Tours › 2006 › Kvikkjokk Circuit › Day 12

Friday 11/8

Stage map 12

Ruonasvágge – Vállevárre

Horizontal distance:13.5 km
Vertical distance:+340 m, -120 m, +40 m, -200 m
Time:5 h 15 min
Lunch break:1 h
Dinner:Beef casserole
Night accommodation:Tent
Stage classification:Medium

I was partially clear and calm when I got up at 07:30, and there was a decidedly fresh fragrance in the air. At first glance it appeared as though there was bad weather in the east, but the type and distribution of clouds were not consistent with that analysis; what I was seeing was in fact a sunlit distance haze. I had breakfast with blueberries in the outside freshness, and upon inspection I found the tent to be very nearly dry again. It was warm in the sun, but when the drifting clouds temporarily obscured it the temperature fell quite noticeably. More clouds were coming in from the southwest, but it remained semi-clear above, and the eastern haze gradually lifted. I finished the last of the berries and struck the tent while the weather improved a bit further, being regarded by a lone reindeer a little bit up the slope.

Fjelds 1
Blueberries 1

I left the amicable spot at around 09:30, heading straight down to the stream. I walked a short bit upstream, and then forded it easily. On the other side there were, quite expectedly, faint traces of a path, which just as expectedly did not form a continuous track. Going was fairly easy, though, as I crossed the slope aiming above Hábres. I had to go down a little bit to an easy ford of the major stream in the southern side, located where it spread out over mostly level ground between two sections of rocky ravines. I also passed another, much smaller brook right afterwards, and then I found another faint path which followed that brook, so I followed the path in turn. The incline was appreciable and it was rather hot, and when the water faded out into (or rather faded in from, as I was going upstream) a large rock field, I climbed out of the shallow ravine I was in.

From there it was easy going again, and with the increasing altitude came increasingly astonishing views. Once clear of Ruonas and Hábres, the eastern landscape opened up entirely. Although the slope I was scaling is not particularly high counted in meters above sea level, the vast view and relative flatness of the lands before, around and beyond Gábllá made it seem very high – a distinct "top of the world" feeling describes it best. Returning my gaze to the slope ahead, I detected movement at a distance, and with the help of the binoculars I determined that three hikers were coming down, heading straight for me.

Then a most welcome event occured: a cloud passed in front of the sun. It had been very warm for quite some time, and the resulting temperature drop felt awfully good. The ground grew a bit rockier as I proceeded upwards, and then I encountered the trio. It consisted of three young men of southern origin (Dalarna, judging from their accent), with whom I spoke for a while. They were a bit worried about the availability of water along their future route, seeing as how they had had trouble finding it after exiting the forest close to Kvikkjokk, and I could assuage their fears in that regard. We then went our different ways, and mine was intersected by a rock field followed by more easy ground. Sights all around remained marvelous, but I was now nearing the stony entrance to Vállevágge, where Vallespiken would effectively cut off the east.

Stream 1
Fording the stream
Ruonasgĺrssĺ 1
The Ruonasgĺrssĺ ravine
Stream 2
Second stream
Ruonasgĺrssĺ 2
Ruonasgĺrssĺ again
Tjuollda 2
Tjuollda
Sarek 11
Western Sarek
Sarek 12
Eastern Sarek
Bĺrdde 4
Bĺrdde close-up
Panorama 13
Panorama from north to east, with the classic "sun rain" effect
Tjuolldavágge 1
Tjuoldavágge
Fjelds 2
Hazy
Flat rocks 1
Bleeding ground
Sarek 13
Looking across Tjuoldavágge towards Tsähkkok
Panorama 14
Panorama showing a bit of Badjelánnda, Ruonas and Hábres, and a large portion of southern Sarek, just before entering Vállevágge
Fjelds 3
Badjelánnda heights in the distance
Bĺrdde 5
Bĺrdde and Boarektjĺhkkĺ

I climbed the eastern slope a bit as I entered the valley, since the rocks were easier there, and maintained that elevation until I had to go down to the newly formed Vállebäcken. I proceeded both in and right beside this stream, as it was rather stony all around at first, but then ground conditions improved and I could walk more freely. I saw another person a bit ahead, but a low rise soon hid him/her again. A rock field followed, and then yet another of those unreliable footpaths, before I reached a small pool with an even smaller islet in it – both of which are marked on the map – where I sat down on a large rock to eat after 11:30.

It turned out that the person I had seen earlier was also having a break behind a small hill a short distance downstream – and he also turned out to be two guys. It was sunny and warm, and some fairly large clouds were drifting by. I had some reindeer meat as a "dessert", and then I saw another wanderer coming up the valley. He stopped by the others and spoke with them a bit, and then he passed me by. The sun had been clouded by then, and I prepared to resume my journey.

Vállevágge 1
The start of Vállevágge
Vállevágge 2
Flowers!
Vállevágge 3
Odd location in Vállebäcken

The two guys were still sitting behind their hill when I left, and we nodded to each other as I passed them. The ground wavered back and forth between stony and even, and the path wavered between clear and nonexistent. A very light drizzle faded in almost without notice, held for a while, and then faded out just as silently. There were a few cairns along the "path", but they soon stopped appearing. I went diagonally up the slope at a shallow angle when the terrain close to the stream grew steep, struggling across rocks and uneven ground. It was raining further ahead, and a few drops found their way back to me, but so far I was chasing the rain rather than the other way around, and soon even those drops stopped coming.

However, before long it did start to rain lightly, and I saw fit to put the rain cover on the rucksack and the jacket on myself. Another set of cairns followed, this time remaining in route-tracing mode, and I "met" two other people who were coming up the slope below. Once out on the level ground just below 1100 meters progress was easy again, but there was neither path nor cairns anymore. I saw another human pair on a crest a good deal ahead, and I "met" them – who turned out to be four persons – at a distance when we simultaneously passed the first brook course from up Vallespiken; I say "course" because the recent droughts had left nothing but rocks in it.

After that the rain stopped, but just a short while later it came back stronger than before; I thought about putting on the rain clothes, but instead I leaned on my stick and used the rucksack as a temporary shelter, waiting for the pour to diminish. As I expected it did not take long for it to do so, and I could continue. Just after restarting, however, I heard a powerful boom of thunder ahead, but nothing more came of it, and the rain petered out shortly. A few faint sunbeams reflected off the wet rocks in the next dried-out course, and after that one there were both cairns and a path again.

I followed these for a bit, but as the terrain started sloping down towards Vállevárre I found my own way, while all the time being observed by reindeer. The east looked rather bad, but it was clear behind me and to the north, as it had been all the time; it was obviously only the lower areas around Kvikkjokk that were affected. I headed for the northernmost of two pools marked on the map, since I knew both from the trio I had met earlier and from research that finding water on Vállevárre is next to impossible – I had seen that both pools indeed still had water in them from up the slope already.

Just as a few drops started falling at 14:45 I stopped by the southeastern shore of this pool, which looked sizeable enough to be usable as a fresh water source – especially since I would mostly need its water for boiling anyway – but I dumped the pack to go in search for the brook the map claimed would lead from the pool down to Vállebäcken, to see if I could find running water. Not surprisingly, it was dried out as well, but at least I found a few cloudberries in the process. When I returned the drops had stopped, and I started pitching the tent. More drops came as I was fixing the guylines, but I made no haste, and I was just finished when the density of the falling water increased.

Fjelds 4
Up Vállevágge
Darregájsse 5
Darregájsse
Rain 4
Rain ahead...
Darregájsse 6
...but not behind
Rain 5
Rain over Vállevárre at first, ...
Vállegĺrssĺ 1
...and later over Sakkat and the Kvikkjokk delta...
Vállevárre 1
...as it moved on...
Vállegĺrssĺ 2
...towards the south and east
Fjelds 5
Looking northeast
Reindeer 11
A procession of reindeer...
Reindeer 12
...defiling past
Rain 6
Rain to the east
Bĺrdde 6
Sun and cloud...
Sarek 14
...over the Bĺrdde region

It was now raining in full, and it was also rather windy. I tried my mobile phone, and it could just make contact with the net, but it was too feeble to make calls. When the rain stopped (which it soon did) I went out in search of a spot with better signal strength, which I found, and proceeded to reserve a train ticket home – seats were all they had left, and not many to boot, so that would have to do. Then the sun returned, but it was apparently at the price of losing the north, as it were. It was warm again, and I had some reindeer meat and chocolate, played solitaire, and read for a bit outside. It had gotten rather dark over Sarek, but it remained fair enough (and somewhat windy) at my location. I read some more inside, during which I heard some distant thunder, and then I went outside again to make dinner.

Later on there was a keen wind which had turned 90°, but it was still warm in the sun. The rain continued in the south and southeast, and before I knew it the wind had turned another 90°, so that it was now directly opposite compared to when I had made camp. I went in search of some more cloudberries, but almost all were not yet nearly ripe enough to glean; I managed to collect only a handful, and I savored each berry in full. The wind was then 270° out of alignment, so to speak, but it was lighter now. It had cleared a notch or three all around, but there was still a fair amount of clouds. I read some more inside the tent while the sun was clouded by yet another bank that came from the southwest (what was it about that direction?), and it was still and cool. I studied the map for a bit and played solitaire – and then something most unexpected happened.

Fjelds 6
Eastwards
Camp site 8
My tent below Darregájsse
Vallespiken 1
Pointed Vallespiken
Vállevárre 2
Flat Vállevárre
Cloud 1
A cloud forming
Camp site 8 again
Sunny again
Sarek 15
More clouds over Sarek
Sun 1
Nice and warm
Panorama 15
Panorama over Bĺrdde, Boarektjĺhkkĺ and the lowlands to the east in the soft light...
Fjelds 7
...of the early evening

Very suddenly it started to rain, and a very strong wind came into being. Fortunately it had now come full circle, so it hit the tent from the right angle, but it still felt as though it might well fly away any second. It didn't, of course, and during a short time of lesser wind strength I made a quick run outside to check on the guylines, finding them all in order – there's Swedish quality for you... It was nice and clear to the southeast, but a very nasty cloud was pouring out of Vállevágge; my position just at the opening of the valley was evidently quite exposed. The roar and pour kept at it for some time, with the same degree of onslaught, and I just waited it out inside, perfectly snug.

The wind decreased somewhat, but the rain increased to match instead, and I continued to read in my book as the wind tried to decide whether to be strong or weak. Finally the mini-storm broke and light returned – and upon peeking out of the tent I found myself looking at the most incredible rainbow I have ever seen! The high water content of the air obviously reflected considerably more light than your average rainfall residue, and behind it the heavy rain had passed on towards the southeast.

Rainbow 4
The rainbow which no photograph...
Rainbow 5
...could possibly...
Rainbow 6
...have done justice

There was a bit more wind, and then both this and the rain stopped, leaving the evening extremely fair. I had a substantial evening snack while watching the rainstorm disperse in the east. There were also some dark clouds in the west, which the sun gave a striking tint as it was setting. I changed to a fresh memory card again, and then went to bed for reading purposes before 21:45. It was then very calm and pleasant, but as I put the book down to launch a sleeping attempt both the rain and strong wind returned, although nowhere near as bad as before.

Evening 1
Evening 2
Evening 3
Evening 4
Evening 5
Evening 6
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