The day has arrived!
Our group ended up breaking into smaller 1-3 person teams. Some of us wanted to go faster and some slower. My team was planning on spending 4 nights on the trail and we kept that schedule.
First part of our entourage left in startgroup 7 at 9am, we got up early to see them off and get ready ourselves. People all around us seemed to have the same final preparations, everyone weighed their backpacks, sent out messages on their phones and helped each other get their backpacks adjusted right before the start. The starting area was filled with a feeling of unity. People from so many different countries smiling, laughing and waiting to get on the trail.
Sohvi wasn't the only dog in our start group. We encountered so many nice canine friends on the trail that really cheered us up. My partner and I have a dachshund/weenie dog. Sohvi and him don't really get along that well and was left at my parents for the trip. We did meet two lovely dachshunds, one of which was on its fifth(!) time in Fjällräven Classic. Maybe in the future our Väinö can take part too =)
Our start was at 1pm. The hours leading to it were suspenseful. I think all of us felt the excitement in our stomachs and nervous feet. After packing and checking my backpack for the last time I had the same feeling I always have before leaving somewhere, what have I forgotten? Luckily this time it seemed like I had everything I needed (and as I would later on discover, a ton of stuff I didn't need).
The event had over 2000 participants. We left in the last startgroup. It should not have come to us as a surprise that the trail would be terrible. Days of rain and people walking on it. Well, we had hopes for a better path after a few miles. Someone said that the few first miles were rocky and then it would be easier.. boy were they either lying or just guessing :P
Stopping by LapDånalds to taste the beforehand praised reindeer burger was a good call. It was worth every penny and tasted divine. Actually I don't even have a picture of the famous burger as I ate the burger so fast. Sohvi got to lick the wrappings and seemed to approve the taste.
We arrived at the first checkpoint, Kebnekaise Fjällstation, in time with our plan. We took some time relaxing, getting a drink, stamping our hiking passes and enjoying the view. To our surprise we ended up meeting a couple of our friends who had started the hike the same time as us, but were planning on going faster. Our friends continued along the path a little further than us and we made camp pretty soon after the checkpoint, we made our way up the hillside and found a nice space for our tents, one of the best views I've ever had.
The weather so far was pretty good, cloudy and windy. The next morning we woke up to rain.