I snuck out of camp at first light. Unfortunately, the only spot to set my tarp up the night before had been over dry leaves, so it was difficult to pack up without making a complete racket. I woke my neighbors, the two bankers from Stockholm. I had a feeling they weren't planning on rising with the sun and felt guilty but elected to be speedy and loud over slow and pretty loud. All of my belongings were on my back and I was walking away in less than ten minutes.
The weather was good and I was anxious to get the lake crossing behind me just in case any wind came along.
The Laitaure delta was green and silty. There was no wind when I started rowing but it picked up and began raining after the first island. The rowing took longer than I thought it would. Skierfe, the largest mountain to the north became more and more visible as I crossed. The launch on the south side of Laitaure was steep and it cost me some time and a wet boot to pull the boat up and secure it properly. After that was set, I sat in the shelter and ate oatmeal for breakfast feeling beat.
I could have gone back to sleep but I walked on. The drizzle ended and left behind a muddy trail. The way to Parte was brushy and steep and long.
At lunch, I tried to cure my exhaustion with a hot meal but it didn't work so I decided to stop when I arrived at Parte. There was a couple camped on the south side of the peninsula. It jutted out into another lake. I went straight to the steps of a closed down shelter and sat there to look at my maps. A few minutes later a woman named Claudia from Germany came down and sat next to me while her boyfriend fished in the lake. She talked nonstop. Lucky for tired, grumpy me, her happiness was completely contagious. Soon we were looking at my maps and she was translating from her guidebook (she read Swedish!) and figuring out what the next section would be like. The biggest worry was that the rowboats for the last lake would be hauled out and we'd have no way to cross.
I woke up early to get to Kvikkjokk. There is a delta there though so I couldn't go further on my own. Claudia, John (Claudia's boyfriend) and I made arrangements with a man named Björn to be taken across the delta the next morning in his boat so I got to spend the better half of the drizzly day inside and warm.
Björn ate dinner with us and joked that we could swim across the last lake if we had to. Or maybe he wasn't joking because he advised that we all take trash bags to put our packs in if we needed to do this! Kvikkjokk is a Sami village of around 15 people. Björn lived there his whole life. Grows and hunts all of his food. He kept apologizing to us that his hands were covered in dirt from harvesting potatoes but none of us had showered in over a week, so we were the ones who probably should have been apologizing.
Claudia, John and I camped behind the Fjällstation on a grassy lawn above a river. Perfect conditions for condensation. It was too cold to sleep so I called a friend on the other side of the world on my cell phone while huddled in my sleeping bag.