Saltoluokta - (Pastavagge) - Kungsleden - Kvikkjokk, 65 km
Day1: 8 August, Saltoluokta - Autsutjvagge, 6 km
It is midnight and the cats are fighting. My cat, who has her own door, sit inside and her opponent outside. They shout impertinences to each other through the door, in the way only cats can. I try to intervene, but this is not your bussiness they say and continue their fight. I do not get much sleep before I have to get up at four. Then my cat sleep deeply, satisfied with the fight. After a quick breakfast, do I say goodbye to the sleeping cat, put my luggage in the car, and drive towards the rising sun and Sturup airport. I leave the car at the long time parking place, and walk to the gate, where I wait for my friend. We will take the plane at ten past six to Arlanda, and then further to Gällivare. To Arlanda is it a half full jetplane, while it from Arlanda to Gällivare is a smaller propeller driven plane. We land at eleven at Lapland airport. We start to look for the bus to Gällivare, but we are told that there is no longer any bus. Instead one must take a taxi, so we call for one, and wait. In the meantime do we get time to admire the aerobatics of the swallows. The taxi cost 120 SEK, and it takes ten minutes to Gällivare railway station. We leave our luggage at the taxi office, since the driver claim that the left-luggage office at the railway station is closed. We do not need to pay for it. The bus will leave at twenty past three, so we have four hours to spend. We start with buying the fuel for our kitchen, this we find in the ICA-shop. Nearby, everything is nearby in Gällivare, is the China restaurant. Here we eat Beijing rice, tastes rather good, and the plate is full. On the way back to the railway station, do we visit the new church. A wooden church built around 1880. Back at the railway station, after having fetched the luggage in the nearby taxi office, do we repack and redress such that we can start walk when we arrive at Saltoluokta. It turns out that the travel agency and the luggage office is reopened, it is now a private railway company that operates the train to Norrland and it took them some time to get into bussiness. Then we wait for the bus outside the station.
The bus leave on time, with us is the bus half full. Just before the village Porjus do we take right, on a small road along the lake Stora Lulevattnet. The road is miserable, and it need to be improved. At five do we turn left down to the landing stage at Kebnats. The boat from Saltoluokta is approaching, and the bus from Ritsem arrive as well. The place is full of life for a moment. Much supply is to be transported to the fell station, it takes some time to move it from the bus to the boat. There is no wind, the lake rest in peace during the ten minutes it takes to get across. We sit outside and watch the steep mountain Lulep Kierkau. The fell station is a few hundred meter away, uphill through a birch forest, a broad track show the way. We can here music, four folk musicians entertain when we arrive. This week is devoted to swedish folkmusic. That is not our interest this time, at six are we on our track up towards Autsutjvagge. The first part is uphill through the birch forest, soon one reach the bare mountain region. Looking back have we a nice view of the glossy surface of the lake Langas. To the west is the peak Lulep Kierkau (1139) most prominent. In front of us is the wide valley Autsutjvagge, our broad and stony track lead further into the flat northern part of it. The valley continue west to tha lake Pietshaure, between Lulep Kierkau and the small peak of Rasek (1092). The clouds descend on the slopes of the hillsides, in east are they gentle, while in west is the vertical wall of Sjäksjo (1250). The daylight start to disappear, and after have passed a few brooks without good camping grounds do we find an acceptable place at a small brook. The darkness embrace the tent. It has been a long day, and we fall a sleep at once, the rain fall and the sound it makes on the tent sounds as a cradle song.
Day2: 9 August, Autsutjvagge - Pastavagge, 13 km
We have in advance booked transport from the Sitojaure cabins to Rinim at three in the afternoon. So when we wake up at nine are we already in a hurry, since we still have a long walk to Sitojaure. Though we dislike to walk in rain, is that what we have to do. It is not a heavy rain, but the rain suit is a must. We had put up our tent a few kilometers before the shelter in the valley, and it does not take us long to get there. The shelter is a small house with two barrack beds and an iron stove. The shelter is placed where the jåkk is down in a valley in the valley. The track continue on the edge down to the valley where the jåkk find the way through osier. One pass a few small ridges and some small lakes. The sun become visible, and we can take off the rain suits. From a shallow mini valley do we get a first sight of Sarek, still far away. After passing the next hill can we in the southeast see down on the connected lakes Kaskajaure and Kåbtåjaure, and the low land further away. On the slope down to the lake, and before reaching the birch forest, do we meet five reindeers. They run up on a hill, where they show their impressive siluettes, before they disappear into Autsutjvagge. The remaining part down to the cabins at Sitojaure is through a birch forest. There are two cabins, one close to the water and one further up in the forest, not far away is a Same village. The cabin at the lake looks new. The cabin host tell us that the previous one was last year destroyed by a fire. At three do our boat arrive, with six frozen passengers. We dress up in our rain suits, and leave in a strong contrary wind. The lake is shallow, and the wind creates disturbing waves. It feels in the body when the boat smash into the waves. The driver suddenly stop the boat, pointing, look an eagle on the shore! To us it more looks like a stone. We continue, trying to find the way with least waves. Dark clouds have appeared on the sky, and the rain start. When the boat hits the waves do we get a shower of cold water. We are happy we took on the rain suits.
After more than an hour, normal time is half an hour, do we land at Rinim. Rinim is in lee behind the mountains and in the forest, so here is no wind. This is the reason why the same family has built their house here. Our plan is to walk north of Äpar, and we ask our driver about where to ford Lulep Pastajåkkå. Nowhere, I do not want to find you in my fishing nets, he answer. There is abnormally much water these days, it is dangerous, and better not to try it. We thank him, pay the 250 SEK for the boat trip, and walk up through the birch forest. We will decide what to do when reaching the jåkk. While we talk, a few more hikers arrive from direction of Pastavagge, and wants to be transported to Sitojaure cabins, but he hesitates of making another tour today. It is cold and windy out there, he needs at least cofffee to get warm again.. We leave them and walk up through the narrow band of birch forest. When getting above the forest, doone pass between the lone hill Namatis, and the steep slope of Takartjåkkå, the peak is deeply hidden in the clouds. In front of us is the small opening into Pastavagge, the view is impressive. It is windy and a few showers pass by, and it temporarily hide the view. There are no problems to walk here, and we reach Pastajåkkå after a few hours. We find the stone where we stayed 1986, here we put our tent again. When looking at the jåkk, do we find that it is a wise decision not to ford it, but to walk through Pastavagge instead. It rains slightly and the wind has increased further. We start to get worried and support the tent with heavy stones, and lie down wondering what will come.
Day3: 10 August, Pastavagge - Rinim, 4 km
At midnight is it storming. Our place is not the best suitable in a raging storm, open as it is at the entrance to a valley. The wind tries to tear our tent apart, fooling us by being calm for a minute, building up, then suddenly hit us with full strength. Each time from a different direction. The tent is forced almost flat along the ground, despite our effort to support it with our own bodies. One feel helpless, no control of what will happen, at the same time impressed by the force. After hours of fight, in the small hours, and a moment of inattention, do a bow break in two pieces. At six in the morning have we managed to make a rudimentary repair, my friend is a handy person. The storm, happy with the performance, leave us and we can get some sleep. When we wake up at ten, has the wind faded away. We leave the tent to have a closer look at the damage. The tent bows do not look as they did before, they have now a strange wavy shape. The damage is not too bad, but it is bad enough to decide that we should not continue as planned. It needs some more permanent repair. After lunch, i.e. our breakfast, do we put our things together and start to walk back to Rinim. We soon see Sitojaure again, between us and the lake are hundreds of reindeers. A fantastic view. They are not at all shy, and let us come close as we pass them. Indeed majestatic animals. We have never seen that many at the same time before. At four do we enter the forest at Rinim again, and walk down to the shore.
The woman has seen us passing the house, and send the seven or eight year daughter to ask if we want to buy newly smoked arctic chark. What a question! Of course we want. The man just left with some hikers, or tourists as they call us, for the Sitojaure cabins. We eat our charks at the shore, while waiting for him to come back, and start to enjoy life again. When he come back, surprised to see us again, do we tell them about our mishappening, and they insist in helping us in making a more solid repair of the tent. They have better tools for it than we do. They tell us that it has happened several times that tents has been blown away at that stone, the lesson is do not tent there in a storm. Despite that the tent look more reilable now, we have also lost time, do we decide to walk along Kungsleden down to Kvikkjokk. We borrow their "phone" to cancel our helicopter that we have booked from Staloluokta. It is too late to take the boat to Svine on Kungsleden, we can stay in the lapp cot sleeping on reindeer skins. They charge us 50SEK per person for it, but then we can take wood to make up a fire, and use the sauna. With birch-bark as lightener do we soon have a warming fire in the cot, but also some smoke. Meanwhile a man and his nine year daughter arrive from Pastavagge, they have had a bad night, their tent was more damaged than ours. We share the cot with them.
Day4: 11 August, Rinim - Laituare, 9 km
We wake up at seven, put as quite as possible our things together, we do not want to disturb the man and his daughter. The breakfast do we eat at the beach. When finished do we, as agreed, walk up to the house and knock on the door. Now we learn from our hosts that three persons were killed when an helicopter crashed into a mountain side when trying to rescue two persons caught at Kebnekaise due to the bad weather. Terrible, our mishappening feels as nothing in comparison. Today is it a beautiful day, and the boat trip to Svine is enjoyable. The weather is nice, and the lake is calm. After ten minutes do we get engine failure. We slowly drift on the lake, while he tries to get it going again. Meanwhile we enjoy the views, this part of the lake is surrounded by mountains. Around the lake grow a dense birch forest, which is it difficult to penetrate, something we experienced 1986. Svine, where we arrive after half an hour, is the place at Sitojaure from where Kungsleden go south to Aktse. We pay our driver 300 SEK per person for the trip, it might sound expensive but fuel and maintenance is expensive and he is also going back empty. From a lapp cot comes loud music, they sell smoked chark, but we are not hungry and continue through the forest towards the plateau Njunjes. The track pass a few marshes, before the ascend towards Martevaratj (939m), and we leave the forest. The last part is rather steep, and with a small stony area. The reward is the far reaching view towards north, Sitojaure and Autsutjvagge. From the highest point of Njunjes and downwards do the view of Skierfe, Tjakkeli, and the Laitaure delta appear. To the east do the eyes see far away over meadows covered with gullris (goldenrod) and fjällfibbla. Just before one enter the birch forest and then further down to Aktse, sit some persons. They only thing they say is, oh oh how nice, beautiful. What they mean is the view of Skierfe and the delta where the Rapa river meet Laitaure.
From here is also a track which one follow when walking up on Skierfe. We leave our rucksacks and follow it for a kilometer to get a better view. On the way back do we meet a german who has come here with his canoe, one may use a canoe up to the border of Sarek. Beneath us is the homestead Aktse. We fetch our rucksacks, and walk down through a denser and denser forest, down to the hay meadows at the Aktse cabins. Many people lay in the grass and enjoy the sunshine, a man use a primitive shower. It all give a feeling of harmony. The nice hostess help us to find out how to get from Kvikkjokk to Gällivare, this we need to know to plan the rest of the hike. At the homestead,a few hundred meters from the cabins, do we buy smoked chark. This we eat sitting in the meadow outside the cabin of the swedish natural preservation foundation. Previous weekend did they have a hay-making day, they try to preserve the meadow for the future. We walk the 500 meters to the lake, where the boat across the lake leave at five thirty. The same do two men that look like the Hill Billys as described in the book about the Apalache trail that my friend read. They sit there for a while, and then they walk back. It is us and a young couple in the boat. The driver ask if anybody has seen a man who has not returned from Sarek after two weeks, negative answer. Where the boat land is a shelter, here we set up our tent, and take a bath in the lake before dinner. A rowing boat with two men approach. We get neighbours fo the night. One of them realise that he has forgotten is high-tech walking stick on the other side and row back to fetch it. He get some passengers since some hikers show up just in time. The sunset is fantastic. We sit on the landing stage admiring it. The sun paints Skierfe and the mirror image in the lake red.
Day5: 12 August, Laitaure - Ritak, 10 km
Our neighbours leave early. We are lazy and take it easy. The day start with an easy time through the forest, mainly spruces and birches. At some places do the forest open up and we can see the steep eastern slope of Tjakkeli. Though it looks difficult to walk up there, is it said to be rather easy where the green strip is seen in the middle. We have a short discussion if we should do it, but our time is too limited for a longer excursion. After a few kilometers do one enter the national park, still without much of height difference. In front of us can we see Suobbattjåkkå (1177). After the bridge at Suobbatjåkkå, do the uphill start and the spruces become rare. The slope up to the bare mountain region is steep, a 250 meter height difference. Up to now has it been good weather, but when we start the uphill do the rain show up. Typical, uphill and rain is not a good combination. Wet from inside or outside. When we reach the end do the rain stop. So do we and take a long break, looking north do one have a wonderful scenery with Tjakkeli, the valley between us and it, and the mountains north of Rapadalen. The track continue along the slope down to the large artificial lake Tjaktjajaure, which is a large water reservior for a power station. Today is it full of water, and it looks from our distance like a real lake. Though one can se a small strip of the dead shores. Around the lake are forests, and on the opposite side are the low mountains of Kabla. Rittak, the southwest end of the lake, is the natural original lake.
At a small brook in a region with birches, osier, and flowers is a shelter. My friend who was here fifteen years ago, say that the vegetation has grown a lot since then. Our neighbours from Laitaure have a late lunch, or is it early dinner, at the shelter. We chat a while before they leave, they are in a hurry to get to Kvikkjokk.We are not, we put up our tent in an opening in the forest hundred meters from the shelter. Close to the tent grow nordisk stormhatt (Wolf's bane) in a large amount. My name (Ulf) is an old word for wolf in swedish, and I hope that the name of the flower is not that seriously meant. But it will be if I try to eat the plant, it is very poisonous. The swedish name is better, "nordic stormhat". Anyway, I find the flower very beautiful. After dinner is it time for a stroll, the sky is clearing up, it seems to become a beautiful evening. We leave the small string of forest, and sit down on the rocks with Tjaktjajaure in front and beneath of us. Though it is artificial is it impressive. In the west can we see Tarrekaise at the horizon. Here we sit and sit, until the chilly night tells us that the warmth of the sleeping bags is waiting. A bumble-bee has got lost in our tent. In contrast to mosquitos, which we have not met many of, is the humble a friend of us. We help it to get out from the tent.
Day6: 13 August, Ritak - Stuor-Tata, 13 km
The breakfast is served on the same rock as where we sat yesterday evening. Magnificient weather and view. One mosquito show up, and it bite my friend on the lower lip. Since he is sensitive to these things, do the lip grow to three times the normal size. It looks as if I have hit him, but I did not! I hope that we will not meet any before it has returned to the normal. We leave our lodging. After a few hundred meters do we pass a flowering meadow, a mixture of all sorts of coulors. Then we leave the forest stripe, and walk above the tree line, with the "small horn" Huornatj (884m) in front of us. It disapppear for a short moment at the bridge over Jåkkejåk& aring;tj. We pass below the steep slope to Faunåive (1117m), to the left do we have a ravine, which here prevents one to reach Huornatj. The track follow the ravine until its beginning, where one get a view towards Pårte and the forest towards west. At the horizon is Vallespiken at Tarrekaise, From here is it easy and quick to walk up on Huornatj, it is only at the last few meters that it is steep. From the top is the view of the surroundings even better. Here we aimed to come from Ivarlako in 1985, but then we came with rain and clouds, we abandoned Huornatj and walked through the forest down to Kungsleden instead. So now we see it all at last. In the valley towards west is the lake Sjabtjakjauare, a blue spot in the green forst. From here can we see more of Sarek, Kaskastjåkkå (1825m) and Skaitetjåkkå (1993) show up to the left of Faunåive.
When coming back to the track, do we take an hour rest in the grass with the full view towards west. Kallakvare (1125m) divides the view in two halves, the forest to the left, Sarek to the right. The sun shine and life feels good. With an effort do we rise and start to walk again. One now enter a different type of nature, as we descend into the forest are the mountains disappearing above the tree-tops and the forest becomes denser and denser. At the beginning mainly with birches, then more and more of pine. It is a true virgin forest, truly wonderful. The track is stony and to start with rather steep downhill. The beauty of the forest make it anyway easy. After the small bridge over Kallakjåkkå is it almost flat, at a few places does it open up, small marshes and ponds give a refreshing interruption of the forest. At four do we pass the Pårte cabin, placed on a small point of land in Sjabtjakjaure. The track disappear into the forest again, high thin spruces stand along i, like pillarst. At a small brook do we meet the first people for today, a danish couple on the way to Kvikkjokk. At the bridge over Tjåltajåkkå, a rather wide brook, is the small hill Årjep seen. After one more kilometer do we reach the eastern end of the beautiful lake surrounded with forests, Stuor-Tata. First a marsh, a small lake, and then the track follow the lake for a kilometer, here and there the track consists of large stones. We make small excursion up the hill to find a place for the night, but none is suitable. Finally we find a site at the lake, where the track is to leave the lake, with a nice view over the water. A bird is flying closely above the surface, with the small islets in the middle of the lake and Vallespiken as background. Svärtor (Velevt scoter) swim on the lake. On the other side is the hill Tjålta (823m) visible above the forest. A bath is a must in this lake, a quick one. At ten the mosquitos find us and the tent is our resque. Time to sleep.
Day7: 14 August, Stuor-Tata - Kvikkjokk, 10 km
The night is full of sounds. The waves lap, birds land and start on the water, talking with each other. There is some quarrel on the opposite side of the lake. At half past ten are we again on the track. We leave the lake which is equally grey as the sky. To start with is it slight uphill through the virgin forest, though not as virgin as the earlier. Humans have used it for centures. We are surrounded of birches, pillar spruces, and a few pines. A lone tent is placed in the forest, there is nobody visible. Perhaps the danish couple from yesterday. It is not a perfect place to stay, there is no water around. After a few kilometers are we where the track to Pårek begin, at an open mire. Here one have a view of the mountains (Pårte) behind the trees.The mountains look distant and tempting. The track is now wide, since many make a day tour to here from Kvikkjokk. After the open mire do one pass a masterpiece of art, the roots of a tree is decorating the track. We say hello to two germans, as we learn later, dressed in mosquito nets. We can not resist to tell them that there are no mosquitos around This is true, there are zero, so the nets are useless. We take a break in an opening, around us are trees dressed in lichens, indicating clean air. A bird land in front of, a Lavskrika (Siberian Jay). A bird that like the company of humans. We give it some biscuits, which it fly away with and immediately return to get more. Probably does it store for the winter, we doubt that it will find it when the winter come. Anyway, it eat the last pieces. It happily pose for photos. The moqsuito men pass by, saying hallo, and now without the net. They must have realised that mosquitos are not out this day
From now it is downhill through a dense forest, partly rather steep. The last part is through a strip of trees that remain after that the forest was cut down ten years ago. The strip that was left, has become smaller because of the storm a few years later. It does not look nice, now have one at least removed the fallen trees from the track. The last part is on gravel road, passing a parking lot before the former fell station. It is placed with a view of the rapids in the river Kamajåkkå and the mountains at the horizon. Former, since it is now a youth hostel. It is one hour until it open at three thirty. This hour we spend at the rapids, where a woman sit on the rocks reading a book. We meet the two germans again, now they try get some fish in the river. When here was a fell station did it have a very good restaurant, which now is closed down. Perhaps it is a good idea to catch ones own dinner. We get our room, take a shower, and stroll around in the village. The shop was closed last year, but the church is still there. At the church we meet one of the germans again, he is policeman. In the early evening can one get food in the annex "Utkiken". We take pyttipanna, diced meat fried with onion and potatoes, and a rather bad wine.
Day8-9: 15-16 August, Kvikkjokk - Home, - km
During breakfast we discuss the storm we had with others who also had a bad night. They also think that the standard is decreased and littering increased along the track. We check out and wait for the bus that leave 12.30. The bus stop is at the closed shop five hundred meters away, previuosly was it outside the youth hostel. It takes two hours to Jokkmokk, where we walk to the youth hostel and leave our luggage at the entrance. It open at 17.00. We have a late lunch at the mountain museum Ajtte, we eat an excellent reindeer. Then a visit to the handicraft house to by presents, here we meet the woman we met a few years ago at Änonjalme. After having checked in at the youth hostel, do we seacrh for a restaurant to have a good dinner at. The pizzerias we reject, in a small restaurant are we recommended to eat at Hotel Gästis. Friendly of them, so we walk to Gästis. It is a good recommendation, the arctic chark with cream sauce and potatoes is delicious. We are back at the youth hostel in time for the evening news on TV. 116 persons are feared to have died in a sunken russion submarine.
We have breakfast in the cafe City. The lady serve two types of sandwich she say, with cheese and ham, the other with ham and cheese. We take one of each. The rest of the morning is spent in the mountain botanical garden, this time of the year do nothing flower. Lunch again at Ajtte, before it is time to walk to the bus station. The bus leave 13.30, half an hour late. The trip to Gällivare take ninety minutes. We have a taxi to the airport, the same driver as when we arrived. We tell him that the railway station has opened again. At five do the Fokker take off. When I at midnight open the door to my home, does a happy cat greet me.
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