Having not in any way been discouraged by my wardenship premiere in Såmmarlappa, I naturally applied for a winter assignment straight away – and to my great surprise and delight I was offered Nallo. Those who have read some of my previous reports from the Kebnekaise area – also between the lines to some degree – may already know my feelings for that place, and I am very far from being alone in that regard; those who cite Nallo as their favorite location above all make up a most significant crowd. This applies to both wardens and guests, and pretty much the only way for the former to hope for a winter sojourn in Nallo is to request the whole season rather than just a few weeks – which was precisely what I had done. The upcoming period would therefore be more than twice as long as the previous one, and I would have the advantage of being both the opener and closer.
This time I would be sending all my provisions from home, together with some clothes and suchlike (including a 1000-page book), and when I was done packing it all consisted of six brimming boxes. Since it was now winter I would be getting a lift all the way out to the cottage – opening wardens are transported out, but mid-season exchanges are usually done by ski – which meant that I could be more liberal about my personal packs, even though I would still have to make sure that I could bring back that which I needed to bring back at once under my own power at the end, should snow conditions prohibit motorized transportation then.
As for the transport itself, it would be handled by Erik Sarri in Nikkaluokta, bringing both me and the warden in the Vistas cottages up through Visttasvággi, together with everything we needed a couple of days before the official opening date. This meant that there was no hurry in procuring the various items I would be needing, and the steady low temperatures provided good conditions for keeping fresh food.
With my stay at Kebnekaise the previous winter in mind it should come as no surprise that I wanted to fit in a visit if possible, now that I would be "in the area". There would probably not be any opportunity on the way up, but I fully intended to attempt to return via Kebnekaise, either by transport at least some of the way or by ski all the way. All the cottages in the area would be closing on May 1st, but since that date was to fall on a Thursday this year both Kebnekaise and Abisko would remain open over the subsequent weekend as well, which meant that I had a few days' leeway. I also announced my future whereabouts in advance, should any of my old acquaintances (or some new ones) want to come visit me during the season.
Before going to Nikkaluokta, there was a mandatory meet-up in Gällivare on the 4th of March for all wardens whose term started on the 8th, where practical info and various materials were to be conveyed. The list of participants had changed somewhat when I arrived at the hostel; also present or on their way there were the wardens-to-be of Sitasjaure, Akka, Kutjaure, Vaimok and Aktse, and at the meeting Hukejaure, Kårsavagge and Tarfala showed up as well. As it turned out the opening Vistas warden (Peter) was having some problems with his dogs and so had been forced to relinquish most of March to another warden – he would only spend about a week on site and since he was there already it would only be me and my things going up Visttasvággi later on.
Here, then, follows an abridged account of the events during the two months I spent in and around Nallo, Paradise of Winter, illustrated by the usual range of pictures. Day tours have been placed in their own reports, which are linked to from the relevant pages.