Posted by AmyGrowing up near the equator in Miami, Florida has afforded me a strong affinity for flat topography, sea level, and extreme conditions of heat and humidity. Being in the Arctic Circle is an exotic and extraordinarily new experience in a variety of ways — one of which is hiking at the top of the world.
Yesterday, AJ, Dan, and I embarked on a six hour total hike to Mt Nuolja’s summit and back down again. The ascent was tough on this flatlander, but the guys were patient with my frequent breaks and encouraged me with quacking sounds. Turning around to admire the breathtaking view off the mountain was the best part of the ascent — just an hour of climbing made a grand difference in the scope and breadth of the view of Abisko dotting the landscape and brilliant blue of Lake Torneträsk framed by snowcapped mountains. At the summit, we were rewarded with a 360 view that included the Gateway to the Lapplands, the towns below, nearly the entirety of Lake Torneträsk, mountain ranges, lakes formed by accelerated snowmelt, and a field phone that had been dropped by the last group that hiked!
A big perk about the descent were sizable snowbanks that provided an exhilarating and quick way down! AJ, Dan, and I slid down three snowbanks at (what felt like) warp speed compared to hoofing it down. We hiked the rest of the way down with big smiles and cold butts.
Important note: water-resistant field pants are necessary for this, as Dan proved when he shook handfuls of snow out of his shorts. We also saw two spotty toads near the base of the mountain before concluding the night. It was a great hike in great company.