I woke up before 6, since some of the other occupants of the chamber were getting up early to have time to prepare for the guided top tour. Naturally, the babbling "ladies" were among them, and immediately started chattering as loudly as ever. Finally, someone who wasn't getting up lost her temper and stated this fact to them, which had some effect. I can only surmise that those persons were not (in any way) experienced fjeld visitors – producing some degree of noise when getting up before others is unavoidable and accepted, but you simply do not behave that way. Shame on them!
I stayed in bed until the clock struck the magical time 06:45, and then went to the service building to make breakfast. A couple of days earlier, it had become clear that the amount of oatmeal I had brought would not be enough to cover all days, even though I had added an extra bit to the calculation. I only had some scraps left, but in a large and busy place like Kebnekaise people habitually leave surplus supplies behind, so I had no trouble finding supplement. I also found a package of raspberry cream powder, which I whipped up and used to strengthen the meal; I intended to walk longer than usual before having lunch, so I had an extra sandwich as well.
When I returned to the main building, the tour was about to start. The girls were in it, and the weather was about the same as the day before, but the clouds seemed to be a little higher, so perhaps the Peak didn't rise above them any longer. I packed up my things and was on my way at 09:00. My legs actually felt close to normal, which was mildly surprising, but much appreciated.
The weather forecast claimed rain, rain and nothing but rain for the entire day (and even snow on higher ground), which in the real world – as usual – meant no precipitation whatsoever. After just a few kilometers, I stopped to remove a layer of clothing, since the air was rather warm and the wind was light to nonexistent. From the bridge over Darfáljohka, there were signs at each kilometer mark stating the remaining distance to the western boat landing, from which one can be transported 6 km on water (first on Láddjujohka and then Láddjujávri).
Going was very easy and I held a brisk pace (not because I felt hurried, but because it felt good). I reached the path leading down to the jetty at 11:00 and took a short break, munching some chocolate and reindeer meat. Being consistent, I was set on not using artificial means, so I was soon on the move again.
I arrived at Ladtjojaure – a food and lodging location at the eastern boat landing – at 12:15, almost simultaneously as the 11:45 boat tour did. I ordered a reindeer burger at Lap Dĺnalds right away, and walked around taking photos (as well as cleaning my boots) while it was being prepared.
When I got back, the man in the hamburger stand was chatting frivolously with a pair of little girls. Amongst other things, he said that when he went to school, the teachers were mean to the pupils, thereby uniting them; he "recommended" that this be done today as well, so as to prevent mobbing among the children themselves. He also told of a man who always bought next year's Christmas presents in the sale following the Christmas that just was, citing it as a good plan. Finally, he expressed envy with respect to authors, since he could "barely write postcards" himself.
I departed at 13:00, in what felt like colder weather; it took some time of walking before I had acquired a comfortable warmth. After a bit, something happened for the first time on the entire journey, discounting when I had been stopping intentionally: I was overtaken by other hikers. They had a dog with them, that eagerly lead the way, so perhaps that was the reason for their quick pace. So close to Nikkaluokta, the trail was rather full of people, going in different directions or sitting by the wayside.
The last kilometer or so, the trail was covered in wood chips, such as are typically used on jogging tracks. There was also an excavator at work, digging what was obviously a new course for the trail. By that time, my soles were aching quite noticeably and the rucksack was feeling more and more uncomfortable. I was therefore more than glad to reach my final destination just before 14:30.
Nikkaluokta was calm, regarding both activity and weather – the latter of which remained cloudy. I sat down inside the restaurant/shop/visitors' center/gallery and relaxed, read a bit and all but finished the crossword. Prolonged lack of action again rendered my legs somewhat stiff, and I was happy to stay seated.
The departure time of the bus to Kiruna was 17:05, so I put off dinner until about 16:30. I ordered a mincemeat pie, but the one I was actually served unmistakably contained reindeer meat instead. Not that I complained, though, since it was rather excellent (and reindeer is typically significantly more expensive than beef otherwise). I also had time to buy a couple of candy packs in the small shop before going out to the bus.
In the late afternoon and early evening, the cloud cover was breaking up and the sun progressively got more and more of its rays through. Having arrived at Kiruna Central Station, I and the other passengers were greeted by the announcement that the south-going train, which was standing at the station, was waiting for a train from Narvik in Norway, which had been greatly delayed even before the border. Add to that, it had apparently also been converted into a number of buses somewhere along the way, so in the end my train left 50 minutes behind schedule.
I was joined by two younger guys in the compartment, but the train seemed far from full. I continued to play solitaire and read for a couple of hours, had my last evening snack and then turned in, leaving Lapland and its majestic fjelds behind – for this time...