Lapland Revisited in June - July
Panorama of Virihaure as we set out on
the walk towards Arasluokta
June 30 - July 2
Go to "A
look back in time"
For map of Lapland - click here
For a map of the area including Kvikkjokk, Saltoluokta and Staloluokta
Our first evening walk
- to the place where the Stalojokk falls into Lake
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
The best we managed to get to see of the midnight sun was when we woke
up around 1. The sun is
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 to
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
europeus). And of course the queen of queens, the isranunkel,
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.
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.
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
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.
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
First though, we admired some pretty pinks (alpine lychnis)
'Nelken', lychnis alpina.
here it is, on the left, the fjällnejlika on the Padjelantaleden,
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
lapponica or Lappländer
flower or leguminose, in English
There was kantljung or mossljung all over, probably the latter, most of
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
think twice about it - on the way out of Kvikkjokk. It is just not much
in the heat on a tarmac road if you are a bit tired when you get back
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
showers. After having really had just a skinny-dip for a wash for the
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
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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