This year we went on a 6 days packrafting and hiking trip in Sarek. We traveled from Vaasa by Wasaline ferry to Umea and then by a hiker train (it seemed that the only people who traveled 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.
From Gällivare we took a bus (bussgods) to Suorva. The price of 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 Jiertajavrre on a trail that leads us through a dense birch tree forest 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 forest was probably the toughest besides going uphill and jumping from one stone to another.
There were only a 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 forest, 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 realized 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. The wind jacket and the hiking poles were really worth to take on the trip. I can really recommend them.
When we reached the Vuosskeljavrre lake at 9 pm we decided to pitch a tent and to have 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 a 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.