Thursday, 16 August 2012

Along the Nordkalottruta: Reisadalen to Kautokeino

Nedrefosshytta to Ráisjávrihytta
Having finished lunch I sidled around the boulder fields with their sheer drop into the Reisadalen, as I climbed out of the valley the weather gradually improved.

I was taken by the stunted birch trees and the open forest, it reminded me in some ways of the type of forest found in the alpine regions in Australia. With the sun shining but mosquitos active I resorted to wearing my Rab Boreas as a single layer which I found to be successful in keeping me cool and keeping the mossies at bay.

There were plenty of flowers to see.
and the view towards the Reisadalen indicated the wide expanse of open ground that I was now crossing.
P7072732 Every so often the trail would dip into a small stream and it was one of these I discovered that there must have been a new convert to barefoot hiking on the trail, alternatively they had adopted the lightweight foot wear approach.

Old Boots
I set up camp beside a small lake and with the cool breeze there were very few mosquitos around. It was perhaps one of the coldest nights I experienced for the whole trip.

Camp beside Miehtajohka
The following morning sunshine was the order of the day as I headed towards the Ráisjávri, the variation in the trail was amazing from sandy rutted tracks to ...

Sandy Trail
... wide river crossings ...


...and finally after crossing a large marsh I arrived at Ráisjávri, the sun drenched lake was very appealing, I could have spent hours there.


Then it was past a small sami village sitting on the banks of Ráisjávri.

Village beside Ráisjávri

Before turning inland to what can be best described as the Čieknaljohka bogs, sadly the area had been heavily used by quad bikes which had cut a swathe through the marsh creating wide mud and mosquito infested nightmares. I was so focussed on covering the kilometre, or so, I did not even both to stop and take a photo. This section around to Ráisjávrihytta was perhaps the worst of the trip.


Once at Ráisjávrihytta I took some time to sit and ponder, all the time swatting away the mosquitos, but the view across the lake was relaxing.

<Relaxing beside Ráisjávri

Ráisjávrihytta hytta to Kautokeino

I had recognised that this was my second last night on the trail and would be my last opportunity to camp high, here 500 metres is high, so with a location in mind I continued on my way to what appeared on the map to be an ideal site, well it was and it wasn't. The mosquitos thought it was a great site, so after a quick meal it was into the tent to watch the sun almost set.

Sunset or sunrise near Rivkkoš>

The following morning after a short climb I was rewarded with a 360 degree panorama of the area, the view was wonderful and to be able to see to the horizon in every direction was very satisfying.

View from Rivkkoš

This scene was repeated a number of times as I walked across the raised plateau.


Finally it was time to descend into the forests again and the accompanying sandy trails.

More sand

The remainder of the afternoon I followed the trail as it took me across the first bitumen road I had seen since leaving Kilpisjärvi and only the third that crosses the 800 km long trail.  I entered and soon left the small hamlet of Čunovuohppi before recrossing the same road and beginning the final 14 km's of trail, some of which would wait till the morning.

As I approached the Čunojohka  I found a suitable place to camp, and set up the Notch for the last time on the trip.


It was a pleasant spot apart from the locals, so a quick dinner then into the shelter to watch the mossies play on the outer. Have you ever noticed that once a mosquito gets into the inner it does its utmost to get out again?


The cooler air in the morning meant less mossies and I was soon packed and after crossing the river I was climbing Goaskinvárri which would provide me with the last views of what had been a memorable walk.

I descended into the marshes  admiring the grass trees (not sure of their correct name).

Grass trees

whilst always looking for the trail in the mud, yes there is a trail there somewhere.

There is a trail here somewhere

After which I crossed some lovely looking grassy areas where the water was only ankle deep.

Grass and watch out for the water

Passing cotton fields.

Cotton fields

One final climb around the flanks of Beahcegaš and then a descent into Kautokeino and I was done, having completed approximately 200 km walk crossing fells, plateaus, rivers, snow and mud experiencing a range of climatic conditions, dealing with mosquitos and the practicalities of long walks.

It had been a wonderfully enjoyable and relaxing trip, and I spent the last couple of days of the trip wondering where to next? I really liked Finnmark and want to return.

Time will tell.

A shadow of myself