A great way to start into a new hiking day.
As always: the pleasure doesn't last long. It gets wet. Very wet. Lots of wetlands as I'm following Bjollaga River. Eventually, I cross the river via a bridge. Speaking of bridges: since Sulitjelma, all of them have been in a superb state. Once across, the trail wastes no time and climbs steeply away from the river above the tree line into my favorite terrain. Or so I thought. To my disappointment, it remains boggy, even as the trail climbs a bit more. Now rocks come into play too. And it happens when I cross one of these rock fields. I stumble, falling towards a thankfully flat rock. Chest and hands simultaneously hit the rock.
Beside some discomfort in my chest and wrists, everything seems alright. However, it shows how quickly something can happens.
Coincidence or not: a few minutes later I walk past a sword, rammed into the rock. In memory of a guy, one year older than me, who passed away (I assume at this place) a couple of years ago.
The outdoors are a dangerous place. But so are cities and roads. In the end we all have to go.
I'm I get carried away again... Back to my hike: I pass Raudfjelldaskoia, a tiny hut and decide to have my late breakfast/early dinner break. It's 10:30h.
Inside the steaming hot hut, I meet Martin, a Norwegian thru-hiker heading the opposite way. He's taking his sweet time to start into his hiking day. We have a wonderful chat about our gear, especially my sandals (he used to hike parts of PCT in Lunas) and exchange what to expect trail wise in the coming days.
An hour later I say goodbye and a few steps further up the valley pass the Arctic Circle. It's a significant milestone for me and maybe makes the feeling of not making progress go away. Trail wise the remaining day is straightforward, with a bit of roadwalk.
My plan in staying at Randalska ends in a disaster. Firstly, I have a hard time finding 'it', even though a sign says it's only 15 meters away. Secondly, when I finally find 'it', I can't believe what I see. Hard to describe. I suggest you look at the photo below. More a place for Hobbits than for me. While I am certainly not picky when it comes to places to sleep, this thing is a big no-no. Especially, as it's filled with rubbish.
A bit disappointed, I continue. The sun is shining brightly though, making the search for a campspot quite enjoyable. It's a short search as there are suitable spots like sand on the beach. Too easy.