A long but incredible day, we got up for an 8AM breakfast of gorgeous Swedish coffee with the European style of breakfast I love, all cheeses, hams, cucumbers and cereals with fresh juice.
Then we had to go pack up our select things for our days of riding ahead. Then we headed
straight off for a quick drive up the road to the dock and our hosts’ little raft, handmade from nothing but a propeller motor stuck to some planks o
f wood. All 13 of us + luggage shuffled on. Vaguely concerned at first, but once we pushed off and started across the lake I melted into enjoying the scenery again, and just watching the water, it’s so amazingly clear, you can (and we do) drink from it. We’ve been lucky again with the weather too – clear skies everywhere.
When we got off on the other side we were given the option to take the quad bike up to the cabins we’ll be staying in, we opted to walk up, in the interest of our first dive into the nature experience.
We’ll be staying in these cabins for the next two days, with an outdoor loo and a stream for all our water needs – very wilderness friendly. Not quite Bear Grylls, we’ll get to that when we’re staying in the tepees in a few days.
We didn’t get much time to explore since everyone was keen to get on the horses, so we got straight to it. I’ve been paired with a pinto gelding caller Birtingur who I’ve fondly nicknamed Birt, and who everyone else has already started calling ‘Bite-ingur’ since he likes to come up behind other ponies and rest his face on their bum while he chews their tail. He’s a very orderly pony too, as well as being a bit creepy, he likes to fall in line, either in front or behind is good for him – but he will push other ponies in behind him for the sake of good order, or squeeze between two other ponies – even if there’s no room.
Frizz’s horse is Kaftain, the greyest of the greys and the neediest gelding ever, he’s more like a dog, trying to rest his head on Frizz when she’s grooming him and refusing to be too far from the rest of the ponies, galloping at full speed through trees to catch up if needs be.
After grooming down and taking up we headed off, slowly climbing the mountain, we managed a bit of a canter on a bit of path but mostly we’re trotting and walking up the mountains. It’s quite rocky but the horses are amazingly agile, I’m sure if I was on foot I’d stumble more and I only have two feet to worry about.
We saw reindeer pretty much straight away when we broke out of the trees, they came amazingly close too. Apparently, they wouldn’t get so close to hikers since us being on horses makes them much less skittish. Hopefully, we’ll get evern closer over the next few days.
We climbed till about 1 then we stopped for lunch, a traditional Swedish dish, reindeer blood dumplings, which were quite tasty with a lingonberry jam. Me and Frizz also tried the Swedish equivalent to Cup’a Soup, only instead of flavours like tomato or chicken, there was fruit soup, we ended up trying Raspberry and Blueberry flavour. It was surprisingly nice, a little like drinking jam but without the added sugar. Then we had more lovely coffee to finish.
The way down was definitely harder than the way up, we were tired (and still not entirely recovered from two days awake), the horses were more tired, and I had a mishap with Birt where he decided an impromptu leap over a river would be the best way to avoid the grouchy pack pony. Kaftain was so sleepy he barely moved the first hour, shuffling along at the back, full of grass.
Anyway we’re back now, the horses are all cleaned down and we’re waiting for the sauna to heat up (yes we have a sauna, this is the best kind of roughing it). We did a bit of washing in the river, but it’s so cold we only dare do our hands and faces. We did some stretching while we were down there washing off too – in the interest of staying limber and not walking like goblins by the time this holiday is over, but one of our hosts came across us and now I think she thinks we’re a bit weird.