Thursday, 30 October 2014

4 September: Through Maligne Pass

This is the first morning I have for myself, and after the long day yesterday I decide to wake up late.  I take my food from the bearhang and cook my breakfast.  It's another beautiful day.  Maybe my first day without meeting people?

From the campground, I soon leave the forest and enter the alpine Tundra around Maligne Valley.  The lake and the mountains above remind me of Sápmi.  Even the sound of the birds does.  The trail is too large, though, to be a Sápmi one, except if it were at Kungsleden.  The trail is also too easy.  But the landscape here is really similar.

The backpack is still heavier than it's been in Sápmi.  In one way it is wilder here: there are bears and other animals who can be dangerous to humans.  That's why I have two bear boxes.  This makes my backpack heavy and very large indeed.

I take a break near the lake and then continue toward the passs.  An old woman hikes in the opposite direction.  “You're not a bear!”, she says.  That I can agree with.  I didn't expect to meet another hiker.  She is the third person I see on the 35 km since I've been on this trail.  It's not an empty trail at all.  It's the second time in my life that someone accuses me of not being a bear.  The previous time was several years ago, near Máttaráhkká.  Then I approached a woman picking berries.

The woman I meet now is 72 years old.  She has done the Jonas Pass loop and the Skyline trail, so now she has to connect the two, she explains.  Impressive to be still backpacking at this age.  Solo.

Hiking down from the pass, I soon enter the forest again.  Why is the forest shortly before the treeline in North America and the Alps dominated by coniferous trees, but in Sápmi dominated by birches?  Either way, the forest is still green here.  The larches/tamaracks have not yet started changing colour.

I meet two more people a bit further on, Polish girls.

The forest gets denser down to Poboktan.  Now I reach the intersection with the Poboktan creek trail.  The “Don't waste your time” guidebook describes this part as boring forest, “no matter what spin-doctoring biologists tell you”.  It's not the first time I disagree with this guidebook, that seems to be negative about most places I'm hiking.  And this is a nasty way to talk about biologists.

Originally I planned to stop today at the Poboktan campground, but it's a boring place.  Although I'm already tired I decide to continue to Waterfalls anyway.  Up through the forest and increasingly tiresome, but it's rewarded.  Again a day longer than I had planned, but the campground at the end is very pretty.

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