Saturday, 23 August 2014

Back to Sweden: Čuhnojåka to Čuhčajavri

Prior to retiring, Chris and I had agreed to leave together at around 9 the next morning. A little bit more about Chris’s gear, he was not using a Hilleberg tent but a Tatonka look alike (Narvik) also he was using a Fjällräven Kajka, and what attracted my attention was the wooden stays as a frame, I did suggest that he could always use them for firewood if he got desperate.

So we set off together the next morning along the trail as it contoured around Caihnavarri, it was still windy and there was the occasional shower as we climbed. We turned southwards into the head wind it was very much head down and keep climbing. However, at the least the sun was shining and ahead lay the glacier fed river and Caihnavaggehytta in the distance. Caihnavaggehytta sits adjacent to a glacial fed lake and is located 1000 metres above sea level. I had decided to stay there for the night whilst Chris intended to push on. He had hoped that he could convince me to change my mind but with improving weather I wanted a day to enjoy the high pass which lay ahead.

Caihnavaggehyyte-imp

After chatting to a solo hiker who had camped nearby the night before we unlocked and entered one of the 3 huts and sat down to eat lunch. Chris was immediately intrigued by my tube of Vegemite, he was well aware of the song  “Down Under” by Men at Work and in particular the words “Vegemite sandwich” but never knew what it meant. Now he did, and what’s more he even liked the taste, which was more of a surprise. Chris intended to search for Vegemite when he returned to Berlin at the end of his 4 week trek. After lunch we said our goodbyes and I watched as he ascended up onto tho the rock covered slope, he was soon gone.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Katterjåkk (Sweden) to Čuhnojåka (Norway)

I arrived at Kiruna airport and having collected my HMG Porter I waited for bus 91 which would take me to Katterjåkk, a town close to the border with Norway. My first surprise was the need to pay in cash, in the past the buses had accepted cards. Not this year. Before alighting from the bus I was chatting with a Swedish hiker who was using the Calazo Map App on his mobile phone, I was quite impressed by the capability of zooming in on the 1:100 000 map and the better detail that it provided, something to consider for the next trip.

The map below gives an outline of the route, Abisko is on the right, with Nikkaloukta at the bottom, total distance was about 150 km.

BaseCamp3

For the uninitiated, including me, some definitions thanks to Lars at The Ironism   a ‘jåkk’ or ‘jokk’ as a river or stream, ‘vaggi’ is a valley and ‘javri’ a lake.

In a little over 2 hours I was alighting from the bus and a quick visit to the Coop Konsum in Katterjåkk to collect the last remaining gas canisters which had preordered through their Facebook page, I was on my way, well almost. I had to do the usual fitting of hand luggage (carried in a SeatoSummit day pack) into the Porter. Then I was ascending under a sunny sky with temps in the mid 20’s and with a fully loaded pack it was bit of a shock to the system. As I climbed I was in my own world and then suddenly someone said “Hej” I looked up and saw the 3 hikers who had alighted from the bus at the same time as I had, I said "Hi "and then wandered on. Passing 2 day walkers with dogs I soon reached Katterjuare a lake some 250 meters higher than my starting point. 

Climbing along Gátterjohke-imp

The climb had been steady and warm but as I climbed the vistas opened to the north and south became increasingly impressive and after a couple of hours Katterjuare came into view and with the blue skies reflected in the lake it was wonderful sight. Soon I was passing the sign reminding me of the tenuous situation during the Second World War with Norway occupied and Sweden being neutral. So the soldiers from each side were able to look across Katterjuare at each other.