Posted by AJ
So we’ve all spent over a week in Abisko now, and things have been going pretty well. Everybody is in the swing of things with their projects, and we have all had some opportunities to explore nature (without having to worry about taking samples afterwards). Fourth of July weekend (more on that, later) yielded unbelievably beautiful weather, which we all took as an opportunity to hike up Nuojla (pronounced “New-Lah”, if you’re an American).
Now, if you’ve somehow managed to move past those pictures without breaking your keyboard from your jaw dropping, then kudos to you, here is some info on the hike. From a total flybytheseatofmypants estimate, the summit was about 6 kilometers (~3.5 miles) from ANS, with maybe 1 kilometer of flat land. Upon reaching the base of the mountain, which is a ski resort when snow is present (like every other month besides July), the path follows a small creek of snowmelt from the top. The trail was unlike any I had previously encountered: untamed, unmanaged, and occasionally imaginary. Wildflowers bloomed up the face of the mountain, and then gave way to squishy sphagnum moss and Eriophorum at the top (us Mire kids’ favorite type of flora). Bottom line: it was groundbreaking, and breathtaking, and nobody wanted to leave.
As momentous as Nuojla was for the avid hiker, the view from the peak will not be the only thing remembered from this weekend. As you likely know, the Fourth of July was on Friday. Despite the quiet mountain town of Abisko lacking fireworks, an open bar, or even an proud American Flag waving, we all celebrated like was expected: Swedish refreshments, a packed sauna, and bone-chilling dips into lake Torneträsk. It was the first break that most of us had gotten since leaving UNH, and everybody had a blast. Common themes of the night were storytelling, roasting hot dogs, and making the mad-dash from the sauna to the freezing lake 20 meters away. Was it worth the plunge? Definitely, even if every fiber of your body screamed to be back in the 80°C sauna. Personally, I was proud of everyone who participated. If you know Eric Heim, or are interested in a video telling of his SLEEPWALKING STORY (as told by yours, truly), click that link:
Well, that’s all for now, I’ve got some pictures (selfies) to take in the mire, and those mountains aren’t going to hike themselves.