Tours › 2005 › Northern Kungsleden › Day 1

Saturday 6/8

Stage map 1

Abisko – Ballinvággi

Horizontal distance:11 km
Vertical distance:+600 m
Time:3 h 30 min
Lunch break:(none)
Dinner:Curry chicken
Night accommodation:Tent
Stage classification:Easy/Medium
Map points:Abisko, Tältlägret

I boarded the train in Murjek, about 70 km from Jokkmokk, just before 9 o'clock in the morning. Oddly enough, it was ahead of schedule, but that was "rectified" after just a couple of stations. Having arrived in Abisko about half an hour late, at 12:45, I went straight to the tourist station and procured:

Lapp Gate 1
The Lapp Gate (Čuonjávággi)
a) a discount card valid for 7 nights' accommodation in all of STF's fjeld facilities
b) toothpaste
c) lunch.

Then I made final preparations, and weighed the rucksack on the scales outside: 20.5 kg, which also included a water flask containing about one liter; since I carried the camera and the phone in my clothes, my calculations were pretty much on the money. At 14:00, I set out on the trek. It had started to rain the minute I exited the train, and it really poured down while I was inside having lunch, but just in time for my actual start, the rain had stopped and the sun came out.

The first part of the trail runs alongside the stream Ábeskoeatnu, which in that area has carved deeply into the rock, producing a rather impressive canyon. Not surprisingly, this close to Abisko itself, there were a fair number of hikers coming and going.

Ábeskoeatnu 1
Ábeskoeatnu 2
Ábeskoeatnu 3
Ábeskoeatnu 4

After about 5 km, I left the main trail and followed a path heading uphill towards a location known as Tältlägret (Tent Camp). There isn't really a tent camp there now, but there was once upon a time; now there's just a hut. I passed two men on the way, and they later arrived at the hut where I was taking a short break. There was already another fellow there, who apparently had been sleeping in the hut.

I had wanted to take that path instead of continuing along Kungsleden mostly to "get away" from what could, in relative terms, be described as "the crowd". But, there was also another reason: since I necessarily started so late in the day, I wasn't planning on going too far before making camp – and except for a few designated areas, tenting is prohibited within the borders of Abisko National Park, which that path soon lead out of.

Lapp Gate 2
The Lapp Gate from a different perspective
Ballinvággi 1
I'm going up there...
Giron 1
The fjeld Giron and the stream Ballinjohka
Fjelds 1
Some fjelds to the northeast (I think)
Panorama 1
Panorama of Torneträsk
Sign 1
"Now exiting Abisko National Park"
Pallenjokk 1
The outside of the hut...
Pallenjokk 2
...and the inside
Snow bridge 1
"Don't tread on me..."

By that time the weather had changed to overcast again, and there was some light intermittent rain. The two men took a longer break at the hut (they even took their time making coffee from the ice-cold water of Ballinjohka), so I was alone for the time being. The path continued towards the high-altitude valley Ballinvággi for some time, but grew fainter and fainter, and during the last part before actually entering the valley the ground was (seemingly) untrodden.

Right at the beginning (or end) of Ballinvággi, Ballinjohka splits into two separate streams, which are again joined further up. On a small plateau beside where this occurs, there was of old a hut, which is now so decayed that only pieces of the floor and one wall remain (older maps mark it as "ruined", but it's not included even as such on newer ones). However, the ground on that plateau is almost perfectly level and so makes for nice camp sites, which I took advantage of. I arrived at that spot at 17:30, dumped the pack and walked around for a bit, checking the surroundings, before pitching the tent. While I was pitching, the two men from earlier came into the valley and passed further inward. I made and ate dinner between 18:30 and 19:00, and then spent some quiet hours in the tent, playing solitaire and fighting a diffuse feeling of unease the source of which I had trouble identifying.

By 21:00, the weather had cleared a bit, and the world was mostly tranquil. I walked to the valley mouth to take a last look out over Torneträsk and the safety of the marked trails, before consuming a light snack and hitting the sack at 22:00.

Ballinvággi 2
Camp site 1
My first camp site
Evening 1
Evening over Njullá and Torneträsk, ...
Evening 2
...Torneträsk and the massifs north of it


Back to top  ⇑