This year we went on a 6 days packrafting and hiking trip in Sarek. We travelled from Vaasa by wasaline ferry to Umea and then by a hiker train (it seemed that the only people who travelled north were planning to go on a hike in the fells) to Gällivare. Transportation to Sarek from Umea is not that frequent so there is a possibility that you have to stay one night in Umea.
Day 1: From Gällivare to Vuosskeljavrre
From Gällivare we took a bus (bussgods) to Suorva. Price for the bus ticket was just over 300 SEK per person. If you are planning to do the same trip, make sure that you have enough cash for the bus fares (you can not pay by card) and eventually boat or helicopter ride of which you will read on our trip report of the last day.
At 12 pm we started our trip from Suorva by crossing the dam and hiking a short distance along the the Jiertajavrre on a trail which lead us trough a dense birch tree forrest full of big stones / boulders and marshes.
After having had lunch we planned to reach the Vuosskeljavrre lake which was behind the Hallji fell. To reach it, we had to ascend over 500 meters. As the trail ended, we had no choice than to try to navigate through the wild terrain which turned out to be the first of many times we had to do it. Going through the forrest was probably the toughest besides going uphill and jumping from one stone to another.
The surface of many stones looked like this.
Some of the few man-made constructions in the national park.
At one point Patrick discovered that his Yukon Yak packraft was not attached to his backpack anymore and had to retrace our track searching for the lost packraft. Luckily, it was possible to find it and the chances that someone else would have taken it was quite low as we only 5 people on that day. After a while we found another trail which however ended again after a couple of meters.
After we left the forrest, going became easier (it was easier to see where you were going to and the pesky trees could not deter our progress).
Upon reaching some heights, we had a fantastic view over the Nieras Fells and had a short break trying to take in all the serene beauty of this area.
On the way up we found plenty of ate-able blueberries, lingonberries, some cloudberries as well as mushrooms. But of course the whole area is just covered with crowd-berries. There were also plenty of plants which are only growing in mountainous areas.
It was also the first time that we found reindeer antlers. And of course the reindeer themselves were not far away. We were not able to approach them close enough to take any good pictures as they appear to be very shy in this area.
The terrain up was very uneven and we saw the first boulder fields which we had to cross. At this point we realised that our hike was similar to the buddhist practice of mindfulness which required complete and full attention on every action we had to take. This was no wonder as taking a wrong step and hurting yourself would cause plenty of problems as this area does not have cellular coverage in order to call for help.
When we reached the Vuosskeljavrre lake at 9 pm we decided to pitch a tent and to have a dinner.
It took some time to find an even and dry spot as there were a lot of marshes and uneven ground. We also didn’t want to pitch out tent on sandy beach which even beautiful did not give us any protection from the strong wind.
We pumped fresh water and boiled it for our instant food packages which we took with us. Konstantin had Travellunch Kartoffeltopf mit Rindfleisch which he rated 4 out of 5 and Patrick had Farme’s Outdoor Risotto al Funghi which he couldn’t even finish and gave it to Konstantin who also found it nearly uneatable. We are not sure if the taste was only related to this package or to all packages with this meal.
After having had dinner we enjoyed a beautiful red sunset which we thought would bring us friendly weather the next day. Due to the wind and the extreme coldness of the water we quickly gave up on the idea of having a swim in the lake and prepared our Cumulus Panyam 450 sleeping bags in our Hilleberg tent.
Day 2: From Vuosskeljavrre to Tjevrra fell
On the second day we woke up at 10.30 and it was cloudy, windy and the morning temperature had dropped towards 12 C.
We were preparing hot water with our stove and after having had a cup of tea, some nuts and a muesli bar we packed our camp and inflated our packrafts and paddles for the first trip on a lake in Sarek. Since packrafting is a quite wet activity its important to keep your clothes and food dry by using a drysack.
To stay dry while you are packrafting you should also wear a waterproof jacket and a life jacket.
The water was cold, clear and we were able to sea the ground. However, to be on the safe side we decided to paddle nearby the shore in case something unexpected would happen. The wind was really strong and we had to paddle continuously as resting on the lake was out of the question: the moment you stopped paddling, you were blown back to where you had started. Thus having good paddles and a certain level of fitness is quite important.
After having crossed the lake Vuosskeljavrre we had to carry our packrafts to the next lakes - Oarjep Atjek and Nuortap Atjek.
The Werner Shuna paddles worked well as they are quite light compared to other paddles.
The Suunto Ambit was very useful on this trip as it was rather hard to estimate what distance we had paddled and hiked even so you could also check it on the map.
Reindeer antlers were present again on our trip.
The terrain was quite difficult as we had to pass boulders and marshes.
Paddling took us considerably more time than expected as we had to paddle against the wind. At some point we were not even able to get forward at all with our packrafts due to the strong frontal wind.
At the Nuortap Atjek lake Patrick had to get Konstantin’s packraft back on shore as it was blown away when Konstantin left his packraft. Learning from that mistake, we alway paid more attention to where we landed and made sure to pull our packrafts on safe ground.
In the late afternoon we had to filter some water as our water bottles were almost empty after hours of paddling and we still needed some reserves in order to walk around the Tjevrra fell and to make dinner and tea.
Even so the water in Sarek is quite clean I preferred to prepare clean water with a Katadyn Mini water filter.
The landscape was again impressive and we had the feeling of walking on a different planet. The whole area was covered with huge boulders that looked like as if they were dropped there from the sky by someone.
At 11 pm we pitched our tent and prepared dinner - Patrick had Travellunch Erbseneintopf and Konstantin Travellunch Linseneintopf mit Schinken (lentils with ham) which we both graded with 3.5 out of 5 - and tea with our Jetboil Sol Ti stove. Temperatures were again very low and we just wanted to get into our warm sleeping bags in order to rest for the upcoming day.
Day 3: From Tjevrra fell to Vuojnesskajdde fell
On day 3 we woke up at 8 am with temperatures around 10 C in the tent. The night was quite stormy but we didn’t have any rain.
While Patrick prepared breakfast and Konstantin became artistic with the reindeer skull he found on the way.
After we packed our camp we continued hiking on stony terrain.
Massive rocks are spread all over the terrain.
After we passed the the Tjevrra fell we had a fantastic view over the Sarektjahkka. Even so we had very light rain ocassionally, my Arcteryx Palisade Pants dried quite quickly.
Again we were able to spot the remaining of reindeers.
Refreshing on the way to Guhkesvagge river.
Searching for a suitable spot to get into the Guhkesvagge river with our packrafts.
Once we approached the Guhkesvagge river we inflated our packrafts again to move forward.
At some parts we had to take our packrafts out and walked a short distance.
But of course we were quite happy once we were back in our packrafts.
The temperature was also a bit warmer while sitting in the packraft because of the spraydeck.
During a tea brake we checked our location on the map.
The water was cold but floating down the stream was much more comfortable than walking on uneven ground.
At this cascade we went down with our packrafts. It was hidden behind a bend so we didn’t know what we had to expect. We will post a video later on as well. Patrick had issues with his spraydeck and got his packraft full of water. This was one of the spots where we wished to have a dry suite and a helmet with us.
The bridge over the cascade should only be passed by one person at a time.
After we passed the cascade with the bridge we decided to deflate our packrafts and started searching for a camping place where we could pitch our tent. We found a spot nearby Renvaktarstuga. This was also a great place to observe reindeers.
At the Vuojnesskajdde fell we found a nice spot to camp with a great view over the Liehtjitjavrre and Vuoinesluobbala lake.
We finally went to bed by midnight after having prepared dinner with our stove. Patrick had Trek&Eat Pasta with Soja Bolognese (4 out of 5) and Konstantin Travellunch mashed potatoes with ham (5 out of 5). On that day we have seen in total 6 other hikers of which 4 of them have camped about 500 meters away from us.
Day 4: From Vuojnesskajdde fell to Laddebakte fell
Our camp in the morning of day 4. On the background you can see our construction (a rope and 2 walking poles) were we dried our clothes. Our tent still performs very well.
Preparing for another hiking day in Sarek
Konstantin studying the map in his Cumulus Panyam 450 sleeping bag which proved to be the perfect sleeping bag for the temperatures in August.
After we packed our camp we hiked up the way between Vuojnesvarasj and Vuojnesskajdde. On our way we met 3 other hikers coming from this direction. The area was also quite populated with reindeers.
On the pass we had an excellent view towards the Liehtjitjavrre lake …
… and the Bierikjahka river…
We were packrafting the Rahpaadno river down towards the Laddebakte fell where we stayed over night. At this point we decided to hike back to the Liehtjitjavrre lake as the stream was to strong and unpredictable for our taste and to hike along the Rahpaädno river was not very inviting either since the vegetation was very dense and the weather changed into rain and cold wind.
Day 5: From Laddebakte fell to Lake Guordesluoppal
On day 5 we were hiking and packrafting over 20 km. Once we packed our camp we found one of those emergency shelters which are also marked on the map. Those shelters do also provide tools and a place to make fire.
The weather was not pleasant at all - rainy, cold, windy and we also had to find our way through marshes, dense bushes and steep hills back to the Bielajävrätja lake. We were really happy that we had hiking poles with us.
View towards the Rahpajahka on which we packrafted the day before.
Bielajavratja lake where we started paddling again. Despite the bad weather we had at least wind blowing in our direction which gave us an extra boost while paddling. In total we had to paddle through 3 lakes on that day.
Alpaka Yukon Yak in front of Liehtjitjavrre lake
At the end of Liehtjitjavrre lake nearby Nienndo the wind blow suddenly in from the side valley and we had to get out of our packrafts as it was impossible to paddle further. We decided to walk towards Guordesluoppal lake to pitch our tent. The terrain was again very rocky and it was difficult to find a suitable place to pitch the tent.
At 11 pm we decided to get our Petzl Nao headlamps out as we were not able to see anything anymore. At 0.00 we found a space which had just the right size to pitch our tent. Konstantin prepared his dinner while Patrick went straight into his sleeping bag.
This was the worst day of all and we also do not have that many pictures of this day since it was just not possible to get any good pictures due to the bad weather.
For those folk who are planning to use trail-runners which are not waterproof … Patrick had constantly wet feet on this trip. If there is not enough sun then there is no chance that you will have dry shoes. Patrick also used Sealakinz socks but they weard off after 2 days. The best combination would be to use merino socks and trail-runners if you don’t want to use waterproof shoes.
Day 6: From Lake Guordesluoppal to Stora Sjöfallets and back home
While Konstantin is still preparing his packraft.
Filtering water for the trip through the fells - especially for crossing the pass between Slugga and Gahppo.
Slugga is the steep mountain.
Again rocky terrain.
View backwards of us (from where we came on the previous day) on our way to Slugga.
Once we reached the pass between Slugga and Gahppo we were rewarded with a panoramic view towards Bietsavrre lake and several fells.
Walking downwards was on some occasions difficult.
Remaining of a reindeer.
Walking through the birch tree forrest was wonderful.
Suddenly, we came across a sand dune.
We would describe this particular area as a paradise for berries and mushroom pickers.
On the way to lake Risjakjavrre - the last lake we had to cross with our packrafts.
After we crossed the lake we found the path which is also marked on the map. We would not recommend to enter Sarek via this path since it stretches over a long distance and height.
Sunset at lake Gartjejavrre.
Initially, we had planned to cross lake Gartjejavrre with our packrafts but then changed our mind and called a number of a local ferry provider to pick us up the next morning at 9 am (200 SEK per person). The next morning it turned out that the boat had some issues and that we had to fly with a helicopter instead - which was a great experience (for the same price as we would have paid for the ferry). Once we reached Stora Sjöfallet we went for a breakfast buffet since we had 1 more hour until the bus picked us up. Sarek was a great experience and we look forward to visit the Sarek National Park again in the future.
By ferry from Umea to Vaasa. Bye bye Sweden.
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