Birches and Kieron
After trekking for 10 miles into the wilderness of Abisko National Park in Swedish Lapland, I was relieved to reach my destination. The last couple miles were the toughest, crossing a frozen lake fully exposed to the wind. My face was getting numb and the last of my water was now a block of ice. After warming up a bit I went back out to capture the mountain Kieron glowing in the evening sunlight. High peaks surround this scenic valley in the Scandinavian Mountains. The vegetation at the edge of tree line mostly consists of short birches, with everything else buried under a meter of snow. This was the first segment of the Kungsleden, a popular 270 mile long hiking and skiing trail. Ski season doesn’t start until the 2nd half of winter, the first half is much too dark. Mountain cabins are spaced about a day’s journey apart. They lack electricity or running water. But chopping firewood and collecting water from a hole cut in the ice keeps guests busy. The facilities included a small store, caretaker’s cabin, bunkhouse, and of course a sauna.