Leaving Luleå and going out to the archipelago

Thursday, August 3rd, 2017

We met up with Fredrik and Veronica in Luleå harbor in the morning. They also have two furry family members, Gordon and Pedro, who greeted us with excitement. We started out with having a cup of tea onboard Alvilda, their sailboat, and made a plan for the day.

Kelly and Fredrik stayed in the harbor to pack the boat with our stuff from the car, put some of their stuff in the car, go to the store and buy a new lamp for the boat, and play with install a new radio. Veronica and I took care of the errands in town: oriental grocery store, pharmacy, Systembolaget and lots of grocery shopping.

Back at the boat, with all our chores done, we enjoyed lunch in the sun. Already at this point, I was certain that this would be an awesome trip. We are in the company of foodies! 😉

After a tasty meal, it was time to sail away. We left Luleå behind us and steered towards Liggskär (according to the charts) or Likskär (according to the sign on the island).

Leaving Luleå. To the right are the yellow and blue icebreakers that keep Swedish harbors open during the winter. To the left you can (just barely) see the cathedral of Luleå sticking up above the other buildings.

Kelly and Fredrik

Veronica and Gordon

Pedro on my lap

When we arrived in Liggskär/Likskär, it was time for dinner (and wine!) so Veronica fired up the barbecue.


We all went out to walk the dogs on the beach. The sunset was amazing, and the full moon even more so.

Chapter 2 of the Hubble Summer Adventure 2017

Thursday, August 3rd, 2017

It's time to embark on the next chapter of our trip. We're meeting up with our friends Fredrik and Veronica here in Luleå and are going out with them on their sailboat in the archipelago for a few days. We are (and have been for a while) incredibly excited about this! Since we just bought a sailboat ourselves, we are also hoping to learn a lot from them, as they are very experienced sailors.

Their boat is an Allegro 33 and they have sailed it from the west coast of Sweden all the way up to Bottenviken.

The red point is their starting point and the blue is the current position.

Fredrik has blogged about their transition to life as digital nomads on his blog metallapan.se.

Driving to Luleå

Wednesday, August 2nd, 2017

Today we split up – Fredrik, Camilla and Vendla went south to visit friends in Östersund (and head towards home), whereas we went north-east to the coast. I missed them as soon as I saw them go the other way in my rear view mirror.

Kelly and I drove all day to get to Luleå by the evening. It was an uneventful day apart for some pretty views of the landscape and some wildlife on the road: a mother grouse and two chicks, and many reindeers.

We didn't get any pictures of the grouse and chicks, but this is what they looked like:

The reindeers aren't very difficult to take pictures of, since they couldn't care less about people, or cars…

We arrived in Luleå at about 6 o'clock in the evening. We booked a very basic cabin at Örnvik Hotell & Konferens and booked the laundry room as well. In the evening we switched from hearing only the sounds of the wind in the trees, and the soft rushing of the river rapids in the distance, to the sounds of civilization: music, people, traffic. But there were at least no mosquitoes.

Morning wash in the rapids

Wednesday, August 2nd, 2017

I don't think I slept many hours last night, but I still felt pretty good in the morning. The ground underneath the tent was very uneven; my hip had been lying on something hard and hurt a lot because of it. I was able to stretch it out though. On the other hand, it was amazingly quiet and peaceful, which was very pleasant when going to sleep. Just a soft murmur from the rapids in the distance, lulling me away to dreamland. It was quiet, nice and sunny when we woke up.

We had a quick rinse of the face in the river-slash-lake. Vendla wanted to go for a full swim in the rapids! It was very cold, but she did it anyway – with daddy's help of course so she didn't fall in.

There weren't quite as many mosquitoes today as last night, but still too many for comfort. We had breakfast and broke camp before more rain came in.

Morning wash in the lake
Lilla Grytsjön above the dam
Panorama of the camp (left) and the mill (right).

Free camping @ Skvaltkvarnen, Lilla Grytsjön

Tuesday, August 1st, 2017

We got off the Wilderness Road (well, the official one at least – everything is more or less wilderness up here) and started looking for a place to camp. It was late in the afternoon and our information about the area was incomplete, as we soon realized. We tried to find either an organized camp ground or a good spot for free camping, in the area around Marsliden. Both options failed. Marsliden is located at the end of the road to Marsfjället, or as the they say themselves: "Marsliden – where the road ends and the adventure begins". This looked very promising to us.

The road to Marsliden (not my picture)

We looked around but didn't find a good place for camping, so we continued driving down another road to a place that might have potential. If that didn't work, our next step was to head back to one of the little towns we had gone through earlier. We could see a rain storm drawing closer, and it increased our sense of urgency a lot. We wanted to get our tents up before the rain came.

Our gamble paid off. We came to an old mill, "Skvaltkvarn", by the lake Lilla Grytsjön. It was adorable.

The old mill

Checking where to set up camp

Setting up camp in the rain, fighting mosquitoes…

… and it was so worth it! What a view! The picture doesn't do it justice, but it's the best I can do with the iPhone.

Kelly was so happy to find Norrlands guld ("Norrland's gold") right by the tent: hjortron! Cloudberries in English.

When we got the camp set up, we proceeded to make dinner and the sun came out 🙂 .

After dinner, I took Vendla on a troll hunt! I noticed when we arrived that there where little trolls placed around the area by the mill, so I told her that we should go looking for trolls 🙂 . She quickly got into the play and started searching for them.

This was one of the many trolls 🙂

When we had discovered all the "made up" trolls that we could find, I convinced her that not all trolls are as obvious as the one above. Some just look like rocks! According to old folklore, the trolls lived in rocks or mountains. So we went around looking for rocks that look like trolls. It was a fun imagination game. We saw the troll king, a sleeping troll woman, and lots of other ones.

Vendla and I out on a troll hunt ♥

Vendla is feeling the sleeping troll

Look! There's his nose! 🙂

There was a serious amount of mosquitoes, the most that we have encountered so far. We used mosquito repellent both on our bodies, on our clothes, and those smoking things that can be placed on a table, but it didn't make that much of a difference. They were still attacking us from everywhere, they flew into our eyes and tried to get inside our clothes. We had to give up on being outside and head for Fredrik & Camilla's tent. We sat inside there for a while, talking and making plans for tomorrow.

Lilla Grytsjön

View from up where we camped

The lake below the mill

Fjäll in the distance. It's so beautiful here! Too bad there are all those mosquitoes…

Chilling in the tent before bedtime


Tuesday, August 1st, 2017

We made a quick stop at Trappstegsforsen ("the Stairway Rapids"). It's a beautiful waterfall naturally shaped like stairs. It's located along Vildmarksvägen, right below the lake Kultsjön a few kilometers east of Saxnäs.

Since I'm not the greatest photographer, I'm also adding a couple of images that I found and thought were pretty:


Tuesday, August 1st 2017

Today we drove part of Vildmarksvägen – the Wilderness Road. It's a 500 km long road in northern Jämtland and southern Lapland. Vildmarksvägen goes through some breathtakingly beautiful landscapes; the part we drove today went through valleys with big lakes as well as up on the fjäll above the tree line.

This is where we drove today:

Not far from Gäddede, we came to Jormvattnet. It was beautiful, but we didn't stop for any pictures so I'm borrowing this one from @marcussjogren on Instagram.

After that, we started to go up in the mountains, or fjäll as they are called here. At the Stekenjokk plateau, we did stop to take some pictures, and to have some fika. There was a bit of rain coming and going, but we timed our fika break well and had a nice time on the kalfjäll (kalfjäll is the part of a mountain that is bare ("kal"), i.e. above the tree line).

No trees, but plenty of growth anyway.

Still some snow up here in July. Fredrik and Vendla are posing 🙂

Vendla is running to Kelly

Fredrik and Vendla

Successful self portrait of all of us!

Kelly is out exploring