Part I

On the Padjelantaleden from Kvikkjokk to Ritsem

Part II
to the map
The 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 Sakkat Lake.
But 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.
Drifting Snow on Mierdek Lake
I 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 headlamp for?
The 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.
Just 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.
At 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.
Later 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.
The 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.
Sometimes 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.
This is Finn from Greenland. This time we would like to go to the Tarraluopal cabin together.
The 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 the cabin.
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.

We 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.

Unfortunately, there 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.

For 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.
I was passing the Tuottar cabins when I came to a large plateau.
Here 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.
After 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.
Corinne 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
The 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.
Soon 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.
In 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 .
The 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.
Then 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.
The canyon of the Ladde
In 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.
Today 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.
Already 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.
In 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 deep snow.

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.

Over 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.
The next day Björn´s friend came to prepare for fishing on the Akkajaure.
When 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.
The 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.
The 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.
It took along time before I could see the huts of Ritsem. The last part I had to draw uphill my pulka with big efforts.
In 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.
In 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.