I awoke to the sound of a swirling wind, however, being happily ensconced in the hut my main focus was on food, coffee and eventually packing. Through the window the weather looked fine and until I stepped outdoors I felt it was mild. But once outdoors I realised it was cold and very windy. So having completed breakfast and packing I set off, into the wind towards Somashytta.
In the process it was necessary to walk through an icy cold river and my feet quickly went numb and it was only after a few minutes of walking that I could feel my toes. Onwards I walked, recognising that the head wind was very strong and it was going to be a hard day. I did hope that once I crossed the border into Norway there would be less wind and thus walking would be easier.
Sadly this did not seem the case and as I pushed into the wind, Somashytte came into view and it was with relief that I entered the hut. It was however, disappointing to find the hut in such a state, there was coffee cups and pots complete with coffee grounds in them lying around, as well as there was many empty alcohol containers. I suppose that is what happens when huts are left open.
So I was now left with a choice, continue for about 30 km into the wind or "stop and prop". I decided to continue, but after half an hour I decided given that I had time up my sleeve, I was better to wait out the wind. So I returned to the hut and set about getting a fire going. Inside the hut the temperature remained at around 12 degrees, with or without a fire, I settled in and started reading "The Last Englishman"
As the wind rattled the foundations of the building I was completely engrossed by the book, and the book inspired me to head out into the wind and start walking, but then I realised I was not Keith Foskett so I sat back down and kept reading. It is very rare for me to read a book from cover to cover in one sitting but I did in this case. If you have not read it then do your self a favour and do so.
Whilst it looked nice outside.
The wind shaking the building ultimately convinced me to stay at Somashytta for the night, and I settled in not expecting to see any one and having eaten dinner I decided it was bed time and whilst the hut still shook when there was a strong wind gust, it shook less often.
I had dropped off to sleep when I was disturbed by the door of the hut opening with the sound of a female voice saying hello. I extracted myself from my bed and wandered out to say hello. The lady, Cayte is her name (I think) had walked about 30 kms. from the top of Saraelv waterfalls that day, an impressive achievement even with the wind at her back. She was clearly glad to have arrived at a building and was happy just sitting and unwinding from the walk. We talked a little and it became evident that her gas stove was not working and she had not eaten a hot meal for a couple of days. We discussed the options along the trail further south before she indicated that she would walk to Kopmajoki where she would be able to cook a hot meal on the gas stove in the hut. It was about 11 pm when she headed off. I wondered how she went, and I was pleased to see she commented on my blog from Abisko. I am looking forward to hearing more about her exploits especially as she had quickly noticed I was carrying a tarp tent, she was using a Tarptent Rainbow, which was one of the alternatives I had also considered.
I awoke in the morning to the sound of wind, but much less than the day before and with the sun shining it was time to get moving. I walked along the south side of Rahpesjohka crossing small ice encrusted streams.
Before descending to cross Rahpesjohka with its snow covered banks.
Leaving the Rahpesjohka valley, I climbed over the saddle and then descended into the wide open spaces of the Čoalbmejávrrit valley.
The trail complete with a well used quad bike trail made for pleasant walking and as I wandered it was noticeable that the wind was easing, and with the mountain tops clearing it appeared that this would have been the first day after leaving Kilpisjärvi, five days ago, that climbing Halti would have been an option. The quad bike trail eventually turned towards Gahperus whilst I headed along the less well used path to Saraelv.
The trail began to climb and with weather clearing there were many wonderful views to the north along the Geatkkutjávri valley.
It was on this section I met a german couple, we spent a few minutes discussing lightweight gear, most of their's appeared to GoLite gear and they were using an MSR Fast Stash as their shelter. They were completing the section of the trail from Kautokeino to Abisko, having already completed the section further south. By now it was late in the afternoon and with no real desire to descend to the valley to camp I found a place to camp adjacent to Meahccevárri.
There were a few mosquitos around and with a pleasant breeze I spent some time just relaxing in the tent.
During the evening the katabatic wind increased and did cause me some concern as I was in an exposed position, but after watching the tent for a while I went back to sleep feeling comfortable in the thought that it was going to flap a bit and there would be some deformation of the sides but otherwise it was not going anywhere, as it was well secured by a combination of 9" Easton stakes and 6" y stakes. The result was that I felt much more convinced about the suitability of the shelter above treeline, especially if you can get the low ends faced into the wind, which is not always easy of course in mountains.
The following morning it was another sunny day, in reality the sun had never actually left, and I set off towards Reisadalen, whilst admiring the views into Buntadalen below.
Gradually I descended into the birch forest and followed the well used trail.
Finally coming to the top of Saraelv falls with water cascading to valley floor, it was at this point I appreciated Catye's achievement.
I spent some time at the falls taking photos and enjoying the views across the valley as well as relaxing before taking the final 200 metre (vertical height) knee jarring descent to the road below.
After a couple of kilometres of road walking I reached the the beginning of the trail along the Raisadalen with its lush green foliage a significant contrast to the fells.
There were wonderfully calm cut off lakes,
as well as sandy beaches,
and candles on tables.
Ultimately at Sieimma, I entered the Reisa National Park, with its bright orange coloured logo.
as I followed the trail I passed a fascinating old shelter
meanwhile there were stunning views along the river as well as the occasional boat passing by.
Late in the evening I found a campsite and in between avoiding the mosquitos in the humid valley I spent time enjoying the scenery as well as noting the increasingly grey sky.
By morning it was drizzling rain and without any breeze the mosquitos were increasingly active. Walking through waist high ferns ensured that my Rab Drillium pants were soon wet through, albeit I was still drier than not wearing them.
a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/66942377@N08/7858304878" title="View 'ferny trail' on Flickr.com">
As you would expect there is often seating provided to sit and enjoy the view.
I finally arrived at the top end of the valley at the same time as 2 boatloads of people with a third boatload of luggage had arrived to move into Nedrefosshytta. The first thing I noticed was cigarette smoke, I did not need any persuading so I set off to cross the river and find a place for lunch.
The bridge was interesting and certainly not for the faint hearted.
I sat down opposite the hytta and ate lunch, sheltered by a pine tree in the drizzling rain.
The walk along the valley had been in stark contrast to the fjeld. The gorge had provided a multitude of views, sounds of bird song as well as many locations to stop and enjoy the scenery accompanied by the sound of cascading waterfalls. The 24 km's or so walk along the valley had been an enjoyable experience.
For now it was time to climb out of the gorge and into the next phase of the trip.