Day 82. Tsielekjokkstugan to Kvikkjokk

Posted by: James on March 23, 2009

Distance 18km | Time 3.5hrs | Ascent 200m | Descent 510m

Day 82. The Parte Massif is one of the 10 or so major massifs in Sarek national parkI slept remarkably well in the small cabin. It insulated me well against the minus 20 of the night. My clothes had dried and I was ready for a new day From the waist up anyway, my legs were not happy about having to perform again.

I got up at 0730 and looked outside. It felt remarkably warmer and there was even a freak snow shower passing. Beyond this light shower was blue sky everywhere so I could not see where it came from. I set off at 0900 in perfect weather again.

Day 82. Tarrekaise massif rises steeply above the mammal rich Tarrekaise valleyAfter crossing the the Tsielekjokk river I started up a gentle slope to the north. The Tarrekaise Massif dominated everything to the west. The valley beneath it is teaming with wildlife. Last year there was a licence to hunt and kill 3 bears in this valley. Such is nature conservation in Sweden.

There is also lynx in the valley. When I skied down it last year 2 helicopters flew over me. They were the equivalent of the Nature Protection Agency who had chartered the helicopters. They were en route to shoot this lynx with a tranquillizer, measure it and put a radio transmitter collar on it. Too many biologists chasing too few animals with too many resources. Such is nature conservation in Sweden

Day 82. The mountain of Parte is just over 2000 metres and had an Axel Hamberg research cabin on top of itI soon reached a very shallow birch covered ridge by Lastak tarns. As I crested it Parte Massif suddenly unfolded across the entire northern horizon. Parte is one of the 10 of so massifs in Sarek National Park. It contains two mountains over 2000 metres, namely Parte and Palkatt. Parte is not particularly difficult but it involves a 2 day walk from Kvikkjokk to it. Palkatt is even longer with a 3 day walk and is more challenging with glacier crossings or steep ridges. I spent a week climbing these two mountains in unsettled weather in September some 4 years ago.

From Lastak tarns there was a wonderful descent down the tracks through the birch, then spruce, then pine forests to a small valley south of a nunatak called Nammasj. This nunatak was once covered in ice also and as the ice flow over the hard knoll it rose up the ramp on the upstream side and then ripped blocks of rock of the downstream side so it is very steep here. This is usual for all nunataks, especially in north Sweden here. A nunatak, incidentally, is a block of rock which wholly or partially protruded from the inland ice sheets during the glacial periods.

I passed to the south and east of this nunatak and then spilled out of the forest onto the blindingly bright surface of Saggat lake. It was then just a 3 km ski north through the delta of two large rivers which met here, to the charming village of Kvikkjokk.

This delta is laid down by the glacial silt from the glaciers of south west Sarek. The delta grows by at least a metre a year as silt is deposited at its drop off zone.

Kvikkjokk is a Swedish settler village. In the 1660s the government was giving incentives for Swedes to come and settle remote outposts in Lappland. People were encouraged to set up homesteads. Soon after silver was discovered nearby and at Alka to the west of Sarek. This forged its present identity somewhat and made it more significant than other settler villages.

Today Kvikkjokk, has a church, shop, many cabins to rent and a hostel run by the Swedish trekking club. It is the southern gateway to Sareks National Park and lies at the south end of the more popular northern half of the Kungsleden track. Carl von Linne (Linneaus) stayed here on his Lappland travels when formulating his theories on taxonomy.

There are 18 people who spend the winter here. The school children take the bus at 0530 every morning for the two and half hour,130 km, trip to school in Jokkmokk every day then return in the evening.

In the spring and summer the village lives of tourists. Snowscooter drivers, fisherman, some hunters, many outdoor enthusiasts and scientists all arrive here.

I checked into the trekking hostel and they kindly did my washing. I then had to do a lot of writing and emails. This tedious job took the rest of the afternoon. Still it was nice to sit down but a waste of great weather.

After supper I went to see my friend Bjorn. He is tenth generation Kvikkjokk, his ancestors being one of the original settlers. Bjorn ferries walkers across Saggat lake and show them the hidden gems of the delta land in the summer while his partner, Helena, is an artist with a gallery in the village.

Bjorn is an accomplished amateur naturalist is a library of information on the area. He knows where the eagle owls nest and when the moose will come and feed on aquatic weeds in the delta. Now his is almost a lonely voice drowned out in the scooter culture.

The scooters are an environmental nuisance. They destroy bushes, spew 2 stroke oil onto the snow, create a racket in villages and destroy the peace. Bjorn is fighting a campaign to keep them out of the middle of Kvikkjokk, like the village of Ammarnas, where they bypass the village centre. With the scooter culture the genie is out of the bottle and the Swedish government cannot put it back in again just limit the damage. This will jepodise the redneck vote.

I returned from Bjorn’s about midnight and slept well. It had been a short easy day with perhaps too much office work regarding blog and emails. I was still not finished and I had more to do tomorrow morning before I left for Parte cabin, and easy 16km. I had wanted to go to Aktse but the catch up with the blog put paid to that.

One Response to “Day 82. Tsielekjokkstugan to Kvikkjokk”

  1. pb & kate Says:

    Hi James,

    Good to see you’re still going strong!
    You’ll be sorry to hear that Scotland lost to Ireland in the six nations – but at least you weren’t the only one, as we went on to win the Grand Slam (for the first time in 61 years!)

    pb & kate