Hike Sweden, Day 4: Thank God for the Germans

Day 4: Salka to Singi

Time was that Sweden built bunkers and military camps across this entire region to guard against German troops attacking their precious railroad for transporting ore. We passed close to the remnants of some outside of Abiskojaurestugorna on Day 2.

How times change. I was talking to the Singi hut warden, Jan, at the end of relatively modest day’s hiking.

“I wouldn’t have a job if it wasn’t for Germans,” he said.

Germans are the number one international hikers on the trail, followed by Dutch (in their August vacay), and some Belgians.

Looking for German hikers
Looking for German hikers

Singi camp was only 12 kms further from Salka, which was all we could have managed given yesterday’s 25km effort. But it was over almost entirely over stones and boulders, and my shoe sole was very literally worse for wear.

In addition to being an unofficial diplomat, Jan was also an expert shoe-maker, and had his own business in Stockholm. He looked at my shoe and told me to come to his hut after dinner.

There were three wardens when I arrived, cap in hand, and broken boot in the other.

He rummaged for a few seconds and pulled out 5 garden variety household nails. These he roughly hammered around the edges of the sole, and then stuck a strip of silver gaffer tape around the heel.

Thanks to the nails the sole would no longer flap against the stone, but clickety-clack like a tap-dancing shoe.

“If they have Gorilla glue at the next hut, use that, it’s stronger,” said one of the other wardens.

“And if that doesn’t work, let me guess, I throw them out?” I offered.

“Yes. Or sell them on eBay.”

Today it was time to trial the Primus jet boil stove I’d bought in Abisko tourist station (cheaper than renting an old Trangia for a week…go do the math on that?!).

A word of warning: while a watched pot never boils, an unwatched jet boil will do so almost immediately. This thing was so fast and effective it could cook a slow-roasted lamb in under 9 minutes.

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