Sarek 2002
Änonjalme - Vaisaluokta - Vuossjevagge - Gålokbuollda - Biernnaaskåhppe - Hellemobotn - Rautojaure - Vaisaluokta, 83 km

Prologue: , - , km

I look at my rucksack. Several weeks ago did I check it carefully without finding any problems. Now I have packed it and it broke. The preparations could have been better. Firts I got sciatica, then I got sick for two weeks. One advantage of being sick was that sciatica disappeared. A few days ago a tooth fell apart. To find a dentist who is not on vacation was not easy, but tomorrow will I get a new tooth for 3500 SEK. I.e. there is no money to buy a new rucksack. Can it be repaired? I take it and bike to the shoemaker. He look at it and say: No! Unhappy do I leave him. Outside his shop is, or was, a nice house from the eighteenth century. Somebody put it on fire a few days ago, it looks depressing. Back home do I call a friend and ask if I can borrow her rucksack. Of course, I can get it tomorrow when she come to town.

The next morning is it written in the newspaper there was a dentist workshop in the building that was destroyed by the fire. I get nervous, what about my tooth? Will I have to leave without it, it feels no good to walk around with such a big hole in the mouth for a week. I bike to the dentist. The first thing I am told is that the workshop was indeed in that building, but my tooth had been rescued. He plug it in, and I pay him the 3500 SEK. Next step is to get the rucksuck. It is smaller then I remember, but it will be a short tour so it will probably be enough.I go home and after some effort and time do I manage to get everything into it. Now it is time to sleep, the alarm clock is set to five, the cat is my sleeping pill. I catch her when is she going out through her door, and beg her to sleep in the bed. She curl up at my knees and purr, I fall asleep.

Day1: 7 August, Änonjalme - Vaisaluokta, 6 km

I wake up by the sound of the phone, I have ordered an automatic call to be sure to wake up in time. I fetch the newspaper, have breakfast, and bring my luggage to the car. I say goodbye to the cat and ask her to take care of the catsitters. It is a nice morning, the sun is rising, and there is almost no traffic on the road to the airport. Normally do I dislike driving, but today I almost like it. I leave my car at the long time parcing place, and note down on the parcing ticket where I put the car. Last year did I forget it, and had to search for the car. At the gate is it peaceful. A lady is helping the few passengers to understand the new self-service electronic check-in system. After a few minutes do my friend show up. He has the electronic tickets registered on his credit card. The lady check the ticket, but something is wrong, we better talk with the lady at the information desk.
-Do you live togother? She ask and look up at the two middle aged men.
-No, we do not have those feelings.
-But you have such a ticket!
-We will live together in the mountains.
-We booked two ticket, the booking office must have made a mistake.
-Hm... OK then. But your walking stick must be checked-in. New security rules.
The plane leave at the scheduled time. After on hour do we land on Arlanda airport outside Stockholm. Now we have to wait two hours for the plane to Gällivare.

It feels good to land at Lapland airport after two hours in a small noisy plane. We take a taxi to Gällivare. The driver tell us that the car has had seven accidents. To comfort us does he also tell us that he has never had any accident with it. Anyway, we arrive safely to Gällivare. We leave our luggage at the taxi station, the bus to Ritsem leave at 15.30 and now the time is around 12. We buy methanol at the paint dealer, and have lunch at the Chinese restaurant: Deep fried pork in sweet-sour sauce. Then it is time to fetch the luggage, and we repack it into walking conditions in the waiting room at the railway station. This year as well do one rebuild the bus stop outside the railway station. Last year did we notice it in the last minute that bus stop had moved, so this year we ask where it is. My friend find his biscuits in small pieces, destroyed by the transport. The bus cost 185 SEK to Ritsem. Soon we see the tempting mountains at the horizon. The bus stop at all the wellknown places: Kebnats, Stora Sjöfallet, Suorva, and Vakkotavare. We leave the bus in Ritsem harbour. It is us, two germans, and two women that take the evening boat at 19.10 to Änonjalme. The crossing with M/S Storlule takes 40 minutes and cost 155 SEK. 125 for members of  the tourist federation. Ten to eight are we in Änonjalme. Next is Vaisaluokta.

One has to walk up on the bare and stony shore, it looks rather depressive. The lake is artificial due to a hydro power station, and that is the price to pay for our electricity. One follow a track uphill to the cafeteria. The cafeteria is closed, it is probably not worth it to have it open for the passengers in the evening. Behind the house do the track split in two, one continue to the Akka cabin and further to Kisuris, we choose the other one to Vaisaluokta. This tack goes through the forest along the lake. Our plan is to as soon as possible to find a camping site. Time pass by and now campint appear. The track is through a forest between the lake and the steep slope of Boalnotjåhkkå. Perhaps one could set up the tent on th e stony shore, but waves my visit the tent. In the forest is nothing. We split, one walk on the track, one on the shore. Nothing.  Finally we give up and take a break instead and eat blueberries that are here abundant.

The houses in Vaisaluokta same village show up. We see people outside a house further up on the slope, they have made up a fire and seems to have a nice evening. We reach the bridge over Guossjajåhkkå, on the other side is a church cot. In front of it is an open place, do one dare to use it as a campsite? It is ten, the sun is at the horizon and paint Boalnotjåhkkå red. We are tired and have had a long day, God excuse us. We put up the tent at two small huts on pillows. The dust of our journey is removed with the help of the brook. Then we have dinner and the sleeping bags are welcoming us.

Day2: 8 August, Vaisaluokta - Gålobuollda, 14 km

I wake up several times during the and and notice that it is dusk all night, for the last time at seven. We are on vacation so we wait for another hour before starting the day. While we pack our things do the people who came with the morning boat to Vaisaluokta start to pass by. Some say hello, some look in another direction pretending they are alone in the mountains. Instead do they bring the mobile phone, dial somebody, say hello I'm here, how are you? We escape on a random track, as long as the direction is uphill to Vuossjevagge. The track is first through a birch forest, and becomes more and more invisible, finally only imagination can see it. But then we have reached the tree line, it does not matter. My heart beat, I'm not in the best shape, so we take a few breaks. Suddenly do we see a well used track coming from somewhere down the slope. We join it until it disappear as well as do the last few birches that manage to survive this far up. We are sweating, when passing through the birch forest were we covered by an orange powder, which dissolve by the sweat. We look sick. The orange powder is probably birch rost.

We reach the brook Sjvaltjajåhkå,which has created a small gorge. Strangely enough is there a thin snow bridge, it seems to be near to collapse at any moment. But why should one use it? There is almost no water in the brook. To the lake, which is the mother of the brook, do we walk on flowering meadows. On the slope down to the shore of the lake do have lunch and a nap in the sunshine. On the mountain Skajdetjåhkkå, on the other side of the lake, are still a few snow fields. We continue to the right of the lake, and up the slope north of the hill 1085 towards Vuossjevagge. In the mountain pass are there some stony areas, but nothing serious. It looks like newly fallen snow at the lake in the valley, but it is Scheuchzer's Cottongrass. the grow at the shore, it gives an almost mirror image of the snow fields on Stuora Jålle. The lake is somewhat undefined, and seems to be split in two pieces. We cross the lake where it is split. In the southwest is the lake Irkkajavrre, towards the lake are strings of water. Mountains are barely seen far away at the horizon. Ahead of us is the hill Vuossjevarasj, we intend to walk between it and Stuora Jålle. On the slope of Vuossjevarasj is a large snow fields. On it is a herd of reindeers, they are forming different types of formations, changing shape continously. When we approach, still at some distcance, do I rise the camera. Of course do they at once leave the snow field. The picture of the year is untaken.

We continue on a moor, that is easy to walk on, up to the mountain pass at 1050 meters. In the pass is a small lake, at the shore grow Cottongrass. It it very beautiful, the water, Cottongrass, and in the west is the mountain Ravdoajvve the background. The reindeers are crossing the pass, a magnificiant silhouette. The ground become more stony, after the pass is it as walking on a flat stone floor. Ahead of us is an open flat landscape, limited by the mountains 10 km away. We find a tiny brook, and start to look for a campsite. So far is too stony and not enough water, we long for a refreshing bath. It is very warm day. The ground becomes less stony, but we have to walk until our brook meet the brook from Unna Jålle. Where they meet is a nice grassy place, and enough water. The bare rocks at the brooks tell that much more water can be transported. Nearby a large stone is the water deep enough to take a sitting bath. I sit down and let the water cool down my body. The sunset make as company during our dinner, and spread a soft light.  In northwest do Ravdoajvve look down at us. I rise my bottle with fresh water and drink our health.

Day3: 9 August, Gålobuollda - Biernnaaskåhppe, 16 km

There are no clouds on the sky, only the brightest stars are seen. I have been drinking a lot during the day, that is why I am standing here looking up at the sky. The night is warm, perhaps one should sleep outside the tent? I'm too lazy to bring out the sleeping bag, and return the tent and fall asleep again. A few hours later do we wake to a beautiful morning. My body ache, but not as bad as expected. We walk on dry moors, it is very dry. The sun shine, it feels as if walking in a desert. There is not much of streaming water to fill the water bottles with. The mountains seems far away, as if they were a mirage. In the north do look into the valley Oajevagge. At the ponds Gålokbuollda do we find a minor stream. It looks like a wetland, but now everything is dry. The landscape at the ponds consists of small hills. Just before the slope up to the mountain pass between Oarjep and Nuortap Galbek is larger pond, almost a lake. We take our lunchbreak at the shore

It is impossoble to resist to take a refreshing bath in the shallow and warm water. Is the the warm weather or the age that makes on sleepy, whatever it is do we take a nap. Afterwards do we continue up the stony but not so steep slope to the pass between Oarjep and Nuortap Galbek. In south do the lakes in front of Stibok appear, Stibokjavrre and Galbejavrre. We admire the view, the sun make the brook that flow down the slope to glitter. The water comes from a lake further up. We walk west of the lake, meet much of stone, on the side does of course look less stony. The highest point is after the lake, then we walk on a meadow along another lake. In the north is a marsh, or was today is it dry. A large stone! Large enough to give a shadow to sit in. It is not often one search for a shadow in the mountains. In the west the strange mountain Tjårok, with bare flat rock. Different from what one else see. On the meadows grow Autumn Hawkbit, we have also seen the small but beautiful Rock Speedwell.

We cross the brook which from the lake finds the way down the slope to Biernnaskåhppe. Down in the dead end valley is a brook that like a snake run which away in the green grass. We return to the place where the brook from the lake fall down the slope, and cross it again. We find ourself on a plateau. A cairn and a fireplace show that it has been used before. The view towards north is magnificient. We look at rocky landscape and the scarface mountain Skajdevarre. There is no indication in change of weather, so we consider it safe to use the plateua as campsite. It is exposed to wind. We have a bath in the brook, afterwards do I sit naked and let the sun dry me. We have dinner on the rocks, with the sound of the brook as background music. We sit and watch the sunset, and the shadows becomes longer and longer. My friends hand is swollen, something has biten him.

Day4: 10 August, Biernnaaskåhppe - Suollagajåhkå, 20 km

We have three more days, and we want to walk to Hellemobotn and then back to Vaisaluokta. We decide to walk to Nordkalottleden, set our tent and then make an excursion for the day to Hellemobotn. Tomorrow do we walk towards Vaisaluokta on Nordalottleden. We do not want to be in a hurry, the schedule seems good. The slope down to the trail has many small grooves. After a while does It become more flat and we reach a moor with dwarf birches. Something is humming. It is not mosquitos, but ... WASPS! My friend has stirred them, and they think I'm the guilty. I feel a sudden pain in my right calf. Looking down do I see wasp looking angrily at me. I whisk away the wasp and escape. We stop at a brook where I cool down the wasp sting. I hope have not become allergic, and continue. A four meter vertical slope block our way. It stretch far up the mountain side and down to the jåhk. Here we can not climb down, but nearby the jåhk does it seem as if the rock has crashed down, and it is indeed possible to climb down. The remaining part to the bridge over Suollagajåhkå is easy. We rise the tent, pack the daytour rucksacks and we start the walk to Hellemobotn.

The trail pass through moors, pass a few lakes and dry marshes. A half a meter wide brook is a meter deep, one has to jump over it. The landscape change character, to be more flat rocks. At the border to Norway, a sign show where it is, is again there a moor between two lakes. The mountains behind Hellemobotn is visible at the horizon. The mountains around us have no vegetation. Steep rocks forces the trail to pass a narrow part of a lake, it is not deep, and stones are there to walk on. We come to a rocky landscape, which can be slippery and difficult to navigate in bad weather. The orange colour or the T that are painted on stones to mark the trail, are not always easy to see. It is a magnificient scenery, the bare mountain Coruk is enormous. The descend to Hellemobotn start, the gorge with several hundred neters vertical walls are scaring. The trail keeps away from it. It is hot, and we start to get thirsty. We reach the birch forest, in which there is a brook and  we can drink and eat blueberries. Where the forest end do we stop, it is two in the afternoon and time for lunch. We have marvellous view of Hellemobotn. Birches and pines makes the piece of art complete. In the book 'Hitchhikers guide to the galaxy' was Norway constructed by Slartibartfast. He was very proud of it, and got a price. This I understand.

When we are happy with what we have seen do we return. Now it is uphill. One see the landscape from a different view when walking in the other direction. Steep slopes seems to fall down on you. We leave the track and climb up on a small rock to get a view of the canyon. One should not slip, nothing will stop the fall before one reach the bottom. When the dizziness become to strong for me, do we return to the track. We let a stone down into a narrow crack in the rock. It takes a long time before we hear it reach the bottom. The rock we are standing on will some time in the future slide down into the canyon. An upside down staircase rise several hundred meter up. I refuse my friends suggestion to walk up on it, so he can get a picture of it. We pass the flat rocks, the lakes, and we are back in Sweden. When we are almost at our tent do we meet a single man. Dressed only in boots, rucksack, and minimal underwear. It is hot, and the evening in the jåhk is refreshing. Today is our restaurant on a rock, with the sound of streaming water as background music, and the sunset is our dessert.

Day5: 11 August, Suollagajåhkå - Rautojaure, 14 km

Unbelievable! Surprised do we look out and see another sunny warm day. Four days of sunshine, something must be wrong. I hurry down to the jåhk, wash my shirt and let it dry on the already warm rocks. After an hour is it dry. On a good track and with far reaching views do we head for the goal of today, Rautojaure shelter. In the north and east are the mountains distant, in the south do we have the wall of Ravdoajvve. It becomes the warmest day so far. Five litres of water is required during the day. The track do on open moors follow the brook Valldajåhkå. Temporarily do one pass through a brich forest, then the views are there again. One walk beneath Ravdoajvve, with a magnificient view of the valley of Valldajåhkå. Over the brook from the glacier lake far up on Ravdoajvve is a partlty demolished bridge. We have a long lunch break in the shadow of the rock at the brook. The next bridge, over the brook from a lake further up, is more robust. My friend wonder the weight of the bridge. I guess 300 kg, he 420. On the bridge days it say 420 kg! To close to be true, he confess he is cheating and has read it before asking. We have the view of the valley for a few more kilometers, then the track enter the birch forest.

The leaves are already yellow, it has beeen raining for a long time. But the undergrowth is still luxuriant. The track is more and more through the forest. At the end of a downhill slope sit two persons and rest. The look tired, and dressed for a much colder day. How do they manage? They are on their way to Hellemobotn, one of them can tell that the track at Hellemobotn was an escape route during the second world war. That one can understand, it is rather inaccessible. We leave them and continue through the birch forest. The trail can not be popular, the track is here and there overrun with grass. It is long before we see the Rautojaure shelter between the trees. After having searched for a camp site, do we realise that we have to use the shelter. There is a small open place at the lake, but it is too small for our tent. We open the door to the shelter, in order to let the heat out. Meanwhile do we take a bath in the lake. It is a fantastic shallow lake, with a perfect beach, and with the view of Ahkke in the east. After the bath do we have picknick at the edge of the water. I write my diary while sitting in the sunshine outside the small house. Close to me grow Rosebay Willowherb, there is a humming from the many bumble-bees. A few butterflies do as well make a visit. During the day have we seen two frogs and a few lemming remnants. We have not seen any living lemmings, last year did one almost step on them.

Twenty meters from the shelter, towards the forest,  is an outdoor toilet. One of the doors is supported by a log. Towards the lake is a hut for garbage and wood. The garbage room is clean, but there is nothin in the  wood store. That does not matter, the shelter is warm as it is. Besides, the stove does not look healthy, it is rusty. Other things in the shelter are: empty liquor bottles, a well used towel, an unused dishbrush, saucepan, match box, german spaghetti (best before 011003), sponge, toothpaste from the early 80ies, knife, gloves, sandals, a lousy brush, rusty nails, spanner, broken rubber gloves, on open bag of powder soup which has formed lumps. On the walls and ceiling are many inscriptions from other guests, the oldest we find is from 17/7-83. The light fade, which tell us that it is time to sleep.

Day6: 12 August, Rautojaure - Vaisaluokta, 13 km

I wake up in the middle of the night, I need to visit the outdoor toilet. To my surprise is the interior in much better shape than the exterior. I do what I need. It is a warm night, and I stay for a while enjoying the peaceful and silent nature, before I return to the bed. Next time I wake up is it seven and time to start the day. We have breakfast in the shelter, tidy it up such that it is much more well tidied then when we arrived. Once again, it is a warm sunny day. Rosebay Willowherb shine red in the morning sun. We leave on the track that lead us into the birchforest. At a bog do we get a view into the valley Oajevagge. We are sweating a lot, and at the lake Ravdojavrre is it already time to fill the water bottles. We sit down at the lake, drink water, and look over the lake with the low mountain Oajetjåhkkå on the other side. After the lake do one walk on bog, on wooden planks are laid out on it to walk on, to the bridge over Ravdojåhkå. Ravdojåhkå is a rather broad but gentle brook. Also over the next brook is a bridge, though my map says that there should not be any.

We walk up a slight uphill slope through the forest, and reach a bog with a small puddle at the end. In the east can we see Ahkka before we again enter the forest. Once again is it obvious that the track is not used very much, at a few places is it almost invisible. The sun shine from a clear sky, and we look for a place with shadow when we take breaks. It is downhill to the bridges over two brooks nearby Ahkkajavrre. The water flow in some sort of small canyons. We meet two wanderers, they disappear with high speed. I envy their youthful speed. But perhaps they have no time to enjoy the beuatiful forest. A bird, unknown to me, is sitting on a branch carefully studying us. It starts to hunt a butterfly, that escape in the last moment. The last part to the Vaisaluokta cabin continue in the forest, and is nearby the lake which now and then is seen between the trees. A few bogs are crossed, and at half past three are we at the cabin.

The cabin host is a talkative and pleasant man, that proudly show us the shower that is in the nearby brook. What luxury! I turn on the cold water, there is no warm water, and let the water cool down my warm body. It is very refreshing. My friend complain that there is nothing to sit and put clothes on. Next time we pass by the shower is there a stump. Well done. During the dinner can we not avoid listening to a conversation between the host and other guests. The host tries to convince them not to walk to Hellemobotn, they have no money, no food,  and not very good equipment. They will think about it. From the cabin do one have a view of Ahkkajavrre and the mountain Ahkka. During the evening do clouds pile up above Ahkka, the colour shift towards red as the sun set.

Day7: 13 August, Vaisaluokta - Gällivare, - km

There are two alternatives, one is to take a morning walk up to Boalnotjåhkkå and look at the view of Ahkka, the other is to take the morning boat to Ritsem and then the bus to Gällivare. We must in any case stay over night in Gällivare such that we can fly home tomorrow. The weather decide. Surprised do we look at the cloudy sky, a chilly wind come from the lake. It may start to rain at any moment. We miss the sun. Also laziness help us to decide to take the morning boat. The lake is rough, and the boat must be it's own breakwater before it can land. Passengers are exchanged and the boat head for Ritsem with us and the guests from yesterday onboard. They must have followed the advice of the host not to walk to Hellemobotn. The girl that collect money for the tickets is friendly, and since they lack money can they pay afterwards. The boat roll, some rough waves throw water over the boat. Fortunetely have I put the rain protection on my rucksack. When we come inside the breakwater at Ritsem does the water calm down and we can safely leave the boat.

It has happened several times that one see the mountains for the first time when one leave, this year is it the opposite. Feels strange. As the bus pass the known stops do the bus get more and more passengers. When we leave Kebnats is it almost full. In Gällivare do walk to the Other Side (Andra Sidan). It is probably called this since it is on the other side of Vassara älv. This is also where the youth hostel is. The youth hostel is a number of red baracks. In the middle is large old house, which has beeen decaying for a long time. The reception is closed and open at five, so we leave our luggage there and return into Gällivare to have lunch at the China restaurant. Despite the drizzle do we eat outside, inside is it a sauna. Then it is time to buy a present to the cat sitters. In a present shop do I find a corkscrew with a handle of reindeer bone. I pay and put it into my travel rucksack. Now the next tradition: coffee/tee and cake at Åhult cafeteria, one must keep traditions and they have large and good cakes. When we have finished has the reception at the youth hostel opened so we return and get our prebooked room. We do also order breakfast for the next morning. Before the evening dinner do we rest for a few hours, before walking into centre of Gällivare again. The first place we look into is the pub opposite the railway station, but it smells too much of smokers.  So we try the indian restaurant, neighbour to the chinese one. After such a lot of food do one get tired. Back to the youth hostel for a good sleep.

Day8: 14 August, Gällivare - Hem, - km

The breakfast is excellent, and served in a large room. Since I am curious about the old decaying house do I ask the host about its history. I get a long interesting description of it. It was the englishmen, who also built the railway to Gällivare,. that built the house at the end of the 19th century. On the first floor was it an hospital, the ground floor had an ilicit liquor shop. Then it became an magnificient hotel, the author Selma Lagerlöf is said to have written parts of Nils Holgersson here. Then a childrens home, the host points towards one of the windows: that was the room where the children was flogged. After some other activities has since the 1970s the house been decaying. The host say that he is trying get finances to buy and restore it. Good luck. We take a taxi to the airport.

The plane from Arlanda arrive a few minutes late. We have to wait for late passengers, "how late will we be" do a gentleman ask the hostess. We should be in time, 15.05,  at Arlanda since we have following wind, she answer, "I don't believe that" he mutter. We land 15.07, "we are late" the man shout loudly! We leave the plane and find our way to the plane to Malmö. I get stopped at the security check. "You have a weapon in your luggage", the guard claims. Oh, the corkscrew for the cat sitters! A present to the cat sitter, I explain. "Either you check it in, send it by mail, or throw it away"! No time, perhaps I should try the weapon? Or give it as a present to the female guard? Neither of it seems to be appreciated, throw it away I say. The plane for Malmö arrived late to Arlanda, so we are rather late already when we are ready for take off. Then it suddenly becomes very hot in the cabin. "We are sorry but there is something wrong with the air conditioning" say a voice in the loudspeakers, "we have to return to the gate, we need to do some paper exercise". Strange, air condition system made of paper? After a moment is the paper work done, the temperature is normal, as is the flight to Malmö.

Since I this year wrote down where I parked the car do I quickly find it. The traffic is heavy, and I do for a moment consider to take small roads back home. But I want to come home quickly and follow the main stream. The problem is what the give to the cat sitters. The cat is happy to see me, she take a walk around my legs och disappear to inspect her territory. I fetch a small bag made of reindeer skin, and walk to my neighbours. Two wonderful kittens look curiously at me. I wonder what my cat will say about such neighbours. I deliver my present. When my cat come back home is there a bowl full of shrimps waiting for her. 

When I unpack my things do I notice that I forgot my spoon in Vaisaluokta. I donate it. For next year do I need a new rucksack and a new spoon.

Epilogue: , - , km

The best program about nature that I know of is "naturmorgon" in the swedish radio. September 29th did they tell that the lemming population collapsed January 11 when it rained a lot and then the temperature fell to -20 degrees centigrade. The poor creatures froze or starved to death. Therefore is my photo of the lemming from the lemming rich year 2001. To take a picture of a carcass is not interesting. The summer 2002 was in the middle part of Norrland the warmest since the measurements started in 1860. In the northern part was it the warmest hike since I started to hike in 1981. If it is not more than normal, then it less than normal. The conclusion is that the normal condition is rare.

The new cat neighbours have had an exciting automn. The have disappeared several times, but nice people have always brought them back home. They and my cat has tried to come to some sort of agreement, but one can not say that they are friends. Right now do they throw word of abuse to each other through the cat flap.

Now we have the long grey winter of Skåne in front of us. When the spring show up again do I take the map and a looking glass (for some reason do the maps become more and more indistinct for each year) and think on a new hike.

© Mjörnmark,