Day 80. Jakkvik to Vuonatjviken

Posted by: James on March 21, 2009

Distance 26km | Time 5.5hrs | Ascent 290m | Descent 190m

Day 80. Looking east down the vast Hornavan lakeGiven I had a relatively easy day I did not hurry in the morning at all. I enjoyed a lie in until nearly 0800, had a shower and leisurely breakfast. I enjoyed the cabin and eventually left it at 1000. It was a glorious day outside with a bit of a cold wind, but a blue sky.

I headed down to the lake from the cabin and at once was on the scooter track heading east up a wide inlet. The wind was behind me and I was skiing fast. There were quite a few scooters about and nearly 20 must have passed me Just about all were joy riders and none were Lapp as they always carry skis.

Before long I reached the far side of the long lake. It stretched all the way to Arjeplog and must have been at least 50 km long. When I reached the small islet of Nammatsholmen the track left the lake and headed up through the forest. I had to rewax my skis for this climb.

I snaked through the pine trees to a small tarn. Here a reindeer herder had put out some silage for his animals. I was surprised to see about 30 feeding from it. I previously assumed all the domesticated reindeer were still down in the forests to the east. These reindeer fled as soon as they saw me.

I crossed the lake and then reached another lake. This was disconcerting as I should have been going north not south east. Eventually the scooter tracks doubled back and started to head north gently climbing through the pines, some of which were very old and venerable.

It was a delightful ski through this forest as I climbed gently for some 200 metres. There were many reindeer tracks so there must have been more in the forest here. Eventually the pine trees pettered out and the birch took over and remained the only tree until I reached and crossed the ridge.

There was now a gentle descent through the birch for some 15 minutes until I reached Riebnes lake. There were no pines here on the south shore. The tracks had taken me a bit south of where I wanted to go but they now crossed the lake to the pine covered north side and the headed north west for 3 km to reach a broad peninsular.

Day 80. Riebneskaise mountain dominates the west side of Riebnes lakeAlthough it was sunny there was a bitterly cold wind which cut through my clothing. I had to stop and put on my windproof trousers and warmer mittens. The mountain of Riebneskaise dominated the south side of the lake.

From this broad peninsular it was just another 4 km to Vuonatjviken. Quite a few scooters passed me. I suppose it was a Saturday and the weather was good so people were out. As a skier I felt quite rare. I had not seen another skier for days.

Day 80. The cabin I stayed in at VuonatjvikenVuonatjviken was not as quaint as I had hoped. There were many private cabins and a small enterprise which rented out pragmatic and uncharming cabins. I took one which was relatively expensive and compared to Baverholm poor value for money. Still I had a roof between me and the cold night to come.

I managed to finish my blog early then went up for moose stew in the main house come restaurant. I needed energy for the long day tomorrow and the very early start at about 0400.

It is remarkable how long the days are becoming now. The spring equinox is 21 March give or take a day depending on leap years etc. This spring equinox was in fact the 20th March this year. This is when the sun crosses the equator on its way north again. It is when the day become longer than the night in the northern hemisphere and shorter in the southern hemisphere. In theory it is when the sun rises in the north pole and stays up for the next 6 months. In reality this does not quite happen due to the wobble of the earth. For me in practical terms it now means I have about 15 hours daylight and this will increase by about 5 minutes a day at these latitudes. They call it the first day of spring here in Sweden but it will be minus 15 here tonight!

I am also just a few km south of the Arctic circle. The Arctic circle is the latitude at which you get the midnight sun on the summer equinox which is the longest day on the 21 June, give or take a day. At the Arctic circle the sun does not set on this day but just dips to touch the horizon and heads back into the sky again. In the very north of Norway the sun will not actually set for about a month each side of this summer equinox and just revolves around the sky.

It had been a very good day. The ski was great. The weather was great. It was easy, almost a rest day really. This was what I planned and needed as tomorrow would be a very long day to Kvikkjokk which is about 60 km. If I can’t make it I can stop after 45 km where there is a rustic unheated wooded shelter. Vuonatjviken was a bit of a disappointment with its scooter culture but it might improve yet.

2 Responses to “Day 80. Jakkvik to Vuonatjviken”

  1. e.c.baxter Says:

    I see you are in the Arctic Circle now, well done, daffodils all flowering. Love mum & dad.

  2. chris and sue serjeant Says:

    Hi you seem to be doing well and enjoying it!?..We thought we might bump into you in Kvikjokk but it looks like you wil have passed thru 3 days before us.
    Glad to see you are making use of the old ski tracks but we find them annoying and always crave the peace and quiet of Norway.
    Presume you know this but the climb out of Vakkotavare is very steep in the one section and has usual a lot of snow[enjoy the sweat].
    Good luck in your endeavour sorry to say this but Spring has sprung up in the Penines .chris an d sue