Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Höga Kusten

On the last day in Kiruna, I joined a tour to go down a mine. To be precise, the biggest undermine in the world. The tour departed from the city center at one o'clock. Only five minutes or so on the bus, we arrived at the gate of the mine. As the bus driver held his card to the machine, the gate swung open and the bus entered the mouth of the mine. Soon it got dark and I felt the slope. The road was sloping 10%, I drove a 9% road in Norway and it was quite steep. We got deeper and deeper by the second. There are no lights in the tunnel so that the truck drivers can tell the oncoming vehicles by it's headlight. After a few minutes, the bus stopped at a gate. Inside was unbelievably spacious room for the visitors. There were cinema to show how the mine was made, long corridor where the monstrous machines awaits the visitors, and cafe for a small break. The machines they use for mining were just like the ones I saw on the Discovery channel, big and vicious. It was very interesting tour. The tour group was small and the guide spoke English. I've gone up near the highest of the country and the deepest in the world. Kiruna, sure has it's ups and downs. In a good way of course.
After Kiruna, I took a train. I stopped at Lulea, Umea and took a bus to Docksta, where the world heritage site, High Coast is in a walking distance.
I didn't have enough information about High Coast, but I figured if I go there I would find something. So, after walking for three hours through a forest full of spider webs, I reached Skuleskogen National Park, one of the well known parts of High Coast. (Also known as Hoga Kusten) At the gate of Skuleskogen, there was an information board which read that the hike up to the top is quite demanding, trained man would walk up to the top in 1to1.5 hours and some might take 2to3 hours. Worrying and looking forward how tough it is at the same time, I started the hike. At the start the trail was very well paved with planks but soon it got rocky. It was unusually hot day. After walking for an hour or so, the trees were sparser and the ground were covered with red rocks. I thought I've come quite high and stopped to look around. There was a beautiful view behind me! The top of Skulesberget is 294m above sea level and the highest coastline is 286m above sea level. I wasn't at the highest point and I knew this wasn't the highest coastline, but still it was amazing. Sunlit small islands in the high coast was beautiful. BUT! On my right, I found a huge raincloud. As soon as I found it, I felt a drop on my face. I though it won't come just yet, but I decided to put on my rain gears on. Wise decision it was, soon the weather changed into a typhoon. Strong wind and heavy rain. I thought the summit wasn't too far, so I decided to continue my hike. Soon I came to a place where small rocks were stacked up into a pile. Often seen in the mountains. It wasn't the summit yet, but I put a stone on the pile and decided to descend. The wind was too strong and the wet rocks were slippery and dangerous. Rain didn't bother me since I had a fine gear with me and I waxed my boots the day before. When I got near to the entrance, I got a lift. Very kind old man who drove a Japanese car drove me back to Docksta. Too bad I couldn't take good pictures because of the heavy rain, but the beautiful views will stay in my mind.
I left Docksta and took a bus to Sundsvall today. I'm moving to Stockholm tomorrow. It'll be only a few hours trip from here.
picture: above, three towed woodpecker(not sure). below, the beast in the mine

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