Sarek National Park – A travel documentary – Days 9 - 12

In summer 2019 we took a grand tour of Sarek National Park in northern Sweden to explore what this awesome alpine wilderness area has to offer. Our route took us through some of the most beautiful valleys and mountain passes. Read more about days nine to twelve of our journey..

ALTIDUDE TRIBE ON TOUR IN SAREK NATIONAL PARK

11.08.2019 - Day 9 (Basstavágge > Bielavallda > Skárja - 15,7 km):

Today would be a rather easy hike compared to the terrain we had hiked through before; there would be some fords but nothing too deep. After exiting Basstavágge the weather was decent and we decided to take a dip in one of the many small ponds collecting rainwater. The water was still cold but much warmer than the ice cold meltwater that we had bathed in before. Feeling very refreshed, we hiked through the grand valleys on relatively flat terrain. Our feet thanked us for this.

We found some blueberries on the way, which were delicious. There were also many hjortron or cloudberries in the central valleys but they were still unripe. To find ripe hjortron in Sarek you must go in mid August. On the Kungsleden most berries were already ripe because of the lower elevations. After passing beautiful lakes and fording a couple of rivers we reached Mikkastugan. There were a couple of tents pitched here and light was shining in the emergency hut. Because we were already quite tired, we kept right on hiking and shortly after, reached our campsite at Skárja with a great view of the valley below. We had something to eat but because we had become acclimatized to the higher elevations by now, none of us could sleep that well this night. It was too warm! - I slept in only undies and a T-shirt and still it was way too warm - We all had weird dreams that night.

 

12.08.2019 - Day 10 (Skárja > Álggavágge - 17,7 km): 

We awoke to splendid weather and sunshine the next morning - most of the clothing we had laid out to dry that night had dried. Before we broke camp, some distant rainshowers passed us, making for some great photos.

While I was breaking camp and taking down the tent, Mine and Hendrik went over to Mikkastugan, which was only a fifteen-minute walk away, to check out the place and found a pack of deserted knäckebröd - It was still fresh and crunchy so it had probably not been there for long. Knäcke usually takes on moisture quickly. Time to use the sun to charge some gear with our solar panels - Our battery packs were already quite depleted and we were in desperate need for some sun to keep the GPS, phones and cameras charged. The sun was constantly hiding behind passing clouds and I managed to bump my battery pack up by one bar during that day, which I was very happy about. One bar on my battery pack means about 150% worth of GPS battery charge. It was enough to keep the phones and GPS alive. We are only using the phones to film and take photos when the large sensor cameras had to stay in the dry bag due to the rain as there is no signal to use them anyway. After fording a large river, we entered Álggavágge and tried to stay as high as possible to avoid the swampy regions below; This also gave us a great view of the valley below.

In the end we still had to pass through a swampy area - We had changed into our sandals to avoid getting our shoes wet and squished on our way through the swamp. At some point Hendrik stopped to water the flowers, Mine and I continued and suddenly we heard shouting and swearing from behind: Hendrik had got stung by several wasps whose territory he seemed to have inadvertently flooded. The upcoming ice cold stream helped cool the stings and soon after he didn’t feel them anymore. Good thing he was not allergic! We found a great campsite behind a hill, which blocked the wind nicely. Hendrik prepared some of his tasty home-made instant hummus and served it on some Knäcke - It was great to finally chew on some food again. Most foods we have with us don’t need much chewing. Many of the high caloric meals we have with us are mostly things very soft in texture. We fell asleep, bellies full and well fuelled for the following day.

 

13.08.2019 - Day 11 (Álggavágge > Niejdariehpvágge > Sarvesvágge - 9,2 km):

We awoke to decent weather and a dry tent. The tent packs up to about half its size when dry and also weighs much less. Today we would take it easy and only do a short hike through Niejdariehpvágge into Sarvesvágge. It was a steep climb at the beginning but then flattened out as soon as we were up in the valley. Some boulder fields had to be traversed and we had a nice view of the glaciers hanging in the mountains above the valley. At the topmost point of the valley there was a half-melted snowfield, making for some great pictures.

On our way down into Sarvesvágge we found a really interesting rock formation and we set aside our packs to take some portraits in front of it. There were loads of sorrel, (rumex acetosa) to be found and we loved the freshness of stuffing it by the handful into our mouths. At this point we were all craving salads and many times during the day found ourselves contemplating what foods to buy, once reaching the supermarket in Jokkmokk on our way back to Gällivare.

After our photosession and eating some greens, it was only a short walk down into the valley where we would pitch our tent. We found a perfectly sheltered campsite. That night it started to rain heavily.

 

14.08.2019 - Day 12 (Sarvesvágge zeroday):

It was constantly raining on and off all morning. It looked as if it would clear up at some point so we went down to the stream to wash some clothes as well as ourselves. We had already prepared to break camp and had packed up most of our gear. As soon as we had packed up the tent it started pouring again. We deployed the bothy bag to wait out the rain but it soon became clear that this was only the beginning of even more rain to come. After a while it got quite cold and moist in the bothy bag because of the condensation so we decided to break out the tent again and take the day off.

The plan that day was to hike up to Luohttoláhko but in weather like this, that would not have been a great idea, and once getting there, we would be in the clouds and miss out on any prime views of the glaciers on the way up, or of the Pårte massive. We crawled back into the tent and used our towels to dry our shells as well as we could. We then had some tea and played some Yahtzee with Hendrik’s ultralight Yahtzee kit.

The rain and wind were both still heavy in action and we went to bed early. That night we woke up more than once to heavy rain pounding on the tent.

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