On the Padjelantaleden
from Kvikkjokk to Ritsem
Fjällstation Kvikkjokk surrounded by dense forest is located on the top
of a little hill. From up there you have a good view west into the wide valley
of Tarra. For the first stage to Ritsem I decided on the Padjelanta National
Park due to his great isolation and wilderness. Here is the core area of the
reindeer herds in summertime. In winter you have to look for your path. There
are no marks as usual in Sweden. Only behind the Fjällstation some steps
northwards there is a sign showing the way to the Padjelantaleden. On this track
I was coming into the wide delta of Tarra, which not far away south runs into
soon there were a lot of scooter tracks in every direction. Before I realized
it snow was falling so densely that I couldn´t see the right track. I
chose the main track west, however, a little bit later the snow drifted so strong
that I couldn´t see any track. I was very surprised to be in such a situation
within so short time. When I nearly became stuck in high snow drift I just had
to take my position with GPS. Astonished I realized I was at the west end of
Mierdek Lake. Shit! Now I had to turn south through deep snow across bush and
birches back to the Tarra. Its bed here was narrow, so that I could easily see
the scooter tracks going together.
Snow on Mierdek Lake
was skiing well on the Tarra when I saw far away from me two skiers with a pulka.
A little boy and a middle aged very weatherproofed man were sitting on their
pulka to rest. Small talk: Where do you come from? Where are you going today?
But suddenly the man said, I know you. Are you Klaus? I was surprised and asked
him, are you Olaf, the man who I met 8 years ago on an educational mission with
a young boy? He nodded and we shook hands and were very much enjoyed meeting
again. Then he said: "You have made only 4 km from Kvikkjokk. To reach
Tarrakaise you have to make at least 16 km". "Ok, for today it is
too late, but no problem I have a tent." But this was not his opinion and
so he advised me to go with headlamp to the Nunjes cabin. What do you need a
same day I skied another 6 km within dark spruce forests. Then I saw the house
"Bäcken". There I didn´t hesitate for long and put up my
tent in some distance. About 7 o´clock it was getting dark and so I was
in a hurry. In this moment a clear full moon was rising above from the dark
forest and made the snow sparkl. Some northern lights were flickering in the
sky. It was bitterly cold (-15° C) and after making a hot tea I slipped
immediatly in my sleeping bag and fell into a deep sleep.
at the beginning of dawn I packed my tent and all the other things into the
pulka. I wanted to go to the Tarracaise cabin 10 km away. The track was leading
me through a flat landscape with spruce and birch woods. But sometimes I had
to cross a creek that was not frozen everywhere. No problem, but take care!
I said to myself.
last after a short but steep ascent I was on the shore of Tarrajaure lake. About
noon some cabins were peeping out little birches. Obviously, these were the
Tarracaise cabins! As the sky was covering with dark clouds I was happy to be
in one of these nice living rooms . The hut warden was so kind as to make a
fire in the stove and to get water from a spring in at least 100 m distance.
Such kindness is not to be taken for granted.
in the evening a ski hiker came from Kvikkjokk. I was Finn from Greenland. To
my surprise he even spoke a little bit German. As everybody was occupied with
making their dinner and also to prepare the trip of the next day, we didn´t
speak too much.
next day we had fine weather in the Tarra valley. Finn set off to the Sammarlappa
cabin at 8 o´clock. He was wearing a big backpack and skied with small
cross country skis. A Pulka he didn´t have. He would also walk to Ritsem.
So we would meet again in the Sammarlappa. On the track there were many scooter
men because the saison for the hunting of ptarmigan had begun.
the scooter people stopped and asked me accurately for the distance to the next
cabin. Also they asked detailed about my plans and noted that trip all by myself
in the Padjelanta could be very dangerous. I didn´t know what to say and
murmured something about that this was not my first trip in winter. They nodded
and wished me good a journey giving me the thumb up.
There were lots of people and huge activities in the Sammarlappa. The hunters
with their scooters were coming back with bundles of ptarmigans. Here I made
the acquaintance of a German doctor, who came to Lapland since he fell in love
with his wife from Jokkmokk. He was eager to chat with me and enjoyed speaking
and hearing the German language. Klaus, I always had the dream to be in Lapland.
Now I am here and my dream is fulfilled. You understand I dodn´t have
a dream any more. Now Lapland is reality for me. Yes, indeed, thats true.
is Finn from Greenland. This time we would like to go to the Tarraluopal cabin
track was leading us on the left side of the Tarra into the Padjelanta National
Park. There were no tracks of scooters. In the begin it was beautiful weather
with some clouds and a gentle breeze. But later a dark cloud cover was growing
. The wind became strong and stronger with a lot of snow the closer we get to
Hardly had we entered the cabin when a heavy snowstorm broke. This is not possible
everybody of us thought. The cabin trembled and it was howling in the chimney.
The next morning the snow storm raged and roared with the same power. We couldn´t
think about going on. It was not possible to leave the cabin. If one of us had
to get snow for melting in a bucket it was neccessary to protect one another.
There was nothing else to do but to wait.
Now I was told by Finn
that he was actually living in Denmark althoug he had grown up in Greenland
and had spent his whole live there. I noticed that his thoughts only revolved
round Greenland and asked him, why didn´t you stay in Greenland?
More than ever he would
like it but he had only recently retired and his pension was not enough living
in Greenland now. I was affected very deeply.
passed our time with reading and talking. But at last, in the early afternoon
of the second day the storm settled down little by little.
At once I took my skis
making little tests in the environment.
Finn followed some time
later. Gradually the weather got better. Finally, the sun broke through a
milky cloud layer.
was a nasty whiteout. You could not see any outlines in the snow. You saw
only white and didn´t know where you were stepping.
the next day we prepared to make a long day trip. Finn would like to go to the
Arrasluokta cabin and I planned to set off for the Saltoluokta cabin. Finn would
save a day because his food was limited.
was passing the Tuottar cabins when I came to a large plateau.
I could see a little bit of a scooter track. Since the wind had pressed the
snow I was able to make a good speed.
30 km I arrived tired in the Staloluokta cabin late in the evening. The characteristic
feature of Staloluokta is the church with the little bell tower and the assembly
hall beside it, which is a Sami kota for praying. The Padjelanta National Park
is a region in Sweden mainly settled by Samis who govern this part of the country,
too. From ancient times the Samis have lived here with their reindeer.
and Laurent, the french speakimg Swiss were very kind. When I came she gave
me a hot cup of tea saying, certainly you can need it. It was true! Corinne
and Laurent were outdoor peopl with heart and soul. They told me about their
winter tour in Spitzbergen. It was very fascinating and exciting and made me
curious about a trip to Spitzbergen. You can see nice photos on their website
next day I left in the morning at 8 o´clock to go to the Arrasluokta cabin.
There were strange weather conditions and I was only hoping that there wouldn´t
be a change.
after making this picture hell broke loose. First every fifteen minutes but
then all few minutes a snowstorm roared around me. I couldn´t see anything
and had to wait. For a return it was to late. It was no other remaining than
to find the way around the mountain Padjelanta by GPS and compass. It was necessary
not to walk too high in the mountains and not too deep in the Valley of Arras.
But without any sight I would need a lot of luck to find the right way. Every
50 steps I stopped in order to determine my position and the further direction.
But again and again I was stopped by huge stones, steep inclinations and rift
valleys, which I only saw in the last second.
the late afternoon the stormy weather became quieter. The sky was lighter and
sometimes you could see the sun. I was more than happy to see the cabins of
Arrasluokta. I reached them at 7 o´clock in the evening and noticed that
I had used 11 hours for 14 km .
next morning the sky was covered and the light scattered. Only with GPS and
compass could I find my way over the mountain Arras . First I had to go to the
bridge crossing the Miell creek and then from this point up to the pass and
the plateau between Mulka and Huornrasj. The ascent from 600 m to 900 m I had
to ski in total whitout. But as I was on the plateau the banks of clouds broke
up and in a little bit the sun was shining.
I had to ski down 300 m to Laddejakka creek and nearby to the cabin Laddjakka.
Again I had to fight with whiteout when my pulka pushed me downhill faster and
faster. I couldn´t break whatever I did. Suddenly I ran into an empty
space. Then I felt a terrible punch. I had fallen from a snowdrift into the
depths perhaps 4 or 5 meter. Sticking in deep snow I realized that the belt
from my pulka was broken and the pulka itself was lying beside me. Now I was
going to feel whether I was hurt but fortunately everything except my painful
knee and drilled legs was ok. Slowly I released myself from skis and snow. I
crawled to the pulka and made some repairs as well as I could. My nerves became
slowly quieter and for the next hour I was working myself out of this whole.
On the picture you can see the crash site of the snow drift. After this incident
the sight was getting better and I skied downhill again but ascautious as possible.
canyon of the Ladde
the Laddejakka cabin I recovered from this sudden fall. I started the day as
quiet as possible. I made a complete washing and shaving. Now, as the sight
was good I was looking for the point of my fall. I could see many holes and
clefts, where it was conceivable to fall in.
I was tired from the efforts of the last days. I took a lot of time for crossing
the Logadasij. Always I was admiring the Ahkka, the holy mountain of the Sami.
in the early afternoon it was cloudy but about 5 p.m. completely covered. At
the same time an ugly wind arose and then a helicopter from the police circled
above me. This was no pure chance. I believed they would give me a weather warning.
To the Kisuris cabin I had to go 6 km and would need at least 2 hours. I decided
to put up my tent. But every 5 minutes this wind from southwest got stronger
and stronger. And suddenly I could hear a nasty snatch noise. The shorter pole
of the tent was broken and the two parts came out. Damned, this of all things
now. I had to repair in a hurry because I absolutly needed the shelter of the
tent. Meanwhile the cold wind made me frozen with ice cold feed and smarting
fingers. I fiddled a little tube at the ends of the poles during the wind pulled
furiously on the tent. At last I crawled into the sleeping bag without drinking
and eating and soon I fell in a deep sleeep.
the morning at about 4 o´clock the gale-force decreased and the storm
came to an end. I stood up, packed and rolled up my tent with all poles. At
6 o´clock I was resolutely going on to the Kutjaure lake. The visibility
was moderat. A great silence all over all. Only few mooses trotted along through
At the beginning it was
my intention to cross the Kutjaure in order to ski directly to the Akka cabin.
But something was warning me. I couldn´t see any scooter tracks and
the snow was very high. So I didn´t take the short cut over the lake
but went along the river bank. Certainly the snow was deep and it was not
easy to draw my pulka. The landscape was very nice and so I enjoyed especially
the sunny weatheron this afternoon. Sometimes I had to be very concentrated
since the river was not completly covered with ice.
the afternoon the sky became free of clouds and the sun was shining wonderful
in the valley. The holy mountain Ahkka was lightening up. It was amazing and
so it was a lucky moment when I arrived at the cabin Akka. Björn, the warden
welcomed me. Immediatly we understood each other and exchanged some food. Slowly
the sun sank and now there was a great peace over Lapland.
next day Björn´s friend came to prepare for fishing on the Akkajaure.
I was going on the Akkajaure to Ritsem I could see how the friends were fishing.
There was a net below the ice and Björn´s friend was pulling a rope
untill he could get the fish. Björn was holding a rope on the other side.
Akkajaure is one of swedish lakes used for generating electricity. In winter
the water level sinks and the ice is follows partly. Here you can see that the
ice cover is broken by a rock.
15 km track to Ritsem often led near of the shore for safety. Here it was not
hard to draw the pulka. Now and then ski hikers ran towards me. A young woman
skated with high speed. Another liked it to chat a bit and complained her dog
only pulled down hill or on a flat lake.
took along time before I could see the huts of Ritsem. The last part I had to
draw uphill my pulka with big efforts.
this pretty house I could find the reception. I was assigned a single room for
35 Euros. I was very pleased to have a kitchen, WC and a comfortable shower
in the same house. Sadly, the young receptionists didn´t let me use their
computer, so that I couldn´t write a message in my website. In return
I could buy beer in a can for 200 SEK. So I bought some eggs and a can beer
"Lapland Gold" and fried scrambled eggs with bacon from my own stock.
With some beer the world was completely okay.
the dining room it was comfortable near the window. Here I took my meals and
also wrote in my diary. I spent two days for rest and planned my next stage
to Abisko. There was nothing better to do because it was snowing again.