The last evening has arrived; unfortunately our trip has come to an end. Now all that waits us is the long trip home tomorrow. 20 hours by train.... sigh..... But I have these wonderful memories of the Fjällen that I will never forget. And I am already dreaming of a next trip. Most likely next summer already!
This last evening is a cosy evening, sitting at the campfire with a drink in my hand and we reminisce over the past week. We are going through the highlights, wonderful moments and struggles. It hasn't all been easy, but it has been worth it.
A German couple joins us at the campfire and we start talking. We pass on our experiences and tips to them as they will start to hike tomorrow.... I envy them so much. I want to go back…. right now! And do the same hike again. But I know that is just a dream in my mind....
I think it is safe to conclude that I am hooked on the Fjällen as so many others have become hooked to it. It is like a virus you catch, if you have been here once, you want to come back and 'feel' the Fjällen again. I will be back, I know that....
One thing that is hard to avoid when visiting Abisko is a view over Lake Torneträsk. In the picture you can see a view over the lake from Mount Njulla. The colour of the lake is so blue! It doesn't really matter if you see the lake from the top of the mountain, or stand at is shores. It always seems to have something magical over it.
The lake is huge, in total 322 km2 with a length of 70 km and depth of 230 metres. Trying to capture the lake on photo wasn't an easy thing to do though! There seems to be this haze in the air every day (during my visit that was the case anyway), making it impossible to capture the lake in its true beauty.
From Abisko it is only a short trip to the top of Mount Njulla.... if you take the chairlift that is! Hahaha, otherwise it is rather a steep climb! The chairlift brings you up to 900 metres high (200 metres from the top) and from here you have a wonderful view over the surrounding landscapes. The main features to see are Lake Torneträsk and the Lapporten. The "Lapporten" is a famous mountain formation, and you can see it on many postcards and brochures of the area.
I can really recommend going on the hike to the top of Mount Njulla, as the view from there is even more breathtaking. It takes a climb of over 200 metres though to get there from the top of the chairlift. But the hike isn't that steep to do, and the total distance to get here is only 2 kilometres. It will take you approx. 45 minutes to get to the top.
A good tip is to think about the times the chairlift is open (daily from 9.30-15.30). I chose to hike all the way down from the top of Mount Njulla to Abisko, so I wouldn't have to hurry to catch the chairlift down. Instead I made the hike down from the top of the mountain to Abisko. This will take you about 2 1/2 hours. But I have to warn you as it is a very steep walk down! I actually can't recommend this option. I thought the trail was too steep and therefore not so enjoyable. I would try to avoid it and take that chairlift back down next time!
The latest chairlift goes at 15:30, so keep an eye on those times, so you can take the comfortable way down the mountain :-)
Tip: During the times that you can see the midnightsun from Mount Njulla (11/6 - 16/7),
the chairlift also runs during the evening. Every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 22:00 to 1:00 at night.
More about the Lapporten, the chairlift and Mount Njulla on my Abisko page.
Today's hike is from Alesjaure to Unna Allakas. On paper it all seems like a great trip... but..... things happen... weather happens....
The first part of the hike is going okay, 2 km's from Alesjaure back on yesterdays trail. Easy peasy! :-) But now? Okay, up the mountain it is! A steep climb beside a waterfall and on the top waits us a wading through the river. This one is not as fun as yesterdays though! Today it is cold and very windy, and unfortunately my fear of height is playing up. Wading over the river high up with a steep cliff beside me is something that is giving me the trembles. I almost go into a panic attack, but I seem to get it under control.... luckily. But oh boy, this is only the beginning of the day. I don't know where to start writing; so much is happing on this day...
The trail continues as we are climbing up to 1250 metres. It has not much to do with hiking anymore; we are struggling our way through the pass in a full storm, balancing over huge boulders while the wind is trying to blow me over. We are slowly making our way over big areas of snow... icy rain in my face. I get the doubts. I am really not sure if I will ever make it.... I keep silent. Åke must be confident. I hope he is. I am not.
Nervous I climb on; meter after meter, every meter seems to be a fight. But something strange happened. This struggling sounds awful, but in a way it isn't. Standing on top of the mountain overlooking the view, the icy rain in my face, the wind blowing around my head and a long way to go over difficult terrain... no people here but us.... right here and now I have one of the happiest moments of my life. I can't explain it. It is that feeling you get in the Fjällen. I don't think there are words to describe it, you can only feel it.
A few minutes we stand here, just by ourselves, overlooking the valley, forgetting about the weather, the trail, we look at each other and we know we both feel the same. Happy. For me this is the Fjällen.... this is how I will remember it.
I've mentioned the Abisko Canyon a few times before, but I guess it deserves a tip of its own as well. The canyon is beautiful and easy to reach from the Abisko. Actually, the most spectacular part of the Canyon is right here at Abisko. There are several hiking trails around it, up and down stream, all worth while to do.
The Abiskojåkk (river) has found itself a way through the canyon, forming 20 metre high walls on either side. The blue water rapidly flows through the canyon, creating many mini waterfalls. Around the Abisko Canyon you can see an amazing selection of mountain flora, like the very rare orchid, Lappyxne.
The "Kungsleden" hiking trail only walks along the upstream part of the river. But please spend some time as well to walk along the canyon towards Lake Torneträsk (down stream). It is only a short stretch, but the views here are beautiful! A thing not to be missed when visiting Abisko!
This is also an excellent tip for a daytrip from Abisko as the canyon is located only a few hundred metres from the Abisko Tourist Station.
Lazzzzy sleep in! No hurries today! It is just one more day of hiking and we are back to our home base in Abisko. Only a simple 15 kilometres over flat terrain, hahaha, feels so easy now to do a distance like that after the last couple of days. So we decide to take it easy. A good idea, as the day begins with rain :-( But by the time we had our breakfast and started packing up our tent, it dries up. From here on it is towards the sun! Well... we hope so anyway, LOL :-))
We hike along the Canyon again and it is just as beautiful as the first time. Very relaxed and happy we hike on, but underneath the happiness and cheerfulness is also a bit of sadness. We are on our way out of the Fjällen. The last day of hiking, this means back into the civilized world and the end of our vacation is approaching rapidly. But lets forget about that, still another day to go!
It is clear that we have gotten used to hiking over the last week. I hardly notice the ¤%&@#"! backpack anymore, Hahaha, who could ever believe that! I didn't!!! So here is my tip: if you are planning a trip like this and feel worried about dragging a backpack with you..... don't! Believe me, you will get used to it! :-))
Today it is slightly raining, but I don't care that much really. My mind is elsewhere. It is about 500 metres from here..... there is a "vad" there, and everyone at the Mountain Hut was talking about it. You are going towards Abiskojaure? Oooh, you have to cross THE "vad"!!! (river without a bridge). Difficult spot, deep, not easy, strong current.... a bit of whispering. Everyone seems to respect this place. And I.... I just got more and more worried. We talked to the "stugvärd" (the one that runs the mountain hut), a calm guy and so friendly. He doesn't get upset easily and neither did he in this case. "Everyone managed to cross it so far..." he answered, hahaha, letting out in what condition they got to the other side though. Words that calmed me down, but still.... worried.
In my mind by now it is this HUGE river, with strong current and impossible to cross. We slowly hike towards "the place". The river wasn't as wide as I feared, but yes, a strong current and rather deep. Luckily we have a good hiking stick with us, that gives us the extra balance we need while crossing the river. And absolute must when crossing rivers like this. The water is icy cold and reaches up to the knees. The current is strong.... but we made it!!! We made it! I feel so proud, so happy! Hahaha, I might be good at this mountain hiking thingy after all, hahaha.
From here on it is an easy walk to Abiskojaure: 24 kilometres down the stream. We follow the valley, slowly going down in height. The vegetation comes back about halfway the hike. We are in the trees again. And the flowers.... fields and fields of purple flowers! They look lovely. The rain still hasn't stopped, it has been raining most of the day. Soaking wet we arrive at Abiskojaure. I feel dead tired. 24 kilometres in the rain is quite the trip. No time to waste, we set up our tent and most important make some food in the nice warm mountain hut to warm us up....
Hahaha, I've only managed to describe one third of yesterday's trip. There is so much more to tell!!! But I run out of room on that tip. I still have to tell you about the climb down, the difficult wade through the river, the herds of reindeer we passed on our way, and finally getting to this little Mountain Hut we are now. This is Unna Allakas. I love this place. It is small, it is cosy, it is just perfect. Don't worry though that I didn't manage to tell you all about yesterdays hike. You can read all of the above (and more) on my Unna Allakas page. But let me concentrate for now on the lazzzy moments during my trip.
Today is a rest day. We both think we deserve a rest. We are not doing much. Reading some books, writing in my diary. And oh yes, that small hike we made this morning to get rid of our guilty feeling for doing nothing. Lazy is the word, enjoying the other. Sometimes doing just nothing is the best :-))
It is slightly raining outside, so we enjoy the views over the mountain landscape from the window of our little hut. The landscape is rough. A beautiful kind of rough. Lots of little lakes below in the valley, rocky areas surrounding us on all sides. You can feel that you are further away from the civilized world here. It is so quiet! This little hut is not located along the "Kungsleden" so that means not so many people hike here. There are just a few guests in the hut and most are staying the day to shelter from the rain. The trails around Unna Allakas are much wilder and more difficult as well. In a way it is logical. The Kungsleden is the "hiking highway" in the area, so those trails are very well kept. These trails are off the beaten path. Lesser people, lesser trails. But in my eyes more beautiful .
The fire is burning cosy, making it nice and warm in here. A fox shows up outside the hut to liven up the afternoon. Running outside, click, click goes my camera.. and lazy again... mentally preparing for tomorrows hike.
Lazy, lazy.... hahaha, a long sleep in, a good breakfast, an ice-cold wash at the creek. So funny, hahaha, and so coooold! We only have about 7 kilometres in front of us before we arrive in Alesjaure. The main route will be along the lake Rádujávri and Alisjávri, quite a flat trail, so we have nothing to worry about. The sky is cloudy, but we see a glimpse of blue sky in the distance. It might become a nice day after all! :-)
We are halfway our hike and the sun is coming out. You can feel the warmth right away and everything seems to cheer up instantly! The mountains are green, bits of snow on top, the lake is amazingly blue, and flowers.... so many flowers! Laughing and cheerful we continue our way. We cross a little stream with a waterfall. No stopping me now... hahaha, I throw off my backpack and climb up the hill (or better said mountain, LOL) to go to the waterfall. Of course it was much much higher than I thought. Hahaha, gasping for air I get there. But who cares. Today is lazy day, I can waste as much energy as I like.... we only have 7 kilometres to do! :-)
Oops.... another stream.... and a big one this time! And uuuuhhh..... where is the bridge???? Mmmmm, no bridge..... *Thinking*...... this must be what they call a "vad" in Swedish, hahaha, a river without a bridge! So take of your shoes, put on some shorts, sandals on, and yep...... we are going to wade through ice-cold freezing water. We see the snow on top of the mountain that has produced all this water, and it is just as cold as we fear it would be. But we clear it with a smile and a laugh. The water is not so very deep and the current not so strong. I think the river is about 10 to 15 metres wide, but the water only gets halfway to the knees. Piece of cake! :-)) From here on it is an easy hike to Alesjaure. Arrival time 2 o'clock in the afternoon. Time to relax, enjoy the views from up here, and do a little exploring of the surroundings.
Alesjaure.... A beautiful spot in the middle of nowhere :-)
As we had the afternoon off in Alesjaure, we decided to take some time to explore the surrounding area. Close to Alesjaure is a little Sami village called Alisjávri, beautifully located on the lake with the same name.
"Alisjávri" means "Alesjaure", but spelled in Sami. And the word "jávri" or "jaure" means lake. So it is Alis or Ales Lake :-) Reading maps can be quite confusing in this area though, because the names are sometimes spelled in Sami and sometimes in Swedish on the same map.
From the Alesjaure Mountain Lodge you can see the Sami village. It looks picturesque with its colourful houses beside the blue lake. You can't really walk to the village, because there is a little creek you have to cross to get here. But we were not so eager to visit it. There wouldn't be so much to see, it is quite your normal village, but one or two more unusual building, that are / were typical for the Sami.
But who are the Sami? The Sami are an ethnic minority and the indigenous people of Sweden, Norway, Finland and Russia. The area the Sami inhabited, today called Sápmi and it stretches from Idre in Dalarna in the south, to the Kola Peninsula in Russia to the northeast.
I've gotten quite interested in the Sami people, their culture and their history, so I've put up a section about the Sami people on my Alesjaure page.
July 10th....9:30: The tent is packed, hiking shoes are on, had a good breakfast... yes, we are eager to go on our way again! Today we are hiking from Abiskojaure towards Alesjaure. The whole trip will be about 21 kilometres.... mmmm..... sounds long to us. So we decide to split it up in two days, hahaha, I am 'almost' feeling lazy doing that ;-)
The first part of the hike is wonderful. Slowly we work our way up from the valley of Abiskojaure. On the left we have Mount Giron (1543mtr) and on the right Mount Gárddenvárri. This is the mountain we partly climb up to, until about 8oo metres high. We often look back, the views are so enjoyable. The valley is below us, the mountains surrounding us. Often a sigh, it is so beautiful.... a happy look, a smile, no words, just enjoying.
Higher up the mountain it gets a bit colder, and windy. Grey skies and a threat of rain. The weather conditions seem to change quickly. I guess you never know in these mountain areas what the weather will bring! So with our wind- and watertight sweaters on we continue our way. There is only one real obstacle on this hike and that is a bridge over a waterfall. The way up their is quite steep, and the bridge.... mmmm..... I would hardly call it a bridge! Two planks hanging high above the rushing water, no railing to hang on to.... oops, I guess it is time to do a real balancing act and not think so much about that water below me! Hahaha, an adventure park is Childs play compared to this bridge! But we made it!
Cheerfully we continue our trip. This stretch of trail is also part of the "Kungsleden", so that means well kept trails with lots of boardwalks which make the trail good to do. The day goes quickly and we finally arrive at Radunjarga. Here is a shelter beside the lake that we call our 'home' for the night. Quickly we put up our tent at this idyllic place. I think I am already hooked on this Mountain Hiking thing! I will be back, I know it.... It has already stolen my heart after such a short time.
July 9th.... Our first real hiking day! Today we are hiking to Abiskojaure, a 15 km's trip through Abisko National Park. I am feeling a bit nervous as it is the first time I am going on a multiple-day hiking trip. The first time with a backpack on, hiking in nature.... hahaha, I know I can do it! But I am still feeling nervous :-) The weather is great! Sun is shining and it must be over 25 degrees today. It's almost too warm to hike, but who is complaining? Not me! I feel so lucky we have got such nice weather!
On this first day we follow the "Kungsleden" route and it is a rather easy hike to do. The trail follows the valley all the way, so no climbs at all, just easy work. Good for a start! That gives me a chance to get used to it all.
The backpack is hanging on my shoulders. ¤%"! thing! Hahaha, I guess I need to get used to having 16 kilo's hanging on my back. I've been told I will get used to 'the thing' after a few days.... I hope it is true! It is not as heavy as I feared it would be though, just 'different'. For sure I will have stiff shoulder muscles tomorrow. Hahaha, no need to worry about that now though, that's tomorrows problem.
The trail is light and follows the Abiskojåkka Canyon. The river is rather wild and so blue of colour! It presses its way with force through the canyon to finally flow out to Lake Torneträsk. It looks impressive and beautiful. Canyons like this are not so usual in Sweden, so I feel so lucky to be here in Abisko NP and see this one.
The day progresses and we both feel happy. It's such a beautiful day and I almost wish it would never end. Slowly the river goes over into a lake called Abiskojaure. And at the end of the lake is our campground!
All of a sudden something flies up out of the bushes.... what's that?? Ooooh, a rock ptarmigan! And not just one! A whole family! With lots of young, so cute!!! Click, click, click, goes my camera..... So wonderful to be in nature! I feel happy, my day is made :-)
July 7th 2005: We are on our way. We have a long journey ahead of us. Over 20 hours in the train travelling up north. Sweden is a huge country. Long most of all, and that is the way we are going... up, up, up, until we can't go up much further. The Fjällen and Abisko is our goal.
The weather is almost tropical today, +32C:
In the train.... Sweating, so warm, it's hard to sleep. We booked a sleeping hut in the train, a good way to travel... if only I could sleep.... The window is open, the monotonous noise of the train, I close my eyes.... but no sleep. Just thoughts and expectations about the trip.... I am going to Lapland! I am going to Abisko!!! A long time dream is finally coming true!
It is not only warm here, also up north they have record temperatures of up to 29C. Hard to imagine this is the polar circle. Somehow I always think of the polar circle with freezing weather. I guess this trip is going to prove me otherwise....
July 8th, it is 1 o'clock in the afternoon, about 1400 kilometres from home. The train brakes, we put our backpack on and get off the train. Such a tiny station, but such an overwhelming landscape! The first impression does not disappoint. It's overwhelming. The mountains, the blue colours of lake Torneträsk, the flowers, snow on the mountain tops in the distance, the blue sky and the sun..... The weather is amazing! I am really here... This is Abisko! It is beautiful!!!
As quick as we can we set up our tent and make a lunch. The fresh air feels good, the views are wonderful. I am eager to start hiking, but it is best that we stay here for today and start our trip tomorrow early morning..... Just like we planned.
But we have to do something! Hahaha, we both can't sit still, so we rush ourselves up to Mount Njulla. We are just in time to go up with the chairlift to the top! The mountain flowers amaze me! So many flowers! I never expected that. And this would only be the beginning..... many more fields of flowers to come in the coming days....
In these tips (Things to do) I want to give you an overview of my hiking trip in the fjällen of July 2005. I started of my hike in Abisko, the gateway to the Fjällen for most. The Fjällen is the Swedish mountain area and stretches out over a huge area. But this place is one of the most well-known: Abisko, the starting point for the famous "Kungsleden" hiking trail (more about this trail in my sports tips).
The tips I write in this section will only be an overview of my trip. They all represent a chapter in my hiking trip, but as text is limited in the tips, I will only describe each chapter in short. To read the whole story, please click on the links below the tip which will bring you to the corresponding page.
I hope you will enjoy reading my travel stories. They are just my stories, my views, a part of my life, my thoughts and memories. Mabye not always real tips, but more a feeling of how it is to travel to this area. A tiny look in this world of the Fjällen. The tips are written in a diary style.... It is my way to remember my travels, and to share a bit of them with you.
It is an werry well look after path that you can walk some ours into and then you can go back or take an crossing path back.