Do you remember me buying three different bottles mosquito repellent last year? (see Camping in the wild vs wild camping). In the land of the mosquitos and the biting midges, I was hoping to find the right stuff that can transform me from an all-you-can-eat-buffet to some random creature that's just in the way sometimes.It helped, because after I bought them, they bothered me very little. Apparently buying them was sufficient. This time I bought something else to fight the enemy, Thermecell, a small and lightweight device you can mount on you gas carteridge. It creates a protection zone of 20 square meters that mosquitos, flies and midges can't enter. And again, just buying it was enough to keep them away. Or could it be the rain and cold? It was 4°C when I stepped on the bicycle...
I had wonderful weather for a couple of days and the St. Olavsleden only got more pretty as I rode over it. The town Östersund is at the Storsjön lake. In that lake lives the lake monster Storsjöodjuret according to a legend. From 1635 on there has been reports of sightings of the snake-like monster with a head of a dog and a fin on it's back. Up to now there is no conclusive evidence that the monster actually exists. I would have loved to report that I saw the monster, but once again I have to disappoint you in that regard. I took a detour to see a six thousand year old rock excavation near Glösa. At the small open air museum near it, I spoke with ‘Hunter Fox’ (see photo). We didn't only talked about the history of Norway, but he also thought that writing a guide for a route is not needed anymore and that a website should suffice. I found it entertaining actually, that someone dressed in moose hide is telling me this.
The wonderful weather came to an abrupt end and these last days I rode the most wonderful part of the route in the rain, cold and a strong head wind. The weather was appropriate for the area I cycled through though: the largest winter sport area of Sweden with the town Åre at it's center. A passed two impressive waterfalls from which the second, Tännforsen, is the largest of Sweden. After that I left the populated area.
Despite the cold, hard wind and rain, I enjoyed it tremendously.
At first I felt I was riding too long on a busy road - for Swedish standards. I call it the 'small bridges road' for now, because of the view on ancient stone bridges that I passed by.
But once on the gamla vägen (old road), the rain stopped and I finally find myself in a desolate area. And there I passed the border with Norway. The landscape changed instantly. The gravel road went over in a grassy track and the sloping landscape changed into a rough mountain area. The grassy track was hard to cycle over because of the previous rainfall, but I took in stride. I was loving it. Further ahead I reached the highest point of the route, Høgfjellet, at 650 meters.
And as a bonus, A couple of kilometer further, I found the most wonderful sleeping spot up till now: a shelter next to a stream with a bridge across it, Kvilbekken.
Today I arrived in Vuku. In 2019 I stopped here because I got sick. Here I cycled to Trondheim and back again. So, the road ahead is familiar to me. Near Vuku is a part that's uncyclable. I concluded that in 2019 (see The fates of King Olav. And a cyclist), but I wanted to try again anyway. Maybe it didn't work out because I got sick after that (see: A limit reached).
But now I'm healthy and strong and once more I find it uncyclable. Last time I gave up and went back. This time I came from the other side and I wanted to go al the way. From the 1 and a half hour it took, I was dragging my bicycle though the mud and walking large parts for an hour. Too bad, because it is a very beautiful part. There is an alternative though. An hard surface road that let's you wheel down.
As I look at the weather app, I see that I won't try out the Thermacell in the coming days...