Day 71. Kvalpskarmo to Hattfjelldal

Posted by: James on March 12, 2009

Distance 18km | Time 3.5hrs | Ascent 230m | Descent 320m

Day 71. The luxurious cabin at KvalpskarmoI was both physically and mentally tired when I dragged myself out of bed at 0730 this morning. It was a long day and late night. I felt pretty sore around my ankles and the soles of my feet. However I slept very well in the comfortable bed with cotton linen.

The lady who owned the cabin came over in the morning to settle things. She amazed us by saying we could stay for free. Not only was it a great cabin, house really, but completely free. I almost felt embarrassed by her generosity. She rented out a few cabins at Kvalpskarmo which seemed a pretty place tucked away at the end of the road.

Day 71. The scooter trail along the forest trackWe set off at 0900 under a blue sky. The forestry track which we were now to follow was an extension of the road but was not cleared from snow. However this uncleared 9 km was a scooter track in the winter which gave perfect skiing conditions.

Day 71. This herd of sheep were kept outside to enhance their fleecesI shot off as my skis were well waxed and enjoyed the fast undulating ski through the spruce forest. I nearly took my jacket off but the downhill sections were cold. After these pleasant 9 km the road was now cleared from the other direction up to a picturesque farm. This farm had a herd of sheep in the snow covered fields. Usually sheep are kept in the barns all winter in comfortable conditions before they go up to the summer pastures. I suspect these sheep were breed for their fleece as a specialist wool variety.

I was getting rather bored of skiing along roads, even deserted ones like this. The snow is packed like ice and the skis are very slippery despite copious waxing. This means my arms work hard. In addition on the downhill sections which are very fast there is a lot of gravel embedded in the snow which damages the skis and strips off the wax. There was just 4 km to the junction with the main road up Susendal which went on the east side of the valley.

I had skied or walked down the very quiet west side of Susendal for about 26 km now since coming down from Borgefjell last night. It was an interesting cultural landscape dominated by farming and small scale forest harvesting We now crossed a wooden bridge over to the east side for the last 3 km on the busier road.

This road had a sparse covering of ice and snow at the sides. To frustrating to ski so I took them off. Andre continued with his sledge scraping the base. We passed a few chatty pedestrians walking dogs before we reached Hattfjelldal.

It was a reasonably large village or small town, with a saw mill and perhaps 500 houses. It had a shop with a sports department, a bank, a post office, a café, and a cheap hotel with barrack style rooms. We checked into the barrack rooms and then each did various chores like repair ski bindings and shop.

Tomorrow we would split up. I would head onto Reesevatnet and then go halfway up it before leaving it to cross into Sweden to pick up the very southern end of the Kungsleden track by Hemavan. Andre will continue to the North of Reesevatnet and then go through Okstind and Saltfjellet before crossing to Sweden. His route will cost him a week but if the weather is good will be more scenic.

Kungsleden is a long hiking and ski route from Hemavan to Abisko. It is about 500 km in all. After a bit of zig-zagging at the southern end it heads north. It has a few stretches without cabins for up to 60 km in the southern end, but I feel confident I could do these in a tiring day. Halfway is Kvikkjokk where I have friends Bjorn and Helena. After that I skirt to the east of Sarek, probably the finest mountain wilderness in Europe. Finally Kungsleden passes through the Kebnekaise mountain area to arrive in Abisko and north Sweden.

It was an easy day. I had earnt it yesterday. The ski down the scooter tracks in the forest was great but the road section spoilt it a bit. The weather however was on my side and it was a beautiful day. It was just a pity that I was not in a mountain region to really appreciate it.

One Response to “Day 71. Kvalpskarmo to Hattfjelldal”

  1. Erik Says:

    Hello again James!
    I see that you are now quite near the area where I lived one summer by the coast of Somna kommune. It is a very beautiful coast (and I hope to return there sometime soon with my kayak). You will surely appreciate it when you later paddle down south (be sure not to miss Torghatten!)
    Hope everything is well and I must admit I am a bit jealous of you, getting to be out there!
    The best of luck!
    /Erik