The Last Lake Crossing

There didn't seem to be any way to know if the row boats would be at the final lake crossing.  In Kvikkjokk, Björn had even tried to call friends further south to find out but they weren't sure either.  The boats get mysteriously helicoptered out every fall, sometimes as early as mid-September and it was already September 23rd.  The lake crossing was a narrow one, so I counted on being able to swim if I had to but it was cold.  

I still had to get ferried across the Riebes and walk a half a day from the southern bank to reach the final crossing, so all there was to do was wait and see.  

The Spanish hunters were supposed to be ready at the boat launch on the Riebes at 9 but took forever to appear.  The Italian guides drove down to the lake to drop off their hunting dogs and more time ticked by.  

The Sami man taking us across Riebes had me wash my shoes in the lake before I was allowed to board his very clean boat.  It had a little cockpit that I was invited to duck in out of the cold.  Once inside, it was insisted that I sit in the captain's seat.  The Sami man did not speak English but spoke a little Spanish so we managed some conversation that way but not much.  I commented on his luck charm.  A little stuffed animal fish that hung in front of the glass window and he smiled.  

The hunters were finally ready and we were off. We motored out of the protected bay and into the lake.  I hadn't realized how enormous it was.  It took us forty minutes to drive to where the hunters wanted to be dropped off.  Their dogs hopped off the second we hit shore with gleeful enthusiasm and the hunters followed, pausing to wish me safe travels and say that I had better come hike El Camino next.  In another thirty minutes, we landed where the Kungsleden continued on the far side of the lake.  

It was nearly afternoon by the time I started walking and a rain shower hit as I climbed the first hill away from the lake.  I startled a small moose on the climb and watched him run off towards the east.  

The trail crossed open flats and then dipped back down into a valley on the muddiest ATV track. After that, it bumped up and down in forest until it finally brought me to the last lake crossing.  I approached it with great apprehension knowing that it was too cold to safely swim across.  

One rowboat was thankfully still there which was an enormous relief. 

There was only one rowboat on my side, so I had to paddle back and forth three times to tow a second one over.  

It was good to make it to Jakvikk.  There was a small store where I was able to buy some fresh food and even ice cream.  My hope had been to stay at the hostel but no one was there to check me in.  I tried calling a couple of times and then gave up and hiked uphill out of the village with my pint of ice cream in my backpack.  


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