Hiking St.Olavsleden : Tannförsen to Medstugan 

We left Tannforsen in the morning feeling certain it was going to rain.  A rainbow seemed present almost all day as though it was trying to lift our mood. We walked in contemplative silence for the first part of the walk, taking in the first views of the big mountains in the distance.

The weather turned bright but was increasingly blustery throughout the day. We were buffeted by strong wind that almost pushed you sideways at many points, making the walking tougher.

It was difficult to get out of the wind for our lunch of dried freezed food, but we eventually found an area with a good windbreak of trees.

As we were walking in the afternoon, a huge moose suddenly stumbled across the road in front of us. It happened so quickly, but we got a good glimpse of it. The hunting season has just started here in Sweden and we have been warned to wear bright colours in the forest to avoid being shot (yikes!) so the moose was quite a strong reminder of this. I was completely in awe of its size – it was the size of a Land Rover, not something you’d want to hit when driving that’s for sure.

We eventually arrived at Medstugan which was completely booked up by hunters, but it was our only option for accommodation in the area, as things are feeling pretty remote now. We brought a tent with us but it’s not something that could withstand these kinds of winds so we were very grateful to be housed in another building here which was basic but more than adequate for our needs. As a pilgrim on the road you begin to realise how little you need. Carrying all things in your backpack, wearing the same clothes for days. Washing your clothes, hair and face with the same detergent makes you wonder why you need 20 different bottles for these things at home.
We spent the evening stroking the friendly Finnish Lapphund who made me miss my own fluffball back home, as well as meeting the friendly cows on the farm. We also had a brief but lovely visit from Putte who drove a long way to come say hello.

Helicopters bringing hunters over from Norway zoomed around all evening and we went to bed with the wind howling outside.

Tomorrow we cross the mountains so we are hoping for tamer weather.

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