Sarek 2003
Staloluokta - Viejevagge - Tarraluoppal - Vassjajavratja - Tuoddar - Staloluokta, 82 km

Day1: 29 July, Home - Ritsem, - km

As often is the case when I have to go up early is it difficult to fall asleep. I ask my cat to sleep at my knees, which is the best sleeping pill I know of. When I wake up at five in the morning is she still asleep at my knees. Halv past five am I ready to leave, and I say good bye and take care to the cat. It is a nice morning, but after Staffanstorp is it a dense fog, which disappear before I reach Sturup airport. This is strange since Sturup is well known for fog. My friend appear in time. The flight to Gällivare, with a stop and change of plane at Arlanda, is without problems. When we have landed at Lapland airport is the air hostess curious about our plans and she wish us a good time. As usual do one have to take a taxi to Gällivare, this year does it cost 140SEK. The tourist information has moved to the taxi station, and where one can leave the luggage. As our tradition require do we have lunch at the china restaurant. This year they ask for payment before one get the food, do the guests runaway nowadays? Next stop is Öströms färg, where we buy fuel for our kitchen. Last year we could buy methanol, but the rules has changed. At least 5 litres and you have tell your address. We have no use of five litre of methanol, we have to buy the old style T-röd. On the way back to the railway station do we make a visit in the old and nice church, which is located at the Vassara river. From the church do walk along the river, and cross the rails on the footbridge at the station. An oretrain struggle to gain speed, there are many wagons and the engine must work hard. We sit down on a bench in the shadow in front of the railway station. Yesterday evening a friend of us called and said he and his girlfriend should take the bus to Ritsem 15.35 today, and hike at Ahkka. A pure coincidence that we take the same bus. We can now see him waving at us. It is many years since we met, and it is lot's of talking on the bus to Ritsem (the bus cost 192SEK). We say goodbye to them at the boat to Änonjalme. All the other passengers is also taking the boat, we are the only one that continue to the youth hostel, where we have a booked a room (cost 190 SEK per person as members of the tourist federation). In the combined reception and shop do we buy juice and something to eat. There is not much in the shop, freeze-dried foof, tinned food, and some limited amount of milk, juice, and yughurt. I.e. it is not for buying the main part of supplies for a hike. Equipment and books about the mountains can also buy, and of course ice cream.

Day2: 30 July, Ritsem - Viejevagge N, 7 km

We have a long morning waiting for the time to become two in the afternoon, the time when the helicopter is taking is to Staloluokta. We spend the time to pack for hiking, clean the room, and buy ice-cream in the shop. We talk with an same from Vaisaluokta about old times. He has been a mountain guide, bringing tourist to Ahkka. He tell us about a tourist many years ago, that disappeared in a glacier on Ahkka. Many years after he disappeared did parts of him appear. The was buried at Ahkka nearby the lake. When the hydro power station was built was Ritsem a big village with about 4000 inhabitants, and with a post office and a shop. When we were here for the first time in 1981 nothing of this was seen, but there was a building with a restaurant, of course with the view towards Ahkka. This building is gone as well and Ritsem is today a rather boring place, it's existance is based only on being a place for tourists visiting Sarek or walking the trails, .e.g. Padjelanta trail. We walk to the helicopter, it is the third road to the right when coming from the hostel. A sign show the way. It is us, the new host in the Låddejåkkå hut, and two young girls that will walk Staloluokta - Ritsem. There is place for one more, but this place is taken by the equipment of the new host. Some of the equipment is put on top of us. It is fascinating to fly with the helicopter, everything looks small from above though it is not. The helicopter touch the ground at Låddejåkkå, enough to allow the host to get off with all the equipment. At Staloluokta do we go to the "shop" and buy dried reindeer meat for the dinner tonight. We had planned to have fish, but that must one order in advance.

At three do we walk on the bridge, and follow the trail towards Staddojåkkå. As we get higher up is the view of Virihaure as usual unbeteable. In front of us do we have a river and the back side of Sulitelma. There are many flowering flowers. The few hikers we meet are all female, some of which walk alone. Has hiking become popular among women or have we been at the wrong places? A few hundred meters before the bridge across Viejejåhkå is a clear track towards Viejevagge, we could not miss it. Viejevagge is our first stage. The slope up to the valley is covered with low growing osier, as one get further up does it become more luxuriant and dense. The track guide us through it and the marshes that one meet on the way to the valley. At Jållevarre is the brook (Viejejåhkå),  from the valley broad and shallow, it should be easy to cross it here. Here is also a perfect camping site, so we decide to stay here for the night. Slightly further up do the water come from a narrow canyon. The evening end with beautiful sunset behind the mountains on the opposite side of Virihaure. The lake itself is not visible from our camping site. My friend has his mobile phone with him, there is no connection. We will test it every day.

Day3: 31 July, Viejevagge N - Viejevagge S, 7 km

I wake up at four to the sound of raindrops falling on the tent. I have to go out, the drizzle is soft and refreshing on my bare skin. When we wake up again does it rain more intensively. We wait for better weather, we eat our breakfast, and then lunch. After lunch do the rain give up, and the sun rapidly clean the sky from clouds. At half past one can we leave in sunshine. We go up the slope where the water in the brook throw itself between the rocks in a canyon. The brook is interchangebly in a narrow dramatic canyon or is a broad peaceful river. Viejevagge turns out to be a beautiful valley which is easy to walk in. We are glad we waited for the nice weather, the valley is worth it. There is much to study, and we make many breaks. There are a few brooks from Kierkevare, some of these are mini canyons. They are not difficult to cross, there is not much water in them. At one such canyon do we end up in a narrow crevice, where we must lift the rucksacks and then climb up, there of course better places but we don want to walk back again. In the south is the mountain Jiegnaffo, we had some plans to walk up on it, but the late start today and the clouds on top of it, make us to decide to walk up on Vassjabakte at Njoatsosvagge instead. We will be there in a few days. In the north are the peaks of Kierkevare hidden behind the slope. We walk on grassy meadows with flowering Alpine bistorts and Bluebells. In front of us are black threatening clouds, telling us it is time to find a camping site. Where Viejejåhkå bend, at approximetely on 900m level, do we rise our tent. A faint thunder and a few rain drops fall. Within half a minut has heaven open up and water pour down on us. Before we manage get dressed in the rain suits are we wet. We crawl into our home, lightnings and thunders make us company. Our camping site is not the best possible, it is actually rather bad. The rain has created a brook where our tent is. My friend likes to build channels. In the light of the lightnings, else is it rather dark, is he out in the rain digging channels to redirect the water. A fruitless work, the water flood his channels. The only thing to do is to move the tent. We take it as it is and carry it to a safer place. The rain continues for two hours, in the meantime do we drink warm chocolate and eat sandwishes. When the intensity of the rain decrease do we get out. The jåhk is now fierce, and the previously clear water is now brown of mud. It is not drinkable. I would not like to ford it as it is now. We remove the channels. The sunset is remarkable, all of the sky in the west is a diffuse red light. Fascinating, I have never seen anything similar. The mobile phone has no connection.

Day4: 1 August, Viejevagge S - Riggoajvejåhkå, 14 km

I use the channels of yesterday  as a toilet, I only need to take up a tuft and then put it back afterwards. The river is again quiet and murmuring, but broad. The water is clear and taste fresh. My friend want to have a nice morning, but we might need some time to walk through the mountain pass. The breakfast make him to wake, and at half past ten can leave our camping site. The weather is good, partly overcast and a chilly wind. We have had our camping site at 900 meter, and we will now walk up to the mountain pass between Sivvatjåhkkå and Silbatjåhkk&ar ing;. The slope is gentle, we walk on grassy meadows, and the brooks we meet are shallow. Behind us do we have a good view of Viejevagge. Kierkevare, tha massif on the north side of the valley, do we not see much of. We have not seen much of it at all, the peaks are hidden by the slope. We choose to walk up to the highest point in the mountain pass (1256m), where the landscape is more barren, on the northern side is the ground tightly packed stones. A large snow field makes it easier to walk. In the south do we have the "silver mountain" Silbbatjåhkkå. In the 17th century was there a silver mine. It looks steep, with a glacierlike snow field. Perhaps there is a sign of the mining activity?  

In the valley ahead of us do the brooks, coming from the melting snow fields, build up a delta. We have lunch and admire the view. We have now walked down a bit from highest part of the mountain pass and the vegetation can survive. My friend take a nap, and I look around for flowers. I do not find any. When my friend wake up again, do we walk down towards the delta at the place where it combine into a brook. We turn north when the brook do, we leave it when it turn east, where we continue further to Bingitjåhkkå. It is an easy walk. The brook from the lake Langajavrre is shallow, though with a stony ground, and we can easily pass it. We have a short discussion on where to continue, to the lake Festajavrre or to follow the brook down to the valley of the brook Riggoajvejåhkå? On the map do the latter look steep, but an inspection show that it is feasible to walk down. The slope is grassy and covered with flowers, the view is magnificient. The brook in the valley comes from Festajavrre, and we cross it before it spread into many arms and create a wetland. The brook is five meter wide, shallow with a stony ground. The landscape on the other side is broken, the easiest for us is to walk along the riverbed. We pass minor areas with osier. Around five do I begin to feel tired, and we search for a camping site. We find a place with a swimming pool and a small waterfall. A wall of stones give protection against the wind. In the east can we see the mountain Vassjabakte, our target for the hike. I feel stiff, not good at all. A bath in the pool is refreshing. I sit during the sunset on the stonewall and look out over the surroundings. The mobile phone do not find any to communicate with.

Day5: 2 August, Riggoajvejåhkå - Vassjajavratja, 8 km

During the night can we hear the sound of raindrops falling on the tent. In the early morning do the rain stop and the sun show up. I wash my shirt in the jåhkk, it will get dry during the day hanging on the rucksack. When I make the soup for lunch do I happen to hit the kitchen, and the instinct is to catch it with my hands. It is hot! Fortunately is there no damage neither on me nor the kitchen and soup. At ten have we put our things together. We follow Rigoajvejåhkkå on the slope down to Tarraluoppal . Rigoajvejåhkkå has made an impressive canyon on the way to the plain at Tarraluoppal. This is a place where one must sit down for a while, though there is haze do we have a nice view of Tarradalen. Many years ago did Padjelantaleden pass here, perhaps is the track that is barely visible a remnant of it. Further down towards Tarraluoppal grow osier and dwarf birch. At the bridge over Vassjajåhkkå do we meet other hikers. We say hello. It has been a dry summer, and there is not much water in the jåhkk. It should be possible to ford it. A few hundred meters away are the Tarraluoppal cabins. We turn the other direction, and we follow Vassjajåhkkå upstream. It is warm and humid, I feel already tired. At a few places runs Vassjajåhkkå in a small canyon. It is hilly, though not very much, and we pass places with osier and marshes. It is tiring, and I feel a bit exhausted. It is as if I will boil. To avoid the osier do we walk further up on the slope. The brook from the lake Vassjajavratja is broad and a few decimeter deep. Our aim is to reach the small lakes in the northern part of Njoatsosvagge, but here and now do I feel that this is enough for today. I'm boiling. We search for a camping site at Vassjajavratja. At the lake do we not find any suitable place for us, we search for a good place, so we follow the brook downstream and find a place on a meadow. The brook is at one place deep enough for a bath, and I let the cold water cool down my body. We hear a thunder, dark clouds have appeared from the south and they now cover most of the mountains. We look up towards Vassjabakte, the clouds look threatening. Exactly at four does it reach us, the rain start. To the sound of rain and thunder do we make and eat our dinner in the tent. At eight is the performance over, at the end is it not spectacular at all. A few stray clouds remain in the valley. Now it is normal Sarek weather, cloudy, chilly and it feels good. The mobile has no contact.

Day6: 3 August, Vassjajavratja - Vassjajavratja, 10 km

The first thing we do is to look up towards Vassjabakte. The peak is not seen from our place, but around the other peaks are pieces of cotton. Higher up are thin clouds. The cotton will probably disappear during the day. This day will be the first day of all visits when we can make a tour up on a major peak. The temperature is perfect for the activity, and best of all is that my collapse of yesterday is just a memory. We expect a magnificient view of Njoatjosvagge and the surroundings from the summit of Vassjabakte (1735m). We pack for an excursion: compass, map, rain suit, biscuits, sweets, water, warm sweater, camera with extra film and battery. To begin with do we walk towards the height 1310, from where we will contine to the peak. It is slightly longer but less steep than to walk in a straight line. Up to 1310 is it a comfortable slope with grassy meadows. Our lake Vassjajavratja and tent become smaller and smaller. There is a haze, but this makes the views more interesting. As we get further up is it more barren, and at the plateau at 1310m is it mostly stony. The stones are tightly packed and it is almost a flat surface, which makes it easy to walk. A few reindeers stand out against the mountains on the opposite side of Njoatsosvagge. The peak of Vassjabakte is still in clouds. Where the rise to the peak begin is a brook where we take a break and fill up our water bottles. From now on and up to the peak do we walk on a very stony ground, but it is not very very stony. Even with our rubber boots is it rather easy. Hundred meters below the peak is it still cloudy, is it worth to go up there do I wonder? My friend insist, so we continue towards the cloud. When we are almost up does a weak wind arrive and the cloud sail slowly away. It took us two hours to reach the peak. We add one stone each to the cairn. The view is as we anticipated, magnificient. We look down at the bluegreen lakes in Njoatsosvagge. In southeast is Bårdde, at this distance are the peaks small. Tsatsa close to us is still dressed with clouds and haze. In the pot inbetween us do the clouds hunt each other. My friend lie down and look down into Njoatsosvagge, straight down he say. I keep away from the edge. On the other side of Njoatsosvagge are Tsähkok and Jågnåristjåhkkå. We walk around for a while, the clouds has made the stones slippery so one must be careful. When we have had enough do we walk back. We now walk straight down towards the tent. The stones is here further down the slope and it is steeper then the path we walked on the way up. At the end do we reach grassy meadows, studded with Alpine bistort. In front of us is Padjelanta, the view is limited by Kierkevare and Alatjåhkkå. Back at the tent do we take a bath in the brook. A short thunderstorm pass by, a faint thunder and a few raindrops is the result of it. My friend point out my similarity with a person in an illustration in Scientific American about evulation of the human being. A cave man with rough hair, beard and a cudgel (i.e. my hiking stick). I make a botanical excursion on our meadow, Golden rod is dominating. Over the lake is a large but faint rainbow. Many small winged insects dance in the grass. I watch and admire them for many minutes. The have also evolved as we, for a short moment in time do they exist and can dance for me.

Day7: 4 August, Vassjajavratja - Unna Duottarjavrre, 13 km

When the day start do we not yet know where it will end. We will start walking north. It is a slight uphill, to start with on a heath, higher up more is it more barren, though still an easy walk. This is the border between the alpine Sarek and the more gentle highland Padjelanta. When we turn around and look back do we see the open broad valley of the brook Vassjajåhkkå. We pass a few small brooks, perhaps the origin of Vassjajåhkkå. After the watershed to the sharp peaks of western Sarvesvagge appear, the base of the mountains are hidden from our view. Now and then do the sun find a way through the clouds. An helicopter comes flying with the load hanging from it. We guess they are repairing the reindeer fence a few kilometers away. When we see the fence do we stop, it is time to decide where to continue, the requirement is that we must be in Staloluokta the day after tomorrow. The alternatives are to continue to Sarvesvagge and then to Stalo, or over Duottartjåro to Padjelantaleden? We have a minor project to walk all of Padjelantaleden in stages, and we miss e.g. Tuottar - Stalo. We choose the latter alternative. The slope up to the lake on Duottartjåro is easy, the view of the peaks in Sarek is fascinating. The valleys are still hidden from our sight. At a small waterfall in the brook from the lake do we eat our lunch. My friend take a nap, and I have a closer look at the Alpine speedwell that are abundant. We follow the brook up to the small lake. The lake is divided into two by a narrow stony foreland. One can walk over if one wants, but a grouse family look suspicious at us and take refuge on the rocks at the crossing place. By consideration to them do we walk around the lake. On the other side is a wet grassy slope down to the lake 1044, from the slope is a sunny view of Padjelanta. The brook from the lake has made a canyon, which we follow downstream until it is possbible to ford the brook. We continue to follow the brook on it's way to the lake Gårråjavratja. It is extremely easy to walk here, we walk in an interesting billowing landscape. At the end do the brook broaden just before it reach the lake. At Gårråjavratja is at a brook a fantastic sample of Yellow saxifrage, it grows all along the brook. We consider the place to be our home for the night, it would not be easy to find a better garden. But it is to early to settle, so we continue towards Padjelantaleden. We pass small lakes (ponds) and rocks with the shape of whales. We reach the trail at some small lakes (close to 939 on the map) and continue on the trail in the direction of Tuottar. At the the lake Unna Duottarjavrre do we search for a camping site. About 200m from the trail is there a perfect beach, nearby do we find our site. The water is not that cold, one can even swim for a few meters. On the other side of the lake has Kierkevare put on the nightcap. So do we. Mobile phone: no connection.

Day8: 5 August, Unna Duottarjavrre - Staloluokta, 21 km

I hate to litter. I have lost my toothpaste! I search for it all places I could think of where I have had it, at the tent, beach, and all unthinkable places. I find it in our trash. Why have I put it there? This is the coldest day so far, "only" ten degrees, it is cloudy and a strong contrary wind. We choose to walk on the trail to Staloluokta, a distance of 21 km. The trail pass a landscape rich in hills and small lakes. Soon do we reach the huts at Tuoddar. After the huts are two broad but shallow brooks to ford. There are terribles stories about these places (told to us by a former host at the huts), why is difficult to understand today. In the north is a landscape with many hills, in the south is the massive of Kierkevare. The nightcap is still on. Since we walk on a trail do we meet other hikers, e.g. a couple which is going for fishing. At the lake Ieltijavrasj do we pass the highest point, about 900 meters above the sea level. My back do not feel well today, and after 10 kilometers does it give up. The rest is torture, and we have to make many breaks. A 20 minute long shower pass by. The bridge over Bållavrjåhkkå looks new, a sign say that only one person at a time shoulde be on the bridge at the same time. The bridge is placed where the brook fiercefully run between rocks. After tre bridge do the trail enter osier and dwarfbirches. We have a good view of the brooks and lakes in the north. On the hill before Stalo do one have to sit and enjoy the view of  Luoppal and Viriahuare. The sun makes a visit and improves the view. We follow the trail into the birch forest, where it split. We follow a trail that takes us to the shore of Luoppal. We remember we walked here as well at our visit 1994/95. At five can we install us in one of the VIP-rooms (nb 7), it costs 200 SEK per person. The first thing we do is to walk to the "shoppen" and order smoked char. We wash ourselves in the washing room, afterwards is it time to fetch the fish. We prepare and it eat in the kitchen, where three ladies discuss their many hiking trips, e.g. alone through Sarek. Tough ladies. We not so tough men retreat to our VIP-room, and the ladies walk to their tents. In the hut is electrical light, powered by car batteries and the sun. What a luxury. In the other VIP-room was in 1994 a beautiful oil lamp. I look into the room, but the lamp is gone and replaced with an electrical lamp. The mobile has no contact.

Day9: 6 August, Staloluokta - Ritsem, 2 km

The morning is as usual full of things that needs to be done in a hut. Make breakfast, heat water for the wash up, fetch new water, wash up, clean up in the kitchen, and visit the toilet. Water is fetched in a simple water pump outside the hut, a tube brings the water from the brook. The toilet is in a separate house. While my friend take a nap, do I make short walk up on Unna-Dijdder. I once new a professional in botany, and he said the hill is botanically rich. The interesting things I see is a hare that rapidly disappear, and the wonderful view of Virihaure and towards Luoppal and Kierkevare. Somewhat disappointed do I return to Stalo. I have been away two hours and my friend who in the meantime has woken up wonder where I have been. We walk to the shop and fetch the smoked fish that we ordered yesterday. The helicopter from Kvikkjokk which will continue to Ritsem is supposed to come 13.25. The helicopter land at the lake, roughly 100m from the hut. We are in good time before 13.25, and wait, and wait. The wind from the lake is cold. We spend the time eating blueberries. At 14.40 can we hear the sound of the helicopter, we can see it as a small point that grow into the shape of an helicopter as it approach. The train to Murjek was late, which caused the bus to Kvikkjokk to be late, and therefore the helicopter is late. It is us and one of the women from yesterday that enter the helicopter. Despite the overcast is the flight interesting. We can see that the level in Akkajaure is very low, there are many small naked islands in the lake. It has been a dry spring and summer, in addition have they emptied it in order to repair the embankment at Suorva. We land after 30 minutes flight at Ritsem, we are back in civilisation. The mobile get contact, but there is also telephone in the reception/shop that one may use. One of the guests has donated remaining supplies in the kitchen, we extend it with what we have left.

Day10: 7 August, Ritsem - Home, - km

I have to visit the toilet three times during the night. I'm disturbing! I go up at seven, my friend sleep longer, but he wake in time to eat breakfast and pack before the bus to Gällivare leave at 10.30. The night was cloudy and rainy, this I know since I was up several times. In the morning does it get better and the day is sunny. The bus journey is tiring for my tired back. The 20 minute stop in Kebnats is refreshing and entertaining. Two young women play folk music on the boat M/S Langas. There is a folkmusic week in Saltoluokta. The sun is shining and people seems happy. I face that we know show up, big surprise. He is walking Kungsleden. At two are we in Gällivare. The same procedure as usual, book a taxi to the airport, leave the luggage at the tourist office, and eat lunch at the china restaurant. As dessert do we have icecream at the fontain on the town square, where young men play basketball. They are good. Our flight is at 16.45, and for the first time do they want to checkin my hiking stick. A SAAB-2000 fly us without any problems to Arlanda. At Arlanda do we have time to eat pizza before we leave for Sturup. As the pilot bring down the plane to Sturup can we in the sunset see the lakes Ringsjön, Krankesjön and Vombsjön pass by. It looks wonderful. We land as planned at 21.30. The parking cost 510SEK, then it is worth  to take a taxi instead of driving oneself and park the car. I get my car and drive home, there is almost no traffic. The cat is not at home, she has probably more important things to do. In the mirror do I see a caveman, my friend's comment was not that far from the truth. I comfort myself with that I have lost 2kg in weight. After half an hour do the cat show up. Is it you? You smell different! She greet me welcome home, and disappear for more adventures in the summer night.

© Mjörnmark,