Day 83. Kvikkjokk to Aktse

Posted by: James on March 24, 2009

Distance 41km | Time 7.5hrs | Ascent 450m | Descent 220m

Day 83. The route from Kvikkjokk to Parte goes through mixed conifer forestI got up at 0700 to get started on my writing. Breakfast was at 0800 so I should have got a bit done by then. By breakfast however I had barely started as there were other people about who I ended up chatting with. The same thing happened after breakfast. By 1030 I still had not done much. Rather than return to my room I just ignored everybody, almost rudely, to get it finished which I did by 1200.

I then had to pack before setting off at 1230. It was another beautiful sunny day. The wax on my skis was perfect for the cold snow and it gripped well. I made fast time through the forest and up the hill. I hardly noticed the incline. The forest on each side was mature spruce and pine trees. Before I knew it I was a the Dahta lakes.

There is a summer route here which goes off here to the Lapp summer settlement of Parek and the Parte Massif beyond, but there was no sign of that now The mountains were looking splendid covered in deep drifts of snow.

Day 83. The pine forests around lake Rittak are superbHalf way across the Dahta lakes I turned east and started heading along the very beautiful Rittak valley. It was sandwiched between the Parte Massif to the north and the crags of Kabla to the south. However the valley was gentle, calm, sunny and peaceful yet the mountains on each side were craggy and rugged.

I reached another lake, called Sjabttjakjavrre, soon after starting to go through this lovely valley. There were a herd of some 20 reindeer lying on this lake when I arrived. They got up and ambled into the forest while I was still a few hundred metres away. In another couple of weeks hooper swans will arrive at this lake. Landing on the ice they will wait for the first melted patches of water and then breed here and other similar lakes in the area.

At the end of the lake was Parte cabin. I was there at just after 1500. I had already done 17 km in a little more than two and a half hours. It would be ridiculous to stop so soon. Besides the snow conditions were very fast. I decided to skip Parte cabin and blast the other 24 km to Aktse cabin after all. I would probably reach there just after dark.

The next 6 km down the Rittak valley to Rittak lake were idyllic. The easy ski track followed the frozen river, crossing it regularly from glade to pine forest and back to glade again. This valley was once thick with bears a century ago. The sun was lighting up the trees in the warm evening colours. On each side to the valley were rounded mountains with occasional craggy spurs and knolls.

All this came to an abrupt end after a spur at the east end of Rittak lake. The next lake was Tjakjajaure and it was dammed. The water level fluctuated some 30 metres. This resevoir filled up in the summer months. Then in the late autumn it froze over to a depth of about half a metre. Then in the winter the resevoir was emptied to produce electricity. As the water level fell the ice fell with it. However where the ice rested on submerged knolls and slopes it stopped falling and broke into large angular slabs. The result was a barren wasteland of ice slabs lying across the floor of the empty resevoir.

Before the original lake was dammed to extend it over the ice slabs before me Rittak valley extended down here for many kilometres. Its beauty was fabled.

Luckily there was a scooter route over these ice slabs which had also been covered in a metre of winter snow to smooth of the edges. The scooter route went along the southern shore for 6 km before cutting across the lake to the north side. As I descended one of these huge slabs of frozen ice to reach the original valley floor I fell heavily on my bum. I am sure there will be a large bruise.

With light just starting to fade I reached the north shore. I left the surreal ice slab world and entered the forest again just to the east of the steep block of a mountain called Tjakjali. There was a kind of peninsular between two lakes here. It was a very gentle 4 km saddle.

I just had enough light to see the undulations of the scooter track as it weaved through the trees across this saddle. It was dark in the denser patches of forest and just before I considered the headtorch at 1900 I reached Laitaure lake. This lake was undammed.

Laitaure lake is home to perhaps the biggest and most well known of all the deltas in Lappland. The huge Rapaatno river which drains some half of Sarek and is fed by 40 glaciers flows into the lake. The sediments in the river settle as it enters the lake building a magnificent delta of lagoons, channels, embankments and marshes. The delta is 6 km long and 2 km wide. It has already filled half the lake, which is also squeezed between the mountains of Tjakjali and the sheer walls of Skierffe.

The Rapaatno river has probably filled in at least 3 lakes in the Rapadalen valley above Laitaure lake. The delta lands of these infilled lakes contain meanders and lagoons. It has allowed the development of a group of very large moose who feed on the vegetation in these lagoons. Indeed in the summer time the 30 km Rapadalen is a lush paradise of birch woods and wild flowers. It is bristling with wildlife.

After a short ski across Laitaure lake and a climb up through the woods on scooter tracks in the near dark I eventually reached Aktse cabin at 2000. I just avoided putting my headtorch on out of stubbornness. However the evenings will be getting longer very quickly from now on. I found a room in one of the cabins here. There were 7 of us all together in this large cabin. I reheated some reindeer meat Bjorn had given me and chatted with the others for a while. When they crashed out I did my blog wthout any disturbance.

It was a day of two halves. The office like morning where I was getting frustrated I was not getting things done and then the afternoon where I exceeded my expectatations. The highlight of the day must have been the pine forests, frozen tarns and sunny glades of the Rittak valley.

One Response to “Day 83. Kvikkjokk to Aktse”

  1. e.c.baxter Says:

    The blog must be a bore after a long hard slog, but we look forward to it every evening. luv M&D