Lapland Revisited in June - July 2003

 
Panorama of Virihaure as we set out on the walk towards Arasluokta

Staloluokta June 30 - July 2

Go to "A look back in time"

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


Our first evening walk

- to the place where the Stalojokk falls into Lake Virihaure.

Our first evening in the cabin at Staloluokta was a marvel of friendly chatter and banter - old tales, adventures, fun episodes were bandied around the tables, jokes were exchanged with flower and bird books and the general mood in the large dining room was as freindly - gemütlich - as it could ever be, probably very much thanks to the unbelievably wonderful weather.
The fact that the pump was out of order and the men had to get water from the jokk didn't in any way ruin the good humor and the laughter that made it the most memorable evening I've ever spent in a mountain cabin
.


The best we managed to get to see of the midnight sun was when we woke up around 1. The sun is
of course hidden behind the mountain which is due north. We walked uphill a bit past the beautiful Sami church and on towards the kiosk uphill where the Påve family lives in the summer when their reindeer roam around this area. Actually, as we were wandering around the area after dinner, going down to the lake becasue some guys had told us there was some isranunkel that must have wantered in from some glacier nearby. I didn't believe it at all, but felt that I wanted to know what on earth they were talking about. We did find a ranunculus flower, but the men mustn't have really up on colors, because these were yellow. They could have been either Polarsmörblomma (Ranunculus sulphurius) or possibly, but not likely Ranunculus vivalis - Fjällsmörblomma. It might also simply have been the very common Ranunculus repens - revsmörblomma.

First day's walk to the bridge across the Viejejokk

The next day we will cross this jokk on the swinging suspended bridge and go on southeast towards another bridge, across another jokk,
Viejejokk, taking the path that leads to the Staddajokk cabins (Staddajokkstugorna). It is the same type of suspended bridge as the one crossing the last part of the Stalojokk close t
o the cabin, but this one is more stable.

View over Staloluokta sameviste.
In the foreground is the bridge across Stalojokk, which we crossed at the beginning of this walk. The bigger brown building on the right is the tourist station. (picture on the right)


View over Lake Virihaure from the beginning of our walk towards the Staddajokk cabins. (right)




Fjällsippa, or - as we have always called it in the Alps - Silberwurz. If you get to the Alps not too late in the year there are masses of them in the valleys (Saulajoch and around the Lünersee - Brandnertal). It is called 'sippa' in Swedish,even though it is not a Ranunculaceae, like most of the other sippor, blåsippa, vitsippa, gulsippa, backsippa - and also smörblomma and smörboll (globe flower, trollius europeus). And of course the queen of queens, the isranunkel, ranunculus glacialis, Gletscher-Hahnenfuss, which we have seen many times over the years in the high Alps, but never in large numbers. Sorry, no picture this time. It always seems like a big event when you do find some, I would say it is usually above 2000 meters in the Alps and on stony ground.



Fjällglim, moss campion (the Pink family) or Stengelloses Leimkraut, which you can see in great numbers, sometimes almost covering the ground.

Walking alongside the Viejejokk on our way to the bridge.







Here we have arrived at the Viejejokk. You can see the shadow of the bridge in the picture on the right. This is where I sat down to rest some while eating my lunch sandwhich. I got bitten by ferocious mosquitoes worse than I can ever remember in my whole life. They got me even through my socks around my ankles and I had nasty red bites all over my legs for many weeks after that day.

The view in all the different directions was great. Particularly, on the way back, we had a great view, even if a bit far off, of the mountains around Sulitelma towards the southwest. In the back is the beautiful queen of mountains herself. The swamps in the foreground completed the beautiful view.














Zooming in on Sulitelma on the right gives you an idea of her beauty, even though some of the foreground had to be sacrified.







John approaching Virihaure on our way back to the cabin. The picture is taken against the sunlight, but you can just barely make out the Norwegian mountains in the background.







  The second day's walk on the Padjelantaleden towards Arasluokta


             Panorama taken from the top of the hill where we had to turn around

We had to
get back and catch the helicopter so we turned our backs on the gorgeous scenery and got back down into the birch forest. First though, we admired some pretty pinks (alpine lychnis) 'Nelken', lychnis alpina.
And here it is, on the left, the fjällnejlika on the Padjelantaleden, practically right in the middle of the path. John was the one who saw it first and we had no idea what it could be. One of my French friends said 'oeillet' (= pink, lychnis) right away, as soon as she saw the picture. Oh well, dumb dumber dumbest!















Lappvedel, oxytropis
lapponica or Lappländer Spitzkiel,
a pea flower or leguminose, in English called milk-vetch.  
                                                                                                      

There was kantljung or mossljung all over, probably the latter, most of the time.





Tofielda pusilla or björnbrodd, of the lily family, a delicate little flower that we saw in lots of places.






A lot of snow had melted away since we first saw the Sarek massif from Prinskullen. Here we are approaching Kvikkjokk again and it's a different scene now, just a few very warm days later.

Our pilot was a very friendly fellow, chatty and funny, who entertained us with stories about Stockholmers who couldn't unwind even when on a hiking vacation in the awesome silence and wilderness of the
Lapland mountains. The first thing that struck them with terror was not being able to use their mobile phones. Modern man feels totally abandoned and helpless without his satellite connection to the civilized world. On their way back from the wilderness, the Stockholm businessman would settle into his seat in the helicopter, fasten his seat belt, put on his head phones and his first question would be 'How is Ericsson doing?' Not being in the habit of worrying about the stock market, we still took it for granted that they were referring to what I still today call L.M. Ericsson. Oh, "civilized" man, where did you go wrong? Did you even let your eyes rest on the beauty around you while you were thinking of the falling or rising stock market? Goodness, bear market or bull market - which is which??? It's a life saver of course for people who just don't have anything else to worry about.

We landed gently at the heliport outside the small town of Kvikkjokk. Now, here is the one negative point of this whole most fairy-tale like part of our first week in Lapland. Kvikkjokk, wonderful - Staloluokta, a fairy dreamland. We don't get any younger but we just have to come back. We can't stay away is all. The hitch - the heliport is at about an English mile's distance (that is 1, 6 km approximately) from the tourist station. So you count enough time for the walk and you don't think twice about it - on the way out of Kvikkjokk. It is just not much fun in the heat on a tarmac road if you are a bit tired when you get back from Stalo.


But - on the way back, after the pleasant flight with our nice pilot who didn't like Stockholm businessmen, we had been promised that there would be a bus to take us back in a few minutes. Big misunderstanding. Yes, there was a bus taking other passengers back - to Gällivare. So we gritted our teeth and set off on our boring walk back - 1,6 or 7 kilometers. After Stalo we were a bit tired - in just two days we had tried to do a maximum. Back at the tourist station though we had wonderful showers. After having really had just a skinny-dip for a wash for the past couple of days, it felt wonderful. With the pump out of order this year in Stalo, the washrooms (segregated for men and women of course!) weren't in great use.

Back in Kvikkjokk, we had one more very pleasant and chatty evening and then breakfast the following morning - with a young German couple and one other German, closer to our age, even if not quite that ancient. There was also a Swede whom we ran into once again, him and the German on the bus going back to civilization. They had been to some place like Akkastugorna via helicopter while we were in Stalo. We all exchanged e-mail addresses and it remains to see if we'll hear
from them.
 

We took a little walk along the Kamajokk anyway the last morning and back up on a ridge. It wouldn't do for shooting rapids this torrent - too many huge
bolders, even though it sure looks as if there's plenty of water.
          






So, goodbye to Kvikkjokk and 
'På återseende'.           
Wonderful untamed Kamajokk! And now, on to Saltoluokta.



Go on to Saltoluokta

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