Oh my, oh my. What a winter! For winter it was, through and through – the contrast to last year's sojourn in Kebnekaise was at times staggering. The amounts of snow around Nallo itself were actually smaller than usual, but there was no shortage whatsoever, and it was not until the very end before it started to melt appreciably – and the weather during that end was itself quite incredible. The month of March was, with a few exceptions, positively awesome, but April saw quite a bit of wind, even though nothing approaching the Kebnekaisian storms I already knew. And even at those times Kebnekaise itself had had pretty good weather now; in fact the entire season there had offered unbelievably excellent skiing conditions, and I sure can't say that that was not the case in Nallo too. Indeed, on my visits to Tjäktja I found the snow much coarser and rougher on the other side of the Šielmmávággi pass – there was actually often a clear-cut boundary at the threshold, east of which the snow was several orders of magnitude better.
It also seemed as though the visitors knew that this year was a winner, at least in the beginning. Last year there had been 80 overnight guests in March – I had 166! The early Easter probably had something to do with it, but there was no real rush just the same. What was a bit disappointing was the low turnout in April, and perhaps the underlying cause can be correlated with the previous winter's abysmal end. It did feel somewhat frustrating with all those empty nights during the last couple of weeks – not for my own sake, as solitude does not bother me overly (which the bulk of this site should bear witness of), but for the sake of everyone who missed out on the Winter Paradise. In the end, however, the totals showed that this was the best Nallo winter in terms of visits since 1996, which is of course a very gratifying thing for a warden to put in his report...
Like Såmmarlappa, Nallo consists of a single cottage in which the warden also lives, but there is no shop to worry about. Even though it is quite a popular place in winter the vast majority of visitors in the area stick to Kungsleden just a few hours away, so the result is that I as the warden usually had lots and lots of time to go skiing on my own, either in the form of longer day tours or just up and down the multitude of slopes all around. The advantage of having a long period is that one can sit tight and wait for the very best days for one's expeditions, and not feel "guilty" at all for staying indoors at other times, but I will admit that towards the end of the prolonged fair weather period around Easter, it was almost so that the fair weather itself became stressful – "damn, do I have to go out today again?".
So, I got many terrific days, going both far and not so far; the entire Nallo/Vistas area is truly worthy of its reputation as breathtakingly spectacular, and comparisons with Nepal and the more dramatic parts of Norway are commonplace. I was also lucky enough to catch the other wardens on site on all my visits to the neighboring cottages – all those other places saw a warden change in the middle, so in order to meet all the wardens I had to make six trips, a fact which I of course did not lament in the slightest.
And speaking of visits, it felt really good being able to follow through on my initial plan of finishing off at Kebnekaise – and as it turned out I did not have to ski at all (well, excepting the last bit to Nikkaluokta, of course), owing to the plentiful snow this season. There were a number of people in the staff who had remained (or come back) since last winter, and it was great seeing them all again – in the same place, at that. This same place was actually not quite the same place as it had undergone some changes in the intervening time, and it was kind of fun trying to spot them all.
- buy of the winter
- buy for next winter
- downhill experience
- day tour
- animal presence
- domestic achievement
- mangled name
Tie between the Kombi heavy-duty finger gloves and the Haglöfs shell jacket.
Reaiddáčohkka west (1825). I never scaled it, of course, and even though there are several higher peaks around it it dominates the landscape due to its imposing shape.
The forenoon with the Dutchman on April 4th.
The Čeakčačohkka circuit, surely, even though of course the Čeakčavággi clouds were somewhat unnecessary...
The shy wolverine. Too bad I never caught sight of it, but that last near-encounter in Unna Reaiddávággi was damn close.
Cinnamon buns! Yum!
Tjäktja. It's Tj-ä-k-tj-a, not "Tjätka", "Tjäkta" or "Tjätjka". TJÄK-TJA. IPA: [ˈtʃɛk.tʃa]. OK?/
To sum up, this was a wonderful experience. I will say, however, that perhaps an entire season can be a tad too long; it was not that I got homesick or unbearably bored, but I think that the optimal length – for me, at least – may lie somewhere between the two I have now covered. This summer will not see this insight come to fruition, however, as I will be spending about three and a half weeks in the Vålå cottages "back home" from the middle of July – which, I am sure, will be just great regardless. We'll see if there won't come something else before that, too...