During my time in the north, I passed the town of Abisko many times on my way around Swedish and Norwegian Lapland, but never actually made a stop there. So I finally decided to visit it before leaving the country for good, and it turned out to be a unforgettable experience.
Despite having a population of 85 people, there was a couchsurfer living in Abisko, and he agreed to host us for the night. Since he needed to get supplies, he drove all the way to Kiruna, and picked us up on his way back. After spending the night at his place sharing the floor with an additional surfer from Germany, we set out early in the morning to see what Abisko had to offer.
As a remote town in Lapland, people typically go to Abisko for its mountain trails, northern lights viewing, skiing and ice fishing. The Aurora Sky Station is a great place to go and see the lights, but we had had a lot of that already in Kiruna!
Abisko is the end/beginning of the long King’s Trail route that crosses Sweden south-north, and offers a wide range of shorter trails around the region. Since we had one and only one day in town, we decided to check the first hundred meters of the trail, but soon moved on to do what we came for: walking on the frozen lakes.
I had already crossed frozen lakes before, but none as huge and wonderful as lake Torneträsk. Mid-January seemed to be the perfect time of the year: no snow on the ice, the frozen layer thin enough to see the water flowing underneath the ice and a lots of cracking sounds as a reminder that you are not in control of the situation; nature is.
Sailing from the small dock by the Scientific Research Station, you find yourself in front of a vast white plain that expands for more than 10 kilometers to the west where the opposite shores lie. Rather than a flat, icy surface, it looks like the water was suddently caught by the cold in the middle of its swaying, and so lots of wave-ish shapes form the top layers. These bring a sort of end-of-the-world feeling to the already overwelming landscape.
Walking more than a few kilometers towards the other side of the lake seemed like tempting nature and fate too much, so we opted for a semi-circle kind of route that took us well into the lake, around a small island and back to solid land where the Abisko National Park dock is. A bit more than 4 kilometers as exciting as frightening at many points.
Have you ever thought of visiting Abisko? Have you ever crossed a lake on foot? Let me know in the comments below!