Day 89. Alesjaure to Abisko

Posted by: James on March 30, 2009

Distance 35km | Time 7.5hrs | Ascent 160m | Descent 570m

Day 89. Looking south from Alesjaure lake to Alesjaure cabinsThe sun was shinning into the room when I opened my eyes at 0700. It is amazing how quickly the sunrise and sunset changes at the moment up here. It seems each one is 5 minutes earlier and later respectively than the previous day. Each week the day is an hour longer. In another 8 weeks the sun won’t set here but just revolve around the sky for 6 weeks before setting again. As I go north the period of midnight sun will get longer.

I got up and had breakfast and dithered a bit afterwards. I also chatted with the hut wardens who were here last year also. He said West Possus glacier was difficult now but recommended East Possus glacier to Possustjokka. Something for a future visit.

Andre, I and a Norwegian guy with a dog set of eventually at 0930. They both had sledges so were slower and I went ahead. After a half hour the Norwegian with the dog overtook me. He had attached the dog to a harness and it speeded up his skiing immensely. It was warming up tremendously and by the time I reached the emergency shelter I stripped down to my vest.

Day 89. Looking north from Alesjaure lake to the saddleIt didn’t last long as although it was hot in the sun the was a bitter chill in the breeze. So the jacket went back on as Andre caught up. There was now a nice easy climb for a good hour up a gentle incline to a shallow saddle. There was a great view over to some spectacular mountains in Norway called Storsteinfjellet. I had noticed them each time I passed here.

As we went up this incline we passed some 30 skiers coming towards us. They seemed to be in at least 3 commercial guided trips from Belgium, France and Germany. The French had tiny rucksacks and the Germans were each pulling a massive sledge. The French had got it right as the cabins they would both be using had everything they needed, except a change of clothes.

Day 89. Looking north from the saddle to the end of Abiskojaure lakeFrom the top of the saddle there was a lovely run down to the edge of the birch forest. Here Abiskojaure lake appeared with the cabin at the west end of it. At the treeline the ski track became a lot steeper and I had to snowplough a good proportion of the way down. I had come up here some 15 times on my own, with friends or with groups I was taking and never noticed how steep it was.

From the bottom of the slope it was a pleasant 2km ski along a wide but unused scooter track to the very nicely located Abiskojaure cabin. This was through birch forest and then along the frozen Kamalakka river. The cabin was sited at the edge of the lake in the birch forest. I have often seen the northern lights here but obviously would not today. We stopped for lunch here and despite the temperatures we sat outside in the sun on a bench and watched a selection of birds feeding on the food the hut wardens here had put out.

Day 89. Lapporten or Lapplands gateway is a familiar landmark south of AbiskoAfter lunch all three of us continued down to Abisko. This involved a 4 km ski across Abiskojaure lake and then a beautiful 11 km ski down beside the Abiskojokka river for much of the journey. It was initially through birch forest and then the final part was in the comfort of the pines again. To the south the mountains were brilliant white in the sun. There was a deep valley between two of the mountains which was known as Lapporten or “Lapplands gateway”.

Day 89. The northern end of the Kungsleden is 474 km from the southern gate on skisBefore I knew it I was going under an arch which signified the northern end of the Kungsleden. It had been a great ski. It was 474 km in all which had taken me 110 hours over 15 days. From here I would head back into Norway.

Abisko lodge is a ugly but practical building. It looks like an old factory However it had cheapish rooms, a shop with the dry food of the brand I was trying to avoid, a restaurant and a washing machine.

I got a room, showered, washed my clothes and then ate. I reiceved the maps for the next part of the trip and studied them in the evening. My only concern was that my replacement skis and bindings had not been dispatched from Oslo yet. I was to pick them up in 48 hours in Innset. I made a phone call to Sjur Moedre at Sportsnett to voice my angst and seem to have got a result. A further phone call tomorrow should clarify the urgency.

It had been a very good day again. Apart from a slight wind at the saddle the weather had been perfect again. This was now some 11 days in a row. Had I been going south I would have been sun tanned black with this sun and its reflected intensity also. It was good to have a bit of company to ski with also. Tomorrow I would go my own way again to Norway, while Andre goes for the easy option this time through Sweden on scooter tracks.

One Response to “Day 89. Alesjaure to Abisko”

  1. e.c.baxter Says:

    Changed from GMT to BST sunrise 7am. Lois amazed at blogs, sends love, so do we. M&D