Sarek 1981
Saltoluokta - Sitojaure - Aktse - Rapadalen - Snavvavagge - Skarja - Ruotesvagge - Padjelantaleden - Ritsem, 121 km

Day1: 24 August, Saltoluokta - Sitojaure, 19 km

Three young men in boat. The boat from Kebnats is approachnig Saltoloukta. The three men comes from the flat land in the south of Sweden. Mountains is something exotic. It is the first time this far north. They have spent their lifes with wine, song, and women. In the spare time do they study physics. The equipment has been carfully choosen, only one thing is missing. Everybody at the mountain station have a walking stick. The saw in the suisse army knife is a useful tool. Three small trees, somewhere in the birch forest that surround the mountain station, are converted into three walking sticks. I'm still using the evidence (2008) for this terrible crime. Crime, nobody should follow this bad example. There are walking sticks to use at the mountain station, one can leave at ones destination. To be used by somebody else. I keep mine.The usage and weather has sculptured it into a master piece of art.

The first step, Kungsleden south towards Sitojaure. Uphill through the birch forest to the open and flat Autsutjvagge. The hills around the valley are around 1100-1300m, while the valley itself is at 700. The mountains look distant. Autsutj-jåkkå, the brook in the valley, is down in a shallow ravine surrounded with osier.  The weather is good to us, sunshine and a comfortable temperature. Kungsleden is a well marked track from Abisko further  north, which here pass the outer parts of Sarek. It is well used, at this part is it a wide track. Suddenly is the view of the lake Sitojaure in front of us. The height difference down to the lake is only 100 meters, the slope is gentle. We are now back in the birch forest. At the lake is  a simple hut for hikers, equipped with gas stove and a large room with several beds. We stay overnight in the hut, to lazy to put up the tent. In the evening do we have an interesting discussion about the mountains with the lapps that have their summer camp nearby. The first day is a success, feel confident that the rest will be no problem.

Day2: 25 August, Sitojaure - Aktse, 11 km

The lapps maintain the boat traffic on the lake, to Kungsleden on the other side, or to Rinim in the northwest, for those that aim for Pastavagge. From Rinim to the hut do one need to make an agreement in advance, or hope that there is somebody in Rinim.We cross the lake to the other side in the early morning. At the beginning is it flat and in a birch forest, after a few kilometers do the slope of Njunjes begin. The slope feels steep. Muscles and mind have not yet adopted to nature. Njunjes is a flat, and today a windy  plateau, with nothing for the eye until the descent to Aktse. Here is a view that brings you far away. A track leads up to Skierfe(1179), from which there is one of the most famous views in Sweden. Skierfe is not high in meters, but the difference down to the lake below is 650m. Half of it is a vertical wall. During the day has it become cloudy, and now the rain start to fall. Our plan to visit Skierfe is postponed into the unknown future (=1986). The rain converts the track down to Aktse into a small brook.

The track lead down through  a birch and spruce forest. Aktse is a place that is inhabited all year by a few families.They maintain among other things the tourist traffic on the lake Laitaure. Aktse means nine, nine bears were killed here. That is what the story tell. This is the entrance to Rapadalen. Skierfe rise north of the valley, with its vertical precipice. In the middle is the 'bump' Nammatj. In the south is Tjakkeli almost as steep as Skierfe, but more difficult to walk up on. Here are also a few huts for the tourists. There are several beautiful meadows, nowadays specially preserved. We are here to late in the summer to see all the flowers. The rain makes us to use the hut for the night, though it temporarily makes a pause during the evening. The hut is warm and welcomes us. Three middle aged men have already made up the fire. With a 'boyish' look in there eyes do the point out for us how funny the name Kukkesvagge (a valley in the north) is. The first three characters form a dirty swedish word for the male 'thing'. The rain keeps falling, the night takes over. Night but not dark, twilight.

Day3: 26 August, Aktse - Snavvavagge, 29 km

Cloudy, but no rain. From Aktse are there three possibilities to get into Rapadalen. One simple, one difficult,  and one with a view. The difficult one is to walk through the forest below Skierfe, but the forest  is said to be difficult to get through. The simple one is to take the boat through the delta. The third one is to walk up to Skierfe and continue west as far as possible before descending into the valley. We choose the simple possibility, we have beforehand decided to take the boat . With the characteristic "alone" hill Nammatj in front of us, the boat head for the border of the national parc. The delta offer a fascinating landscape, changing from year to year. Constantly being built up with the material that the river bring with it. Some years is there not enough water in the channels, and one is let off before the border. This year is a normal year and the boat can get to the border. From there one has to walk. We follow the clear track trough the luxuriant vegetation. Hidden in the forest stands an elk and her calf.

The brooks that one encounter, are in general no problem  to cross. Except when it is extreme large amount of  water.  We have no problems to pass. The valley show no major difficulties. Where the track passes a marsh, is the marsh converted, by 2000 pair of feets passing each year, into a wide darkbrown mud street. Not nice at all. Here and there is the track close to the river, especially when reaching Rapaselet. Here it is extremely easy to walk, but it requires a rather low water level in the river. The water is in a great hurry, I wouldn't recommend any to try to ford it. As mentioned above is it possible to reach Rapaselet by walking up to Skierfe from Aktse and then continue west, and head for the east part of Rapaselet. In good weather must  the views be nice. In the valley do one mostly walk in a birch forest, and the views are rather limited. The lodging for the night is found on the slope towards Snavvavagge. Here are many good places for a tent, dry and  with a magnificient view of Rapaselet.

Day4: 27 August, Snavvavagge - Snavvavagge, 0 km

I wake up with high fever. Headache. A sore throat. This is day devoted to rest and antipyretic. Fortunately is it nice weather, I can sit outside the tent and enjoy the view and sunshine. The tent is placed in a small open area in the mountain birch forest, with the brook Jilajåkkå as the nearest neighbour. From where I sit is an unobstructed view of Rapaselet. Rapaselet is a mixture of channels and ponds. I can see a few elks graze down there. The elks in the Rapavalley are bigger than normal elks, they have plenty of food and no human hunt them as long as they stay in Sarek. An almost cloudless sky make it possible to see the mountains on the opposite side. To  the right  is the small plateau at Tielma, the slope up to it is steep and with vegetation that is difficult to get through. This is one of the most likely places to see the wild animals, though one must have good luck Beyond are the peaks of Ålkatj. In front of me is Sarvesvagge, the valley that ends at the border of Padjelanta. My view end at the mountain Nåite (1620), behind it is the plateau Luottolako. I can barely see Ryggåsberget (1946) further away. To the left is Piellarieppe (1830).  Looking behind me is the precipice of Stuor-Skårki (1719).

It rains a lot in Sarek, one of  the places in Sweden with most rain. Though Sarek is not large, is much water collected in the river in Rapadalen, Rapaätno. In the afternoon do clouds appear in Sarvesvagge, the showers succeed each other. When they leave Sarvesvagge and enter Rapavalley do they follow the mountainside of Piellarieppe and then dissolve. The rain never reach us, we have sunshine and can enjoy the raibows. It can be a lousy weather in one valley, at the same time sunshine in another. My friends make small excursions, while I try to reinstall my health. They inestigate how easy it would be to walk down in the vallley beneatch Låddepakte. The forest is not easy to penetrate. Closeby is a scientific station, if my condtion do not improve before tomorrow morning, may it be possible to get transportation in the helicopter that will fetch the personell tomorrow. Normally is it not allwoed to land in the national parc, they have special permit.Evening. High fever. Headache. A sore throat.

Day5: 28 August, Snavvavagge - Skarja, 17 km

Abracadabra. Feel well! There are two possibilities to continue. One difficult and one simple. The more difficult one is along the river Rapaätno below Låddepakte, the simple is the valley Snavvavagge. We choose the simple, Snavvavagge. We struggle on  the slope up to the valley, the last part is rather steep. In total is it 300 meters. A well used track show the way. Snavvavagge is a stony valley with a small lake. The best is to walk northeast of the lake, unless one want to walk up on Låddepakte (1537). This mountain  is not very high, but the view must be excellent. Placed in the corner of the Rapavalley as it is. We expect a good view of the upper part of Rapadalen from the west end of Snavvagge. True!  From here is all of the upper valley seen.

From Snavvavgge to Piela is a steep slope to cross, but this is not a problem, though many warned us how problematic it can be. Perhaps in rain. We feel disappointed. At a few places do one have to support oneself with the hands. Loose gravel  on the distinct track requires a rather good balance. At the other side are a few terraces, where we take a break. From here on is it simpler, there are no major obstacles. We have now the plain of Piela in front of us. Friendly to the hiker, with many good camping grounds.  The brooks Tjågnårisjåkåtj and Matujåkåtj can give some problems, but this time of the year do they not contain much water. Today they are rills. Earlier in the summer are there normally snowbridges across the former. The latter has to be forded, not a difficult task. At the bridge across Smailajåkkå at Skarja, are many good camping grounds. The place  is called the "hikers meeting place", since this is a central place that one must pass  as soon as one wants to visit the central parts of Sarek. Today is the name not true, we are alone. Northwest of the bridge is a locked hut, in case of emergancy is there a phone. But then one must be in a real bad shape.

Day6: 29 August, Skarja - Ruotesvagge, 17 km

A clear sky, it will be a beautiful day. Rapadalen is more than hundred meters lower than Ruotesvagge. Where they meet have the brook Smailajåkkå cut itself into the rock. This is where the bridge is. The jåkk has its origin from the glacier Årjep Ruotesjekna, and grow as the water from the mountains add to it. Especially Mikkajåkkå, north of the bridge, provide much water from the glacier Mikkajekna on the north side. Mikkajåkkå on the north side is difficult to cross. The water is grey, cold, swift, and brings large stones that can break a leg. One possibility is to cross on the glacier further up. We use the bridge to cross Smailajåkkå, and enter Ruotesvagge on the south side. We follow the south side, in the middle of the valley is it easy to switch to north side.

Ruotesvagge is a friendly, open, and easy to walk in. The north side is the most alpine, a continous wall with the mountains of Sarektjåkkå. On the south side is the more gentle Ruotes. In the middle is the small hill Ruotesvaratj (1004) with a 360 degree view. From here on is Akka seen. Before the hill do one have to pass all the rills from Årjep Ruotesjekna. They glitter in the sunshine. Pass between the lake Ruotesjauratj and the hill, and continue along Niakjåkåtj. There are no problems in finding a good place for the night. In the evening is the sky still clear. The temperature is falling, it is getting chilly. The nights starts to get dark, the stars twinkle.

Day7: 30 August, Ruotesvagge - Padjelantaleden, 18 km

A cold night. In the morning is it several degrees below zero. Our water supply is frozen. We wait until the temperature is above zero before starting the day. There is one advantage of being three in a small tent, it is slightly warmer. Otherwise is it cramped. We all have some pain today. One is flat-footed, which hurts, one is getting a cold, and I have chaps on my feets. The feets get wet in the boots during the day. The lesson is that  each evening carefully clean the feets,and put skin cream on. This I have done since then, and the problem has not appeared again. It was really painful, had problems in walking for several weeks afterwards. We take a short cut on the slope of Kisuris towards the bridge across the river with the name that makes a knot of the tongue, Sjnuftjutisjåkkå. The last part to the bridge is there a track along the river.

It is an easy walk. In the northeast is the Akka mountain watching us. Just before the bridge do one enter the birch forest. Within short do we reach the bridge and the track of  Padjelantaleden. Padjelantaleden continue southwards and end in Kvikkjokk. It pass through the area called Padjelanta, which can be translated with "the high land". Not high in the sense of high mountains, they are not that high and the area is flat compared with Sarek, the name must refer to the average height. The track is well supplied with huts. It goes along some very beautiful lakes, especially Virihaure. We continue north a few kilometers before setting up the tent in a small open place in the birch forest.

Day8: 31 August, Padjelantaleden - Ritsem, 10 km

An easy day through a birch forest, here and there a marsh. Across the marshes are wooden planks 'spångad' laid out, as well as over the brooks. Over a wide area is the forest dead, due to a caterpillar some years ago. The forest is mostly sparse.We can hear the sound of Vuojatätno. A river that is impossible to ford, that is the impression one get. I would not try it. When approaching the bridge do one have a view of Akkajaure, nowadays part of a water power plant. Since it is regulated are the shores dead. The rapids of Vuojatätno are impressive, luckily is there a bridge. After the bridge is the track rather stony to start with. Before and after the Akka hut is it better. The hut is for some reason locked. We reach Änonjalme just before the boat to Ritsem leaves. Änonjalme is the summer residence of the lapps.

We meet the warden of the Akka hut on the boat, he say we are lucky. This is the last boat for the season. We didn't know. That's why the Akka hut was locked. It is as well the last night that Ritsem youth hostel is open. They have already started to clean everything before closing. There are not many guests, i.e. we get a room without problems. All's well that ends well. Close to the hostel is a place that serve food. The guests in the restaurant are we and the army. They have been on an exercise in the mountains. The food is good, and we eat while looking at the  nice view outside the windows. The next time we were in Ritsem was the place  closed, and the next time after that the building was gone. There is a self-service kitchen in the hostel, and a shop where one can buy the essential things. The bus leaves early in the morning, we go to bed early. A long travel back home is waiting.

© Mjörnmark,