Part II

On the Nordkalottleden from Ritsem to Abisko

Part III
To the map

One day before going on to Sitasjaure I got to know Geir and his friend Ole. The two Norwegians were traveling from Abisko along the Swedish boarder to Selbu Wald. They had prepared this tour for about 2 years and had now started in the midst of March. If the weather was going to be fine they were hoping to finish their trip at the end of April. I was especially interested in Geir´s equipment. He drew a bigger Norwegian fjellpulken and was skiing with a simple pin-binding. His anorak was made from cotton and therefore highly breathable, in contrast to mine with Gore membran. The hood of his anorak was equipped with a warm fur trimming. We talked for a while and at last the two started to cross the Akkajaure. I realized there was, in fact, something in my equipment that needed improvement.

One day later I met these young men from Sweden. Instead of a Pulka they did only use a flat tub with a self-made linkage of wood and pieces of cords. A good and budget-priced solution. The two asked me for the way to Ritsem. Always downhill, I said and both were very pleased to hear that.

The weather was grey again and dreary with snow and whiteout. Yeah, it had to take a bit of getting used to. The weather report in Ritsem promised mild temperatures and snow. "If there is no storm I think it´ll be ok and so I went on this 20 km without any sight and nor big enthusiasm.

The Sitasjaure cabin is located at the lake with the same name. When I saw the cabin in densely driving snow my GPS was showing 2,5 km airline. I should be able to arrive in one hour, I thought. But the wind turned to nord increasing to 6 or 7 forces. Putting my head down I could only follow the scooter track. I had to go through a short valley. The houses were lying far above on a little plateau like the buildings of a castle out of my reach. Not before two and a half hours later did I reach this assembly of big cabins and had the problem now to find out which of the cabins was the right one for me. I stopped and looked around from one cabin to another. In addition to the driving snow the dawn came so that I couldn´t see enough. Suddenly I saw an orange spot at one of the cabins . While I was approaching this cabin the orange spot was moving a little bit. It turned out to be the warden of the cabin. Later he said to me, I have watched you and thought, you must be very exhausted. Unfortunately he didn´t think of the idea the ski hiker didn´t simply know which of the cabin was the right one. If he had, he might have just given a quick shout at me.

The picture shows the Sitasjaure cabin the next morning when I was going on to the Hukejaure cabin. For the present the weather got better and so I was full of hope to ski 20 km to the cabin without a great delay.


A t the level of 700 m I was skiing with fine speed when some scooters caught up to me and stopped their machines. They enjoyed chatting a little with me and after a while they intensivly asked me why I did this trip alone. Because I couldn´t give them a clever answer I asked in reply whether they went fishing and were going to grill the fishes immediatly. Of course we have all stuff with us, first of all beer.Then he laughed very widely and the others laughed with him. In this moment I got a very dry throat. Finally they drove on. I also went on my trip thinking nothing else but a cool beer.
Just before Hukejaure a fox was running over the lake. It was a very big red fox with a huge bushy tail. Why the foxes here didn´t have a thick white winter fur was a mystery to me.
Just the next morning I took the big can and drew it to the marked water hole. To free the cover from snow, fill the bucket with water and then pull up the 40 l canister 200 m to the cabin was some work. After doing this I would like a cup of coffee. To celebrate this day I mixed cacao with capucino and dry milk and poured hot water over this. With a spoon sugar it tasted delicious. My big thanks to the Saliter Company that made it generously possible. Then I sipped this mix like the best drink of the world.

André, the warden, gave me a little fishing rod and not before long a fish bit on it. Since it was too small we threw it back to the water.

After one hour of not catching another fish I gave up. Clearly I was not a good angler.

Andre´s fish was a bigger one. He tried to fish the whole afternoon but he caught only a little one.

In the evening he grilled the two little fishes and was very glad to enjoy the fruits of a day´s work..

14 km to the Tjäkta cabin. It was not necessary to leave earlier than 8 o´clock in the morning. The Tjäkta pass ought to be steeper from the south than from North.. Ok, I thought, anything belonging to the Kungsleden cannot be so steep. Therefore I started out full of hope and in joyful anticipation. This would be half of the distance to Abisko. Only I didn´t like the weather once again. There was a total whiteout. But not only this. The mountains around were enveloped in fog or clouds. Indeed the crosses on the Kungsleden often disappeared in wavering clouds. I would be well advised to look always the indication of a track.

So it was helpful for me when a group of older skiers came out of the fog. I asked them for the situation at the Tjäkta pass. Not really bad! And how steep is it? Not more than here! Very well, thank you, I can live with this.

Now then I continued my way ful of power. After half an hour I could drew my pulka only with supreme efforts through the deep snow. Then it was so steep that I couldn´t take the pulka uphill. Furthermore it was snowing and so I couldn´t identify the crosses in a distance of perhaps 20 meters. At last I was trying to bring the pulka uphill in serpentines. The information from the turist group was wrong. Sorry!

After the first change of direction I didn´t know any longer where to go. The last and the next cross were lost. I had to unbuckle my pulka, took the GPS position and went looking where to next cross. There was a certain danger of not finding again my pulka but I had no other option. After looking for a longer time I was happy to found the cross. Back at the pulka I took out my backpack. With the pack on the back I could indeed draw the pulka uphill. I was just arriving at Tjäkta pass, when suddenly dogs barked behind me. I was so frightened that I lost my balance and fell in front of the dogs that howled like wolfs into the snow. I needed a long time to release myself and to draw the pulka out of the track. I saw a musher on a sledge and eight huskies waiting for me to clear the way. Stop, I cried. Let´s make a photo! In fact the musher waited and I made two pictures of this memorable meeting.


Hardly I left the track as the splendid huskies were running away. I went into the shelter and drank my hot sweet tea and was happy to be on the Tjäkta pass.

Two hours later I came to the Tjäkta cabin. First I saw a lot of skis and knew that in the cabin were a lot of people. When I entered the living room the stove was roaring and the air steaming. There was a babel of different languages and a volume that you can hardly hear your own word. A young Dutch, who was talking to all directions and sometimes in french, then in English turned towards me and asked in good German, where do you come from at this weather? There was the usual speeches and then came the fight for pots and hot plates and somewhere everybody shifted from one foot to the other.

The next morning the hostess of the cabins asked very kindly whether I could bring a letter to Abisko for her daughter.

Of course but it needs some time. She knew it. But there is no other possibility.

I put the letter waterproofed into my backpack and soon I went on to Alesjaure. Today my way was leading me a little bit downhill. This made me very happy after the efforts from yesstrerday.

It was about noon when I saw hosts of ski hikers coming towards me. Nobody wanted to have a chat. This was also the Kungsleden.
Today the weather was again faithful to itself. Whiteout almost everywhere. Only if the mountains were falling into the narrow parts of the valley could you see a black and white graphic art like a good foto but not the reality. However the reality was bitter, when I had to climb up the steep slope of Alesjaure.
I cannot say too much to Alesjaure that would be remarkable. Most every cabin was well occupied. Babylonian mixture of languages and a omnipresent hostess, who had everything under controll. No touch of romance! From time to time somebody asked me if I was alone and where I came from.My heart didn´t love these kind of cabins. So I was concentrated to my small dinner, my diary and the input of waypoints in the GPS for the next day.
Stage today 22 km to Abiskojaure. Wonderful, again the repose on the way, the total nature. Lapland is a magical country which fascinate me. I was feeling well and started to go 8 o´clock in the morning. I was happy to be alone the first 3 hours.
4 km before Abiskojaure it was going steep downhill. With my Pulka I was looking for a diagonal ski-run. It works amazing.
A ski hiker with a self-built Pulka and a tent within. He wanted to camp this night. It looked very good.
Abiskojaure, the last station before Abisko. Again the people was very loud. In the last hour the weather got better and sometimes you could see the blue sky. After the "dinner" I took a walk to the Abisko river.
A nice sight north in the valley of the Abisko. Surprisingly there was not so much snow and river and lake were not frozen totally. The neighborhood of Abisko, a place with low precipatation, had affected on this region.
A group of Fininish camped near by the cabin. The type of the tents showed that in winter the tent could be a little bit bigger.
The last stage to Abisko. I went in the Abisko National Park through large birch forests. I got ahead with good speed and was winged to see the all mentioned Abisko turiststation, the turntabel of the turism in the north of Swedisch Lapland.
It was early in the afternoon that I could see the lake Torneträsk glowing in mild sunshine. It was a wonderful feeling to look on the lake and the mountains without any clouds. When I made a summary of this trip from Kvikkjokk to Abisko I would say in spite of the snow storms and whiteouts it was nevertheless a great ski tour with a lot of adventures and unforgettable experiences. I felt fully recovered and thought about continuing the tour on the Nordkalottleden.

But now I had to care for an accomodation and to pick up my parcel from Germany. In the turist station there was a huge bustle like in a train station. At the reception they first asked me for my booking number. After some weeks of ski wandering I couldn´t say it. The receptionist now played the role of having a very big problem. I said, nobody can tell you an exact date when you are skiing from Kvikkjokk to Jokkmokk. Without speaking one word the receptionist gave me the key of a sleeping room for wanderers.

As I asked for my parcel from Germany there was a great helplessness about where to look, because they couldn´t find it. From Germany? It will come tomorrow!

To say it in advance, the parcel didn´t come and so I waited and waited. In spite of extensive search and demand nobody could find the parcel. Unfortunately in the parcel was some important food so that I had to wait.

After 4 days useless waiting I got the absurd idea to ask for a postoffice in the supermarket of Abisko. I repeat in the supermarket! Bingo! Here in the supermarket parcels from the German Bundespost were delivered. In the dark room without a window a lot of parcels were lying about. The madam checked extremly accurate my identity card. But then she said there is nothing for me. I couldn´t belief it and the madam was going once more in the dark room. What did I tell! Now she brought my parcel with yellow label and addressed at the Turiststation Abisko "för vanderer Klaus G."

Blue Jay, the hedonist of life from South Amerca, was cooling down in the open window at -8 degree Celsius after having a sauna. We became friends with good talking about the Art of right living.
The famous Lapporten a U-shaped valley edged by identical twin peaks. Lapporten was traditionally used by reindeer herding as a landmark during migration. Folk songs and old stories sing about it. Here also a painted picture with dramatic colours.
The famous entrance to the Kungsleden
The canyon of the Abisko short before the mouth
On the edge of a rock in the canyon of Abisko happened a wedding at -6 degree Celsius. I admired the bridegroom with his thin suit here standing in attention.
Turiststation Abisko in the evening sun
After getting my parcel from Germany I packed my Pulka and sent a parcel with some not used equipment to Kiruna. Now I planned to go a little bit on the Nordkalottleden in direction Norway. I was not so optimistic because I was afraid to get after the fine weather period, a change of weather. Here a walk in the evening before I was going on tomorrow.
Abisko National Park
Teil II
The next day I set off about 6 o´clock in the morning. My goal for today was the Sälka cabin. This way marked with crosses should led me 16 km east to the kungsleden and subsequently 9 km northwards to the Sälka cabin. When I went up from Hukejaure northeast to an high plateau, I had to fight again with whiteout. I rarely saw the mountains and if then only behind a fog. I skied hour for hour through this high valley. As I was near by the Kungsleden a musher with sledge and dogs glided across my way. I was fascinated from the quiet way of gliding. About 7 o´clock in the evening I arrived at the Sälka cabin. Just the people surrounded me and asked whether it was possible to go in this bad weather. There were some dicussions but then most men decided to go on tomorrow independent from the weather. I will also set off tomorrow because the prevailing mood was not so good. It was clear that was the overrunned Kungsleden.