The morning started similarly to the last 2 ones – with guys leaving the guesthouse at about 7:15am to eat breakfast in the building across the street and ladies following them at around 7:45am. It is worth to get up that early even when the trip of the day starts at 10am – the sooner after 7am you go, the more food choices for the breakfast you have.
At 10am Katja is looking for all the hikers. There will be 7 of eclipse-tour team and 2 other people from the guesthouse next doors. But she only manages to find one of them – we will later learn that the other one has not arrived yet due to plane not flying in last nights’ storm.
Today we will have 2 four-pawed companions as the lady who is joining us is taking her dog Santos along. And Katja’s dog Miro is coming as well, of course. We pick up a flask with hot water for each of us and choose a type of “space” food for the lunch on the hill. Our guys were nice enough to put the girl’s flasks in their bags as well.
We start the same way as 2 days ago – across a frozen river, up a hill, only to learn that we will need to do that once again because Kristīne has decided to turn back for health reasons and we need to escort her back to the polar-bear safe area within town’s boundaries. We are fine as our guide has a rifle, but Kristīne obviously doesn’t have one.
Meanwhile I had found a brilliant technique to get up the hill – just need to look down all the time (easy with hood covering the sides) and imagine that it is flat. All the strength needed to move the feet would come (in my imaginary world) from lifting the foot with the snowshoe out of the snow. This worked the best when there was somebody walking in front of me as then it was even easier to disregard the slope because of the embossed footprints.
We went higher and higher, and the view backwards got better and better. On the contrary to our first hiking day now there was no fog and no snow falling. After a brief time of walking over some rather flat snow field at the top of one hill we arrived at a steeper slope. At the top of that we could see the natural stone construction which gives the name to this mountain – Trollsteinen. At this point the wind had picked up and it got harder to walk up. The higher we got, the stronger was the wind blowing. During the strongest gusts all we could do was to stay with our backs against the wind and support ourselves with the walking poles. We got to a place where the ridge narrowed and decided to turn back. It would not be safe or smart to continue in this wind and some of us had started to get cold.
The walking down was much faster but not much easier due to the steepness of the slope. Only Alīna and Edgars seemed to not notice the decline and were going arm in arm like a married couple on a very casual walk. At one point I decided that going down on one’s bottom should be much faster. I figured out how to not let the spikes of the snowshoes touch the ground and soon had caught up with everyone. Unfortunately I hadn’t fastened my gaiters before that and got some unwanted and cold snow in the boots.
Then we arrived at two red poles which marked an entrance into an ice cave. Katja shoveled of a layer of snow from the covering board and soon we were one by one sliding in a hole. Nobody except Katja knew how deep it is and whether it’s possible to get out again. A few metres down and we were in a narrow but long cave with ice walls. A good place for lunch – the “space” lunch from pouches again.
After the lunch Katja decided on a different route down. We went inside a small canyon, an amazingly beautiful one. I wanted to take pictures every time I went around a corner. The canyon alone would have been worth a climb up! Some skiers were going down as well, worked much faster for them.
Some more oh-s and ah-s in the canyon and then we’re back home. Dinner, the daily presentation (reading out loud) of the yesterday’s story, some games of Uno and the day is well lived.