Tours › 2006 › Kvikkjokk Circuit › Day 2

Tuesday 1/8

Stage map 2

Njunjes – Tarraälvshyddan

Horizontal distance:12 km
Vertical distance:+140 m, -40 m
Time:5 h 45 min
Lunch break:2 h 45 min
Dinner:Chicken sweet and sour
Night accommodation:Hut
Stage classification:Easy
Map points:Njunjes, Tarrekaise, Tarraälvshyddan
Camp site 1 again
Beautiful morning

The night alternated between warm and cool, and as a result my sleep was divided into portions, but I felt rested just the same come the morning – a morning devoid of anything resembling either clouds or wind. I got up at 07:15, spread out the sleeping bag to dry in a nearby bush, and went into the cottage to make breakfast, where one of the other guests – who were all about to leave – was kind enough to offer me some lingonberry jam to go with my porridge.

While I ate the two Austrians came by, and then continued on after a brief pause. The other guests also left, and I went out to strike the tent. By then clouds had started drifting in from the south, but they were all of the fair weather kind. I peeked inside to say goodbye to the warden, enabling the dog – a border terrier – to try chewing on my knife, which hung at its usual place in my belt. The warden and her acquaintances were in the process of baking bread, and I declined an offer of receiving a couple of loaves since I had nowhere to put them, and instead commenced the day's walk.

The forest was all lush again, and I met a lone woman in the slope just west of the cottage. At the crest the trees ended, and a plateau of some hundreds of meters followed, giving excellent views. I met a group of three up there, and then the trail descended into another section of leafy forest. I passed an older man camped down by the lake Luoppal, and shortly thereafter I encountered three men in quick succession. I then came into a region with sparser forest and even some meadows, which made for a good view of Basseuksa, a peculiar niche up in the northern mountainside.

This is a holy location in the Sámi tradition, and was of old a sacrificial site. For a while I contemplated leaving the pack and climbing up for a closer inspection, but instead contented myself with a good look through the binoculars; the forest looked quite dense in the intervening slope. The following portion of the woodland was drier and rather stony, which slowed my progress somewhat, but I still caught up with a middle-aged couple at a place where the trail passes close to the water, providing a nice break from all the trees. From there the stone content was slightly less, but this came at the price of more jungle-like vegetation. I met another two people, and then reached the Tarrekaise cottages at 11:45.

Fjelds 1
Looking back towards Kvikkjokk
Darregájsse 1
Darregájsse lightly clouded
Tarradalen 1
Tarradalen opening up ahead
Áhkalmgårttje 1
Áhkalmgårttje on the other side
Tarradalen 2
Lower Tarradalen with Luoppal and Darrávrre
Njoammelgårttje 1
Njoammelgårttje below
Flowers 1
The flowers reemerging
Stájggá 1
Stájggá about to clear itself
Basseuksa 1
The Basseuksa niche
Basseuksa 2
Again, with the crevice above it
Meadow 1
Nice meadows for a while
Stájggá 2
Stájggá mostly in the clear
Ántilåpptå 1
Ántilåpptå towering above
Gurávágge 1
Gurávágge to the west

A couple who had been camped at the Njunjes cottage was already there, taking a break down by Darrávrre. The warden was out for a day trip to the Såmmarlappa cottage and back, which caused another change in my plans – I had intended to buy some provisions at the small shop in Tarrekaise, to make use of before I reached Pieskehaure two days down the road, but seeing as how there was now no one there to transact such a purchase I had to postpone it. That was all right, though, since I wouldn't be running out of food anytime soon.

As the stage of the day would be fairly short, I felt no hurry and just relaxed in the warmth and calmness. The resting couple departed and was replaced by the other two I had just passed, and while they paused on their end I had my lunch. The others soon went on their way, but I went inside the cottage to fetch a magazine and sat down on the porch to read, seeking shade. After a while I thought that I heard voices, and sure enough, before long two hikers emerged from the western forest, and were later followed by three Germans. Inside, some other Germans had left behind a number of freeze-dried packages and other stuff; the packages were too large for me to have any use for, but I did take a few slices of bread. I then departed in a temperature the cottage's thermometer stated as 22°C in the shadow, but which the sun raised by quite a bit.

Tarrekaise cottage 1
The Tarrekaise cottage
Hut 1
An old hut down by...
Darrávrre 1

The vegetation west of Tarrekaise was less leafy than it had been before, which in turn meant that the shadow provided by the trees was of "lesser quality" than it could have been, and things were quite warm for a while. I met two women heading the other way, and then the terrain grew drier; some clouds had also entered the sun's area of the sky, so there was intermittent relative coolness. As the trail started to descend a bit, the surroundings became a bit moister again, and then I found myself at the point where the trail to Vaimok and Pieskehaure splits off, somewhat earlier than I had expected.

The path from there was not very well trodden, and not marked in any way. As it reached the stream from Bádurgårsså, it split up into several, each leading to a different ford. I stayed on course, going downstream a bit, and soon bumped into the couple I had passed earlier, and who had then passed me at Tarrekaise; they were having lunch at one of the crossings. I did cross the stream there, but there was mostly a jumble of grass and bushes on the other side, and what footpaths there were were hard to make out.

I ended up on the brink of Darrhaädno, at the outflow of the stream, which was not where I was supposed to go. I could, however, from that location see Tarraälvshyddan, the goal of the day, a bit upstream on the other side. I retraced my steps, trying to find another path that went off in a more suitable direction, but no luck. I passed the couple again, going further upstream, and eventually found a more distinct path and some duckboards about where the original path had first made contact with the stream. Figures.

Even though this was definitely the trail, the path was still rather deteriorated, and there were still no markings. It became a little better later on, and a few marks had started to appear as well, just before I reached the Darrhaädno bridge. There was a stretch of open heathland on the other side, and once clear of the forest I became aware of an appreciable wind. The trail was much better here, and stayed clear when it reentered the forest, and it wasn't long before I spotted Tarraälvshyddan among the trees and turned onto the side path leading down to it, at around 14:45.

Trail 1
Back on the trail
Sign 1
Branch point
Gurátjåhkkå 1
Gurátjåhkkå (Tarraälvshyddan is just visible on the far brink)
Tarradalen 3
Upper Tarradalen
Bridge 1
The bridge over...
Darrhaädno 8
Måskásjgájsse 1
Bridge 2
The bridge, with Ántilåpptå behind
Tarradalen 4
Gazing to the north

This cute little hut is the oldest STF building still standing; it was constructed in the 1890s, a few years after the oldest hut named Varvekhyddan at the foot of Sulidälbmá near the Norwegian border. The latter was ruined before the previous turn of the century, but Tarraälvshyddan remains usable to this day. It is a very small building with one narrow bunk and a rather large hearth, and not much else, and since there was no one around I decided to try it out for the night – living a piece of living history, as it were.

A pair from Vaimok soon came down to look at the sight worth seeing, and then they continued on towards Tarrekaise. I went for a walk, discovering that the brink right below consisted of mud (which had some rather distinct marks of naked feet in it), so I walked downstream a bit to a place where the shore had a high pebble content. That was unnecessarily far from the hut, however, so I placed some large twigs over the worst parts of the mud, creating a passable passage. I went on to have some dried reindeer meat while reading in the hut's little guestbook, and writing an entry myself.

Tarraälvshyddan 1
Tarraälvshyddan (exterior)
Tarraälvshyddan 2
Tarraälvshyddan (interior)
Tjiláktjåhkkå 1
Tjiláktjåhkkå on the other side of Darrhaädno
Tarraälvshyddan 3
Sunny afternoon

There was some wind, and clouds were approaching from the east when the couple from before arrived. After taking in the essence of the place, they continued a short bit further south in search of a suitable camp site; I saw the female companion reconnoitering water-fetching possibilities, and apparently she wasn't satisfied because she and her mate soon went on their way along the trail. Myself, I gave my walking clothes a light rinsing, and solved some crosswords. It was then calm again, but a cloud had swallowed the sun. I prepared dinner and ate inside.

Then something extraordinary happened. I had left some stuff outside, and after going out to fetch something, I found the door locked! Apparently, I had managed to swing the door shut in such a way that the hasp fell into its hoop – what are the chances of that? This was of course a surreal situation, which was made worse by the fact that my rucksack with the tent, sleeping bag, food, etc. was inside, and the clouds seemed as though they might well drop their load in the very near future. However, the door had become crooked with age, so that there was a chink between it and the frame in the lower end, so I wriggled the iron bar used to keep the door shut from the outside into this slit, and gently pried until the screw that held the hasp to the door came loose and I could reenter the hut. Phew.

It wasn't long before I heard a boom of thunder in the west, so I washed up and fetched more water, in the event that I would have to stay inside for a longer period of time. I started making a crossword (available here, in Swedish), accompanied by a fair number of mosquitos which had found their way inside through the door chink (and I reiterate: that chink was there to begin with), but they left me be for the most part. For a moment it seemed as though it was about to clear outside, but then it started to rain instead; very lightly at first, but it soon grew in intensity. The hut was well constructed, though, so there was no leakage, and I relaxed inside.

Sky 1
Clouds rolling in
Mist 1
Misty mountains
Tjiláktjåhkkå 2
Tjiláktjåhkkå at dusk

The rain went on for about half an hour, perhaps 45 minutes, and then faded out in the same manner it had faded in. It had been a very local shower; the sky had been clear to the north and south during the rainfall, and now that the cloud had passed it was fair again. I played some solitaire, and then went outside to read in my book. It was absolutely calm and serene, in the way that only a fresh rain can provide, and looking out over the perfect mirror of Darrhaädno towards the wall of Darregájsse heavily tinted by the setting sun was an almost magical experience. I had my evening snack, and then climbed into the bunk at 21:30, reading by candlelight for a while.

Darrhaädno 9
Perfectly calm evening...
Darrhaädno 10
...over Darrhaädno...
Ántilåpptå 2
...and Ántilåpttå

The mosquitos were a huge hassle. I tried all kinds of combinations of sleeping bag, repellant, and various fabric items from my pack, but they all failed either because 1) a complete cover was too hot in the warm summer's night, or 2) the little bastards managed to find their way anyhow. I seriously contemplated whipping up the tent in quick fashion in a nearby clearing and just throwing myself inside, but then the nightly chill finally came, enabling me to find a configuration which attained the intended purpose, and I could fall asleep at last.



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