Lapland Revisited in June - July 2003
Kvikkjokk  June 27 - July 3
with side trip to Staloluokta



                                          Kamajokk seen from just below the tourist station

Kvikkjokk - Part 1

Go to "A Look back in time"

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For a map of the area including Kvikkjokk, Saltoluokta and Staloluokta click here


Stopover in Jokkmokk
We arrived in Jokkmokk on June 26 after having traveled all day before from Lyon to Gällivare, the last piece of the way by bus. Gällivare is getting to be more and more of an international mining town, which we noticed at the only open restaurant in town, the Quality Hotel down by the railroad station. The style was somewhat the Irish pub style and there was a multi-lingual crowd chatting happily around brown wooden tables.

On our way to Kvikkjokk, we had planned on stopping over in Jokkmokk to visit Ajtte, the Sami cultural museum of world fame.  It was more than worth the visit.

We spent hours there admiring scenes from traditional Sami life, costumes, art objects, photos and texts telling us about the Sami history. We also had lunch at their restaurant. It was a Thursday, so, faithful to old Swedish tradition, they served peasoup with diced pork and after that, in the menu of the day, you got the standard thin Swedish pancakes (more or less like French crêpes). (Pictures from Ajtte are all from their brochure - private photos are not allowed in the museum.)














Kvikkjokk - Part 1
The next day we took the bus to Kvikkjokk, an approximately two-hour ride along the beautiful Lilla Lulevatten, an endless stretch of lakes wide and narrow going from lake Sakkat and the Kamajokk-Tarraätno delta land from Kvikkjokk to Jokkmokk and further east to finally join up with Stora Lulevatten in Luleälv.
After a brief climb up the hill from the bus stop, here we were at the place where I (Siv) had spent several weeks with my family decades ago. The place had changed a lot.
There is no longer a restaurant here, but the sleeping facilities have been enlarged very substantially. Kvikkjokk tourist station / in English  There is easily room for 20 people, four bunks to a room, two comfortable showers in the basement, a washing machine that can be used by the guests and a drying room upstairs.
Nice big kitchen with two stoves and two sinks and a shop where you can buy most of the things you forgot to bring from home. There is a big dining room with a wonderful view over Kamajokk and friendly atmosphere is included in the deal. Delicious breakfasts are served in the dining room, and you can take care of dinners yourself in the spacious kitchen. Since it's a kickoff point for hikers who are going into Sarek, there is a fairly international crowd in Kvikkjokk, which can make for friendly and chatty evenings and breakfasts.

The little one-room cabin where we spent weeks when I was a kid, one room with four bunks and a tiny kitchenette, was still there (over on the right in the picture), even though it had been somewhat transformed.
Right after our arrival, we took a walk down to the jokk and marveled at its wild beauty, no canoeing rapids here, just wild water falling over huge bolders. The sky was pretty much clouded over but the sun came out all of a sudden and the rest of the day was all sun and light white clouds.

We also took a walk down to the boat landing to see where we would take the boat from the next morning. On our way back to the fjällstation, we saw a pretty bird flying from one birch to another. I haven't found out yet who the bird was. It had a strikingly yellow breast and it was not a song bird. It was quite voluble though in a chirping way.

With help from a Netherlands source (Arie van Erk), it now seems most likely that this beautiful bird is "Motacilla flava thunbergi", in English: the  "(Northern/Scandinavian) Yellow Wagtail". His voice is a powerful 'psib' or 'psri'. In Swedish it is the species called 'ärla', not sädesärla though, which is not yellow, but grey with a black skull cap and white cheeks (Motacilla alba).








Down at the Kamajokk you have a nice view of the
tourist station, looking up through the
birch
trees.




This is as close as you can get to the midnight sun in Kvikkjokk. It was taken on the day of our arrival.
Even though it's a little before midnight, it looked pretty wonderful from down in the valley where Kvikkjokk is nesting. At midnight, the sun will be just below the line of trees. We had had a long day and we were not about to climb a mountain that evening.












Kvarnen & kvarn-tjärnarna
For most of the walks yo
u take from Kvikkjokk you have to take a rented boat ride to get to the beginning of your walk. In this enormous delta land where two rivers join, Kamajokk and Tarraätno, there is the most intriguing and wondrous delta land where mosquitoes breed by the millions every summer.

The first day we had agreed with Kenth, one of the two motor boat pilots, to take us to the beginning of a short walk to a former mill about 3 kilometers along the Tarraätno to what's called, on the Jokkmokk web site,
KVARNEN & KVARN-TJÄRNARNA (Jokkmokks turistbyrå / in English).  It was a pleasant walk to a mill from the beginning of the 19th century which had been  somewhat restored in 1970. If you walk a short distance inland you get to a beautiful little lake - 'tjärn' in Swedish. On this walk we first discovered the masses of globe flowers you get to see at this time of the year.

In Austria it used to be a big deal whenever we came across some 'Trollblumen' (trollius europeus), but here we saw them again and again, in huge numbers.

There were lots of flowers of various kinds on this walk, and, among others, very pretty rödblära, which we were to see on most of our walks. It's a subfamily of carnations -
Caryophyllaceae, nejlikväxter, Latin name - Silene dioica - Rote Nachtnelke. It's a very pretty, rather tall and graceful flower. I just wish it had a better name in Swedish. It is closely related to fjällglim, but it has a long stem, and we always admired them whenever we saw them, which was just about on all our walks. I'll call it long-stemmed silene instead.




John is lying down on the dock waiting for Kenth to come and pick us up. We had tried but without any success at all to walk back along the river to the beginning of a path up to a small peak. We just got into bogs and shrubs that were totally impossible to penetrate so we gave up and went back to the dock. John stretched out on his back while waiting for the boat to get there.






On our way back, Kenth took us through the calm back waters of the Tarraätno delta. It was a fairy-tale tour with ducks and a line of ducklings following the mother duck - and other water birds in their calm protectorate.


Here is one of the back waters of the delta where you feel as if time has stopped and the water belongs to the ducks and not to human beings who, when they get a chance, destroy the wilderness more than they care for protection. The six National Parks that make up Laponia World Heritage are, however, created to protect the wilderness and the wildlife in it.






View towards the Tarra mountains across the perfectly smooth surface of the Tarraätno delta, as seen
on our trip back in the boat with Kenth.






Here is where the Kamajokk falls into the delta.
Down on the right you can see approximately the same view on a sunny day. You can just barely make out the tourist station on the hillside over towards the right.











Go on to Kvikkjokk - Part 2

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