Next day is free, so we surf the gear shops in the city, but buy nowt 'cept three cylinders of gas for our stove. It's a pleasant place to chill and graze on cakes and coffee though. But the Fjallraven trousers I have my eye on are a silly price.
The following morning we're on the train north. Then, from Murjek, it's a bus to the remote village of Kvikkjokk, well above the Arctic Circle.
After minor sorting outside the fjallstation we lift packs filled with food for nine days on the trail. And set off. It's almost three in the afternoon and the long train and bus journey's left us weary. We manage about 3 miles before we stop...and pitch in the trees.
Awaking refreshed we're away north for a mile or so on the Kungsleden before we reach a junction where we head out north towards Sarek National Park; the Kungsleden turning north-east from here. Sarek is now seen as part of Laponia, a huge UNESCO World Heritage Site stretching right across northern Scandinavia. Laponia is protected primarily because it's the most important remaining site in the world where the indigenous people follow animals (in this case reindeer) on their annual migrations.
Leaving the Kungsleden, the path becomes a little more tricky. The ground is rocky. Undergrowth catches your sac and threatens to poke you in the eye, seemingly at every turn. Break stops are frequent. Mosquitoes are plentiful. Thank God for Mosiguard!
We're headed for the marshlands below the Sami settlement at Boarek. As we hit open country the view spreads before us to reveal snow capped peaks ahead. We find a beautiful pitch above the shore of a lake, but mossies refuse to allow us to sit out and admire the view. Our spacious tent becomes a haven and I soon perfect the art of cooking in the porch with my hands poked through the smallest opening in the netting door.
There's rain overnight and the view has closed in somewhat. Fresh snow has fallen on the mountains.
We carry on to hit our first river crossing.
Before we cross, Chrissie tops up our water bottles, using our MSR Guardian water purifier.
It's about 50 metres to a small island then another 10 metres past that. Chrissie's been here before, with James in 2015. She assures me that, in these conditions, we'll be ok in boots and gaiters. Foolishly, I believe her. She crosses ahead of me. These pictures are of the far side. By the this time, both of us have boots and socks wet through!
I share my thoughts with my beloved as we wring out socks and pour water from boots.
"Next time, let's do it my way eh?", pointing to the lightweight trainers we're carrying for just this situation. She smiles, sheepishly.
The weather's closing in as we move on. Temperatures drop as we climb past Boarek, through trees, before emerging onto open ground again.
We have a lot of flexibility in our plans for this trip. Sarek is tough and a river crossing can be a complete show stopper as it was for Chrissie and James back in 2015. Hence, we have a number of options open to us but we need to be back at Kvikkjokk on day 9, (our bus back to Lulea leaves at 05:20 the following morning).
We chat about the weather. Chrissie is concerned but I encourage her and we carry on upwards, towards another river crossing. It looks doable but, gazing higher I see an easier solution...a snow bridge filling the river gully. We're off higher.
The bridge is deep and safe. We cross without fuss and pitch the tent on the far side. It's windy. It's cold.
We have a brief snatch of phone signal and couple of items are posted on Twitter. It's a wild, windy night. Rain here. Snow higher. Chrissie sleeps fitfully and, in the morning, we have one of those meaningful, marital discussions which many of you out there will recognise. We each have a different view of how best to continue from here. I'll skip the detail but, the eventual resolution is, we'll head back towards the Kungsleden and take an out and back journey north from there.
We pack and make our way back over the snow bridge.
Retracing our steps past Boarek we pause at a sign we noticed yesterday. The hut, built over a hundred years ago by scientist Axel Hamberg is open for visitors for just a few days this week. Our revised schedule has little time pressure so we head into the trees, following the arrow.
To say this visit was a delight would be a gross understatement. We're greeted by a scientist who has been coming here for 50 years. He is sleeping in Hamberg's cabin, adding an air of authenticity to the ambiance. This was how it was intended to be used. The raw materials for the hut, and others which used to be here, were packed in by reindeer over 100 years ago. Though used regularly by researchers, this is the first time the public have been allowed into them. Such serendipity.
There's a small team of locals here, manning the open days. Amongst them a Sami family with their young son. They invite us to join them around their fire for coffee and cinnamon rolls, laying out a reindeer skin for us to sit on.
Fortunately, a number of them speak English, including the Sami folk, putting us, with our lack of Swedish, to shame. But we chat about the hills, science, wildlife and Brexit. The experience leaves us filled with warmth from meeting such friendly, welcoming folk on our travels.
We leave to continue our journey.
And before long, we're back at the river crossing again. This time, we do it my way...boots and socks off, trousers rolled up, sockless with mesh trainers.
THAT'S better :)