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Single Trail in Five Days

Single Trail in Five Days

Hiking Sweden’s Kungsleden is a long and arduous journey, but you can just do a small part of it and still get a good experience.

MOSS-green plains, crystal-clear streams, gazing reindeer: This is the Kungsleden, or King’s Trail, which seems to fulfill every cliche about Sweden. Divided between a southern and northern part, Sweden’s longest hiking trail covers some 800km. It winds along the border with Norway, through pristine birch forests, across glistening fields of snow and the mountainous regions. The following is a five-day camping trek covering 78km.


Day 1: On the northern Kungsleden

The northern part of the Kungsleden is about 440km long, divided into five sections. This trek covers the southernmost section, from Arnmarnas and proceeding in a south-westernly direction through the nature preserve of Vindelfjaellen and finishing in Hemavan, 78km away.

To get started, take one of several trains of the Swedish railways SJ running daily from Stockholm to Ostersund. From there, a rural bus takes travelers to Sorsele and then to the starting point, Ammarnas, some 500km north of Stockholm.

This journey alone takes about 14 hours, past forests and lakes and remote villages with their bright-red wooden houses and barns. One arrives late in the evening in Ammarnas. It is much
cooler here than in Stockholm, and jackets and trousers are in order.

Even in August, the night temperatures can dip to as low as 3°C, while daytime temperatures can occasionally go beyond 20°C. A long jacket offers some protection against the many mosquitoes in the evening while searching for a camping spot.


Day 2: Reindeer, rain and the first sauna

Shortly after leaving Ammarnas, the trail leads upwards above the Tjulan Valley through a forest and then to the first of five managed tugans, or huts, where for RM80 to RM100 per night, a hiker can spend the night. At an elevation of 800m, the Aigerstugan but is on the boundary to the treeless mountain tundra landscape.

Aigerstugan is only about 8km from Ammarnas, yet for families and sauna fans, the brief hike appears to be a popular destination. “The best sauna is here,” a man calls out. “There is another one 18km away, but this one here is the best.”

Soon afterwards, the Swedish national mascot appears; a herd of reindeer is grazing just a few feet away. Soon we pass the highest point of this stage, the juovvatjahicka hut.

At around 1.200m. the alpine zone begins here, and one notices the much cooler weather. Its windy and foggy. Then a heavy rain sets in. But even in poor visibility, the large red trail markers of the Kungsleden are easily recognizable.


Day 3: Moraine landscape

On the third day, the trail leads to the Tarnasjostugan but located on the rock-lined Tarnasjo Lake. A few moments later, an older Swedish man with nothing but a towel over his shoulder appears.
“Very soon a great many naked people will be coming here and jumping into the lake,” he warns, pointing to a sauna next to a dock.

On the way to Syterstugan, the most interesting landscape of the trail opens up. It first leaves the lake behind. Soon afterwards, it enters a moraine landscape of tiny lakes, islets and ponds linked with each other by seven bridges. This stretch of the northern Kungsleden is definitely more hiker-friendly when compared with some sections of the southern route, where one must reckon with getting wet feet.

After a brief upward stretch, the Syterstugan is ahead, a place framed by two small rivers.

Meanwhile, the sun has come out again and the stony shoreline offers a place for a welcome nap.


Day 4: Romantic nature in Syterskalet valley

On the evening before the final stage, the tent is pitched alongside scenic valley stretching like a long corridor through the Norra Storfjallet mountain range and leading to Viterskalsstugan, about 12km from Syterstugan.

Follow the trail through the valley. In the evening, there is a warm breeze as the sun shines down on the vegetation, making the deep-violet slopes glow. Later, the sky turns pink behind the snow-capped mountain peaks.


Day 5: Mountainous panorama of the Urstrom Valley

After Viterskalsstugan, a further highlight awaits towards the end of our trek: A magnificent view of the deep-green tundra vegetation and the broad U-shaped valley.

The descent down to Hemavan, by contrast, is less spectacular. Proceeding through the birch forests and small paths, the nature museum of a small ski resort town appears.

After five days in a tent and no shower, the one overwhelming desire is this: a nice warm sauna!

Name | Area in square km Area in square miles Location
Sahara > 8,400,000 3,242,400 Algeria, Chad, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Sudan, Tunisia, Egypt, Morocco
Australian Desert > 1,550,000 598,300 Australia
Arabian Desert > 1,300,000 501,800 Southern Arabia, Saudi Arabia, Yemen
Gobi > 1,040,000 401,440 Mongolia and China (Inner Mongolia)
Kalahari Desert > 520,000 200,720 Botswana
Takla Makan > 320,000 123,520 Sinkiang, China
Sonoran > 310,000 119,660 Arizona and California, USA and Mexico
Namib Desert > 310,000 119,660 Namibia
Kara Kum > 270,000 104,220 Turkmenistan
That Desert > 260,000 100,360 North-western India and Pakistan
Somali Desert > 260,000 100,360 Somalia
Atacama Desert > 180,000 69,480 Northern Chile
Kyzyl Desert > 180,000 69,480 Uzbekistan-Kazakhstan
Dasht-e Lut > 52,000 20,072 Eastern Iran
Mojave Desert > 35,000 13,510 Southern California, USA
Desierto de Sechura > 26,000 10,036 North-west Peru

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Montenegro, which had voted in May to break away from Serbia, so dismantling the last vestige of former Yugoslavia, held its first general election as a fully independent state

Switzerland joined the United Nations, breaking with its traditional policy of neutrality after the Swiss voted in a referendum to join the international organization

The first attempt to raise London’s Millennium Wheel, the largest of its kind in the world, on the south bank of the River Thames ended ignominiously when cables hoisting the 400-foot structure upright snapped

Pablo Picasso’s monumental painting, Guernica, commemorating the Nazi bombing of the city in the Spanish Civil War, was sent to Madrid. Picasso had vowed it would not enter Spain until after democracy was restored

Canada declared war on Germany at the outset of World War II

The world’s first motorway opened in Berlin, Germany. The 19 km long experimental highway featured two eight-meter wide lanes separated by a nine-meter central section

The Treaty of Saint-Germain was signed by the victorious Allied powers and Austria, by which parts of pre-war German Austria were ceded to Italy and Czechoslovakia; Austria was forbidden to unite with Germany

The Treaty of Nystad was signed in Finland between Sweden and Russia which ended the Great Northern War (1700-21). Sweden was forced to cede Livonia, Estonia and Ingria, part of Karelia

King Leonidas of Sparta and 1,000 Greeks were beaten by the Persians after three days’ of stiff resistance at the Battle of Thermopylae

North Korea conducted its fifth and largest nuclear test to date, drawing sharp international condemnation. The blast was larger than the Hiroshima atom bomb of World War II

Queen Elizabeth II became the longest-serving monarch in British history, overtaking the record of her great-great grandmother, Queen Victoria, who reigned for 63 years and 216 days from 1837 to 1901. Elizabeth came to the throne on February 6, 1952, and remains the second longest-ruling living monarch, behind only King Bhumibol of Thailand, who has reigned since 1946

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The U.S. and Cuban governments reached an agreement on stopping the exodus of Cubans to the United States

Israel and its arch foe, the Palestine Liberation Organisation, agreed to recognize each other, an important step on the road to ending the century-old conflict between Arabs and Jews

The Soviet Central Asian republic of Tajikistan declared independence from Moscow

An Israeli teenager showed detectives how he had hacked into U.S. Pentagon computers to find out how the top-secret Patriot anti-missiles worked

Mao Zedong, founder of the People’s Republic of China, died. Chairman Mao proclaimed the People’s Republic in Beijing in 1949, and initiated many of the policies that transformed modern China

After the withdrawal of Soviet forces from North Korea, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was proclaimed with Pyongyang as its capital and Kim Il-Sung as supreme leader

British novelist James Hilton, who wrote “Goodbye, Mr. Chips” and “Lost Horizon”, was born. In the latter he coined the word Shangri-La, meaning a paradise on Earth

Distinguished British scientist Sir John Herschel took the first photograph using a glass plate. Herschel also coined the word “photography”

The so-called “September Laws” were introduced in France, suppressing the radical movement and censoring the press

The United States was born when the Continental Congress changed the name of the new nation from the United Colonies

King William I of England, known as William the Conqueror, died. William, then Duke of Normandy, launched the Norman Conquest with his victory at the Battle of Hastings in 1066. As king, William instigated the Domesday book, the first exhaustive survey of England

Genetic analysis revealed that the giraffe genus, previously thought to contain one extant species, actually consisted of four, that had not exchanged genetic information between each other for 1-2 million years

Twitter, launched in 2006, announced that it had over 100 million active users. As of January 2018 that number had grown to more than 330 million active users per month, with 500 million tweets sent daily

Israel lifted its air and sea blockades of Lebanon

Donations to the memorial fund set up in memory of Princess Diana were pouring in at over £160,000 a day

Major players in the Yugoslav crisis agreed on principles for peace in Bosnia, taking a significant step towards ending Europe’s worst conflict since World War Two

The last Allied soldiers pulled out of Berlin

The last American, British and French troops left Berlin after occupying the once-divided city for nearly 50 years

The first series of Star Trek premiered on NBC, to mixed reviews. It would become one of the most successful shows in history

The South East Asia Defense Treaty was signed in Manila by representatives of eight nations including New Zealand, the U.S. and the Philippines. The treaty provided for collective response should any signatory be attacked

Treaty of Peace was signed in San Francisco with Japan and representatives of 49 other nations. The treaty came into force in April 1952 when Japanese sovereignty was again recognized

General Eisenhower announced the unconditional surrender of Italy during World War Two

Richard Drew, an engineer for the 3M company, developed the world’s first transparent adhesive tape, known as Scotch tape or sellotape. Drew also invented the first masking tape in 1925

Americans under General Winfield Scott defeated the Mexicans at the Battle of Molino del Rey in the Mexican War

Spaniard Don Pedro Menendez de Aviles founded the first Catholic settlement in America at St Augustine, Florida

King Richard I of England, known as Richard Coeur de Lion (the Lion Heart) born. He became king in 1189 but spent many years out of the country after taking the vow of the crusader and traveling to the Holy Land with Philip II of France, conquering Cyprus on the way

Jerusalem surrendered to the troops of Roman emperor Titus’s army following a six-month siege

The most powerful earthquake to hit Mexico in a century struck off the southern coast, near Chiapas state, killing 98 people and injuring more than 300

Drivers in Samoa switched from driving on the right side of the road to the left, despite predictions of chaos. The aim of the new law was to bring the South Pacific island into line with nearby Australia and New Zealand

Ukrainian archaeologists claimed they had found underground pyramids near Luhansk that predated the pyramids at Gaza

The American flag was lowered for the last time over U.S. army headquarters in Berlin, formally ending the U.S. presence in the once-divided city after nearly 50 years

Six former Soviet republics, Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Armenia and Tajikistan, signed a framework agreement to keep the Russian rouble as their common currency

In Pittsburgh, a 35-year-old man who had received a transplant of a baboon liver in June died of a stroke

Bishop Desmond Tutu became the first black head of South Africa’s Anglican congregation when he was enthroned as Archbishop of Cape Town

Taiwan broke off diplomatic relations with Laos, a few hours after Laos had established diplomatic relations with China and North Vietnam

Sir Anthony Quayle born. British actor of stage and screen in films from 1948. Best known for his appearances in “Ice Cold in Alex”, “Lawrence of Arabia” and, as Cardinal Wolsey, in “Anne of a Thousand Days”

China’s Boxer Rising, which attempted to drive all foreigners out of the country, ended with the signing of the Peking Protocol. This imposed an indemnity to be paid to the great powers for Boxer crimes

Brazil proclaimed independence from Portugal; Pedro I was declared the first Emperor of Brazil in December of the same year

Napoleon’s forces defeated the Russian army under General Kutuzov at the battle of Borodino 70 miles west of Moscow. Napoleon entered Moscow a week later

The first submarine to be used in warfare, the American Turtle, made an unsuccessful attempt to attach a mine to British warship HMS Eagle

The War of the Spanish Succession ended with the signing of the Treaty of Baden between France and the Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI. Charles ceded Alsace and Strasbourg to France and in return gained Breisach, Kehl and Freiburg

French troops under the Duke of Orleans besieging Turin were defeated by Austrian forces led by Prince Eugene. The French army was destroyed and efforts to capture northern Italy were abandoned

Queen Elizabeth I of England was born. The daughter of Henry VIII and his second wife Anne Boleyn, she reigned from 1558-1603, and presided over a period of English dominance in politics, the arts and exploration worldwide

Quentin Bryce was sworn in as the 25th and first female Governor-General of Australia, the representative in Australia of the monarch, currently Queen Elizabeth II

The Middle East peace process got back on track as Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and new Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak signed an agreement in which the Palestinians promised not to declare unilateral independence and Israel agreed not to permit more settlements in the West Bank or Gaza Strip. A deadline of September 2000 was set for a final peace accord

Mother Teresa of Calcutta, who devoted her life to helping the poor and disadvantaged and was revered by many as a modern-day saint, died in Calcutta at the age of 87

Queen Elizabeth II paid tribute to her late daughter-in-law, Princess Diana, in a television address after a week in which the royals had been sharply criticized for their perceived lack of response to her death

France conducted an underground nuclear test on Mururoa Atoll, provoking worldwide condemnation. Riots by anti-nuclear and independence protesters continued in Tahiti for two days

Ferrari announced that its Formula One division would design and manufacture cars in Britain

After seven decades of certainty, the Soviet Union destroyed its old power structures and virtually abolished the constitution

The 10.5-mile (17km) St Gotthard road tunnel in Switzerland was opened at a cost of 690 million Swiss francs. It was begun in late 1969 and until 2000 was the longest in the world. It has since been overtaken by Norway’s Laerdal Tunnel (15.2 miles / 24.5km) and China’s Zhongnanshan Tunnel (11.2 miles / 18km)

President Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed the neutrality of the United States as World War II broke out in Europe

The Russo-Japanese War ended with the signing of the Treaty of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, mediated by U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt. Under the treaty Russia ceded Port Arthur to Japan but Japan received no war indemnity

U.S. outlaw Jesse James, responsible for many notorious bank and train robberies, was born. He was shot dead in 1882 by Robert Ford, one of his own gang

Louis XIV, the Sun King, was born. King of France from 1643-1715, the longest reign in European history, he built the Palace of Versailles and presided over an age of great French literature, art and music

Hong Kong’s legislative elections saw the highest voter turnout in the territory’s history. A new wave of pro-independence activists won seats in a “strong signal” to Beijing that the spirit of the 2014 protests lived on

Ethiopia celebrated the unveiling of the reassembled Obelisk of Axum, one of its greatest treasures. The obelisk, at least 1,700 years old, was looted by Italian troops in the 1930s and returned to Ethiopia in 2005

The opposition Jamaica Labour Party, led by Bruce Golding, won power in Jamaica’s general election, ending an 18-year reign by the ruling People’s National Party. The result meant a quick end to the tenure of Portia Simpson Miller, Jamaica’s first woman prime minister

A Eurostar train set a new record of two hours, three minutes and 39 seconds for rail travel between Paris and London, on the inaugural journey from Gare du Nord to St Pancras International

A burial cave dating back to the 1st century BC was discovered beneath a high school in Tel Aviv, Israel

The UN World Summit on Sustainable Development concluded with a pledge to halve the number of the world’s population lacking safe drinking water and adequate sanitation. The summit, which was highly critical of the Bush administration, also pledged to increase use of renewable energy sources, minimize adverse effects of chemicals, replenish global fish stocks, and protect endangered species

Declaring “united Jerusalem is ours”, Israel launched a 15-month celebration of the 3,000th anniversary of King David’s proclamation of the city as the capital of the Jewish people

The Fourth World Conference on Women, the biggest UN gathering in history, began in China’s Great Hall of the People with a UN declaration that sexual equality was the last great project of the 20th century

Indian widow Roop Kanwar committed sati (suttee), the act of burning herself to death on her husband’s funeral pyre, at Deorala village in Rajasthan. The death led to the Prevention of Sati Act 1987 in India

Egypt and Israel signed an agreement in Geneva providing for Israeli withdrawal from Sinai and establishment of a new UN buffer zone

East Germany and the United States established formal diplomatic relations for the first time

Laos accused North Vietnam of aggression and requested a U.N. emergency force

Egypt and Syria signed an agreement establishing economic union between their two countries

Wilhelmina, Queen of the Netherlands from 1890 and throughout World Wars One and Two abdicated in favor of her daughter Juliana

British and Canadian troops liberated the Belgian cities of Brussels and Antwerp during World War Two

Apache Indian chief Geronimo, leader of the last great Native American rebellion, finally surrendered to General Nelson Miles at Skeleton Canyon in Arizona

In France, the Second Empire was ended and Napoleon III was deposed after his surrender two days earlier in the Franco-Prussian war

Spanish settlers founded Los Angeles, giving it the somewhat unwieldy name of El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora La Reina de Los Angeles (The Town of Our Lady The Queen of The Angels). Fortunately this was later abbreviated

Work began on the expansion of the Panama Canal in the first stage of a $5.25 billion project to double the capacity of the 93-year-old waterway. The expansion of the canal, which handles 40 percent of shipping between Asia and the U.S. east coast, was due to be completed in 2014

Europe’s first lunar probe, SMART-1, successfully crash-landed onto the moon, ending its 16-month mission. It was a spectacular end for the robotic craft, which was used to test innovative and miniaturized space technologies, and also produced detailed maps of the Moon’s chemical make-up to help refine theories about its birth

North Korean leader Kim Jong-il was unanimously re-elected for another five-year term, accompanied by orchestrated expressions of euphoria in Pyongyang

The U.S. and Israel walked out of the UN conference on racism in South Africa following the unwillingness of many delegates to compromise on language in a draft resolution which equated Zionism with racism and denounced Israeli policy towards the Palestinians

The controversial Eurofighter Typhoon combat jet finally began full-scale production, built by a four-nation Eurofighter consortium comprising Britain, Germany, Italy and Spain

Russia and China formally ended decades of confrontation at a summit meeting in Moscow at which they agreed to cease aiming nuclear missiles at each other

Cambodia’s government agreed that the country should become a constitutional monarchy, with Norodom Sihanouk returning to the throne

The biggest hoard of Roman coins and gold and silver artifacts ever found in Britain was declared to be treasure trove, entitling Suffolk metal detector Eric Lawes to its full-market value, valued at £1.75 million

A new South African constitution came into effect, setting up a three-chamber, racially divided parliament for white, Indian and colored (mixed race) people

Motorists in Sweden switched to driving on the right-hand side of the road rather than the left

Eduard Benes, Czech prime minister from 1921-22 and president from 1935-38 and 1946-48, died; he also headed the Czech government-in-exile during the war

Allied forces invaded Italy; the British Eighth Army invaded Italy from Sicily

Great Britain and France declared war on Germany two days after its invasion of Poland. The liner Athenia became the first British ship to be sunk in World War II, when it was torpedoed by a German U-boat on the first day of the war

The French Constitution was passed by the National Assembly, making France a constitutional monarchy

The Treaty of Paris, ending the American War of Independence, was signed by Britain and the United States

The expulsion of Jesuits began in Portugal following a conspiracy of 1758

The coronation of King Richard I of England, popularly known as Richard the Lionheart, took place at Westminster Abbey in London

Take a trip off the beaten path in Scotland, and explore these less crowded destinations

SCOTLAND has a lot more to offer than just the Loch Ness Monster and Edinburgh Castle — travelers can combine a few of its more famous attractions with some lesser known destinations.


Here are three top tips for an unforgettable trip:

Dunnottar Castle

Perched on a rocky peninsula on the North Sea coast, the ruins of Dunnottar Castle are truly spectacular.
Visitors must walk down almost to sea level before climbing back up an almost vertical path to reach the cliff-top ruins of the fortress that was once home to the Earl Marischal.

William Wallace, whose story was told in the 1995 film Braveheart, captured the castle and destroyed it in the 13th century, and Mary, Queen of Scots visited in the 16th century.

Almost all of the buildings are missing their roofs, but since a restoration project began in 1925, the castle’s deterioration has been halted. In summer, visiting hours are between 9am and 5.30pm, though the carpark fills up quickly. It’s worth going at the end of the day to catch the fantastic light.


Loch Muick

The land around the River Dee – rolling green hills and forests transforms abruptly right before you reach Loch Muick. Around an hour’s drive west of Aberdeen, travelers are already in the Scottish Highlands.
Loch Muick, which is in Cairngorms National Park, is actually part of Queen Elizabeth’s Scottish estate – Balmoral, where the monarch traditionally spends her summer holiday, is only 9 miles away.
There is a 7.8 miles walking trail around the lake that leads directly past Glas-allt-Shiel, a rather sombre greystone hunting lodge that was built for Queen Victoria in 1868.


Inverewe Gardens

Crimson, orange, blue, yellow:
Countless colors meet the eye as you stroll along the flowerbeds of Inverewe Gardens in summer.
The variety surprises many visitors because the gardens are located in north-west Scotland, a landscape better known for its sparseness.
But species that are usually more at home in tropical climates thrive here, thanks to the Gulf Stream and the gardens’ sheltered location on the south end of Loch Ewe.
Lily ponds, a rock garden, eucalyptus trees from Tasmania and huge rhododendrons — there’s lots to see here.
The gardens, now managed by the National Trust for Scotland, were built by Osgood Hanbury Mackenzie. From 1862 he ordered trees from all over the world — from Japan, the Himalayas, Chile, South Africa and New Zealand.
The house he built has been open to the public since 2016 and the inside still looks as it did when his daughter, who also helped create the gardens, died there in 1953. – dpa


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