Our packrafting adventure in the Hemavan Tärnby area started where the Kungsleden ends or begins. We had planned five days of which we hiked two days and paddled three days. Some of the highlights of this trip were reindeer, eagles circling in the sky and a packraft which went down a waterfall.
After passing Hemavan with our car along the Blå vägen, we had a shortstop on a waterfall where Jeremie was planning to raft down on the last day. Once we reached our starting point, we parked our cars, packed our gear and started our hike. More precisely, our trip started in the Vindelfjällens Naturreservat where over 8000 years old artifacts have been found. It is one of Europe’s largest protected areas.
After we have hiked for 3 kilometres, we had our first break where we had the chance to get acquainted with to live with mosquitoes. We had to hike through swamp, bushes, birch forests and streams on our way up to our first camp. We also found reindeer antlers which Caj decided to carry with him back home.
From our first campsite, we enjoyed a great view of the fjälls and as it was also not that windy we were also able to pitch our tents on a place that was not that wind protected. Since I recently got my Hilleberg Unna Inner Mesh Tent, I was also able to enjoy the scenery from my big panorama window in my tent without getting bitten by the mosquitoes.
And then it was time to watch the sun going down (even so it did not really get dark). The next morning I woke up at 7 am. Again we had fantastic sunny weather. For breakfast, I prepared a cup of tea and Lapland bread with cheese. Then it was time again to pack and wash the dishes. On our way up we enjoyed again a magnificent scenery And we also found some leftovers of a Lemming. There were also plenty of frogs on our way up the mountain.
Even so the distance to an object looked quite close it was a long walk to reach it. Also, weight was an important factor. While I was carrying quite a lot of gear with me it was quite nice to see how fast one of our ultralight hikers went up the mountain. He was also wearing proper shoes and not sandals like me.
The streams on the way up offered a good opportunity to have a short break and have a sip. A new scenery opened up in front of us once we reached the highest point on our way up to where we discovered a herd of reindeers on a patch of snow. Peter said that they prefer to stand on the snow to protect themselves from mosquitoes. Once we reached the lake Nedre Ältsvattnet we paddled along the river Ältsån. At some point, it was time again to set up the camp where thousands of mosquitoes were already waiting for us.
The next morning the sun was hiding behind the clouds and we had to pack our tent into the backpack hoping for better weather in the afternoon to have our gear dried.
And indeed, the sun was very intense in the afternoon when we were packrafting and it was probably also a good idea to use sun lotion. And then there was it… a sand beach! Some of us had a swim or two and then we decided to pitch our tents and prepared a campfire. This was probably the best camping spot and night which we had during this trip. We also had a short rain shower and then there was suddenly a rainbow. We were listening to country songs on the campfire.
The next morning we woke up and our tents were surrounded by fog. The night has been bitterly cold as well. However, once the fog disappeared we were blessed again with sun throughout the day. Once we reached the end of the long lake we saw newly constructed bridges and a few hikers and fishermen. After we paddled through a very long lake (I think it was 12 km long) we reached a rapid where we found a cottage of the Swedish King.
As I was the first to arrive at the cabin I went on land where I met the housekeeper and asked him if we could have a break on the yard of the Swedish Kings cottage. He agreed and we prepared our lunch while enjoying the beautiful scenery towards the mountains. After 1 hour we left the cottage of his majesty and continued our trip.
When we came closer to the waterfall Caj was somewhat unfortunate and not able to paddle back to one side of the river. In able to rescue himself he had to let go of his packraft and his backpack. We found Caj’s packraft just under the waterfall where it was circling around. Luckily we had Jeremie with us who is also a passionate climber and was able to get Caj’s Packraft out.
Caj and Jeremie rescued Caj’s backpack from the river which got stuck on a stone a few kilometers after Caj capsized and shortly before a bridge where Caj was able to cross the river again and get back to our side.
After we found Caj and rescued his backpack we tried to find the next road back to Tärnaby. Peter went already ahead to pick up his car and he promised to pick us up from the road.
In Tärnaby Camping we rented a cabin for 800 Swedish Kronar where we dried our gear and enjoyed a sauna.